A History of the Hallman Family Association
The Hallman Family Association was founded in 1908 after a series of three meetings in the spring/early summer of that year. Howard Hallman, a fifth-generation descendant of Anthony Hallman, called these meetings to address the concern that the Hallman family might be drifting apart with each successive generation. Those family members attending the first meetings agreed that an Association, with annual reunions, would bring the Hallmans of all ages together to strengthen family ties. So, an Association was formed, officers were elected, and plans were launched.
Possibly the 1909 Hallman Reunion at Plymouth Park
The First Annual Reunion of the Hallman Family Association was held on August 6, 1908, at Plymouth Park, outside of Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Successive reunions were held at White City, Ursinus College, Zieber's Park, and Ringing Rocks.
Starting in 1921, with the gift of one acre of land by Hallman descendants I. Clarence H. Moyer and his wife, Maggie R. Hallman Moyer, the Hallman Family Association had a permanent location for the annual Reunion: The Hallman Grove. In 1925, the Association purchased the entire Moyer farm, but found itself in financial straits within a year. The Trustees decided to sell about 30 acres of the farm, keeping a little over 20 acres for the Hallman Family Association.
Annual Reunions continued for the next fifty years or so, with games for the kids (a sack race, 3-leg races), quoits, musical entertainment, and PLENTY of food, followed by the business meeting. Unfortunately, the old wooden pavilion was completely destroyed by fire
in February, 1974, and no Reunion was held that year. The Reunion of 1975 was held at the Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Oaks, PA. A new pavilion was built, and the Family continued to gather at the Hallman Grove on the third Sunday of August every year.
Groundbreaking for the new pavilion at the Hallman Grove in 1975.
The most recent family photo taken at the 2003 Hallman Reunion at Hallman Grove.
During the decades that followed, attendance at the Annual Reunion slowly declined and the Association struggled to hold onto the Grove. A few revenue-raising ideas were proposed, but were either not implemented or didn’t generate enough funds. Due to the generosity of anonymous family members, the collection at the Annual Reunion was supplemented in order to pay the taxes on the property.
By the early 2000’s, with back taxes due, it was clear that the Association was in danger of losing the Hallman Grove. The Board of Directors began a preliminary investigation toward selling the Grove to a developer, but Skippack Township stepped in and seized the property under Eminent Domain. The Hallman Family Association was offered fair market value for the property and, after the back taxes were deducted, the Association realized over a million dollars. The Hallman Grove became the property of Skippack Township in December, 2009.
A family member raised questions as to whom the funds belonged, and a lawsuit was brought to determine if the funds should remain the property of the Association or if they should be distributed to certain family members. Complicating the situation was the fact that, even though the 1921 Charter of the Hallman Family Association prohibited the sale of shares, a later 1929 Amendment to the By-Laws (which seems to have been passed by the Family but was never officially filed) approved the sale of shares as a fundraising measure. After several years, a judge finally issued a ruling that fixed the value of each share and provided instructions and a timeline for family members to redeem their share certificates, if they desired to do so. Starting in 2010, the Annual Reunion has been held at the Lower Skippack Mennonite Church on Evansburg Road on the third Sunday in August.
At the 100th Reunion the Hallman family laid out a giant family tree showing 4 generations of family members.
The 113th Annual Reunion is scheduled for Sunday, August 18th. Click on the Events tab for more information.