1906  -   We've Come This Far By Faith.   -  2020


We're Looking Forward to Celebrating 115 Years of Family
Togetherness in 2020, and Hope You Come Join Us!

115th Reunion Update

As a result of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, large gatherings such as family reunions may still not be allowed before this summer ends. With this in mind, the 115th RBMHB & RF Reunion will not be held in its usual format this year. This decision was made reluctantly because of the long record of consecutive reunions since the gatherings began in the summer of 1906.

A Re-imagined Virtual Reunion

Instead, planning is underway for a special Online Virtual Reunion of family members on August 1st at 2:00 pm EDT, in order to continue our string of consecutive annual reunions. Details of this special event will be made available soon.
This decision had to be made quickly in order to ensure we could get refunds for the payments already made to secure the hotel venues.

Spread the Word

All registrations paid so far will be fully refunded, and payments received in the future will be returned. Please inform any family members you know who may not have access to the internet or are not familiar with this website that the 115th reunion will not be held as usual, and instead will be conducted as an online virtual event. A registration form for this event is in the Registration section

Proud To Display Our Heritage.

Family photo

Family photo

Family photo

Family pride, love, and discovery were on full display at the 114th gathering of the families this past August. From the Historic Family Tour through Cleveland County, to the Family Picnic, to the Fellowship Luncheon, a great time was had by all in attendance. We are now looking forward to the 115th reunion, which will take place online on Saturday, August 1st - 2:00 pm EDT 2020. See you there!

115th Reunion - August 1st 2020 - 2:00 pm EDT

Event Format

An Online Family Gathering

Traditional locations will give way to modern cyber technology for the 115th reunion. The Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families will gather in the cloud on Saturday, August 1st 2020 through the magic of Zoom Video Conferencing. A Registration form is provided on the Registration page, and details will be emailed to those who register.
There will be no registration fee, however, family members who wish to donate to family reunion general funds or scholarship funds are encouraged to do so.

Family Zoom Zoom logo

Departing From Our Usual Format

The traditional three-day format of the reunion will be discontinued this year in favor of a one-day format. A short but meaningful program will be developed that will include enough family oriented items to give as much a feeling of togetherness as possible.
We fervently hope that enough of you will plan to join in the online gathering to make it truly special in these trying times.
Go to the Registration Section to sign up and give us your email address so we can send you details of how to join the meeting.

See You Again This August!

Family History

As retold each year in the Family Reunion program (photo from the 100th Reunion Souvenir Journal).

1953 Reunion

The ancestors of the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs and Related Families were not all kin, but were fellow slaves from various plantations in Cleveland County, North Carolina. We are the descendants of these former slaves and former slave owners. Our history records include the slave owner family names of Roberts, Borders, Fulenwider, Magness, Weir, Mauney, Beam, and Briggs.

The matriarch of our family is Silvy Fulenwider Magness Roberts who had seven daughters (known as the "Seven Sisters") and one son, born between the late 1790's and the early 1800's. The "Seven Sisters" were named Sylvia Roberts, Delilah Dillingham Beam (b.1799), Fannie Briggs (b.1803), Kitty Bird Roberts (b.1804), Betsy Forney (b.1806), Priscilla Mauney (b.1814), and Martha Roberts Howell (b.1819). Her son, Josh, did not reach maturity.

The patriarchs of our family were the male slaves named Emanuel Roberts, Big George Roberts, Isaac Roberts (b.1794), Big Bob Roberts (b.1815), Aaron Roberts, Simpson Roberts, and Little Bob Roberts. Big George and Simpson married two of Silvy's daughters, Kitty Bird and Martha. Martha's second husband was Solomon Howell.

The descendants of these seven sisters and seven male slaves toiled together as family and developed a kinship for one another so much so that Wesley Mauney (b.1846), John Wesley Roberts (b.1862), and Eli Borders Roberts (b.1840), all descendants of related slaves, organized a family reunion to include as one family all descendants of the "Seven Sisters" and "Great Slave Fathers". Wesley Mauney was the son of Priscilla Mauney, Eli was the son of Martha Roberts, and J.W. Roberts was the grandson of Big George and Kitty Bird Roberts. The wife of J.W. Roberts (Ida Roberts) was the granddaughter of Emanuel Roberts.

