Friday, October 1, 2010

Caverly Family Reunion 2010

Last week I attended the Caverly Family Reunion in Strafford, New Hampshire. The Caverly Family Association meets every two years, and produces a newsletter. The first known Caverly in New Hampshire was William Caverly, born about 1650 and died about 1732 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. For more lineage information see my updated (with changes to the family tree) blog post

A 15 foot long Caverly Family Tree was on display

This year the reunion was held at the historic Bow Lake Grange Hall, next to the dam on Bow Lake. This is a pleasant community hall for Strafford. Families have been summering on Bow Lake for over 100 years, and there are photos and maps inside the hall. The family association put on a great cookout lunch, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled sausages. Homemade salads, baked beans and desserts were also served. Over thirty Caverly cousins were in attendance.

Dick Caverly is the association president. He has tried to get me to attend quite a few of these reunions, and we surprised him this year when we showed up at the door! He graciously introduced me to all my distant Caverly kin. I was pleased to meet Mary Caverly, the association treasurer who is also a volunteer at the New Hampshire Vital Records room in Concord. On one wall there was a Caverly family tree over fifteen feet long, printed out on a plotter by Bruce Caverly of Arkansas. It was exported from Family Tree Maker 2005 to the plotter, and was the first of the kind I had ever seen! (Usually I have to tape together large trees from regular 8x10 paper from my home printer).
Lenny Caverly and Roger Leighton
give a historical talk about the Bow Lake section of Strafford, NH
I also met Lenny Caverly, the association historian, who filled me in on some new revisions to the Caverly genealogy. He, along with 91 year old Roger Leighton, gave a great talk after lunch, and discussed the Bow Lake neighborhood of Strafford. Roger remembers seeing his first parade right in front of the Grange Hall, led by a Civil War veteran on a white horse! He also told stories of the houses along Caverly hill, where every cellar hole and antique home was once owned by a Caverly family member. Another Caverly cousin graciously presented an old photo album (with labeled photos!) and a bible with a genealogical register to the Caverly Association that morning. Some of the surnames in those books were Caverly, Ricker, Leighton and Hill.

Following the historical talk, there was a raffle of several historical books and a goody bag of Stonewall Kitchen jams and sauces. Two cousins from California won the prize for traveling the greatest distance to attend the reunion. After the family meeting, Lenny took interested family members on a tour of Caverly Hill and the Caverly Family burial ground. It was wonderful to attend this family gathering, even though my nearest Caverly ancestor (Elizabeth Caverly who married Thomas Wilkinson in 1715) is 9 generations removed!

To join the Caverly Family Association, send inquiries to the Caverly Family Association, c/o Mary Caverly 280 Hale Road, Sanbornton, NH 03269-2202 or email

Caverly Books I learned about at the reunion:

Becky, Grandmother of New Hampshire, by Alice Clark Haubrich, 1966. This is a novel, based on facts, about some early Piscataqua Pioneers including Caverly ancestors. Hard to find.

Genealogy of the Caverly Family, by Robert Boodey Caverly, 1879 reprints available at Higginson (note, the first two generations have had revisions since this book was printed)

Escape from the Deep, by Alex Kershaw, 2008 A nonfiction book about the legendary submarine Tang, and the survivors who escaped from 180 feet under the sea only to be captured by the Japanese in 1944. Only nine of the original eighty man crew survived, including Floyd Caverly. (I won this book in the raffle!)

New Caverly Links: New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources notes on the Reverend John Caverly House in Strafford, New Hampshire Strafford, New Hampshire genealogy page Website of Caverly Genealogy, some mistakes in the first two generations, so be aware and check your own sources.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Hello Heather,
    I enjoyed your review and sorry I did not make the reunion this year. Sounds like another great reunion. I am going to follow-up on some of your Caverly links. I sometimes submit articles to the CFA newsletter and I am the administrator for the Caverly DNA Project. I published an updated book, Caverlys of North America, which can be found on by search for the name Caverly. This book includes many New Hampshire Caverlys. The book is a collection of names and genealogy provided by many cousins much of it not verified so there will be some errors and omissions.

    Here are some more links you may be interested in but, must are related to Canadian Caverlys:

    Paul R. Caverly
    Brampton, Ontario, Canada

  2. It's so good to find this website.....My maiden name is Caverly, with my dad being Richard Hugh Caverly from Farmington, NH. His dad was Hugh Truman Caverly. My dad turned 80 this spring and has such fond boyhood memories of NH. It's been a very long time since he has been back and his health has been declining for some time now. After joining the air force he ended up in Central Florida where he met and married my mother. They ended up making FL their home, but he still talks about NH with a great deal of fondness. It would be great if someone would contact him. Richard H. Caverly, 219 Nob Hill Circle, Longwood, FL 32779. His two brothers, Donald and Eddie have also made FL their home too. I will make contact through the mail with additional info. Thanks, Linda

  3. My Name is James Caverly Graves & am the grandson of Linden and Bernice Caverly. If This is part of my genealogy "Hi" from Florida