Children of Thomas Brooks (1775 – 1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock: Margaret Brooks (1803-1855) and Husband Ransom Van Winkle — Wayne County, Kentucky Years

3. Margaret Brooks, who was born 6 February 1803 in Wayne County, Kentucky. Margaret’s date of birth is recorded in her father’s bible, whose register of births, deaths, and marriages was, as previous postings have noted (and see also here), transcribed and published in the journal Itawamba Settlers in 1988.[1] As has also been noted, at Thomas Brooks’s estate sale in Morgan County, Alabama, on 20 April 1839, Thomas’s oldest son Charles Brooks bought the bible, and it then passed down among members of the Brooks family in Itawamba County, Mississippi. I have been unable to discover its present whereabouts or to find a copy of the original bible register.

Margaret’s tombstone in Franklin town cemetery, Franklin, Morgan County, Illinois, also gives 6 February 1803 as her date of birth.[2] The tombstone is a shared tombstone recording, in addition to Margaret’s dates of birth and death, the dates of birth and death of her husband Ransom Van Winkle. I don’t know when the tombstone was erected; to my eye based on seeing photos of it, it looks to have been put up some years following Margaret’s death in 1855 and Ransom’s in 1862.

The previously mentioned transcript of Thomas Brooks’s bible register states that Margaret was baptized by Rev. Elliott Joiner; this is evidently transcribing a statement written next to Margaret’s name in the bible register. I’m fairly confident that the name “Elliott Jones” has been mistranscribed here as “Elliott Joiner.” 

As numerous previous postings (see, e.g., herehere, and here) have indicated, Rev. Elliott Jones (1764-1841) was a Methodist minister in Wayne County, Kentucky, and Lawrence County, Alabama, who was closely connected to the Brooks family and the intermarried Lindsey family. He officiated at the wedding of Margaret’s older sister Jane Brooks to Dennis Lindsey in Wayne County on 18 February 1813. After the Lindsey, Brooks, and Jones families had moved to Alabama, Elliott Jones presided at the wedding of Johnson H. Brooks, son of James Brooks and Nancy Isbell and a nephew of Thomas Brooks, to Elizabeth Hunter (the widow of Godfrey Isbell Gailey) in Lawrence County, Alabama, on 21 December 1834. Johnson Brooks’s sister Mary Ann married a grandson of Elliott Jones, Elliott Jones Tuttle, and Johnson’s and Mary Ann’s brother James Irwin Brooks married Elliott Jones Tuttle’s sister Mary Minerva Tuttle. As another previous posting notes, on 31 May 1819 in Wayne County, Kentucky, Robert Gillespie willed the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal church in Wayne County land on which to build a church; the will names trustees including (among others) Thomas Brooks, Elliott Jones, and John Vanwinkle, an uncle of Ransom Van Winkle. Both the Vanwinkle and Van Winkle spellings are found in various records. I’m using the latter spelling here because it appears to be the spelling his branch of the family used in subsequent generations — though Ransom himself seems usually to have used the Vanwinkle spelling, and that’s the spelling on his tombstone. And Ransom’s children seem sometimes to have spelled their surname as Vanwinkle and at other times as VanWinkle.

According to June Baldwin Bork in her abstract of early Wayne County, Kentucky, marriage records, Ransom Van Winkle gave bond with Micajah Phillips in Wayne County on 29 August 1823 to marry Margaret Brooks, and the couple married on 9 September 1823.[3] I’m relying on Bork’s abstract and cannot offer you a copy of the original marriage bond and record because the digitized copies of Wayne County marriage bonds available at the FamilySearch site do not include the years 1814-1833.

Photo of Micajah Phillips, Augusta Phillips Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky (Louisville: Standard, 1939), p. 96

The name “Micajah Phillips” deserves attention for multiple reasons. Micajah Phillips (1796-1883), the son of Cornelius Phillips and Rhoda Shores, was a brother-in-law of Ransom Van Winkle. Ransom’s brother Micajah Van Winkle married Micajah’s sister Mary Phillips in Wayne County on 27 October 1817.[4] In her book A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, Augusta Phillips Johnson, a descendant of the Wayne County Phillips family, provides interesting information about Micajah. She notes that the first mill in Wayne County was built by Abraham Van Winkle on Elk Creek two miles south of Monticello, and was later acquired by Micajah Phillips.[5]  