The first reunion was held at the home of Wesley and Naomi Mauney in 1906. For many years, the reunion was held at the homestead of Mason and China Roberts - son of Eli and Sarah Roberts - in Cleveland county (pictured above). The accomplishments of this great family are numerous. Wesley Mauney is credited for building numerous schools and churches, and dedicating his life to improving the quality of life for his people. John Wesley Roberts was an elder in the CME Zion Church and founded Roberts Tabernacle CME church in Shelby, NC. Eli Roberts was a great land owner who donated land for the Borders School and Holly Oak Park in Shelby.

Members of our family have become preachers, teachers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, legislators, engineers, pilots, artists, writers, and in general, outstanding American citizens.

RBMHB & RF Reunion Events

"Activities To Strengthen the Family Bonds"

The Reunion slate of events offer many
opportunities to enjoy and replenish family bonds.
Click here or scroll down for a list of vents

The Week's Activities

Planning for the 115th Family Reunion has begun!


The Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families Reunion Committee have begun work planning the landmark 115th gathering of the families which will take place, as usual, on the first weekend of August 2020 with an important change in venue. This year's reunion will be conducted online due to circumstances beyond our control, and will only be held on one day - Saturday April 1st - instead of the traditional three days. Details of the day's agenda will be finalized in the coming weeks. Here is how the reunion as normally structured:

Friday, July 31st(no activities this year)

Welcome Day

No Friday events this year.

Saturday, August 1st

Time - 2:00 pm EDT
~ Zoom Online Virtual Reunion Day ~

Host: Rev. Vincent Howell

This year's reunion will be conducted online, hosted by cousin Rev. Vincent Howell - last years keynote speaker - and featuring special musical selections, a video tour of family historical sites, breakout sessions allowing family members to chat with and get to know each other in smaller family groups, and more. This year's keynote speaker will be Reunion President Graham Watt.

Sunday, August 2nd(no activities this year)

Sunday Worship Day

No Sunday events this year.

RBMHB & RF Reunion Registration

"Looking forward to seeing you soon."

2020 Online Virtual 115th Reunion Registration

To register for the 2020 Reunion please fill out the form below and click the Submit . Details will be sent to you by return mail.

You will be sent the details on how to join the online meeting. If you are not already familiar with using Zoom, you can click on this link: Zoom download to download and register for a free subscription.

Fill out my online form.

Forms and Other Documents

Download the Latest Reunion Newsletter

If you do not receive a Reunion Newsletter in the mail by the end of March 2020 you can click the button above to download a copy.

Please donate to a Reunion Fund!

Even though the reunion has gone online (for this year only), please consider donating to either the General Fund or the Scholarship Fund this year to allow us to continue our efforts to advance the family's values and providing much needed scholarship help for recipients still pursuing their education.

Donate to a Reunion Fund

If you would like to donate to the Family Reunion General Fund - to help defray the cost of reunion organizing activities - or the Family Reunion Scholarship Fund - which provides monetary assistance to our deserving scholarship recipients - click the button below to download a copy of the donation form to submit with your registration, or at any other time during the year.

Scholarship Application

Each year the RBMHB offers financial assistance in the form of scholarships to members of the RBMHB Family Reunion who are continuing their education in an accredited institution of higher learning. To apply for a scholarship, Use the button below to open a Scholarship Application Form, complete it and mail it to: Brenda Ford, 5122 Casino Dr., Charlotte, NC 28216

Give us your contact information.

Check this out!


You can now sign up and create a profile with contact information that you can update at anytime. This will allow us to have up-to-date contact information for sending out reunion information and updates (we will never share your information with anyone else). Just click the button below to register or to login and update your information if you've previously registered.

