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Jonathan Brooks and His Clark County Heirs


Brooks Home

Submitted by James G. Faulconer


Brooks is such a common name that it is very difficult to trace.  The first proven ancestor in this line is that of Jonathan and Margaret “Peggy” Brooks, who lived in Madison County, Kentucky, in the early 1800s.


According to family records passed on by the late Lula Oliver Booth, Jonathan Brooks was born on November 27, 1762.  No doubt it was in Virginia, and we continue to search for his family of origin.


We speculate that Jonathan Brooks migrated first to Botetourt County, Virginia, where he appears on the tax list of 1787 as “Jon Brooks.”  There, Jonathan Brooks married Margaret Reyburn on October 20, 1789.  Some other Brooks appear in the Botetourt records, but thus far no proven connection has been made.  Moreover, there was another John Brooks, who helped appraise the estate of Richard Bandy in December 1795; witnessed the will of Cornelius Ruddell on April 10, 1798; and who helped appraise the estate of George Hannah in January 1799.  Our Jonathan had moved to Kentucky by 1796.


Margaret Reyburn was born on April 30, 1767, according to the family records.  She was the daughter of John and Jean Reyburn who lived most of their lives in Augusta County, Virginia.  John Reyburn wrote his will on June 30, 1797, and it was proved on February 20, 1798.  Among others, he named his daughter Margaret, and left something to her oldest son.  In a subsequent lawsuit in 1812, the infant son’s name was given as Thomas Brooks of Madison County, Kentucky.  (See this author’s work on the Reyburn family)  Margaret also had a brother, Robert Reyburn, who settled in Madison County.


Jonathan Brooks and his family settled in Madison County by 1796, when he appears in the tax record, 1 male, over 21, with 7 horses.  There were other Brooks in Madison County, even a John Brooks, but our Jonathan consistently distinguished himself by using “Jonathan” in the records.  To date we have not found any connection of Jonathan to the other Brooks:  Archibald, John, Robert, Henry and Lynch.  Several of the latter settled on Otter Creek and established Brookstown.


Jonathan appeared in the tax records until his death.  He was not identified with any particular piece of land for several years, and we assume he “cropped out” for other land owners.  In 1802 he paid tax in Madison County on 60 acres, but curiously enough, the land was listed as in Montgomery County, on the “Lulbergrud Creek,” entered under the name of Edward Williams, probably the owner.  In 1804, the 55 acres was listed in Montgomery County again.  Lulbegrud Creek is about 10 miles north of Fort Boonesboro, and 12 miles east of Winchester.


Several years of Madsion County tax records are missing.  In 1818 Jonathan Brooks was taxed on 200 acres on the Kentucky River, under the names Walker and Allen, in whose names it was surveyed.  In 1820 Jonathan listed 206 acres on the Kentucky River, entered under Walker.  For a few years the tax list included names of regiments/companies the persons served in.  Jonathan listed the Noland Company.  Jonathan appeared on the tax list for the last time in 1826, 200 acres on Red River, total valuation, $2590.  Actually, the land was in Madison County on the Kentucky River, near where the Red River enters it over in Clark County.


The 1810 Madison County Census provides another glimpse of Jonathan and his family.  (Page 214)  The census did not give family names, but noted that the household included the following:


      1 male      10-16               2 Females   0-5

      1   “           45 or over        2     “             5-10

                                                 1     “           26-45


This data matches the birthdates that we know, for Jonathan was 48 years old in 1810, and Peggy was 41.  Also, we know they had one son and four daughters.


