Children of Thomas Brooks (abt. 1747 – 1805) and Wife Margaret: John Jehu and Rachel Brooks

As the last two postings linked above tell you, in his 4 November 1804 will in Wythe County, Thomas names his wife Margaret and their children.[1] Nothing in the will or estate records (or other records of this family) suggests to me that the list of children is incomplete. As I’ve stated in previous postings, the bequest to his son John Jehu Brooks — the only child of Thomas and Margaret given a middle name in the will — suggests to me that John may have been one of the youngest of Thomas and Margaret’s children, and was likely not married when the will was made. 

John Jehu Brooks

About John Jehu, Thomas Brooks’s will states,

I devise to my best beloved wife Margaret one third part of the price of said land also the household furniture & the moveable property until her decease then to be equally divided between my daughter Rebekah and John Jehu Brooks.

The will also states,

Upon James Brooks throwing in two hundred dollars, Robert Brooks one hundred and twenty dollars, Jesse Brooks one hundred dollars they may have an equal divide of the monies arising from the sales of said land with Sally Lahue, Thomas Brooks, Margaret Day, Susanna Harland, Ruthie Greenwood and Rachel Brooks, but if said sons aforementioned should be more than an equal share then they must pay John Brooks the overplus of these sums owed by them.

The sons named here, with the exception of John, were all older sons of Thomas and Margaret Brooks who already had established adult lives by this point: James was born in 1772 and had married, probably a second time, in March 1804; Thomas was born in 1775 and had married in February 1796; Robert was born in 1780 and had married in April 1804; and Jesse was born in 1783-6 and seems to have married by 1803-4. Thomas and James were living in Kentucky when the will was made. Thomas elder makes Robert and Jesse executors along with their mother Margaret because they were the two oldest sons still in Wythe County. 

The fact that John Jehu was not made an executor and that the will stipulates that his brothers are to pay him any overplus of funds the estate may yield for them confirms for me the deduction that John Jehu was a minor when the will was made, and was still living with his parents. If John Jehu Brooks was not of age in 1804, then he would have been born after 1786, but probably not many years after this, since we know from the records of Christ Church parish in Middlesex County, Virginia, that his mother Margaret was born in that parish on 30 November 1747.[2] Margaret would not have had many childbearing years left after 1786.

These statements in his father’s will are the sum total of what I know of John Jehu Brooks. I do not find him on the tax list in Wythe County at any point, or in any other county records, and in the absence of a first appearance on the county tax list, I have no information on which to base a probable date of birth for him. I also do not find him on the federal census in Wythe County at any point.

A man whose name seems to be John Brook is listed on the 1802 personal property tax list in Wayne County, Kentucky, where Thomas Brooks, son of Thomas and Margaret, had settled by 1797 and where his brothers James, Robert, and Jesse joined him for a time, but I suspect this is the John Brock found there on the 1804 tax list.[3] I’m confident this is not John Jehu Brooks, son of Thomas and Margaret Brooks of Wythe County, Virginia.

A John Brooks is on the Grayson County, Kentucky, tax list in 1810, but, though Thomas and Margaret Brooks’s daughters Sarah (married John Lahue) and Margaret (married Joseph Day) were in Grayson County by that date, I’m fairly sure this John Brooks is not their brother John Jehu Brooks.[4] I think this John Brooks may well be a John Brooks Sr. whose estate records appear in Barren County, Kentucky’s, court order book in 1815-1818. This John Brooks had died by 17 October 1815 when Barren County court gave administration of his estate to James Amos and James Brooks.[5] The administrators returned an estate inventory to court on 20 November 1815, and the estate sale was returned to court on 20 May 1816.[6] Court minutes state that an order for an estate account was given on 19 January 1818, and the account was returned to court on 20 April 1818.

This John Brooks Sr. who died by 17 October 1815 is, I think, great-grandfather of the James Pascal Brooks (1849-1937) who wrote a biography of Elder Jacob Locke, pastor of Mount Tabor Baptist church in Barren County.[7] As a previous posting states, James Pascal Brooks was, according to various sources, son of George William Brooks (1825-1898) and America Ann Harper (1827-1899), and America Ann was a granddaughter of Elder Jacob Locke. George William Brooks’s father George Brooks (1777-1754) is said by researchers of this Brooks family to have been a son of John Brooks who died in October 1815.[8]

I have no idea whether this Brooks family is in any way related to the family of Thomas Brooks and wife Margaret of Frederick and Wythe Counties, Virginia — though branches of both of these Brooks families had connections to Mount Tabor Baptist church in Barren County, Kentucky. What I can say with certainty is that the John Brooks Sr. who died in Barren County, Kentucky, in October 1817 is not John Jehu Brooks, son of Thomas and Margaret Brooks.  