Contact Us

Written communications can be sent to the Reunion Committee at the address shown in the footer of each page on this site. For questions or concerns about this site, please contact Arnold Sanders by email at

2018 - 2020 Reunion Committee

Executive Committee


1st Vice President:

2nd Vice President:

Recording Secretary:


Graham Watt

Edgar Roberts

Vincent Howell

Connie Matta

Brenda Ford

At-Large Committee Members

Patricia Bates

Shirley Borders

Jean Humphrey

Christine Keaton

Winnie Keaton

Chineta Maddox

Valorie McCullough

Myron McNeil

Clayton Reid

Howard Roberts

Gwendolyn Robinson

Arnold Sanders

About the RBMHB & Related Families

"Our Vision and Mission, and how we make them happen."

There's a lot to learn about this awesome family.
Click here or scroll down for an introduction to our story.

Our Amazing Family Roots!

~ Sylvy Fulenwider Magness Roberts ~
Matriarch of Our Family

Seven Sisters - Daughters of Sylvy:

Male Patriarchs - Male Slaves on the Plantation:

Sylvia, Delilah, Priscilla, Kitty Bird, Fannie, Betsy, Martha

Emmanuel, Big George, Isaac, Big Bob, Aaron, Simpson, Little Bob

The seven daughters of Sylvy and the male slaves on the plantation formed strong family units that comprised the roots of our amazing family. In the year 1906, three descendents of those early unions - Wesley Mauney, John Wesley Roberts, and Eli Borders Roberts organized the first family reunion. Descendents of those early founders have gathered to strengthen those bonds each year continously since then.

Founding Families of the Reunion

Eli Borders Roberts & wife Sarah

John Wesley Roberts & wife Ida

Wesley Mauney & wife Naomi

Growing Participation from Year to Year

The photo on the right was taken in 1977 at the 72nd reunion of the families. It captures a reinactment of a gathering of the original seven sisters and male slaves on the Roberts plantation. The scene was staged to give younger members of the family a glimpse of what life was like on the plantation when the family's roots were just beginning to be nourished.

The photo on the left was taken in 2017 at the 112th reunion of the families. It depicts the enormous crowd gathered on Sunday morning to worship, enjoy a wonderful meal together, and listen to an inspiring keynote address. Reunion gatherings have grown in size from enough to fill the front lawn of Wesley and Ida Roberts' home to enough to fill two ballrooms of the host hotel in Charlotte.

Family colors

The colors shown here have been adopted as the official colors of the various family branches. Family members often wear their family colors proudly when attending reunion events. Many often wear purple, the color of our matriarch, which is always appropriate at event.


Youth 1 Youth 2

(Excerpted from the 2020 reunion newsletter by Reunion President Graham Watt.)

". . . We are blessed to come from a strong people. Our ancestors withstood the trauma of kidnapping and transport from the homeland; the brutality of slavery and attendant family separations; Jim Crow; the ongoing struggle for civil rights; and the challenges of surviving and thriving in today's world. Yet, here we are! In the words of Maya Angelou, "…Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave, I rise I rise I rise." We are fortunate to have family members who continue to seek more detailed answers about our ancestors and their experiences. I am pleased to tell you that their research efforts have yielded more information about our history, and we look forward to sharing their findings with you at the 115th Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs, and Related Families Reunion in August 2020.

Making it Happen Year After Year.

Reunion Planning Committee Operations

Reunion Committee

If you are curious about how the reunion planning and execution gets done year after year, and want to become a part of the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families Family Reunion Planning Committee, this section will help. The reunion committee is always eager to welcome fresh perspectives and young talents to its already energetic, experienced, and resourceful group of organizers. We expect to face many new challenges in the coming years, and hope that your contributions will make the outcome of our efforts to face those challenges even more successful and rewarding.

Meeting Venues

Committee meetings are held on the second or third Saturday of each month – except the months of September and December. A schedule of actual dates and locations is created during the October meeting. Meetings have traditionally been held at the home of committee members who volunteeer to host them on a rotating basis. However, the recent social distancing and other restrictions placed on municipalities because of COVID-19 have made it necessary to meet online rather in person. Regular meetings began being scheduled on Zoom Video Conferencing in April of this year.

