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REPORT OF EIGHTH ANNUAL MOCK FAMILY HISTORIAN CONFERENCE

Bedford, PA

September 25-27, 1998

The Best Western Beford Inn located in Bedford, PA was the site of the 8th Annual Mock Family History Conference held September 25-27, 1998. Over 60 people were present and an outstanding program was included. Those who attended, found this to be one of the best we have had over the past years. Bedford County was chosen as the site for this meeting since it was where it all started in America for several early Mock, Mack and Mauk lines.

On Friday afternoon, a few who arrived early, met downtown at the Visitors Bureau, to go on a walking tour of the downtown area of Bedford. This was led by the Bureau's Executive Director, Dennis Tice. Although he denied being a historian, it was obvious he was very knowledgeable about the early history of Bedford.

Many of the downtown buildings were visited including the Courthouse. One attraction was Espy House where President Washington made his headquarters during the Whiskey Rebellion.

The story was told about the only civilian who was ever executed in Bedford and that was a minister. This account dates back to the Revolutionary War.

Friday evening from 5:00-8:PM there was group registration and a get acquainted reception at the motel. Hor D'Oeuvres were served and there was a no host bar. In addition to meeting old friends and relatives, a few long lost cousins met for the first time.

Saturday morning there was free time which included a tour of local cemeteries, lead by local resident, Terry Mock. Some visited the Pioneer Library, Bedford County Historical Society, and others went to the Courthouse.

At 1:00 PM, the meetings officially started and Lois Byrem, who is a member of the Brethren Church, gave a slide show and told about her travels abroad with her minister husband as they studied the history of the Church, founded by Alexander Mack. She was very knowledgeable and was able to answer questions that those had from the audience.

At 2:00 PM, Fred Ickes, local historian and long time avid Mock researcher, who has written several books, told us about the early Mocks of Bedford Co, PA. After the meeting, some purchased his books which he kindly autographed.

At 4:00 PM, we had our featured speaker of the event and that was Annette Burgert, who is a nationally known author and speaker who has done extensive research on the German and Swiss immigration to Pennsylvania during the 18th and 19th centuries. Her topic was both interesting as well as informative. In her talk, she had also made a special effort to include some of the early Mock immigrants she has documented. Those who attended felt this to be an outstanding presentation. After the meeting she and her husband sold some of her publications which many were eager to get.

5:00 PM was the Annual Mock Family Buffet Supper, except this one was for real. It was held in the private dining room of the Inn. The food was good and there was plenty of it.

Following the meeting, there was an awards ceremony where various people were given recognition for their work with the Mock Family Historian. The winner of this year's major award which included a wooden engraved plaque, was Steve Lapp, who has been with the organization since it started and who has researched and contributed many articles for publication in the Newsletter. Many standards set by him have helped us to reach a quality of research achieved by few similar organizations.

Sunday morning, everyone drove a few miles to the Dunning Creek area near Pleasantville, in West St Clair Twp of Bedford County, PA, where the old Mock Church is located. This surrounding property and church structure is owned and maintained by the Brethren Church who have it now nicely restored. The church is still used for funerals and special events of their organization. Surrounding the church is a well kept cemetery with many old graves, including that of Christian Mock who donated the land for the church and cemetery.

The Mock group attended an interdenominational Church Service at the old Mock Meeting House. The gathering was led in the singing of old gospel hymns by Jan and Jake Mauck, from Topeka, Kansas who had a portable Yamaha keyboard.

The congregation was then treated to a history of the old Mock Church that was related by Mr Callahan who is a local Church Custodian, and one of the committee members, who was instrumental in restoring the church a number of years ago.

The message of the morning was given by Rev. Nightengale, a local retired Methodist pastor, who came dressed as a circuit riding minister. His message touched the hearts of those present as well as their pocketbooks. An offering was taken and the group was very generous and the several hundred dollars that was raised was donated to the Brethren Organization for the continued upkeep of this fine old church. Some felt that this church service was one of the high lights of the entire weekend.

At 1:00 we returned to the Best Western Bedford Inn after stopping for lunch, and had an open forum on all lines of Mocks and with a panel of experts to help answer questions. This was led by Barbara Dittig who had her working charts on all known Mock/Mack/Mauck/Mauk lines. There was a short talk by Barbara Dittig on the Mock Family Historian, enumerating the accomplishments over the past eight years and with some of the goals for the future. This was followed by a short presentation by Ron Moore on the Mock Family Historian Home Page on the World Wide Web and our list and discussion group, MOCK-GEN-L and the Mock Archives.

The meeting adjourned and those who attended felt happy they had come since it was a very nice weekend with a chance to meet many new friends and relatives. Nice weather was enjoyed the entire time and early autumn leaves were beginning to show.


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Gene Andert

2002 Mock Family Historian