The Rucker Family Society has met every other year since 1988 for a national reunion and to conduct Society business. The emphasis of the meetings is learning about the host city's Rucker history, and the weekend can fairly be described as a "Rucker field trip." Early reunions were held in Virginia, since Peter Rucker was an immigrant to that colony, and so much of the Rucker history is to be found there. The Society is national in scope, however, and reunions now alternate between Virginia and other states. We have met in Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Utah and Arizona. Society members in our host cities arrange lectures, tours of historic homes, cemetery visits, museum time, and fine dining with friends old and new. There is no better way to learn about an area and its Rucker ties.
Our 2004 Virginia reunion was held at the
nexus of the early Rucker family history,
and featured Lynchburg's Batteau Festival.
We visited historic Rucker homesites, and
toured museums and family graveyards.
Sweet Briar College was the setting for
many of our lectures and programs, which
ran the gamut from the scholarly to the
The 2006 Salt Lake City reunion capitalized on the genealogic research resources of the downtown's LDS Family History Library. City and regional tours exhibited the area's Winter Olympics legacy, posh ski resorts, the world's biggest open pit copper mine, historic homes and modern universities, and the convention center, where we attended a live radio broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and orchestra.
Our Kansas City reunion celebrated the westward migration of the Rucker family, symbolized by the wagon wheel ruts visible on our tour of the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails. The Harry Truman home and Presidential Library, beautiful river towns and old cemeteries, and a tour of the collection of the excavated cargo of the steamboat Arabia were a few of the highlights.
Our June, 2008 reunion in Charlottesville, Virginia included tours of the historic homes of three of our founding fathers: Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, James Monroe's Ashlawn-HIghland and John Madison's Montpelier. We toured the University's Rotunda and Lawn, and its exhibits of the Declaration of Independance and historic maps. The observatory was ours exclusively for an evening of stargazing through its 125 year-old telescope. We toured Ruckersville, and visited some of its many antique stores. Our Sunday speaker introduced us to the newly indexed account books of Lynchburg's Diuguid funeral home, a great source of genealogical information for Rucker research in Amherst County.
Nashville, TN was the site for our 2010 reunion, the second time the Rucker Family Society enjoyed its charms. We visited Andrew Jackson's The Hermitage and James K. Polk's home, and toured the site of the Civil War's Battle of Franklin. The newly renovated Grand Ole Opry hosted us for an evening performance by some of Nashville's established (Randy Travis) and up-and-coming musicians. We enjoyed the hospitality of our hosts at a lavish wine and cheese reception, and sampled the wide variety of local restaurants, and the nightlife and music of downtown. The life of one of our ancestors, Confederate Col. Edmund Winchester Rucker, was interpreted by Mr. Mike Rucker in the guise of his Civil War forbear, William Ambrose Rucker. The live auction at our Sunday meeting and brunch was lively, indeed, and raised funds for the Society's general fund. We were blessed by perfect weather, and the fellowship of old and new friends.
Two views of The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson
Continuing the tradition of holding every other reunion in Virgina, we met in Richmond from June 21 to 24, 2012. The capitol city boasts the Library of Virginia, which was a great help to those of us working on the Rucker family tree. We took advantage of the city's rich history with tours of her old town and the remnants of her canal system, Hollywood Cemetery, Petersburg's Civil War battlefield and Blandford Church, and visits to the Museum and the White House of the Confederacy. Cocktail receptions were the ideal opportunity to catch up with Rucker cousins, and make new friends. Food was always a high priority, and a visit to the Halfway House, operated by yet another cousin, was a delight. The staff of the Museum of the Confederacy presented a lecture on the Women of Civil War Richmond, and we were spellbound as Mike Rucker performed dramatic recitations of the work's of Edgar A. Poe.
Richmond on the James River
Phoenix, Mesa and Gilbert, Arizona were the February 2014 sites for the latest Rucker Family Society reunion. Western hospitality was on display, as we were hosted in beautiful homes for delectable barbecue and Mexican specialties. These were ideal opportunities to make new Rucker friends, and compare genealogic notes. We had presentations on our Rucker DNA project, new software to catalog Rucker gravesites, and local Rucker historic sites from the days of the "Old West." The official State Historian regaled us with stories of Arizona Rucker forbears, and we sampled the Cowboy Way at the Rockin' R Ranch with music and food, Western Style. The RFS auction was a huge success, preceded by a performance of Cowboy Poetry. Side trips to the Family History Library, the Mesa LDS temple, Indian ruins, the Chandler Western Art Gallery and the local nature park and mountains rounded out our experience in the Phoenix area. Our reunion ended with a productive business meeting, at which it was decided to meet in West Virginia for the next edition of the Rucker Family Society reunion.
The next reunion of the Rucker Family Society will be this Autumn in Lewisburg, West Virginia. Reserve the dates of October 8 to 11, 2015 in what has been voted "the coolest small town in America." Mike Rucker is the chairman of the reunion planning committee, so you know that we're going to have a good time! Details on our host hotel and activities will be posted as they are finalized, and will also appear in the newsletter.