In the April Court of 1817, the following entry was made: “On the motion of Jonathan Brooks it is ordered that the following be established his ear mark - , a crop of the left ear, and a half crop of the under side of the right ear.”  (Court Order Book D, p. 329)


Jonathan Brooks purchased 206 1/2 acres in Madison County on the Kentucky River from Thomas Allen on September 9, 1819.  He paid $200.  (Deed Book N, p. 464)  On May 26, 1824 he bought 106 1/4 acres on Otter Creek from his son-in-law, Jeremiah Powell.  (Deed Book Q, p. 162)  Then, on July 3, 1826, he sold that land back to Jeremiah Powell.  (Deed Book R, pp. 151-152)


Jonathan Brooks apparently died in January 1827, age 65, for the February Court was held on the 5th, and William Black was appointed administrator of the estate.  “Peggy Brooks, widow of Jonathan Brooks dec’d. relinquished her right of administration.”  Nathan Lipscomb, Enoch Burton, Thomas Grubbs and Jonathan Floyd, or any three of them, were appointed to appraised the estate and make a report to the court.  (Court Order Book F, p. 3)


Wendell L. Brooks, a descendant, wrote in January 1992 the following:  “According to stories passed down through the family--Jonathan and one of his slaves went into the woods to cut some wood, when they did not return home the family went in search of them, they found a shallow grave with Jonathan’s body in it, but no sign of the slave.  It was believed the slave killed Jonathan and then ran away.  This story has never been factually proved, but has been repeated many times in the family.”


Jonathan’s estate was appraised as ordered, and the report was brought to the court on April 2, 1827.  Three pages of possessions were listed, including three slaves, Chasity, Nilly and Ann.  They were valued at $200-300 each.  Jonathan held several notes on people who owed him money.  Jeremiah Powell owed $200, plus interest.  Others included John Fluty, William Tinder, Isaac Whitsel, Thomas and George C. Howard, and William and Thomas Townsend.  (Will Book D, pp. 268-272.


On March 16, 1827, the “Jonathan Brooks heirs” went to court and sold the 206 1/2 acres, with the exception of the “widows dower” for the rest of her life, to Isaac Oliver of Clark County.  The indenture mentioned Thomas Brooks and Elizabeth, his wife; William Brock and Jane, his wife; Jeremiah Powell and Nancy, his wife; and Charlotte Brooks; “the heirs of Jonathan Brooks, dec’d.  (Deed Book R, p. 501)  The deed was recorded on November 16, 1827.  As we shall see, the land was sold to Isaac Oliver, who married Polly Brooks, another daughter of Jonathan.  Regarding the widow’s dower, by law it was 1/3 of the estate as long as she lived.


An estate sale was held, and a report made to the court on October 6, 1828.  Apparently most everything, except the slaves, was sold.  Peggy Brooks bought a bridle, tub and pail, warping bars, cups and saucers, sugar bowl and cream pot, bread tray, knives, forks and spoons, a “gilted” pitcher, a trumpet, cupbard, flax wheel, flour bag and meal bag.  William Brock bought one large Bible.  Charlotte Brooks bought a small hymn book.  She also bought a secretary for $22.00.  Livestock brought the most money:  $36.00 for 20 hogs and $20.00 for a yoke of oxen.  A clock sold for $30.00.  Other purchasers included Jeremiah Powell, Isaac Oliver, Abraham and Charles Goolman and John Brock.  (Will Book D, pp. 436-442)


From the above and marriage records we can determine the children of Jonathan and Margaret “Peggy” Brooks at the time of Jonathan’s death in 1827.  Since there was a large gap between the son and his sisters, we suspect there were more children who died in childhood.


1.  Thomas Brooks was born on January 19, 1791, probably in Virginia.  On April 11, 1812, he married Elizabeth “Betsy” Lee in Madison County, Kentucky.  Henry Lee gave consent.  According to Wendell Brooks, a descendant and researcher of this line, she was the daughter of William and Anna (Dickison) Lee of Virginia.  Elizabeth was born on February 22, 1789, and a couple of years older than Thomas.  (Note:  another Thomas Brooks married Elizabeth Davis, daughter of Henry Davis, in Madison County on June 15, 1818.)


On August 15, 1812, Thomas Brooks enlisted in the Kentucky Militia in Woodford County, and is listed as a Lieutenant on the roll of Captain Virgil McCracken’s Company, First Rifle Regiment.  This was during the War of 1812.  Thomas was wounded, and later received a pension for serving. 


