The people's reunions started in the 1980s.  Billy Tyree (grandson of Lofton Walker & Rosa Wheeler) began gathering the Walker clan together in the 1980s.  'The Walker Family Reunion'  The related Wheelers soon joined.  Messicks heavily married into the Wheelers, so they cam along.  Then the Williams began to attend as well.  It became 'The Walker+ Family Reunion'.

Meanwhile, the daughters of Lydia Jacobs Herring, and Avis Jacobs Griffin, began assembling the 'Jacobs Family Reunion' which would typically meet in the Penderlea area, near the Cypress Creek community where Jacobs have resided since the 1700s.  Pender Jacobs and the family of Joe Louis Merritt intermarried extensively, so it was in effect the Jacobs/Merritt Family Reunion.  In the early 1990s Shirley Merritt Davis (granddaughter of Willie Merritt & Maggie Mitchell) began 'The Merritt/Mitchell Family Reunion', generally meeting in Wilmington.NC. Willie Merritt was a son of Joe Louis Merritt, so this reunion shared attendees with 'The Jacobs/Merritt Family Reunion', so they combined in the mid-1990s.

In 1995 the Walker+ and the Jacobs+ family reunions began to talk about whether to merge, and how.  In 1996, the two reunions were purposely held at the same time and location, with non-conflicting events, to allow family members to attend both set of events.  And in 1997, we marked the first year of a single reunion, renamed Pender Reunion Of Colored Kindred -- to keep from listing seven surnames in the title. 


Reunions under the name 'PenderROCK' 



Washington DC


Detroit, MI


Baltimore, MD


Wilmington, NC


Atlanta, GA


Wilmington, NC




Wilmington, NC


New Brunswick, NJ


Raleigh, NC


Pender County, NC


Tidewater, VA


Wilmington, NC


Washington DC


Pender County, NC


Virginia Beach, VA


Atlantic City, NJ


Raleigh NC


Virginia Beach VA

2020 Covid killed the reunion


Savannah GA


Associated Family Get-Togethers

Walkertown -- the Pender County neighborhood populated by descendants of brothers Arthur & Levy Walker has had a July 4th celebration for over a decade. Walkers come from several states to reconnect and fellowship.  The families related to Walkers often attend as well.

Around the corner on July 4th, almost one hundred descendants of Ivey James & Hattie Jacobs cook out annually. Hattie was a granddaughter of Anguish Jacobs and Hattie Merritt -- and a staunch member of our home church New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.  Ivey James was a descendant of Anguish's brother Major Jacobs.

The descendants of Joel Walker and Carrie Herring Walker still meet annually in Pender County to celebrate the September 1, 1900 birthday of our beloved elder Carrie Herring Walker. This became a must-do in the 2000's, as everyone joined to honor her 100+ years on Earth.  

Likewise, the descendants of Joe Sam Merritt and Ollie Pigford Merritt celebrate the birthday of their ancestor Ollie P. Merritt each year in July, also. Over two hundred strong, this reunion is in Philly and attended by related Jacobs and Messicks.

Tony King hosts the Williams Family & Friends Day twice a year in New Jersey.  This event started out as the descendants of Solomon Lofton Williams & Francis Emeline Jacobs, but has grown to include many PenderROCK people from NY, NJ, Philly and beyond.

The Dudley Family Reunion is gaining steam, having started in Tate Town, Pender County, and been in Tidewater VA in 2015 & 2016. Tobe Dudley married Mary Gertrude 'Pinky' Jacobs, and several of their descendants married back into Jacobs/Merrits/Brewingtons.

The Mainor Family Reunion has been meeting since the 1980s, usually in or near Sampson County.  It is currently headed by Eugene Mainor.  The Mainors and Wests are heavily inter-twined and in attendance.  Jacobs and Brewingtons, also.  These are descendants of Reuben Mainor and Eliza Manuel.

The Manuel Family Reunion travels from state to state. These are Manuels, Brewingtons, Wynns, Jacobs from Sampson County that did not join the Coharie tribe at inception.  Due to internet and DNA testing, several Manuel families from other states who had identified as White for several generations now attend the Manuel Family Reunion.