2018 Reunion Committee

Committee Officers and Their Duties

The President serves a 2-year term and is succeeded by the First Vice President at the end of the term. The duties of the office include:

  • Organizing and presiding over all regular monthly committee meetings.
  • Securing venues for the family reunion activities.
  • Delegating responsibilities to other committee members.
  • Presiding over reunion operations.
  • Coordinating sub-committee operations.
  • Ensuring all committee members are in good standing.
  • Regularly communicating with other officers.
  • Mentoring the First Vice President.

The First Vice President serves a 2-year term and is succeeded by the Second Vice President at the end of the term.

  • Performing all duties of the President in his or her absence.
  • Succeeds the President at the end of his or her term, or if that office is vacated for any reason.

The Second Vice President serves a 2-year term. At the end of the term, a new Second Vice President is elected by the membership at the reunion meeting.

  • Performing all duties of the First Vice President in his or her absence.
  • Succeeds the First Vice President at the end of his or her term, or if that office is vacated for any reason.

Secretary - No definite term. Elected by the committee members when the office is vacated for any reason.

  • Record the meeting minutes and log attendance at each committee meeting.
  • Communicate notice of upcoming meetings to each committee member in a timely manner.

Treasurer - No defined term. Elected by the committee members when the office is vacated for any reason.

  • Maintain the family reunion bank account by depositing money collected and issuing payments as necessary.
  • Report expense payments, collections, and fund allocations at each regular committee meeting.

At Large Members - No defined term. Voluntary positions open to all family members who desire to serve.

  • Serve on standing and ad-hoc committees as directed by the President.
  • Represent the family members as advocates during committee meetings.

Reunion Weekend at a Glance

Here is how the reunion weekend unfolds:


  • Credentials and Late Registration - Credentials are given to pre-registered family members and late registrations are collected ($5.00 late fee for each person registered) at the host hotel.
  • Opening of the Family Museum - Family photographs, memorabilia, heritage documentation, and other artifacts commemorating the families' rich and continuing history are on display. The museum is open to the family as well as the public throughout the weekend. Family members are encouraged to contribute their own photos and artifacts for display.


  • Credentials and Late Registration - Credentials are given to pre-registered family members and late registrations are collected ($5.00 late fee for each person registered) at the picnic site.
  • Family Picnic - This is the traditional gathering of food and fun where cousins rub shoulders and consume homemade delicacies as they renew old acquaintances, introduce new and old family members to each other and generally have a good time.
  • Family Talent Show - Family members showcase their talents and gather afterwards to hob-knob and get to know each other better.


  • Family Worship - Our family motto – "We've come this far by faith" – is exemplified and strengthened at this morning worship, which features a keynote address by an esteemed family clergy member or other personality.
  • Fellowship Dinner/Meeting - Immediately following the worship, a catered dinner is enjoyed by the family, accompanied by special presentations that include family member memorials, special presentations and remarks by family members, and a recounting of the family history.

Our goal each year is to fill each day with enough interesting family oriented activities to keep reunion participants engaged while giving ample opportunities for building strong family bonds.

Reunion Logistics

In order to ensure that all the reunion activities happen smoothly, the following logistical items must be handled by the reunion committee during the months leading up to the actual reunion weekend. The planning and execution begins in October and culminates with a final host hotel walk-through in July one week before the event.

Overall and pre-weekend items

  • Complete host hotel arrangements (acquire signed contract)
  • Process Registration Forms – print and mail paper forms
  • Membership – Verify membership list, recruitment, etc.
  • Complete Reunion Program design and printing
  • Update media – web site, online registration, newsletter (printing and mailing), etc.
  • Complete weekend Itinerary
  • Scholarships - process applications and disburse funds

Friday related items

  • Setup Family Museum
  • Charter Tour bus
  • Pass out credentials and accept late registration fees
  • Ensure Hotel Signage is in place and accurate

Saturday related items

  • Setup picnic – Venue
  • Hire caterer
  • Establish menu
  • Setup and wrap-up
  • Transportation from hotel to picnic site
  • Activities (adult and youth)
  • Talent Show – Venue, talent management
  • Hire DJ

Sunday related items

  • Venue – setup and wrap-up
  • Worship Leader
  • Guest Speaker
  • Complete program roster (to printer by Monday prior)
  • Dinner menu

See You Again This August!