Thomas and Elizabeth lived in Madison County for the first few years of their marriage, but moved to Warren County, Kentucky, by 1820.  The census of that year, page 40,  notes this about the household:  1 male and 1 female 26-44, 2 males and 2 females 0-9.  According to family lore, Thomas returned to Madison County in 1827, at the death of his father, to help settle the estate.  Then he returned to Warren County, and the 1830 census notes this on page 90:  1 male 30-40, 2 females 40-50, 2 females 15-20, 2 males and 1 female 10-15, and 1 female 0-5.  Also there were two slaves, a male and female, both 10-20.


According to Wendell Brooks, Thomas and his family, Mary Lee, Elizabeth’s sister, and a number of other relatives and neighbors from Warren County, formed a wagon train and headed for Illinois.  They arrived in Warren County, Illinois in the early 1830’s and settled in Berwick Township.  In 1836 Thomas received some bounty land in Roseville Township, land received for his serving in the War of 1812.  Thomas also purchased 45 acres in 1838, and in 1842 bought another 80 acres. 


Thomas and his family were members of the Berwick Baptist Church.  That church then organized the Union Baptist Church, founded on July 10, 1841, and Thomas was the clerk of the organizational meeting.  At that time Thomas and his family became members of the new church.


Thomas Brooks died on September 19, 1842, and Elizabeth Lee Brooks died on February 19, 1847.  Both are buried in the Berwick Cemetery, and an engraved stone marks the grave.


Thomas and Elizabeth Brooks had six children, and their names and birthdates are recorded in a family Bible:  Emily born April 25, 1813; Julia Ann born August 12, 1814; William L. born October 13, 1816; Thompson born September 3, 1818; Mary Ann born October 16, 1820; and Acenath born January 7, 1825.


2.  Jane Brooks, daughter of Jonathan and Peggy, was born on December 7, 1799, according to family records.  “Jenny” married James William Brock on October 6, 1825.  He was the son of John Tinne Brock and Frances Wright Shackleford Brock, who lived across the Kentucky River in Clark County.  Jonathan Brooks was bondsman.  Rev. William W. Wright, grandfather of William Brock and Methodist Minister, officiated.  William and Jane settled on the Clark County side of the Kentucky River.  William died on August 9, 1843, and Jane died a month later, causes unknown.  They left three children:  Silas Jonathan, Simpson William and Emily Jane Brock.  Simpson William Brock is the ancestor of this writer.  For more on the Brocks, see John Tinne Brock of Clark County, Ancestors and Descendants, by this writer.


3.  Nancy Brooks was born about 1801.  She married Jeremiah Powell, widower, who first married her first cousin, Elizabeth Reyburn, on October 31, 1808.  Obviously Jeremiah was several years older than Nancy.  Nancy and Jeremiah got their license on October 19, 1819, and it was returned on October 23.  Thomas Harber was bondsman, and Jonathan Brooks, father of the bride, gave his consent.  Nancy and Jeremiah continued to live in Madison County.  Jeremiah and his wife were listed in the 1830 census as follows:  1 male 40-50, 1 male and one female 20-30, 1 female 15-20, 2 males 5-10, and one male 0-5.


The above record certainly indicates a blended family. A “Jerry” Powell, probably a grown son, was listed elsewhere in the census with his family.


On October 13, 1854, a death notice in a Madison County newspaper stated, “In this county on the 11th Jeremiah Powell, an old and respectable citizen.”


The children of Jeremiah Powell, by his two wives are not known for sure.  A hint is found in a Madison County paper of October 24, 1894, when there appeared an obituary for Bishop George Powell:  “Bishop George Powell died at his home in Speedwell, Madison County, Ky., on October 11, 1894, aged fifty-four years, five months and three days.  He had been in delicate health for many years, and his demise was not unexpected.  He lived a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and will be missed in his community.  He leaves a wife, son and daughter and also a brother, Squire J.H. Powell, of Richmond.  These brothers were the only survivors of the family of Jerry and Nancy Powell, which consisted of five sons and two daughters.”


