Ophelia and Thomas Brewer
Coleman Brewer, Jr.
his bravery and service, Thomas Coleman Brewer, Jr.
received a purple heart.
Brewer II and Kelly Brewer
Arthur, Ivan Brewer, Ivan Brewer II, and Nala Lion
Brewer and Ivan Brewer II
Brewer and Ivan Brewer II
by Vashti Brewer Dargan
Franklin Brewer was born September 30, 1880, to Robert and
Emiline Watts Brewer in Chesterfield County
(Homesboro), near the town which is now Pageland. Thomas
was the ninth child of Robert and Emiline’s eleven children,
and the fifth son.
Thomas was ten, his father died, leaving his mother and older
brothers to rear Houston, Jaby and himself. It seems that
Vinnie, William (Bill), and Joseph were either already married
or married soon thereafter. Isaiah, the third son and twin to
Effie, seemed to have taken his place as active head of the
family. They made their living by farming.
family were early members of the Oro United Methodist Church
and later, organized Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church
which was closer to the family home. Since traveling was
either by foot or horse or buggy, school and church were
always nearby and closely associated. It seems that most of
their education was obtained from each other.
and Houston always enjoyed telling of the times that they were
told to do certain chores by Isaiah while he was to be
away for a day or two. Thomas and Houston were attracted to
some girls who lived near Oro. One night, they walked four or
so miles to Oro to go to a party where the girls were in
attendance. Just as they had asked the girls if they could
walk them home and had joined in a game (which was something
about a sweet kiss from a young lady), Isaiah walked in the
door. They immediately became too tired or sick to walk the
girls home. Instead, they sheepishly started walking in front
of Isaiah, feeling like men reduced to little boys. Degraded
and sensing a whipping about to take place, they began to plot
against Isaiah. Houston, knowing that Thomas would get the
first whipping, told him: "Anything you look like doing,
I am going to do!" Thomas was fat and could not run very
fast. While he was getting his whipping from Isaiah, Houston
ran home and went to bed. When poor Thomas finally got home,
he asked Houston: "Why didn't you help me?" Houston
reminded him: "I told you, anything you looked like
doing, I would do. To me, you looked like you wanted to run,
so I ran!" This is one of the many stories the brothers
told on themselves.
and Houston did eventually run away from home to Florida. They
fell upon some hard times, but finally, were able to get jobs
and worked enough to get back home. Even at that time, to
teach school in Chesterfield County, South Carolina, one had
to pass a teacher's test. Thomas, along with many of his
brothers and sisters before him, took the test, passed and
August 5, 1907, Thomas married Nannie Ophelia Robinson. Nannie,
the daughter of Doctor Coleman (August 8, 1850-July 19,
1931)and Charity Elizabeth McNeil Robinson (April 13,
1856-October 27, 1915), was born July 30, 1885 in the Pee Dee
Community of Lilesville, North Carolina in Anson County. While
growing up, she attended the private school of Barraths
College in Pee Dee. Very little is known about Thomas' formal
schooling. It seems that the preachers and their wives, who
came and went often, were also the teachers in the Hornesboro
and Nannie lived in a small community called Guess where both
taught school in the winter and farmed in the summer. Thomas
and Nannie worked hard to improve the community and encouraged
everyone to get an education. They ran one of the Brewers'
famous Rosenwald schools named the Center School.
They were often thought of as
the community's free Funeral Directors. For example, before
there was embalming and morticians, when a person died in the
community, Thomas would go to home of the dead person, give
him a bath, dress him and put him in a cheap casket purchased
by the family. If the dead person was a lady, Nannie would
give her a bath, comb her hair, dress her and put her in the
casket. The next day, since the body was not embalmed, Thomas
would take it on his two-horse wagon (the hearse) to the
church or burial place. Nannie would follow with the
next-of-kin on the buggy (the limousine). Many times the body
was brought to the home of the dead person to lie-in-state
before the burial. On occasion, the body was noted to
"purge" and the casket could not be opened. Thomas
was always helpful to the family by taking them to town and
getting the store to open if a casket or other goods needed to
be purchased after the store's closing time. Thomas did later
open a store for the convenience of the people of the
Ophelia and Thomas Franklin were the parents of five
children--Thomas Coleman, Vashti Elizabeth, Esther Naomi,
Margaret and Alice Jamina. They also one adopted son--Louis
Lee. At the time when there were no public high schools for
Blacks in Chesterfield County, they managed to struggle and
send all of the girls to private schools (outside of
Chesterfield). All graduated from college and continued in
their parents' tradition of teaching. Coleman and Vashti
continued the tradition of service to the Guess Community.
of the children married and settled within less than 100 miles
of each other. Margaret
(Maggie) married Brooks Henry Walker. They both taught in
Presbyterian schools, Coulter Academy and Brainerd Institute
in Cordele, Georgia. Two children were born to this union,
Brooks Henry, Jr. and Margaret Joan. Coleman married Laura
Johnson of Irmo, South Carolina. He farmed and worked in
textiles while she taught in the Chesterfield County school
system. They had two children- Nannie and Thomas Coleman, Jr.
Vashti married William Dargan and this this union was born one
son, William Thomas. Vashti taught in the Chesterfield County
school system while William worked in textiles. Esther married
Berlin Huntley. They had no children. She taught in
Winston-Salem, North Carolina and he worked in a laundry.
Alice married Benson George. She taught school in Moncks
Corner, South Carolina while he was a funeral director. They
had no children. Louis Lee served in the armed services and
later lived in New York City and Florida where he worked as a
domestic for a private family.
Thomas was about fifty-nine, he suffered a stroke which kept
him in poor health for nearly five years until his death on
March 12, 1945. Nannie died on January 2, 1952. Both are
buried near birthplace at Wesley Chapel Church in the family
Margaret (Maggy), Thomas Coleman, Vashti, Esther
Naomi, Alice Jamina, Louis Lee.
Brooks Jr., Thomas Coleman, Jr., Nannie
Elizabeth, Margaret Joan and William Thomas.
Thomas Coleman III, Ingrid, Kelly Todd, Robin Brewer,
Stanley Ray, Lucinda (Cinda), Freda, George (deceased),
James and Paul.
Saceya, Lauren, Brandon, Chad, Jasmine, James, Paul,
Aleathea, Brandon, Ivan ll and Adrian.
Great Great Grandchildren:
Britney, James, Jovon, and Brandon Jr.