Thomas Madison Brooks (1775-1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock (1774-1837): Virginia Beginnings, 1775-1798

In my lengthy series of postings about this Lindsey family line, readers will also find abundant information about a Brooks family that was multiply intermarried with the Lindseys in the nineteenth century, first in Wayne County, Kentucky, where these two families connected as Methodist families, and then in Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama, to which both moved as Alabama became a state in 1819. Two sons of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and wife Mary Jane Dinsmore (1779-1853) married two daughters of Thomas Madison Brooks (1775-1838) and Sarah Whitlock (1774-1837). These sons were Dennis Lindsey and David Dinsmore Lindsey, who married sisters Jane and Sarah Brooks. 

In a series of postings focusing on Dennis Lindsey and wife Jane Brooks that begins with this linked posting, you’ll find a considerable amount of information about the family of Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks. Another posting about Dennis’s brother David Dinsmore Lindsey and wife Sarah also incorporates information about the Brooks family.

A brother of Dennis and Dinsmore Lindsey, William Burke Lindsey, was a business partner of a brother of Jane and Sarah Brooks Lindsey, Alexander Mackey Brooks, in Lawrence County, Alabama. After Alexander and his wife Carolina Puckett divorced, Burke Lindsey married Carolina, and my posting about this family also contains Brooks information. In addition, another brother of Dennis, Dinsmore, and Burke, their brother Fielding Wesley Lindsey, married a first cousin of Jane, Sarah, and Alexander Mackey Brooks — Clarissa Brooks, daughter of James Brooks and Nancy Isbell. James was a brother of Thomas Madison Brooks, and like his brother Thomas, moved to Lawrence-Morgan County, Alabama, from Kentucky (and Tennessee) in the early 1800s. A posting about Wesley Lindsey and wife Clarissa Brooks contains further Brooks information, as does a series of postings about Mark Lindsey, father of Dennis, Dinsmore, Burke, and Wesley Lindsey, which begins with this linked posting. And because intermarriage between these Lindsey and Brooks families continued for several generations after the marriages I have just listed, a whole series of postings tracking the descendants of Mark Lindsey also contains Brooks information.

With the current posting, I’m beginning a series to provide information about the Brooks family that was thickly connected to the Lindsey family in Wayne County, Kentucky, and Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama. I have been able to track the Brooks family back to Frederick County, Virginia, in the latter half of the 1700s, where Mary Brooks made a will 9 July 1786, which was proven 4 April 1787.[1] Mary’s will names children Mary Hollingsworth, Thomas Brooks, Elizabeth Rice, Sarah Asdill (Ashdale), Susanna Haynes, and James Brooks.

The son Thomas Brooks (bef. 1747 – abt. 12 February 1805) named in Mary Brooks’s will is the father of the Thomas Madison Brooks and James Brooks mentioned above. Thomas Brooks Sr. moved from Frederick County, Virginia, to Wythe County, Virginia, about 1793, and died in Wythe County with a will dated 4 November 1804, which was probated 12 February 1805. The will names a wife Margaret, and, as I’ll explain when I discuss Thomas and his family in more detail, I think she may well have been the Margaret Beamon/Beaumont, daughter of John and Jane Beamon/Beaumont, who married a Thomas Brooks in Christ Church parish, Middlesex County, Virginia, on 29 January 1771 — though I do not have absolute proof for this deduction.

As I’ll also explain in a subsequent posting about the earliest generation of this family I have been able to track — again, this is the family of Mary Brooks of Frederick County, Virginia — I have not yet located information about Mary’s husband, or about the family’s whereabouts before it begins to appear in Frederick County records in the latter half of the 1700s.

In 1798, having married Sarah Whitlock, daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips in Wythe County, Virginia, on 14 February 1796, Thomas Madison Brooks, son of Thomas and Margaret Brooks, moved from Wythe County to Pulaski County, Kentucky, where his land soon fell into Wayne County at that county’s formation in 1800. In 1800, Mark Lindsey moved with his wife Mary Jane and his mother-in-law Margaret Dinsmore and brother-in-law John Dinsmore from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, to Wayne County, Kentucky, and from this point forward, the Lindsey and Brooks families began to intertwine, with Mark and Mary Jane Lindsey’s son Dennis marrying Thomas and Sarah Brooks’s daughter Jane in Wayne County on 16 February 1813. As noted above, both families were Methodist families, perhaps arriving in Kentucky with Methodist affiliations or becoming Methodist after they came to Kentucky. As we’ll see in a subsequent posting, Thomas Madison Brooks was a Methodist clergyman in Wayne County who filed his clergy credentials in Wayne County court in March 1826.[2]

In the fall of 1819, Mark and Mary Jane Lindsey sold their land and homeplace in Wayne County, Kentucky, and moved to Morgan County, Alabama, following their son Dennis and wife Jane Brooks, who had moved their family to Alabama by 1817, settling at what would later become Oakville in southeastern Lawrence County. Mark and Mary Jane Lindsey settled not far from their son Dennis and wife Jane across the county line in Morgan County. 

