WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The City of Warner Robins recently celebrated its 78th anniversary back in March.
One family in the International City witnessed all the changes, calling Houston County home for nearly 150 years.
The soulful singing coming from Christine Brooks Bivins means more to her than just a song. It speaks of years and years of family history in Houston County dating back to the mid-1800s.
“I’m 99 years old, born January 22, 1922, and I’m not ashamed to tell it,” says Bivins.
Bivins is the baby girl of 15 children born to the late Bob Brooks and his wife Beulah.
“Mama was a midwife 'til she died over 90-something years. She knew everything in the book about catching a baby, white and black,” says Bivins. “Papa, he was a minister. He died when he was around 121, so I figure I’ll make it there, too.”
Her father, affectionately known as "Preacher," Bob Brooks was born into slavery in 1852 and was a well-known as a minister who traveled from church to church sharing the gospel before dying at the age of 120 on Christmas Eve 1972, just 3 months shy of his 121st birthday. His third wife Beulah was a popular midwife who delivered hundreds of children in the area. The Brooks family have been a staple in Warner Robins for as long as the city has been around.
“It was nothing but corn fields, cotton patches, and woods,” Bivins explains. “Watson Boulevard, I know when it was first named. Now it’s grown so tough, I don’t hardly know it, but I thank God for it.”
The Brooks family has evolved to hundreds of grandchildren and great-grands full of entrepreneurs, educators, and, of course, the family business of preaching, according to family member Brendette Brooks Anderson.
“Everybody knows the Brooks family. Whenever you say 'Brooks,' everybody knows who you are talking about in the middle Georgia area,” says Anderson. “This is home -- I think a lot of us left and came back.”
And as the community continues to grow in size and age, including the recent 78th anniversary of the city of Warner Robins this past March, the Brooks family is happy to be a part of the legacy here in Central Georgia, looking forward to the future, and Bivins' desires for her and her family are pretty simple.
Bivins says, “I just hope to live on and do well.”
Bob Brooks fathered 42 children through 3 marriages and within the last marriage with 15 children with Beulah. They produced 156 grandchildren, 304 great-grandchildren, and 121 great-great-grands, so there is a lot of Brooks family influence here in the Houston County area.