About the Hildreth Family Association

The Hildreth Family Association, the brainchild of Mr. Henry Orin Hildreth, was born on March 6, 1893 at the Parker House in Boston in the presence of fifteen representatives of the Hildreth family in New England. The proud parent, Henry O. Hildreth, was taken sick the very next day and died six days later. However, those who had witnessed the birth assumed the responsibilities of parenthood and guided the Association during its formative years. This  Association  is  formed for the purpose of  organizing into a friendly union  and for  the  common  good  of  all persons in America who have  a Hildreth  ancestor  or  who are united  in  marriage  to those who have a Hildreth  ancestor, having in  mind,  but  not  necessarily limited  to,  the descendants  of  the  two  Puritan  forefathers  who  bore  the  name  of  Hildreth -  RICHARD HILDRETH,  who appeared  in  Cambridge, Mass., in 1643 as a Freeman  in the Massachusetts  Bay Colony and who died in  Chelmsford,  Mass.,  and  THOMAS HILDRETH who also appeared  also in  1643 as one  of  the  first  settlers  of Southampton  (Long  Island),  N.Y. and who died there in 1657.

The first Hildreth Reunion was held on June 16, 1894 in Chelmsford, MA where our ancestor, Richard1, lived for nearly forty years. A paper on "The Early Hildreths of New England" was read by Arthur Hildreth, son of Richard Hildreth, the renowned historian. Exactly ten years later, June 16, 1904, the Second Reunion was held, again in Chelmsford. At this meeting, Mrs. Rowena Hildreth Palmer of Lowell, MA read a paper on "The Dracut Hildreths and the Characteristics of the Hildreths in General."

When it was fourteen years old, the Association finally became formally organized. It was at the Third Reunion, held at the Brunswick in Boston on March 16, 1907, that Articles of Association were approved as the rules governing the Association. For the Fourth Reunion, The Hildreths returned to Chelmsford on June 12, 1909. At this meeting the old slate gravestone of Richard1(1605-1693), which had been mounted in a block of granite and placed over his grave in the old Forefathers' Burying Ground, was dedicated with appropriate exercises. The memorial is the third oldest in Chelmsford's original burying ground, dating back to 1655.

The New England weather proved to be too much for even the hardy Hildreths on the day of the Fifth Reunion in Malden, MA. It is reported that "the day was fearfully cold and rainy. Tables were set for fifty but only fourteen were present for dinner." The papers that were to have been read were omitted but were given at the Sixth Reunion, held at Chelmsford on June 8, 1912, at which some forty Hildreths were present. The main business at the Seventh Reunion on March 27, 1915 in Boston was the revision of the Articles of Association and the By-Laws.

During the next fifteen years (1916-30) at least ten family gatherings were held in Boston, Westford, Harvard, and Salem, Massachusetts. Following the heydays of the Hildreth Family Association prior to 1930, the Association fell into inactivity for a period of nearly fifty years until it was reorganized in the late 1970's. Since 1977, the Hildreth Family Association has been a vital organization in service to the descendants of both Richard1 Hildreth of Cambridge and Chelmsford, MA and Thomas1 Hildreth of Long Island, New York. Today, in keeping with the advances of communication technology, the Hildreth Family Association has adopted "HildrethFamilyAssociation.com" as yet another communications forum with which to serve the interests and needs of Hildreth cousins worldwide.