As we’ll see in a subsequent posting, in 1836, Thomas and Sarah Brooks followed the Lindsey family to Alabama, selling their Wayne County, Kentucky, homeplace in November 1836 and moving to Morgan County, Alabama.[3] Both died of lingering illnesses — Thomas on 15 October 1838 and Sarah on 16 August 1837 — at the home of their widowed daughter Jane in Lawrence County, who provided care for her ailing parents in the final part of their life.

In what follows, I’m going to begin telling you what I know of the life of Thomas Madison Brooks, son of Thomas and Margaret Brooks of Frederick and Wythe Counties, Virginia. I’ll then following my postings about Thomas Madison Brooks with ones about his parents and what I know of them, and will trace the Brooks line back to Mary Brooks of Frederick County, Virginia, whose maiden surname I have not found, as I have also not found the name of her Brooks husband, as I have previously told you. I’ll also provide information about Mary’s children other than her son Thomas and their families, and about Thomas Madison Brooks’s siblings and their families.

Thomas Madison Brooks, the Virginia Beginnings

As a previous posting has explained, a bible providing the birth and death dates of Thomas Brooks and his wife Sarah Whitlock, and their date of marriage, appears to be extant, though I have not been able to discover who presently owns this bible or to obtain a photocopy of the register of this bible. A transcript of the bible register was published in 1988 in the journal Itawamba Settlers (see the images at the head of this posting).[4]

The bible register transcribed in this publication appears to be from a bible that passed from Thomas Madison Brooks to his son Charles Madison Brooks (1800-1861), who moved from Lawrence County, Alabama, to Itawamba County, Mississippi, where he died. The transcript of the bible register in Itawamba Settlers does not state that the bible being transcribed had once belonged to Thomas Brooks’s son Charles, but this can be inferred from information in the transcribed register.

Itawamba Settlers accompanies its transcript of Thomas Brooks’s bible register with a photocopy of some 19th-century entries in the bible register, but does not have a photocopy of the portion of the bible register that contains the entries for Thomas’s dates of birth and death. The published transcript also does not provide information about when and where the bible was published. I have not been successful in obtaining this information, or, as I state above, information about the bible’s present whereabouts.[5]

The Itawamba Settlers transcript says that the bible register states the following about the date and place of Thomas Brooks’s birth:

Thomas Brooks was born October 28th 1775 in Frederick County, State of Virginia.

Regarding Thomas Brooks’s death, the transcript of the bible register states the following:

“Thomas Brooks departed this life on the 25th October 1838 aged 62 years, 11 months, 27 days.”

The bible register gives the name of Thomas’s wife as Sarah Whitlock, stating that she was born 9 June 1774 in Bedford County, Virginia, and died 16 August 1837 in her 62nd year, having been married to Thomas Brooks 41 years, 6 months, and 1 day. The bible register states that the couple married 14 February 1796. 

The transcriber of the bible register reads the date of birth of Thomas and Sarah’s first child, their daughter Jane, as 17 January 1795. Jane’s tombstone, however, states that she was born 19 February 1797, and this year of birth is confirmed by the 1850 federal census, which lists her as 52 years old.[6] The transcript of the bible register also has Jane’s marriage to Dennis Lindsey occurring on 12 February 1810, where Wayne County, Kentucky, marriage records show the couple marrying on 18 February 1813, with Jane’s father Thomas Brooks giving bond with Dennis Lindsey for the marriage.

Following the record of Thomas Madison Brooks’s birth in 1775 in Frederick County, Virginia — once again: the place is recorded in the bible register, according to the transcriber — the first record I find for him is his appearance on the tax list in Wythe County, Virginia, in 1796, and his marriage on 14 February 1796 in Wythe County to Sarah, daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips. The only record of the marriage I’ve found so far is the entry of it in Thomas Brooks’s bible as transcribed in Itawamba Settlers, which, having given the birthdates of Thomas and wife Sarah, states,

“They were married together February 14 in the year of our Lord 1796.”

