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

In 1830, the family was enumerated on the federal census in Morgan County, Illinois, and in the same year, Ransom Van Winkle appears on the delinquent tax list in Wayne County, Kentucky, with a notation that the family had gone to Illinois.[2] The 1830 census shows the family comprised of one male 40-49, one male 30-39, two males under 5, one female 20-29, and one female under 5. Ransom Van Winkle was born 11 April 1796, so he’s likely the male aged 30-39 in this census entry. His older brother Hiram Van Winkle, who was born 11 March 1790, also moved to Morgan County, Illinois, and I think he is probably the older male in this household in 1830.

Morgan County is in west-central Illinois. Franklin, where the Van Winkle family settled, is 33 miles west of the Illinois capital city, Springfield, which is in adjoining Sangamon County, where Margaret Brooks Van Winkle’s aunt Ruth Brooks and husband William Greenwood moved in the fall of 1824. The previously cited obituary of Ransom and Margaret’s son Alexander Van Winkle states, 

Alexander Van Winkle was born in Morgan county, in 1831; his father, Ransom Van Winkle was born in Kentucky, about 1796; he married in Kentucky, Miss Margaret Brooks, who was also a native of Kentucky. During the autumn of 1829 the family removed to Illinois, and located on Apple Creek, Morgan County, and settled on the unbroken prairie, prepared to cultivate the soil; there were spent the last days of the old folks

Map of Morgan County, townships 13 and 14, range 9 west and town of Franklin highlighted, from Atlas of the State of Illinois (Chicago: Warner and Beers, 1875)
American Atlas Company, Plat Book of Morgan County, Illinois (Philadelphia, Bourquin, 1891), p. 63, showing John H. Van Winkle’s tracts

Apple Creek rises near the border of Sangamon County and runs through Morgan County south of Franklin, where Ransom and Margaret are buried, before joining the Illinois River in Greene County, the county next to Morgan on the west.[3] In 1830 and 1831, Ransom bought tracts of federal land in Morgan County that appear on plat maps of the county in the vicinity of the town of Franklin, on a stream labelled Little Apple Creek.[4] In an 1891 plat book of the county, Ransom’s son John Hardin Van Winkle is listed as owner of some of the pieces of land Ransom acquired in this vicinity.[5]

Illinois State Vol. Pat. Bk. 130, p. 367, certificate #1394

On 25 November 1830, Ransom received a certificate for 147.47 acres of federal land in Morgan County from the Edwardsville federal land office.[6] The certificate states that Ransom was living in Morgan County and that the land was the northeast ¼ of section 3, township 13 north, range 9 west.

Illinois State Vol. Pat. Bk. 140, p. 99, certificate #1555

On 7 March 1831, Ransom purchased another 155.72 acres of federal land in Morgan County at the Edwardsville land office.[7] This tract was the northwest ¼ of section 2, township 13 north, range 9 west. Once again, the land certificate states that Ransom was a resident of Morgan County.

Illinois State Vol. Pat. Bk.520, p. 325, certificate #4377

On 16 May 1831, Ransom bought another 80 acres in Morgan County, this time from the Springfield federal land office.[8] This land was the west ½ of the southeast ¼ of section 34, township 14 north, range 9 west.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. D, pp. 381-2

On 3 March 1832, Ransom and Margaret sold to Thomas M. Clark, all of Morgan County, for $300 73.50 acres, the south ½ of the northeast ¼ of section 3, township 13 north, range 9 west.[9] This was half of the tract Ransom had bought on 25 November 1830 from the Edwardsville land office. The deed states that Ransom and Margaret were reserving to themselves 2½ acres that included a spring at the head of the northwest branch (perhaps of Little Apple Creek?) that ran through the land. Ransom and Margaret both signed, and on 10 March, both acknowledged the deed and it was recorded.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. R, pp. 273-4

On 9 October 1837, Ransom Van Winkle’s brother Hiram (the document uses the spelling Vanwinkle for their surname) sold Ransom, both of Morgan County, for $400 80 acres in Morgan County, the west ½ of the northwest ¼ of section 35, township 14 north, range 9 west.[10] The deed says that Hiram had bought the land at the Springfield federal land office. Hiram acknowledged the deed the same day, and it was recorded 5 October 1839.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. R, pp. 385-6

On 20 April 1839, John and Jane Clayton sold to Ransom Van Winkle (the Vanwinkle spelling is used), all of Morgan County, for $210 paid in hand to Benjamin Vaughan, 19.75 acres in section 35, township 14 north, range 9 west.[11] The Claytons signed by mark with M. Cyrus (?) witnessing, and they acknowledged the deed on 1 May 1839. It was recorded 23 December 1839.

