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 King Brewer
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
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 began teaching.
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 Community.
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.
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
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 cemetery.
Margaret (Maggy), Thomas Coleman, Vashti,
Esther Naomi, Alice Jamina, Louis Lee.
Brooks Jr., Thomas Coleman, Jr., Nannie
Elizabeth, Margaret Joan and William Thomas.
Ivan, Thomas Coleman III, Ingrid,
Kelly Todd, Robin Brewer, Stanley Ray, Lucinda (Cinda),
Freda, George (deceased), James and Paul.
Kaceya, Saceya, Lauren, Brandon, Chad, Jasmine,
James, Paul, Nargia, Robyn, Aleathea, Brandon, Ivan
ll and Adrian.
Great Great Grandchildren:
Britney, James, Jovon, and Brandon Jr.