ROBERTS, BORDERS, MAUNEY, HOWELL, BRIGGS
AND RELATED FAMILIES
We've Come This Far By Faith - Since 1906
In August of 2022 the Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families celebrated their 117th consecutive family reunion virtually online for the third year in a row. The event was an unqualified success as it rekindled old acquaintences and sparked new ones on an epic level. As the family members parted on Saturday, hopes were high on the expectation that we can plan to meet in person in 2023 to add another link to the still unbroken chain of amazing Family Reunions. See you there.
Next Up: the 118th Reunion
The Reunion Committee will begin to focus its efforts on planning for 2023 as soon as the euphoria of 2022 wears off (about 30 days, give or take). Until then, enjoy the new connections you made, and let everyone you know who didn't make it what a truly amazing event they missed.
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).
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
John Wesley Roberts & wife Ida
Eli Borders Roberts & wife Sarah
Wesley Mauney & wife Naomi
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.
(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 118th Family Reunion will begin soon!
The Roberts, Borders, Mauney, Howell, Briggs & Related Families Reunion Committee would like to thank all of you who attended the 117th reunion and made it the special event that it was. We will begin planning for the 118the reunion as soon as we complete our lessons-learned exercise. Check back later for details.
Friday, August 4th, 2023
Saturday, August 5th, 2023
Sunday, August 6th, 2023
RBMHB & RF Reunion Registration
"Looking Forward to Seeing You again in 2023"
We're looking forward to those yellow and green buttons below linking to registration pages for an in-person 118th Family Reunion. They don't work now if you click them, but they will soon.
In the meantime, 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 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 "email@example.com".
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.
Buy A Set Of Note Cards to Show Your Family Pride
You can also help raise funds by purchasing one or more packages of our beautiful Family Note Cards as shown below by clicking here or clicking on either of the cards pictured below to take you to our Products page. (Page will open in a new window)
An assortment of vintage family photos and this Family Reunion logo in a pack of 10 cards.
A stunning piece of artwork named "Family" by one of our own talented artists (10 cards).
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
2023 - 2025 Reunion Committee
Rev. Vincent Howell
1st Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
(Nomination this fall)
At-Large Committee Members
Dr. Graham Watt
Howard B. Roberts, Jr.
Making It Happen Year After Year
Reunion Committee Planning and Operations
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.
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 2019.
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
NOTE: The following descriptions are not in effect while we conduct online virtual reunions.)
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.
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.
Setup Family Museum.
Pass out credentials and process late registrations.
Conduct Historic Family Tour.
Ensure hotel signage is in place and accurate.
Setup picnic venue on-site.
Provide transportation from hotel to picnic site and back.