The family of Ransom Vanwinkle (this is the spelling used) is enumerated on the 1840 federal census in Morgan County, Illinois, with one male 40-49, two males 10-15, one male 5-9, and one male under 5, along with one female 20-29, one female 10-14, one female 5-9, and one female under 5.[12] Note that Margaret’s implied age is off by quite a few years on this document, as compared with her birthdate as it appears in her father’s bible and on her tombstone.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. W, pp. 535-6

On 27 December 1845 Isham Daulton and Rebecca his wife sold to Ransom Van Winkle (Vanwinkle in the original), all of Morgan County, for $200 two 10-acre tracts in Morgan County in the northeast corner of section 2.[13] The land description is in metes and bounds. The Daultons signed by mark with Manning Mayfield witnessing, and they acknowledged the deed on 2 February 1846, with the deed being recorded on 7 May 1846.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. X, p. 95

On 5 June 1846, Elisha Jolly and Ann his wife sold to Ransom Van Winkle (Vanwinkle in the original), all of Morgan County, for $400 80 acres in Morgan County, the east ½ of the southwest ¼ of section 35, township 14 north, range 9 west.[14] Elisha signed with Ann making her mark, and with Manning Mayfield witnessing. The Jollys acknowledged the deed on the same day and it was recorded on 20 June.

It appears that Ransom Van Winkle (and, I suspect, his wife Margaret) were in Morgan County, Alabama, on 29 June 1847 (or 1849?), when Ransom wrote a receipt to David Dinsmore Lindsey for $250 legacy money paid to him as an heir (in right of wife Margaret) of the estate of Thomas Brooks. The original receipt (a digital copy is at the head of this posting) is in Thomas Brooks’s loose-papers estate file in Morgan County.[15] The date of this receipt, which is headed “Morgan County Alabama,” is smudged, but June can be made out, and then the year 1849. The reason I think this receipt was actually dated 29 June 1847 is that on the same page is another receipt with that date showing Ransom signing receipt on behalf of Margaret’s brother Thomas W. (Whitlock) Brooks for $250 legacy money to Thomas. Drury Stovall witnessed both receipts, and both are signed by Ransom using the Vanwinkle spelling of his name. It’s clear to me that Ransom wrote both receipts on the same day and in Morgan County. Ransom was receiving his brother-in-law Thomas Whitlock Brooks’s inheritance because Thomas had moved his family from Wayne County, Kentucky, to Randolph County, Missouri, in the fall of 1832.[16]

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. FF, pp. 456-8

A 15 January 1849 deed in Morgan County states that, following a court case in Morgan circuit court in October 1848, an order had been given to sell land belonging to John Ward, deceased.[17] The lawsuit was filed by William C. Clayton, Robert Scarth, and Catharine and Mary Ann Ward through their guardian Ransom Van Winkle vs. Robert Palmer and Elizabeth his wife. After the court ordered Ward’s land to be sold and an announcement was published in the Morgan Journal of Jacksonville in December, county commissioner John Sappington sold the land at Franklin on 15 January, and Ransom Van Winkle was highest bidder. He purchased the southwest ¼ of the northeast ¼ and the southeast ¼ of the northwest ¼ of section 25, township 14 north, range 9 west, paying $360 for the first parcel of land and $240 for the second. John Sappington signed with Manning Mayfield witnessing with Sappington acknowledging the deed on 16 March 1849. It was recorded on 17 October 1853.

On 8 February 1850, Andrew J. Wright and Mary Ann his wife sold to Ransom Van Winkle, all of Morgan County, for $480 land in section 25, township 14 north, range 9 west.[18] The acreage is not given; the land description is in metes and bounds. A.J. Wright signed, with Mary Ann making her mark. The Wrights acknowledged the deed on 12 February and it was recorded 17 October 1853.

