Kent Wrench was one of the great historians of Sampson County. It is with much sorrow that the Sampson County Historical Society as well as North Carolina is without his presence. I think I first met Kent at a Wrench reunion back in the 1980s and then later when I came to speak at a Mingo Camp SCV meeting. I got to know Kent better, when he came to visit my mother, Estaline Tew Bass. My mother grew up living on Wrench land and surrounded by her Wrench relatives in the 1920s -1940s. Kent was interested in his family history but Kent was also interested in the many facets of the past. As the editor of the Huckleberry Historian and as a writer, he authored many books and helped to publish others. The second volume of the Sampson County Histories was my major experience with Kent. He enthusiastically inspired many writers/historians across the county to submit stories about their families.
Kent made the Huckleberry Historian become a special gift to look forward to every quarter. I was always amazed at the featured article that he authored. Those of us who grew up on a farm in Sampson County relived parts of barning tobacco or picking cotton that were almost forgotten. Kent was generous as well. If I ever emailed him asking him about an article, he quickly responded with answers or generously offered copies of photos, etc. He was the quintessential Southern gentleman. When I learned about the extent of his sickness, I felt led to volunteer to help with the newsletter because I wanted him to know be aware that the newsletter would continue . As the new editor of the Sampson County Huckleberry Historian, I am humbled by his writing ability and his creative style of lead stories for the modern day Huckleberry Historian. In honor of Kent’s memory, I would like to challenge each of you to begin to write articles about your part of Sampson County—whether it is about your family, your church, history, or whatever—please feel free to email me with your creation. It is my hope that Kent Wrench’s memory will continue in our continued work in Sampson County Historical Society.
Celebrating A Life
The news of Kent Wrench’s death in October has been difficult for all his family to deal with, not only his immediate family, but all of us in the Historical Society, all of us who were his friends; and there are so many.
Kent was a talented and generous man. He loved life and he loved history. And he shared his knowledge of all things he knew and of all the things he learned .And he shared this process of daily living with everyone he met. He enriched our lives, and he shared our lives and he made this time we all spend together a blessing.
It is the loss of the laughter, the love, and connections past, present and future which we mourn: So to Kent’s wonderful family, and for all the days and months we were privileged to know him, we can only say “Thank you” for sharing him with us; we were so very proud to know you my friend.”