EARLY HHA ACTIVITIES
The national Herriott tricentennial reunion, the first of this organization, was held at Lexington, Kentucky August 1-4, 1985. Plans for it were developed to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the arrival in "East Jersey" of David Herriott from Scotland. It was the first "national" reunion held since 1915 when the last of a series of annual reunions was held in Illinois. These apparently began in 1900 and some attendance records still survive. They were attended by family members from the New Jersey line (Ephraim, Andrew, Asher, John F. sublines represented) and Belfast line who then resided as far away as Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, West Virginia and Michigan. They were discontinued at the time of World War I.
In November 1982, A. Dean Herriott and Scott Herriott sent a letter to all of the Herriott names they had found from across the country including all of the other then-known living descendants of David Herriott, the immigrant, inquiring as to interest in a national reunion. Carroll F. Herriott, TX, Marylouise Sator, AZ and Virgil Herriott, SD all became active members of the "project." Distribution of a book, A Family Named Herriott, relating to the family's history and a listing the lineage of all those then known, became a major project for the reunion. The book sparked a great deal of interest by those who saw it. After that reunion, new information about family lines required a new revised edition for the next national reunion held in 1988. A revised third edition was prepared for distribution at the 1991 reunion. Additional editions have been prepared in timely sequences as new information has been added. The Herriott Family book has grown and evolved into the Herriott Heritage Association DVD. Going to a DVD-version-only in 2003 was necessary because it wan no longer reasonable to proesent it as a paper copy.
The 1985 reunion was attended by approximately 170 family members from 22 states. Most of the people were "strangers" to each other when they arrived but that quickly changed as they became acquainted with their newly found "cousins." Lexington was chosen as the site partly because it was near the area where Herriotts from the Ephraim line had migrated west from Virginia to settle. They had been joined by a few from the Andrew line from Pennsylvania. It was a great reunion, largely because of the detailed planning put into it by Dean and his wife Ruth. A family history session, a "mixer" to help people get acquainted, several tours, a banquet with entertainment by Scottish dancers, time for church and lots of time for "just visiting," all were provided on the agenda. At the banquet it was recommended that an administrative board be selected to provide the leadership for continuing the work of the past and implementing future activities including a newsletter. The name Herriott Heritage Association was chosen and the board was instructed to develop plans for a continuing organization and for holding future reunions. The possibility of a group tour to visit Scotland in search of "footprints" left there by David, the immigrant, was discussed. At the conclusion of the banquet, presentations were made to Dean and Ruth for their inspiration and leadership for the event. Those selected as members of the administrative board to serve until the next reunion were:
In 1987 a group of eight "kinsmen" traveled to England and Scotland. Part of their time was spent at Newbattle Abby just southeast of Edinburgh where they studied a bit about Scottish history and were introduced to the archives in Edinburgh where they searched for the "footprints" of the immigrant David and his family. They concluded their searching by engaging a professional researcher to continue the work and that report is found in the Herriott book. Those who made the trip to Scotland were: Paul and Ruth Herriott, (JFO), Cincinnati, OH Ned and Lola Thomas, (AND) Cambridge, OH Doris and Bill Smith, (AND), Alameda, CA Virgil and Ruth Herriott, (AND), Lake Norden, SD
One of the highlights of the trip was meeting Ella Herriott and part of her family who lived in and near Edinburgh. Other highlights included visiting the Parish and village of Heriot (although there is no evidence that any Herriotts ever lived there) and visiting the Heriot Hospital, a charitable institution for the education and welfare of fatherless boys, founded by George "Jinglin' Geordie" Heriot after his death in 1624.
The second national reunion was held at Bridgeville, PA, southwest of Pittsburgh, on July 22, 23 and 24th, 1988. The site selected was near the area where Andrew and his family settled about the time of the Revolutionary War. A format similar to that of the 1985 reunion was followed. There were 103 from 16 states in attendance. Tours included visiting cemeteries and sites of the homes of early Herriott families. At the banquet a formal statement of Formation and Purpose and the initial By-laws for the Association were adopted. A new blue hard cover (3 ring binder) editon of A Family Named Herriott book was distributed for the first time. It was thus referred to as the Blue Book. The number on the board of directors was expanded to include spouses when electing directors and to represent additional lines. Those elected were:
STATEMENT OF FORMATION AND PURPOSE
July 23, 1988
We who are attending this 1988 National Reunion of the descendants of David Herriott who arrived at "Amboy Perth" of East Jersey from Scotland in 1685 and other Herriott families presently associated do hereby ratify the formation of the HERRIOTT HERITAGE ASSOCIATION.
WE HEREBY DECLARE THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE ASSOCIATION IS:
To encourage interest in our heritage, to simulate and assist researchers and other family members to gather and preserve historical, literary and genealogical materials pertaining to the family, and to assist in expanding fellowship among the descendants.
Note: Our bylaws were amended in 2009 to reflect the HHA as a surname organization rather than emphasizing any particular family line.
The third national reunion was held at Des Moines IA on July 29-31 1991. Approximatly 100 attended with attendees from states from all regions of the country. The general format of prior reunions was followed with the addition of the "Herriott Olympics," primarily for the younger generation. An updated copy for the book "A Family named Herriott" was distributed. At the 1991 reunion, the Mach's, Paul and Ruth Herriott, Marylouise Sator and Ruth (Dean's widow) chose not to be re-elected to the board. New directors elected were:
At the board meeting following the reunion, the board amended the by-laws to designate all former directors as ex officio members, invited to attend all board meetings but without vote. Doris Smith was appointed to the board in June 1992.
The board of directors has met annually since 1985 to take care of administrative details including making plans for finances, the newsletter, reunions and efforts to coordinate and collect the results of further research. The semi-annual Herriott Herald newsletter, begun by Editor Dean Herriott in 1985, has nearly about 60 subscribers and is essentially self-supporting. The reunions have been self-supporting. The sale of crafts and other donated items at the reunions has been an important source of income.
While members of the board serve at their own expense, there are costs for many activities. As noted in the by-laws, there are no membership fees. The Herriott Heritage Association Fund was established by the board of directors in July 1989 to support the work and activities of the Association. It was created to encourage gifts that "honor" or "memorialize" family members.