Though I do not find a record of this marriage in Wythe County marriage records, I am assuming that the marriage took place in that county, because both Thomas’s and Sarah’s families were living in Wythe County at this time. 

1793 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750, first page with key (tax list is unpaginated and is alphabetized)
1793 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750

Thomas Madison Brooks’s father Thomas Brooks begins appearing in Wythe County records in 1793, when he is on the county tax list being taxed on 5 April for 3 tithables (white males over 16) and 6 horses (including mares or colts). The three tithables in the household are Thomas Brooks Sr. (born bef. 1747) and his two oldest sons James (born 1772) and Thomas Jr. (born 1775). Malita Murphy and James Douthat transcribe this tax list to show a Jr. designation next to Thomas Brooks’s name.[7]  But as the image above, which is a snapshot of the original tax list, shows, there is no Sr. or Jr. designation next to Thomas Brooks’s name. It’s clear to me this is a tax listing for Thomas Sr., who, as we’ll see in a subsequent posting, disappears from Frederick County, Virginia, records by 1794, just as he begins appearing in Wythe County records, having moved there directly from Frederick County. As the image above also shows, the tax list (which is unpaginated) lists entries alphabetically and therefore doesn’t indicate who lived near whom. Captain James Davis, into whose family the family of Thomas Whitlock married, was enumerator.

1794 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750

In 1794, Thomas Brooks (Sr. obviously, but no designation is given in the tax list) again appears on the Wythe County tax list, taxed on 21 May for 2 tithables and 10 horses. On the same date, Thomas’s son James is taxed for 1 tithable and 1 horse. Captain James Davis was the enumerator for both. 

The 1794 tax list suggests that Thomas Sr.’s oldest son James, who would have 45 acres surveyed on 7 June 1795 in Rich Valley on the waters of the north fork of the Holston River in Wythe County, was now living on his own.[8] The two tithables in the household of Thomas Brooks Sr. are Thomas Sr. and Jr. The fact that James Brooks was living on his own by 1794 may indicate he had married by this date. If so, I have not found a record of any marriage for him before he married Nancy, daughter of Godfrey and Hannah Isbell in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 8 March 1804.[9] After Thomas Brooks Jr. married Sarah Whitlock in 1796, he and his brother James moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, in 1798 and they then disappear from Wythe County, Virginia, records. 

1795 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750

In 1795, Thomas Brooks (this is clearly Sr.) is taxed in Wythe County on 21 May for 2 tithables and 10 horses, with Captain James Davis as enumerator. I do not find James Brooks on the Wythe tax list in this year. 

1796 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750

In 1796, the year in which Thomas Brooks married Sarah Whitlock, according to his bible register, Thomas Jr. appears for the first time on the Wythe County tax list on 12 March, designated as Jr. and listed next to his father Thomas Sr. in Captain Samuel Crockett’s district. Thomas Sr. has 1 tithable (himself) and 7 horses, while Thomas Jr. has 1 tithable (himself) and 2 horses. Once again, James Brooks seems to be missing from the tax list in this year. A separate family of Brooks is enumerated in this year in Hezekiah Herman’s district north of Walker’s mountain and on the south side of Captain Davis: Richard Brooks, William Brooks Sr. and Jr., and John Brooks. I have not been able to confirm any relationship between this Brooks family and that of Thomas Brooks.

1797 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750

The 1797 Wythe tax list again shows Thomas Brooks Sr. and Jr. in Captain Crockett’s district, both enumerated on 11 March. Thomas Sr. is taxed for 1 tithable and 4 horses, and Thomas Jr. has 1 tithable and 3 horses. James Brooks appears this year enumerated on 29 March in the same district with 1 tithable and 1 horse. 

1798 Wythe County, Virginia, personal property tax list, LDS Family History Library US/Canada film 1905750

By 1798, only Thomas Brooks Sr. is enumerated on the tax list in Wythe County, where he’s listed in Captain Samuel Crockett Jr.’s district on 26 March with 2 tithables, 5 horses, and a tax of 45 shillings. No designation of Sr. or Jr. is given here, and Thomas’s surname is spelled as Brookes. Thomas Brooks Jr. — that is, Thomas Madison Brooks — and his brother James had moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, by this time, and from this point forward, no Thomas Jr. is found on the tax list in Wythe County. A different Thomas Brooks is found on the Wythe tax list in 1798, enumerated in the district of Captain Samuel Crockett Sr. on 19 March along with Richard, John, and William Brooks Sr. and Jr. 

