Spencer reunion attendees feast on food, stories

Published 5:07 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018

From Jo Ann Spencer

The 23rd-annual reunion of the Kit and Mary Ben Brooks Spencer family descendants was held June 22 at the Engelhard Baptist Church with twenty people attending.

Donna Credle opened the meeting with a welcome, followed by a prayer from the Rev. C.L. Reynolds, church pastor. A bountiful buffet featuring fried shrimp, fried chicken and barbecue with a wide array of salads, vegetables and dessert was enjoyed by the group. The meal included a ponebread baked by Mary Lee Spencer Tilghman. Of descendants of the five adult children of Kit and Mary Ben, the William John Spencer family and the R.S. Spencer family tied for having the most descendants present.

R.S. Spencer Jr., the family historian, presented a program on William N. Brooks, the father of Mary Ben Brooks. William N. Brooks was born to unidentified parents about 1813. In 1823, he became an orphan and was apprenticed to Isaac Sawyer to learn the trade of farming. The many land purchases of Brooks began in 1841 when he purchased the mill tract on the road from Wysocking to White Plains. Spencer told of other events of Brooks’ life including his marriage to Mahettable Ann Tunnell, who descended from Adam Gaskins, the first lighthouse keeper of Cape Hatteras Light. Hetty Ann and William had six children who lived to adulthood: Mahettable Jodie, William, James A., Franklin Pierce, Mary Ben and Charity.

William N. Brooks had several incidents with the law, including not reporting for jury duty, and he was charged with being the father of Eliza Meekins’ bastard daughter Economy B. Meekins. William N. Brooks died in February 1860, and Hetty Ann died in 1861 on the day that Hatteras fell during the Civil War. In closing, the speaker reminded the descendants that they are kin to the Brooks family just as much as they are to the Spencer family, and then he said that the topic of next year’s reunion would be the court cases of Kit Spencer, which included a favorable verdict in his North Carolina Supreme Court case.

Door prizes included many items of a nautical nature since Kit’s vocation was on the water and were distributed by Samuel Selby and Ashleigh Thomas, the two youngest present. The family spent time discussing past events in their lives before the meeting adjourned.