Almost all of the Mapes in the U.S. are descended from Thomas Mapes, who appeared in Southold, LI, NY shortly before 1650. There is no record of when he arrived in this country although he apparently was well educated and served as the surveyor of Southold. Thomas Mapes was born May 1628 in England. Thomas married Sarah Purrier, daughter of William Purrier and Alice, in 1650 in Southold, Long Island, NY. Sarah was born 1630 in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England and died 1697 in Southold, Suffolk, NY. Thomas died about Oct. 1687 in Southold, Suffolk, NY. Thomas & Sarah had 11 children, most of whom grew to maturity, married and lived on Long Island. A great grandson of Thomas and Sarah, William Mapes II, was the first Mapes to settle in Orange Co. in 1729. One of William's grandsons, Samuel Mapes, was the progenitor of a very large branch of the Mapes family, many of them settling in and around Howells. Many descendants of other original settlers from Southold also settled in Orange Co. where many of them intermarried. Names such as Reeves, Vail, Smith, Coleman and many others all came from Southold in the early and mid 18th century. Three of the children of Seth Mapes and Lucinda Smith married three of the children of John Vail Mapes and Mary Reeves. (They were second cousins among many other more distant relationships.) These three couples settled near each other in Orange Co. and in Aug. 1886 met at the old homestead of Samuel Mapes. They decided to call for a gathering of all the Mapes families and in Aug. 1887 the first annual Mapes Family Reunion was held. The Mapes Family Reunion has continued unbroken for more than 110 years. The Mapes Family Reunion is always held on the second Saturday of August, so you don't even need a calendar to know when it is. Currently the reunion is held on the farm of Otis Mapes in Phillipsport, NY. The farm is off Route 209 between Wurtsboro and Kingston; the turn off from Route 209 is well marked with signs to the Mapes Reunion.