As noted above, Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks’s daughter Jane was born on 19 February 1797. The 1850 federal census states that Jane was born in Virginia.[10] It appears that at some point between Jane’s birth in 1797 and the compiling of the Wythe County tax list on 26 March 1798, the young couple Thomas and Sarah Brooks moved with their infant daughter Jane to Pulaski (later Wayne) County, Kentucky, where Thomas patented 200 acres on Otter Creek on 24 July 1799 and another 200 acres in Grassy Valley on 16 August.[11] Later deeds in Wayne County, which was formed from Pulaski County in 1800, will show Thomas living in Grassy Valley on Beaver and Otter Creeks. Land grants being made in Kentucky in 1799 required the person patenting land to have lived on it for a year before a patent was made.

Wythe County, Virginia, records suggest that there was an exodus of families out of that county in the late 1700s and early 1800s to Wayne County, Kentucky. For instance, the Wythe County chancery court case of James Reddus v. William Carter discussed by Mary B. Kegley in her book Early Adventurers on the Western Waters shows that both William Carter and a Lockett family moved from Wythe County, Virginia, to Wayne County, Kentucky, in this period.[12] This 1812 lawsuit involved land near the lead mines in Wythe County that David Herbert, whose brother William supervised the mines, had transferred to Jacob Vanhoze sometime after 1774. Vanhoze sold the land to Jacob Cane, who sold it to William Carter, who then sold it to James Reddus. The lawsuit concerned the title to the land, which was unclear. The case documents show that by the time this 1812 lawsuit occurred, William Carter had moved from Wythe County, Virginia, to Wayne County, Kentucky. Providing testimony in the lawsuit were William Lockett and wife Louisa of Wayne County, who had also moved there from Wythe County.  

A brief note on the name Thomas Madison Brooks: as this previous posting notes, Thomas Brooks (1775-1838) appears in various documents with the middle initial M. His second child and oldest son Charles Brooks (1800-1861) had the middle name Madison, as at least one document proves. Thomas’s oldest daughter Jane and husband Dennis Lindsey named a son Thomas Madison Lindsey. These pieces of information have led me to conclude that Thomas M. Brooks, son of Thomas and Margaret Brooks of Frederick and Wythe County, Virginia, was Thomas Madison Brooks.

In my next posting, I’ll pick up the story of Thomas Madison Brooks after he arrived in Pulaski (later Wayne) County, Kentucky in 1798.


[1] Frederick County, Virginia, Will Bk. 5, p. 15.

[2] Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. G, p. 68.

[3] Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. G, pp. 152-3.

[4] “Brooks Bible,” Itawamba [Mississippi] Settlers 8,3 (September, 1988), pp. 151-2.

[5] In 1991, a Lindsey-Brooks researcher, Frank Ruggles of Caldwell, Idaho, sent me a copy of a letter he wrote to the Itawamba Historical Society asking for information about this bible. He also sent me a copy of the 15 April 1991 reply of the Society’s secretary, stating that she had no name or address for the owner of the bible. I have contacted Itawamba Historical Society, too, without having received information about the bible. A notice in Itawamba Settlers 9,2 (Summer 1989), p. 69, says that the Society has two large packets of between 30-150 pages of original 19th-century material on the Brooks family. It’s possible that a photocopy of this bible register, with information about the bible, is in this collection of material, but, if so, I have not been able to visit the Society and look at this collection of Brooks information to verify this.

[6] 1850 federal census, Lawrence County, Alabama, district 8, p. 383 (dwelling and family 265, 6 November).

[7] Malita Warden Murphy and James L. Douthat, Wythe County, Virginia, Tax Lists 1793-1800 (Signal Mountain, Tennessee: Mountain Press, 1985), p. 1.

[8] Wythe County, Virginia, Survey Bk. 2, p. 229.

[9] Wayne County, Kentucky, Marriage Bonds Bk. 1801-1813, p. 66.

[10] See supra, n. 6. 

[11] Kentucky Land Grants, Bk. 8, pp. 469, 473.

[12] Mary B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters (Orange, Virginia: Green Publishers, 1980), vol. 3, pp. 287-8, citing James Reddus v. William Carter, Wythe County, Virginia, Superior Court of Chancery Pleas, vol. 6, 1812.

4 thoughts on “Thomas Madison Brooks (1775-1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock (1774-1837): Virginia Beginnings, 1775-1798

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