Abraham Van Winkle (1764-1839) was Ransom Van Winkle’s father, and the father of Micajah Van Winkle who married Micajah Phillips’s sister Mary. Both Abraham Van Winkle and Micajah Phillips were judges in Wayne County.[6] According to Johnson, Micajah Phillips lived at Wayne County’s seat Monticello while operating a prosperous sheep farm just south of Monticello on a fork of Beaver Creek off the road from Monticello to Abraham Van Winkle’s mill.[7] Micajah is remembered in Wayne County as the father of its public school system: in 1837 and afterwards, he was a commissioner to set up common schools in the county, which was the first county in Kentucky to set up a public school system.[8]

There are other family connections in Micajah Phillips’s circle of connections that also deserve attention here. On 27 May 1841 in Wayne County, Micajah married Eliza/Elizabeth Jones, daughter of Joshua F. Jones and Hannah Todhunter.[9] Hannah Todhunter was a sister of Evan Todhunter, a name that has appeared frequently in previous postings due to the numerous intermarriages of Evan’s descendants (who used the surname Hunter) with the Brooks and Lindsey families of Lawrence and Morgan County, Alabama. As has also been noted, Evan and Hannah Todhunter had a sister Mary who married James Jones, and whose daughters Mary and Joicy married sons of Jacob Hollingsworth and Mary Brooks. In addition to the links I’ve just provided, please click the tags “Evan Todhunter” and “Mary Todhunter” below for further information. 

One other family connection deserves attention here as we discuss Micajah Phillips’s tie to Ransom Van Winkle as bondsman for Ransom’s marriage to Margaret Brooks and as Ransom’s brother-in-law: as previous postings have noted (e.g., here), the parents of Sarah Whitlock Brooks, mother of Margaret, were Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips of Wythe County, Virginia, and Cumberland County, Kentucky. I haven’t been able to establish who Hannah’s parents were or where she was born. She and Thomas Whitlock married about 1770. Thomas was in Montgomery County, Virginia, by 1777, living on land that would eventually fall into Wythe County, and he and Hannah were undoubtedly married by then, since they began having children around 1772 — and this places Hannah’s date of birth, I believe, prior to around 1757. 

There are some clues, however, that make me wonder if Hannah Phillips Whitlock belonged to the same Phillips family from which Micajah Phillips descends. One big clue is that William Hurst, son-in-law of Thomas and Hannah Phillips Whitlock (William married Mildred Whitlock) witnessed the will of Abner Phillips in Surry County, North Carolina, on 10 November 1812.[10] Abner was Micajah Phillips’s grandfather. Micajah’s father Cornelius Phillips moved his family to Wayne County, Kentucky, from Surry County, North Carolina, at some point between 1794 and 1799. At the time Thomas and Hannah Whitlock moved from Virginia to Kentucky, settling in Cumberland County, Cumberland bordered Wayne County, where Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks settled, on the east. In 1835, another county, Clinton, was cut out of Cumberland and Wayne and is now between those two counties.

Following their marriage in September 1823, Ransom and Margaret lived in Wayne County until the fall of 1829, when they moved to Illinois. On 24 May 1825 Ransom received a warrant from the state of Kentucky for 50 acres of land in Wayne on the south fork of the Cumberland River.[11] The abstract of this warrant in Jillson’s Kentucky Land Grants suggests that the original uses the spelling Vanwinkle for Ransom’s surname. Ransom and wife Margaret would sell this piece of land in September 1829 as they prepared to move to Illinois.

Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. D, p. 341

On 25 June 1827 in Wayne County, Ransom registered his ownership of an enslaved person named Charles whom he had recently purchased.[12] The wording of the document is confusing. As best as I can make it out, it affirms that Ransom Van Winkle (the deed spells the surname as Vanwinkle) had purchased Charles and did not intend for Charles to be merchandise but for Ransom’s use. A Robert Knox is mentioned either as co-purchaser or as the person from whom Ransom Van Winkle purchased Charles.

Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. E, pp. 104-5

On 14 September 1829, Ransom Van Winkle (the deed uses the Vanwinkle spelling) and Margaret his wife sold to Emanuel Sandusky, all of Wayne County, 50 acres on the Little South Fork of the Cumberland River patented to Ransom on 14 May 1826.[13] Ransom and Margaret both signed with no witnesses. On the same day, both Ransom and Margaret acknowledged the deed and it was recorded on the 21st. This piece of land was the tract for which Ransom had a warrant on 24 May 1825, and various pieces of information in subsequent documents about records Ransom, who was a justice of peace in Wayne County, left behind in a house on the land suggest to me that he and Margaret and their family had been living on this 50 acres. The land sale was obviously a preliminary to the family’s move to Illinois.

