of the Nye Family of America Association
idea for an association of descendants of Benjamin Nye was developed by Charles
H. Nye of Hyannis, MA around 1880.
He and others began genealogical work, and planning for a reunion. This was an era when many old New
England families became interested in tracing their roots, back to England and
Europe if possible. In addition, contemplating the connections between family
history and the successful growth of the United States became a source of pride.
first Nye Family Reunion was held in Sandwich, MA in August, 1903, and from
this enthusiastic event with 284 attendees sprang a well-organized association,
more reunions with published proceedings, a volume of genealogy and a Nye
Memorial Boulder in Town Hall Square.
By World War I, however, much of this interest had faded, and the last
of the early Nye Reunions was held in 1928.
1956 a meeting of local Nyes was held to determine what to do with a remaining
Association bank account. This
small group elected Roswell H. Nye as president, and very soon became aware of
Rosanna Cullity’s concern that the Benjamin Nye Homestead was threatened with removal
or demolition by the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife, who owned the
building. In 1959 the
reestablished Association was able to convince the state to preserve the
Homestead by conveying it to them, through an act of the legislature, for
period of hard work ensued, in order to gain members, money and incorporation,
so that the Nye property could be legally transferred. The Homestead, and a tiny piece of
land, was deeded in 1962. The
following year a three-day reunion was held in Sandwich, and this was the start
of another successful period of growth.
During this time the original 1907 Genealogy of the Nye Family by George
H. Nye and Frank E. Best was re-printed, and a second volume was compiled by R.
Glen Nye of San Diego. This was
published in 1965.
first Nye Family Newsletter was mailed to members in 1966. Restoration work on the Homestead
continued under the guidance of Curator Rosanna Cullity, with substantial
financial help from President Roswell Nye and many other contributors. A modest collection of antique furnishings
was acquired, and the Homestead was finally opened to the public in the summer
of 1972, with live-in caretakers.
Nye Family of America Association, Inc. has seen considerable growth and
improvement since our beginnings.
As funding appeared through donations and bequests, further restoration
of the Homestead was enabled, though there is still work left to do. During the 1980s we began encouraging
interested people to join as members, who were not Nye descendants. Some of these local people have, and
are, serving on our Board of Trustees.
We currently have about 700 members. A Nye Family Reunion is held every two years.
Association has continued publishing – A SANDWICH ALBUM by Rosanna Cullity and
her son John Nye Cullity in 1987; NINETEENTH CENTURY SEAFARERS and LEGENDARY
LIVES by George P. Nye in the 1990s; ORIGINS OF BENJAMIN NYE: EXAMINING THE
SOURCES By Ian Hilder, George R. Nye and Jonathan A. Shaw. We created a website in 2001 and more
recently an e-newsletter.
1991 The Nye Family Association acquired the 1889 East Sandwich Grange Hall,
when the local branch of that national farm organization handed in its
charter. In 2009 we were able to
acquire an additional 1.39 acres from the Massachusetts Division of Fish &
Wildlife, through a land swap process.
This included the 17th century Benjamin Nye mill site with an
1855 mill building, and part of the old fish hatchery that operated until
1990. In early 2013 the
Association purchased another acre of beautiful and historic farm land across
the street from the Homestead.
“The Neck” is mostly surrounded by the waters of Nye Pond, and will
enhance the possibility for educational projects as well as preserve rural
Benjamin Nye Homestead & Museum is open five afternoons a week, mid-June
through mid-October. The Grange Hall
is operated as a community hall, and parts of the former Fish & Wildlife
property are being cleared and restored, and plans are
being made to publish more on local history and the Homestead.