Merry family reunion draws 128
August 05. 2014 2:56PM
Five generations of Merrys converged in Dell Rapids last month for a reunion.
The Merry family met for the reunion July 4-6 at the farm home of Dan and Joan DeVaney east of Dell Rapids with 128 attending, representing the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, North Carolina, Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Those attending are descendants of the two families of Lyman Swan Merry. He and his first wife, Jane Elisa Woodbeck, had two children. Following her death in 1852, he married Margaret Ann Bronk in 1854. They had seven children while farming in Wisconsin, followed by moving to their homestead east of Dell Rapids in October 1873.
Lyman Swan Merry was the sixth generation of Merrys in America. Generations nine to thirteen were present at the reunion. Representing the ninth generation were Tom Merry of Dell Rapids, Reefa (Merry) Hanenberger of Laguna Woods, California, Georgia (Merry) Lease and her husband Gordon of Rapid City and Ruth Marie (Hines) Merry of Dell Rapids.
The Merry roots in America are documented back to 1640 when Joseph Merry, 1607-1710, born in England, was known to be living in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1640. He spent most of his life on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he is buried, living to the age of 103. He was followed by four more generations of Merrys on Martha’s Vineyard. Benjamin, of the fifth generation, and his American Indian wife Hannah Which, moved to the Schenectady, New York area. One of Benjamin and Hannah’s children, Lyman Swan Merry, is the above mentioned Dakota homesteader.
Organizers of the reunion were Diane (Merry) Josephson and Merry Ann (DeVaney) Sauls. Brief comments on the family history were given by Monroe Miller of Middleton, Wisconsin and Bob DeVaney. A church service was held on the farm, conducted by Rev. David Merry and Rev. Ronald Traub.