It appears that Ransom and Margaret moved from Wayne County soon after selling this piece of land to Emanuel Sandusky, since several notes in Wayne County order books from September 1829 to May 1832 speak of the records and papers of Ransom Van Winkle Esq. (Vanwinkle in the original), which he had been left behind after he moved out of state, and which were returned to the court after his move. These court notations demonstrate that Ransom was a justice of the county court — hence the appellation Esquire — and for that reason the court had an interest in retaining his records and papers. 

Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. B, p. 265

At September court 1829, according to court minutes for that session, the records and papers of Ransom Vanwinkle Esq. were removed at court order to be consigned to the care and direction of Emanuel Sandusky Esq.[14] I take this court notation to mean that Ransom’s official court papers had been left in the house in which he and Margaret had evidently lived on the 50 acres on the Little South Fork of the Cumberland River, property that Emanuel Sandusky had now acquired, so that these papers were placed under his care.

Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. B, p. 282
Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. C, p. 87

At December court 1829, court minutes state that the records and papers of Ransom Vanwinkle Esq. had been returned to the clerk’s office and consigned to the care and possession of Samuel Young Esq., the justice living nearest to the former residence of the said Vanwinkle.[15] Having taken possession of the official papers of Ransom Van Winkle that had been left behind at his residence, which Sandusky had purchased, Sandusky then delivered them to Samuel Young. Finally, at May court 1832, court minutes state that the records and papers of Ransom Vanwinkle Esq. had been ordered to be committed to the care and charge of Joshua Oath (Oates) Esq.[16]

History of Morgan County, Illinois: Its Past and Present, Containing a History of the County; Its Cities, Towns, etc.; A Biographical Directory of Its Citizens; War Record of Its Volunteers in the Late Rebellion, etc. (Chicago: Donnelley, Loyd & Co., 1878), p. 627

One possible reading of this series of court records is that Ransom and Margaret Brooks Van Winkle moved their family in haste from Wayne County, Kentucky, to Morgan County, Illinois. If that’s the case, then one wonders why…. It should be noted, though, that according to History of Morgan County, Illinois (see the digital image above this paragraph), Ransom’s first cousin John Van Winkle had preceded his cousin Ransom to Morgan County by three years, so in moving to Morgan County, Illinois, Ransom was following a relative there. (Note that though the biography above gives 1804 as John’s year of birth, his tombstone in the Franklin town cemetery indicates he was born in 1800.)

Photo of Emanuel Sandusky and second wife Mary Funderburk uploaded by Joyce Baptiste to Find a Grave memorial page of Emanuel Sandusky, Emanuel Sandusky cemetery, Parmlesyville, Wayne County, Kentucky, created by Sharon Brown, maintained by Joyce Baptiste

A note about Emanuel Sandusky (1784-1864): he was a prosperous planter at Mount Pisgah on the Little South Fork of the Cumberland River in Wayne County, who owned a salt works and water mill. The 1850 federal slave schedule for Wayne County shows him owning twelve enslaved people; in 1860, he is listed as owner of eleven enslaved people. These tallies place him among the larger slaveholders of the county, which on the whole had few enslaved people and slaveholders in comparison with slaveholding states to the south of Kentucky.


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

[2] See Find a Grave memorial page of Margaret Brooks Van Winkle, Franklin city cemetery, Franklin, Morgan County, Illinois, created by Vicki, with a tombstone photo by Connie Clark.

[3] June Baldwin Bork, Wayne CountyKentucky, vol. 2: Marriages and Vital records, 1801-1860; Marriages, K-Z  (Huntington Beach, California, 1972), p. 174.

[4] See James C. Van Winkle, A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family, 1630-1993 (Tybee Island, Georgia, 1994), p. 172-3; and Augusta Phillips Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky (Louisville: Standard, 1939), p. 95.

[5] Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, pp. 24, 100.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., pp. 129, 186; and Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. G, p. 59.

[8] Ibid., pp. 108-112.

[9] Wayne County, Kentucky, Marriage Bond Bk. 1834-1846, p. 45.

[10] Surry County, North Carolina, Will Bk. 3, p. 103A.

[11] Kentucky Land Grants Bk. S, p. 116: see Willard Rouse Jillson, The Kentucky Land Grants: A Systematic Index to All of the Land Grants Recorded in the State Land Office at Frankfort, Kentucky, 1782-1924 (Louisville: Standard, 1925), p. 754. Digital copies of the original grant document are under lock and key at the FamilySearch site.

[12] Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. D, p. 341.

[13] Ibid., Bk. E, pp. 104-5.

[14] Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. B, p. 265.

[15] Ibid., p. 282.

[16] Ibid., Bk. C, p. 87.

3 thoughts on “Children of Thomas Brooks (1775 – 1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock: Margaret Brooks (1803-1855) and Husband Ransom Van Winkle — Wayne County, Kentucky Years

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