Each year, the descendants of William Edwin (Mr. Ed) and Mary Caroline (Mary Ed) Roberson gather for what may be the longest running annual family reunion in the area. The Roberson Family Reunion held in June 2017 was the 75th such gathering, with the initial event having taken place in 1942 at the home of Willie and Betty (Roberson) Taylor. Following a one year hiatus in 1943, occasioned by the on-set of war, the reunions were begun anew in 1944 and have continued uninterrupted for 74 consecutive years. Prior to 1942, and following the passing of both Mary Caroline and William Edwin in 1938, family get-togethers of the Roberson off-springs and their children had been mostly ad hoc affairs centered around special occasions and/or holidays. With the distinct possibility of some family members, such as son Harry, going to war, coupled with the rapid growth of the family and the very real potential of family members being scattered all across the country, the decision was made to hold an organized, family-wide gathering yearly. As is still the case, these get-togethers were to be held on a fixed date, in order to facilitate planning and maximize attendance, and hosting would rotate among the families of the siblings.
In the early days, reunions were held at the homes of family members and the food prepared by the participants. As the event grew in size, however, and with many of the attendees being far removed from Robersonville, the use of a fixed facility and catering of the food became necessary. While some of the personal touch and uniqueness of specialty dishes were lost with catering, the locals were no longer overburdened with food preparation. Further, to help ameliorate the potential impact of stifling late summer heat on the harmonious blending of family, friends and food, Father's Day was eventually chosen as the designated date for the annual gathering of the clan.
The years since 1942 have taken their toll and the off-springs of William Edwin and Mary Caroline are all deceased, as are all too many members of successive generations. Despite this, and the fact that a large number of family members have departed theRobersonville area, the yearly Roberson Family Union has continued to the present. Attendance levels and the mix of individuals present may vary from year-to-year, but the continuity and longevity of the event are a testament to the family’s appreciation of its traditions and living history. In addition to family members and friends from Robersonville and environs, attendees can hail from municipalities scattered throughout North Carolina, as well as from other states such as Texas, Missouri, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, South Carolina and Virginia. Family attendees can range in age from 85+ to less than 6 months and have, on occasion, encompassed four generations.
**Harry Roberson enlisted in the Army in 1942 and subsequently became a combatant in the war in Europe. Although he was lucky enough not to be part of the D-Day invasion, he did arrive on the continent in time to participate in the Battle of the Bulge.