To repeat a point I made above: I haven’t found any clear record of John Jehu Brooks other than what his father’s will states about him. I find no mention of him in any of his father’s estate records, which have no list (none that I have found, at least) showing a final disbursal of any estate holdings to Thomas Brooks’s heirs, naming them and stating where they were living when the estate was finally settled. It’s possible John Jehu died after the will was written and did not live to maturity. It’s also possible that he went to Kentucky when all of his siblings except Ruth Brooks Greenwood moved there. If that’s the case, I have not found any clear trace of him there.

[9] NARA, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812, RG 94, available digitally at Fold3

There is a War of 1812 service packet in Virginia for a Jehu Brooks. The index card for his service record states that it was originally filed under the name John Brooks. Whether that means that this man’s name was John Jehu Brooks or that his name, Jehu, had originally been misread as John when the filing system was created, I cannot say. I have not seen this service record, only the index card for it, which shows that Jehu Brooks served in the 39th Regiment of the Virginia Militia under Major Joseph G. Wilder and Lieutenant Colonel James Byrne.[9] Joseph Gwinn Wilder and James Byrne both lived at Petersburg, Virginia, and the men in the unit they commanded in the War of 1812 were drawn for the most part from that vicinity and from southside Virginia. It seems to me very unlikely that the Jehu Brooks of this service record is John Jehu Brooks, son of Thomas Brooks and Margaret Beaumont/Beamon.

A final footnote about John Jehu Brooks: As we’ve seen in previous postings (and also here), Elizabeth Rice, a daughter of Thomas Brooks’s sister Elizabeth (1747/1750-1816), who married George Rice, had a son John Jehu Rice, who was born in 1793-4 in Frederick County, Virginia. John Jehu Rice was born prior to Elizabeth Rice’s marriage to John McCormick. Since John Jehu Rice was likely born after John Jehu Brooks, it’s possible Elizabeth Rice gave him the name of her cousin who was the son of her uncle Thomas Brooks. Or perhaps there is some John Jehu someone or other further back in this family tree and I have not yet discovered him.

Rachel Brooks

About Rachel Brooks, daughter of Thomas Brooks and Margaret Beaumont/Beamon, I also know nothing other than what is stated about her in Thomas Brooks’s 4 November 1804 will in Wythe County, Virginia, which indicates that she was not married when the will was made. That may mean that Rachel was one of Thomas and Margaret’s younger children, but the fact that the will names Rachel along with Sally Lahue, Thomas Brooks, Margaret Day, Susanna Harland, and Ruthie Greenwood (see the section of the will excerpted above) makes me think she may have been an older child of Thomas and Margaret. I find Rachel in no other records, including her father’s estate records, and I find no indication that she moved to Kentucky with her siblings (other than Ruth Brooks Greenwood, who went to Illinois), and lived among her siblings either unmarried or with a spouse she married in Kentucky.

In my next series of postings, I’ll provide information about the children of Thomas and Margaret Brooks’s son Thomas Brooks and his wife Sarah Whitlock. Thomas and Sarah are my ancestors through their daughter Jane who married Dennis Lindsey.

[1] Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 308-9.

[2] National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Virginia, from 1653 to 1812 (Richmond: William Ellis Jones, 1897), p. 286.

[3] Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1802, p. 3 (30 July) and 1805, p. 5 (1 August).

[4] Grayson County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1810, p. 3. 

[5] Barren County Court Order Bk. 4, p. 167.

[6] Ibid., pp. 174, 205.

[7] James P. Brooks, The Biography of Elder Jacob Locke, Barren County, Kentucky (Glasgow, Kentucky: Times Print, 1881).

[8] The John Brooks Sr. who died in Barren County in October 1817 had a son John who married Betsy Cowerts in Barren County on 21 July 1803, with Rev. Jacob Locke marrying the couple.

[9] NARA, Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812, RG 94, available digitally at Fold3.

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