The family of Ransom Vanwinkle appears on the 1850 federal census in Morgan County, Illinois.[19] Ransom is listed as a farmer, aged 30 (or 32?), birthplace unknown. His real worth is $3,000. Margaret is 48, birthplace also unknown. Children in the household are Hiram, 23, Mary, 22, Alexander, 19, James, 14, Martinette, 12, Atherton, 9, and John, 6. The census states that Hiram’s birthplace is not known; all other children were born in Illinois. A Cooper whose given name is not stated and who is a laborer is also in the household, 22 and born in Illinois. The next family enumerated is that of Thomas Van Winkle (Vanwinkle in the original). This is Ransom and Margaret’s son Thomas Brooks Van Winkle with wife Orpha Ann Bourland and son James. Note that Ransom’s age is incorrect on this census, if the birthdate of 11 April 1796 shown on his tombstone is correct — and I believe it is.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. HH, pp. 91-2

On 19 November 1852, Ransom Van Winkle (Vanwinkle in the original) and wife Margaret sold to Moses L. Clayton, all of Morgan County, for $1,800 124 acres in section 25, township 14 north, range 9 west in Morgan County.[20] The deed says the sale was subject to a vendors’ lieu of $1,290. Ransom and Margaret both signed with J.B. Duncan witnessing, and on the day of the deed, both Ransom and Margaret acknowledged it, with it being recorded 15 May 1854. Written in the margin of the deed book next to the deed is a notation signed by Ransom, dated 15 February 1856, stating that the amount of purchase had been paid in full and the vendors’ lieu cancelled.

Ransom Van Winkle is enumerated on the 1860 federal census at Franklin post office in Morgan County, Illinois.[21] The census uses Vanwinkle as the spelling of the surname. Ransom is 62, a farmer, born in Kentucky, with $10,000 real worth and $2,700 personal worth. In the household are children Sarah J. (Sarah Jane), 27, Atherton, 18, and John H., 15 (John Hardin), all born in Illinois. Also in the household is Hannah (no surname is stated), aged 60, black, listed as a servant, born in Kentucky. As will be noted in a moment, Hannah had belonged to Ransom Van Winkle’s mother Charity Sallee Van Winkle, who stated in her will in Morgan County that Hannah was to be looked after by her son Thomas.

Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. SS, pp. 361-2
Ibid., pp. 408-9

On 18 November 1861, Cullen C. Gibson and Nancy Jane his wife sold to Ransom Van Winkle (Vanwinkle in the original), all of Morgan County, for $79 3.16 acres in sections 3, township 13 north, range 9 west in Morgan County. Cullen and Nancy Jane signed with Nathan Hart witnessing, and they acknowledged the deed on 19 November, with it being recorded 8 February 1862. The same day, Ransom sold to the Gibsons for $79 two pieces of land, one 2½ acres and the other .64 acres, in sections 2 and 3, township 13 north, range 9 west in Morgan County.[22] Ransom signed, with Isaac Hill witnessing. Ransom acknowledged the deed on 3 December 1861 and it was recorded 5 March 1862. Margaret had died on 4 September 1855, and Ransom then died 10 January 1862, so the deed was recorded posthumously.

As has been noted previously, Margaret Brooks Van Winkle died 4 September 1855 at Franklin in Morgan County, Illinois, and Ransom Van Winkle followed her in death on 10 January 1862. Both are buried in the Franklin town cemetery at Franklin in Morgan County with a tombstone recording dates of birth and death for both.[23]

Some brief notes on Abraham Van Winkle or Vanwinkle, father of Ransom Van Winkle: biographical information about Abraham appears in both Augusta Phillips Johnson’s A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky and James C. Van Winkle’s A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family. According to the latter source, Abraham Van Winkle was born 19 September 1764, son of Michael Van Winkle and Phoebe Carter, and died about 1845 in Morgan County, Illinois.[24] 

James Van Winkle notes that according to Thomas W. Westerfield’s Kentucky Genealogy and Biography, Abraham was born in Maryland, but he does not provide information about which volume of Westerfield’s five-volume series published under that title, gathering biographical material from William Henry Perrin, J.H. Battle, and G.C. Kniffin’s classic Kentucky: A History of the State (1886), states this. According to James Van Winkle, Abraham’s father Michael was in New Jersey until shortly after the Revolution, then moved to the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky, and finally Ohio.[25]

On 1 February 1787 in Wilkes County, North Carolina, Abraham Van Winkle married Charity Sallee.[26] Augusta Phillips Johnson indicates that Charity was a daughter of Peter Sallee and Charity Van Winkle.[27]As she notes, the Sallees were a Huguenot family who had settled in the Huguenot colony at Manakim, Virginia, before branches of the family went to North Carolina and Kentucky. 

