We welcomed two "new" cousins to our reunion this year. "Santa" Bill Veazey and Peter Veazey from London, England. A professional musician and a professional "Santa," Bill entertained his cousins with his musical selections throughout the week-end. An employee at the Shearton Inn, University Center, which was our reunion headquarters and site of both our dinners for this year, asked me on Saturday evening, "Why were we singing so much Christmas music in June?" My answer to her was that if Santa was your cousin, you would sing Christmas music all year long.
We still have not been able to "connect" Peter's English roots with our American ones, but his father is a retired Vicar of the Church of England, and Santa Bill's father was a Baptist minister. These two fathers corresponded some years ago about their common surname. When Peter came across a copy of this correspondence, he wrote to his "cousin" in American. Since, Bill's father was deceased, the letter finally came to Bill. From that beginning these two Veazeys have become fast friends. Peter has attended two of our reunions and his wife, Doris, plans to attend the 1998 reunion in Chattanooga. We'll gladly "claim" them as kinsmen until we can work the little details out.
We engaged tour buses for the first time during this reunion, because traffic patterns in the Triangle region, do not lend themselves to car caravans. We toured two state historic sites, whose original owners were neighbors of our Veazey family: "Stagville," home of the Bennehan family, and the Duke Homestead. We had lunch at the Spruce Pine Lodge on the shores of Lake Michie (which resulted from a dam built on Flat River). We could at least pretend that we were eating on land that had been owned by a Veazey family member, in view of the fact that several early grants and deeds show Flat River boundaries. After lunch our buses toured the "Veazey Ridge," which is known as Butner, NC, today. Our tour ended with a memorial service at the Veazey Cemetery and the dedication of a cenotaph for William Henry Veazey (1828-1864) who died at Cold Harbor, Virginia. The cousins really appeared to enjoy the comradeship of the tour busses and this would become a fixture for future reunions.
Another first this year, was a separate tour for the youth in the family. My daughter, MaryAnn D. Powell, who was bringing three of the young people with her, headed up this part of the reunion. We had about fifteen young people visit the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science and then enjoy lunch at Chuckie Cheese's. These young people really began to feel a part of this event and become interested in how they were related to the other children there.
Of course the biggest event for me was the publication of the "Descendants of John Veazey," in time for this reunion. My cousins were very supportive and took about 200 of the soft backed versions with them when they left Durham that year. The case bound hard backed edition became available in September of 1995.
Several members of the family completed their weekend in Durham by attending worship services at the Duke University Chapel, made possible through the Duke family whose original home was toured the day before.
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