The Nickerson Family Association Annual "Togethering" for 2013 will be held in Harwich. Adjacent to Chatham, Harwich has its own charm in its seven villages. Located on the south shore, Nantucket Sound, Harwich has three beautiful Harbors as well as the largest lake, Long Pond, on Cape Cod.
Harwich was settled around 1665 and incorporated in 1694. Its early economy included agriculture and maritime industries. In 1775, when Separatists and Baptists outnumbered orthodox Congregationalists, Harwich citizens felt independent enough to refuse to support a minister with public tax money and they continued refusing to do so for 18 years. In 1803, after a bitter struggle, the north parish and south parish separated into the Towns of Brewster and Harwich.
When the whaling industry collapsed with the discovery of oil, the community's emphasis shifted to cod fishing. By 1851, there were 48 ships employing 577 men and bringing in thousands of tons of cod and mackerel. The eventual decline of the fishing industry in Harwich by the latter part of the 19th century was caused by increases in the size of ships which eventually outstripped the shallow port's ability to house them. Residents turned to the development of cranberry bogs and resorts for summer visitors, working side-by-side with Portuguese immigrants. The fist resort hotel opened in 1880 and both the cranberry and the tourist industries remain substantial parts of Harwich's economy in the present day.
We are working on activities which include a boat trip, a visit to a cranberry bog, a walk in conservation lands, a walk around the village of Harwich Center with docents from the Harwich Historical Society guiding us, speakers who can tell us what our ancestors did in Harwich as well as lots of opportunities to visit with our cousins from across the country. Our annual meeting will be in the Harwich Congregational Church in Harwich Center. Our Saturday evening dinner will be at the Captain's Golf Course in a lovely banquet room surrounded by gardens. We will once again gather at Nickerson House in Chatham on Sunday after church to share a meal.
Now is not too early to be thinking about a trip to the Cape next September. It's a wonderful time of year to explore the lands and homes of our ancestors. Many who attending the 2012 reunion in Chatham combined the event with individual family reunions. What a great way to interest the younger generations in their own family history. Start making plans now by getting September 6, 7, and 8, 2013 on your calendar. You'll get a warm welcome from all of your cousins.
Reunion Coordinator: Lin Webber