Johnson thinks that Abraham Van Winkle moved his family to Kentucky in 1798; if so, this was two years after his son Ransom is said per other sources to have been born in Kentucky.[28] Both Johnson and James Van Winkle note that Abraham Van Winkle was a judge and sheriff in Wayne County for a number of years (1816-1820, in the case of his judge’s term).[29] According to both sources, he moved to Morgan County, Illinois, in 1837, dying there about 1845 and being buried at Franklin.[30] James Van Winkle indicates that Abraham’s wife Charity died testate in Morgan County, Illinois, on 7 October 1850, with her will stipulating that her servant Hannah was to be looked after by her son Thomas.[31] Hannah is the servant listed in Ransom Van Winkle’s household on the 1860 federal census, as noted above. Charity Sallee Van Winkle is also buried in the Franklin cemetery in Morgan County.

As noted previously, Johnson states that Abraham Van Winkle built the first mill in Wayne County on Elk Creek about two miles south of Monticello.[32] Wayne county court order book minutes show that at November court 1801, Abraham Vanwinkle, justice, ordered Mark Lindsey, Joseph Ming, and George Bruton to view a road from Monticello to the Vanwinkle mill and make a report.[33]

The Van Winkles were a family of Dutch origin who settled in the New Netherlands colony at Bergen in what was later New Jersey. The family’s history in America is traced from its immigrant ancestor Jacob Walichs of Winkel, Holland, through many generations both by James Van Winkle in the book I’ve previously cited and in Daniel Van Winkle’s A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family: Account of Its Origin and Settlement in this Country with Data 1630-1913. Description of the Village of “Winkel,” Holland, with Illustrations.[34]

In my next posting, I’ll provide information about the children of Margaret Brooks by husband Ransom Van Winkle.


[1] This date of the Van Winkle family’s move from Kentucky to Morgan County, Illinois, appears in an obituary of Alexander Van Winkle, a son of Ransom and Margaret Brooks Van Winkle: see “Pioneer of County Is Dead: Alexander Van Winkle Answers Final Summons,” The Daily Journal [Jacksonville, Illinois] (18 February 1914); transcribed on the “Obituaries of Civil War Soldiers of Morgan County, IL” page of the Morgan County site at USGenweb.

[2] 1830 federal census, Morgan County, Illinois, p. 85; Wayne County, Kentucky Tax Bk. 1830, p. 88, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[3] J.M. Peck, A Gazetteer of Illinois in Three Parts (Philadelphia: Grigg & Elliott, 1837), p. 150.

[4] American Atlas Company, Plat Book of Morgan County, Illinois (Philadelphia, Bourquin, 1891), p. 63.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Illinois State Vol. Pat. Bk. 130, p. 367, certificate #1394.

[7] Ibid., Pat. Bk. 140, p. 99, certificate #1555.

[8] Ibid., Pat. Bk. 520, p. 325, certificate #4377.

[9] Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. D, pp. 381-2.

[10] Ibid., Bk. R, pp. 273-4.

[11] Ibid., pp. 385-6.

[12] 1840 federal census, Morgan County, Illinois, p. 430.

[13] Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. W, pp. 535-6.

[14] Ibid., Bk. X, p. 95.

[15] See loose-papers probate file of Thomas Brooks held by the Morgan County Archives in Decatur.

[16] See History of Randolph and Macon Counties, Missouri (St. Louis: National Historical Co., 1884), pp. 541-3.

[17] Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. FF, pp. 456-8.

[18] Ibid., 458-9.

[19] 1850 federal census, Morgan County, Illinois, p. 322B (dwelling 2124/family 2171; 24 October).

[20] Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. HH, pp. 91-2.

[21] 1860 federal census, Morgan County, Illinois, Franklin post office (dwelling 2052/family 2020; 7 August).

[22] Morgan County, Illinois, Deed Bk. SS, pp. 361-2, 408-9.

[23] 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.

[24] Van Winkle, A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family, pp. 103, 172.

[25] Ibid. Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, also states that Abraham Van Winkle was a native of Maryland, who moved with his parents to Virginia, then to North Carolina, where he married Charity Sallee before moving to Kentucky in 1798 (p. 95).

[26] Van Winkle, A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family, p. 103.

[27] Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, p. 232.

[28] Ibid., p. 95.

[29] Ibid., p. 100.

[30] Ibid.; and Van Winkle, A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family, p. 103.

[31] Van Winkle, A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family, p. 103, citing Morgan County, Illinois, Will Bk. B, p. 73.

[32] Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, p. 24.

[33] Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. A, p. 23.

[34] Daniel Van Winkle, A Genealogy of the Van Winkle Family: Account of Its Origin and Settlement in this Country with Data 1630-1913. Description of the Village of “Winkel,” Holland, with Illustrations (Jersey City, New Jersey: Datz, 1980).

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

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