Genealogy can be very addicting, warned Cathy Larsen Morgan, who recently traveled to Sequim from Louisiana for a family reunion.
If you're not careful, you'll be flying halfway across the country to meet relatives you never even knew existed, she said, but it'll be worth it because when you look into their eyes you'll see traces of yourself.
Hundreds of descendants of Hezekiah and Catherine Uline Davis met at the Sequim Prairie Grange Hall to celebrate the couple's 150th anniversary Saturday, Aug. 28. Food, fun and family bonding dominated the afternoon as parents, grandparents, children, great-grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins united - many meeting for the first time.
Morgan - whose great-great-great-grandparents were Hezekiah and Catherine Uline Davis - has been interested in her lineage since she was a young girl. From creating handmade family trees to searching for information about her family via the Internet, Morgan has been feeding an insatiable desire to learn about her family history for decades.
"Those people over there," she said, pointing across the room, "They are my grandmother's great nieces and nephews. I didn't even know them before all of this."
Laura Cooper - Morgan's second cousin - helped organize the reunion. The women met two years ago online and became fast friends, joining efforts to connect with unknown relatives all over the country.
"It's nice for people to know where they're from," Cooper said, who grew up on the East Coast but lives in Seattle now.
"It gives you a sense of place and that's something a lot of families lose in this day and age."
The story of Hezekiah and Catherine
Hezekiah was born in 1802 within four miles of Niagara Falls. He took care of the sawmill and logging business on the family farm.
Hezekiah and Catherine had nine children, six of whom grew to adulthood: Hall, Alonzo, Edwin, Samuel Clark, James and Emily Anne. All but Edwin went on to have children of their own, giving Catherine and Hezekiah 39 grandchildren.
Two of Hezekiah's sons - Samuel Clark and Alonzo - caught the gold-rush fever and migrated west via a team of oxen in 1849.
The adventurous wanderers told their father about the dense forests they'd seen on the Puget Sound and urged him to sell the family's farm in Montana and move west. In 1860, at age 58, Hezekiah did just that.
Deterred from lumbering by the existence of a large sawmill already operating at Port Discovery, Hezekiah bought two farms at New Dungeness and opened a general store.
Two years later Hezekiah moved to Lopez Island but later returned to New Dungeness where he died in 1890.
Both Alonzo and Hall Davis made names for themselves as pioneer dairy farmers in Clallam County and owned land now known as the McInnes family farm.
Hall stayed in the New Dungeness area until the 1890s when he rented his farm and retired to Seattle.
Alonzo remained in the area eight years longer than his brother, until his wife, Emily, died and he retired to Victoria.
Hezekiah, Catherine and their children all are gone but the family name and bloodlines carry on.
From 7 years old to almost 100, reunion guests exchanged handshakes, hugs, stories and contact information. With heartfelt hugs and tearful goodbyes, they parted amid promises to keep in touch, throwing around ideas for another family reunion down the road.
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