Another child of Jeremiah and Nancy was Mary Powell, who married Absolom Dunn on January 4, 1849.  Jeremiah signed consent as father of the bride.


4.  Polly Brooks  was born about 1803.  She married Isaac Oliver on November 29, 1820.  Joel Oliver was the bondsman, and Jonathan Brooks, father of the bride, gave his consent.  Isaac and Joel Oliver were sons of Richard and Hannah Conkwright Oliver of Clark County.  He was named for his uncle, Isaac Oliver, also of Clark County.  As seen above, when Jonathan Brooks died, his land was sold to the son-in-law Isaac Oliver.


Isaac Oliver, born in 1791, had already married twice before in Clark County.  On April 8, 1816, he married Lucy Dawson.  Spence Dawson posted the surety bond.  Then, on January 18, 1818, he married Hannah Wood.  James Wood was bondsman.  After third wife Polly died, Isaac married Elizabeth Varner in Madison County on November 5, 1844.  Charles Searcy was bondsman.  Then, finally he married Susan Varner in Madison County on January 5, 1863.  The marriage bond notes that this was his 5th marriage, that he was 72 and born in Clark County.  Susan was born in Jessamine County, age 50.


The Madison County Census records tell us more:


1840: 1 male 80-90            1 female 30-40

      1   “    50-60                   1    “      15-20

      1   “    15-20                   1    “      10-15

      1   “      5-10                    2    “       5-10

      1   “      0-5


The male aged 80-90 was Richard Oliver, the father of Isaac.  Richard was a Revolution- ary War Veteran, who was born on December 20, 1752, and died on December 28, 1847.  Also, we note that Polly Brooks Oliver was still alive at the time of the census.


1850: Isaac Oliver      59 m

      Elizabeth  “            45 f

      Josephine “           12 m (should be Josephus)

      Talitha      “              9 m (should be female)

      Elizabeth  “             4 f


1860: Isaac Oliver      69 m

      Elizabeth  “            56 f

      Josephus  “           22 m

      Elizabeth  “            14 f

      Susan Barnes       45 f


On September 1, 1869, Isaac Oliver, being “in debt,” granted 200 acres to Thomas Moberly and Joseph Oldham.  (Deed Book 19, p. 179)


Isaac died after 1870, when he last appeared in the census.  He was listed as 81 years old; Susan was 61, born in Indiana; and in the home was Susan Bennett, 67, born in Virginia.  On August 12, 1876, Susan Oliver, Isaac’s widow, wrote her will.  She left her personal property to her step grandson, Isaac McClennin Powell, who was the son of William K. Powell and the late Eliza Powell.  Otherwise, everything was to go to her sister, Lucinda Circy.  The will was proved on October 7, 1878.


Following Susan’s death there was a law suit between John Newland, plaintiff, against Josephus Oliver, defendant, to split the land of Isaac Oliver.  The court assigned commissioners to work it out, and they did.  On January 18, 1881, they partitioned the land among the heirs, as follows:  Josephus Oliver; Emarine Alexander and husband Joseph Alexander; Almarine McCrosty and husband Thomas McCrosty; John Newland, Isaac Newland; John A. Webb, Emarine Webb, Josephus Webb; Mary Jane Robb, James Robb; Almarine Long, C.L. Long; Frank Brock, John Brock, Silas Brock; Mary E. Powell and husband William Powell, Isaac Powell.  (Deed Book 34, p. 474)  The next day, January 22, 1881, the same heirs transferred the property, 58 1/2 acres to A.J. Willoughby.


