We've Come This Far By Faith - Since 1906


In August of 2021 the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families celebrated their 116th consecutive family reunion virtually online for the second year in a row. We are excited to announce that we are tentatively planning to continue that tradition in person in August of 2022, depending on the state of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and other factors. Details will be available in early March of 2022. We look forward to seeing you there!

The 116th Reunion brought us all together again!

Once again, as in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic could not keep these wonderful folks from gathering to warm each others' hearts with their family love and pride. The string of consecutive family reunions remains unbroken. The RBMHB & RF Family Reunion was held in the clouds on Zoom on August 7th, 2021.

There were "shout outs" and "It's good to see you again" greetings galore as folks peered into their computers, iPads, and phone screens to greet each other for the occasion. As usual, they were treated to a faith-based program complete with much family history, displays of individual talents, and memorable looks into the past and future of this robust family.

Those of you who helped to make the gathering such a rousing success and wish to relive some of the moments, as well as those of you who could not join the gathering or missed out on the opportunity to register, can experience the passions of the event by clicking on the "Reunion Videos" link in the menu above and selecting "116th Family Reunion (2021)" from the drop down list to view an edited video of the Zoom recording.

Edgar Roberts

A Message From the Reunion President

"I have 3 words to say. Well, almost 3 words: 1.) What, 2.) Can, 3.) I-Say?

WHAT just happened? Well this is what just happened. It was like this; we all got together on Saturday, August 7th and celebrated our 116th RBMHB and Related Families Reunion. What did you all just say? A lot, according to how much everyone shouted out to each other. That’s why I personally enjoyed every minute of the reunion because you are meant to celebrate and celebrate you did. The Reunion Committee and I are very proud and happy that we served to put a smile on your faces because it was a joy to see each of you again.

CAN I say that I was a ball of nerves although I have been in your presence before? Can we thank each of you; yes we can for making this reunion outstanding and wonderful. We love you all and that is for sure. Can I thank those who were in support of building the foundation for this year’s 116th Family Reunion? Sure I can. Thank you Arnold for running the controls, Vincent for narrating, Tori for our prayer, scripture and meditation, Joyce for the beautiful poem, Darryl for the awesome song, Jean for telling the stories and history of our wonderful family and their struggles, Winnie for her life’s story, Kristen for the memorial honoring our love ones lost, Pat for the announcements of our scholarship, card and history books for sale. Last but not least the bus tour, narrated by Gwendolyn and written and compiled by Howard. I would like to also thank Brenda, Clayton, Connie, Graham, Myron, Josie, Ina and the youth committee members.

I-SAY that I had so much fun this year even though we were so far apart but still so close to one another. For that I-say, how about us getting together next year, so that we can do it all over again and continue our celebration for our 117th Family Reunion. Meet you there. We can’t wait to see you all again because we are looking forward to it.

Next Up: the 117th Reunion - Details Yet To Be Determined!

As we look forward to the end of 2021 and the projections for 2022, it is increasingly evident that the COVID-19 pandemic still grips most parts of the country and the world. However, since prospects for better conditions and an end to crowd restrictions are looking better, the Reunion Committee has tentatively decided to plan to hold the gathering of the families in person in August of 2022. Details of the decision and the actual events will be announced in early March, 2022. Until then, please adhere to safety protocols, get vaccinated, and wear your masks in crowded situations so we can all remain healthy and greet each other again.

See You Again Next August!

A Brief 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 was a slave woman named Phebe Magness Roberts (owned by William Magness, slave owner) 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).

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 Phebe'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.

The Family Roots

"The Amazing Beginnings of a Wonderful Family"

Phebe Magness Roberts - Matriarch of Our family

Seven Sisters - Daughters of Phebe:

Sylvia Roberts, Delilah Dillingham Beam, Fannie Briggs, Kitty Bird Roberts, Betsy Forney, Priscilla Mauney, and Martha Roberts Howell

Male Patriarchs - Male Slaves on the Plantation:

Emanuel Roberts, Big George Roberts, Isaac Roberts, Big Bob Roberts, Aaron Roberts, Simpson Roberts, and Little Bob Roberts

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

Founders of the Family Reunion




Family colors

The colors shown here were 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 any event.


