2023 Reunion Information

The postponed 2021 reunion is now just months away with a 2023 reset. The host hotel is now taking reservations.

Wilmington was selected as the headquarters for this reunion because the city was a gateway for Irish Quakers coming to North America in the late 1600s and early 1700s. As the flow of Quakers increased over those early decades, Quaker communities began to push into Chester County, Pennsylvania where land and opportunity remained plentiful. The first Blackburn to arrive was actually Elizabeth Blackburn(2), daughter of John Blackburn(1) “the immigrant” by his first wife, Mary Courtney. Elizabeth and her husband, Samuel Morton, actually arrived in 1729 and settled in London Grove Township in Chester County. John Blackburn(1) and his second wife, Rachel Morton, arrived a bit later, in 1736, probably wintering with his daughter in London Grove. Samuel Morton and Rachel Morton were also siblings, making the family connection even tighter. John (1) and his second family moved west in the spring of 1737 – to Menallen Township in what is now Adams County.

The flow of events as currently scheduled is as follows:

Thursday – July 27

Registration will open in the afternoon with a Meet & Greet reception at the hotel in the evening.  The event will be informal and be a cash bar format.

Friday – July 28

Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, there will be an organized bus tour of Wilmington and surrounds.   Space will be limited – fee applies.

Also both in the morning and the afternoon there will be a family history session at the hotel, focusing on the early Blackburn history and available research tools.

In the evening there will be an all-family dinner right in the hotel ballroom, with a program scheduled.

Saturday – July 29

In the morning there will be a family meeting to discuss future plans for the Association.

The family will host a picnic lunch at Old Swedes Historic Site in Wilmington.   Box lunches can be reserved in advance.

The afternoon will include three organized visits: (1) the original Kennett Friends Meeting site, where locals will greet us and provide some history; (2) a tour of The Woodlands at Phillips Mushroom Farm (no charge); and (3) an invitation to visit the historic Newlin Grist Mill (fee applies).

Sunday – July 30

The plan is to attend meeting for worship as a family at London Grove Friends Meeting, the ancestral meetinghouse of Elizabeth Blackburn(2) and her husband, Samuel Morton, who settled in that township in 1729. Visitors will also want to drive by the original Blackburn-Morton homestead.

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For more details, see this attachment.

While there is no formal visit planned during this reunion to Menallen Township, the ancestral home of John Blackburn the immigrant, travelers may want to extend their stay to make a day trip. The drive is about 2.5 hours from Wilmington. You can find out more here. That drive also takes travelers right through the heart of Amish country. Menallen Township and surrounds is the “apple capital” of the region, thanks to the Irish Quakers bringing their expertise to the region.

Questions? Email khowley@aol.com.