Since Isaac had five wives, it is difficult but not impossible to sort out who were the mothers of his children.  Fortunately his name is on several marriage bonds and one death record.  Adding those names with the above census names, we count the following children, though not necessarily in the correct order:


A.  Charlotte Oliver married Martin Brock on March 22, 1837.  Isaac Oliver signed as witness.  The 1840 census gives her age as 15-20.  The 1850 census lists her as 25 years of age.  Her child, Frances, was listed as age 12, meaning that Charlotte was about 13 years old when she married.  We conclude that Charlotte was the daughter of Polly Brooks Oliver, and named for Polly’s sister Charlotte.  Martin Brock was the youngest son of John Tinne Brock Sr. and Frances Wright Brock.  He was born in 1815.  Charlotte died between 1854 and 1857, and Martin remarried.  Charlotte’s children, Frank Brock, John Brock, Silas Brock and Mary E. Brock Powell, were listed above among the heirs of Isaac Oliver.  William I. Brock, another son, was omitted.


B.  Emerine Nancy Oliver married Joseph Alexander on October 3, 1842.  Isaac Oliver signed as father of the bride.  The mother was probably Polly.


C.  Emily Jane Oliver married Allen Webb on February 17, 1844.  Isaac Oliver signed as father of the bride.  The mother was probably Polly.  The children of Emily Jane and Allen Webb were John, Emarine and Josephus; and were listed as heirs of Isaac Oliver.


D.  Mary Jane Oliver married Anderson C. Newland on August 17, 1846.  Isaac Oliver signed as father of the bride.  The mother was probably Polly.  Their children, Isaac and John Newland, are mentioned as heirs to Isaac Oliver.


E.  Meredith Oliver, age 24, born in Madison County, died of  “congestive chills” according to the Death Records of 1852-1861.  Isaac Oliver was named as parent.  Unfortunately the exact date of his death is not given.  The mother was undoubtedly Polly, since he was born between 1828 and 1837.


F.  Almarine Oliver married Thomas M. McCrosky on June 20, 1850.  Isaac Oliver signed as father of the bride.  The mother was probably Polly.


G.  Josephus Oliver was born about 1838.  The mother was probably Polly.  In Richmond, on September 10, 1862, Josephus enlisted in Company A, 11 Regiment Cavalry, of the Confederate Army.  He was made 2nd Corporal.


H.  Talitha Oliver was born about 1841.  The mother was probably Polly.


I.  Sarah Elizabeth Oliver was born in 1846.  She was the daughter of Elizabeth Varner Oliver.  On April 28, 1862, “Sarah Lizzie Oliver,” 16, married William Powell 22.  The marriage bond indicates that he was born in Clark County. Josephus Oliver was witness and Isaac Oliver gave consent as father of the bride.


The above listing does not account for the Longs and the Robbs, mentioned as heirs of Isaac Oliver.


5.  Charlotte Brooks, the youngest child of Jonathan and Peggy Brooks, was born on October 25, 1805.  Charlotte had not yet married in 1827 when her father died.  She married Clark Rice in nearby Clark County on April 19, 1832.  His birthdate was September 27, 1805.  The marriage bond indicates that Charlotte was the daughter of Peggy Brooks, who gave consent.  Polly Oliver was a witness, and William Brock was bondsman.  The 1850 Clark County Census gives this data about the household:


      Clark     Rice      45 m farmer

      Charlotte  “         45 f

      Margaret  “         17 f

      Nancy      “          15 f

      Mary A.   “          14 f

      James C.  “        12 m

      Narcissa   “          8 f

      Gelina       “          7 f

      John W.    “          5 m

      Tilford       “          3 m

      William Parker  23 m


We note with interest that the oldest daughter was named Margaret, no doubt for the grandmother Brooks.  Charlotte died on January 5, 1872; and Clark Rice died on March 11, 1877.  They are buried in the Rice Graveyard off the White-Conkwright Road.  The stones give their birth and death dates.


                                      * * *


This is to thank Wendell L. Brooks of Kirkwood, Illinois; and Richard T. Brooks of Galesburg, Illinois, for providing information on the Thomas Brooks line.  Compiled by James G. Faulconer, 5200 Oakbrooke Drive, Kettering, OH 45440.  May 6, 2000. (


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