Growing Participation from Year to Year

The photo on the left 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 may have been like on the plantation when the family's roots were just beginning to be nourished.
The photo on the right 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.

Youth 1 Youth 2

(From the 2020 reunion newsletter by Reunion Past 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.

Reunion Day Activities

Planning for the 117th Family Reunion will begin soon!

The Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families Reunion Committee will soon begin planning for the 117th reunion, which will be held on the first weekend of August of 2022. Check back to this web site in early 2022 for updates.

Saturday - Sunday, August 5 - 7th, 2022

Reunion Agenda

Sure to be lots of fun and excitement!

RBMHB & RF Reunion Registration

"Looking Forward to Seeing You again in 2022"

It is the fervent hop of the Reunion Committee that the 117th Family Reunion will be held live and in person in 2022 so that we can all enjoy each others' company up close and personal. We will begin planning that gathering in October of 2021 as soon as the euphoria of the 116th wears off. Until then, please consider donating to a reunion fund to help keep the tradition alive. Scholarship Fund and General Fund donations, as well as Scholarship Applications for deserving college students are always welcome. (Scroll down for links to forms.)

Please Donate to a Reunion Fund!

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.

General or Scholarship Fund

If you would like to donate to the Family Reunion General Fund - to help cover operating costs - or the Family Reunion Scholarship Fund - which provides monetary assistance to our deserving scholarship recipients - you can do so by clicking the button below to download a copy of the donation form and send it to the address indicated on the form. You can also send donations using the "Zelle" mobile app on your phone to "".

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

Help Us Build a Reliable Contact List!

Each year the Reunion Committee mails out almost 500 registration forms and newsletters, only to have a large portion returned because of incorrect address information. To ensure that we accurately target family members we need a reliable list of names and addresses to rely on.

You can help us maintain a reliable list by signing up and logging up on this site by clicking on the "Login" or "Signup" link in the menu bar. Once you're logged in, click on the "Update Contact Info" link on the menu bar to enter your information.

This will allow us to have up-to-date information for sending out Family Reunion information and updates (we will never share your information with anyone else). After that, if your contact information changes you can return to the site, log in and update the information yourself.

Thank you for helping us stay up-to-date!

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

2020 - 2022 Reunion Committee

Executive Committee

Edgar Roberts
1st Vice President:
Rev. Dr. Vincent Howell
2nd Vice President:
Myron McNeil
Recording Secretary:
Connie Mata

At-Large Committee Members

Arnold Sanders
Christine Keaton
Clayton Reid
Dr. Graham Watt
Gwendolyn Robinson
Howard B. Roberts, Jr.
Jean Humphrey
Josie Brooks
Patricia Bates
Shirley Borders
Winnie Keaton

Making It Happen Year After Year

Reunion Committee Planning and 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 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 volunteer 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

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.
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.
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 defined 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


  • 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.

Pre-Reunion Weekend Tasks

  • Complete host hotel arrangements (acquire signed contract).
  • Acquire Worship Leader and Keynote Speaker for Sunday Fellowship
  • Process registration forms – print and mail paper forms.
  • Verify membership list, recruitment, etc.
  • Complete reunion program design and printing.
  • Secure picnic venue and hire caterer.
  • Hire DJ for talent show.
  • Establish menus for picnic and fellowship dinner.
  • Process newsletter (creation, printing and mailing).
  • Update web site, online registration, etc.
  • Complete weekend Itinerary.
  • Process scholarship applications and disburse funds.

Friday Operations

  • Setup Family Museum.
  • Pass out credentials and process late registrations.
  • Conduct Historic Family Tour.
  • Ensure hotel signage is in place and accurate.

Saturday Operations

  • Setup picnic venue on-site.
  • Provide transportation from hotel to picnic site and back.
  • Monitor and lead activities (adult and youth).
  • Host the Talent Show.

Sunday Operations

  • Host Worship Service and Fellowship Dinner.
  • Conduct Business Meeting.
  • Announce recognitions and adjourn.

See You Again Next August!