“This is a big deal,” stated Carol Frey, one of the Meighen family descendents who spent the day on Saturday, October 7, 2017, touring Historic Forestville and Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park.
Approximately 30 descendents of Margaret Meighen, the daughter of Thomas Meighen, and their families spent 12 months planning and preparing for their reunion in Forestville.
For many of those who traveled to the gathering, it was the first time in Historic Forestville and also their first time visiting Minnesota.
“Last year in July 2016, I went to visit Forestville with my family. I had heard about it for years and now had a chance to go and see for myself. We had a great time there and were really wowed by the whole experience,” states family member Suzanne Dempsey.
Suzanne told her sister, Liz Moore, that they needed to go back and see Forestville and soon, and so Liz immediately made reservations and they went back in September 2016, and enjoyed spending time in Historic Forestville.
“I contacted my uncle (Margaret’s youngest and only living son) about my trips to Forestville and he was so happy that I too loved this great historic venue that uses our family to depict in the year 1899,” stated Suzanne, that it gave her the idea to hold a Meighen family reunion in Forestville.
Members of the family traveled from all over the United States in order to spend time with family members, coming from states such as New York, Massachusetts, California, Idaho, Virginia, Washington State and New Jersey, among others.
The family spent the morning touring some of the buildings in Forestville, including the Meighen General Store, and walking around to get a “feel” of the place where their ancestors not only lived but thrived when it was a boom town.
The group then met at the pavilion in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park for lunch and enjoyed spending time sitting down visiting with each other and catching up on the events of each others’ lives.
“We are a loving family,” stated Suzanne Dempsey to her relatives, with emotion in her voice as she expressed her gratitude for everyone that was able to be there together and also thanked her sister, Liz Moore, for planning the reunion.
Frey, who is the oldest cousin, stood up in front of her extended family and thanked Suzanne Dempsey for the inspiration of having the family get together in Historic Forestville and also thanked everyone who was able to attend.
Frey stated it was her first time at Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park as well as her first time visiting the state of Minnesota. “I have had it on my bucket list for a long time,” said Frey, and she was overjoyed to finally be there, especially with so many of her family members.
Mark Dempsey, the oldest descendent in attendance, lives near Boston, Mass., and had been looking forward to the day for a long time. “The best part of this day is my niece, Suzanne, she came out here” for this, he stated.
“I was so shocked,” when she said she was able to come, noted Mark, adding “I’m still shocked today,” that she is here along with everyone else.
Mark enjoyed the time he spent with his family in Historic Forestville, saying, “I went and visited my grandmother’s apartment over the old bank,” which was very meaningful to him. “I’ve been here four times from 1944 until now,” stated Mark, saying, “I call it my spiritual home because the family started here”.
After lunch, a birthday celebration was held for one of the younger family members, complete with cupcakes and the family singing “Happy Birthday” to the special guest.
In the afternoon those in attendance had free time to wander the grounds, tour more buildings or spend time in Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park whether going to the cave, walking the trails or just sitting next to the river like the Meighen’s surely did many years ago.
Following a treasured day at Historic Forestville and Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park the Meighen family descendents and their families traveled to Four Daughters Winery near Spring Valley, Minn., for a wonderful dining experience and further quality time with family.
For more information about Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park visit http://sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/historic-forestville/meighens-and-forestville or dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/forestville_mystery_cave/index.html.