Children of Thomas Brooks (1775 – 1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock: Alexander Mackey Brooks (1808-1899) — Houston Years and Final Years in Tyler County, Texas

The Move to Houston, 1860, and Alexander and Aletha’s Life There

The 1860 federal census confirms that Alexander and Aletha had moved from Bastrop to Houston by that date.[1] The census shows Alexander and Aletha living in Houston’s 2nd ward. It lists A.M. Brooks as 52, born in Kentucky, an engineer with $4,000 real and $17,000 personal worth. In the household are wife Eletha, 52, born in Georgia, and three girls, Mary 14, Ann, 9, and Fanny, 6, all born in Texas. 

Mary Jane and Fanny were Aletha’s granddaughters, daughters of her daughter Mary Hope and Mary’s husband Paul Garner Moffatt, both of whom had died by 1860. According to George W. Glass, Mary Hope Moffatt and her oldest son James were killed by lightning in 1854 while working in the fields of the Moffatt family farm near Madisonville, Texas, in what was then Walker County and later Madison County.[2] Glass says that after his wife’s death, Paul Moffatt entrusted his children to various neighbors, some of whom began preparations to adopt them. When Aletha Sorrells Brooks learned of her daughter’s death and her son-in-law’s plans to have his children adopted by neighbors, she traveled immediately from Bastrop to Walker County and took Mary Jane and Frances to live with her.

Glass’s notes cite an 1939 oral interview he conducted with Frances, who was then Frances Moffat McCarty. She told Glass that when her grandmother discovered her daughter Mary Jane had died and that Paul G. Moffatt had placed some of the children with neighbors with plans to give them up for adoption, she was enraged. Mary’s children John and Kate had been sent to live with their uncle William Moffatt. Aletha came to the Moffatt farm and fetched Mary Jane and Frances to live with her, and after Paul Moffatt died in 1868 in Houston, Kate also came to live with her grandmother Aletha and husband Alexander M. Brooks. According to Frances McCarty, Aletha had to go to court to gain custody of Mary Jane, since plans were in place for her to be adopted by neighbors. Alexander M. Brooks’s 1 November 1895 affidavit in the Brazos County lawsuit states, “I raised three of Mary’s [i.e., Mary Hope Moffatt],” and then goes on to name these three children as Kate, Mary Jane, and Frances.[3]

Frances McCarty told Glass her grandmother never forgave Paul G. Moffatt for not sending her grandchildren to her after their mother’s death. She stated that when her father died (she was fourteen at the time), his funeral procession passed the Brooks house on Liberty Road near Rothwell Street in Houston’s 5th ward, but her grandmother would not permit her to stand on the gallery and watch it.  She closed the shutters so that Frances could not see the funeral procession.

Glass identifies Ann who was living with Alexander and Aletha Brooks in 1860 as Rebecca Ann Chiek, an adopted daughter of Alexander and Aletha, who married James Dallas Collier in Houston in 1869.  According to Glass, Rebecca Ann took the name Brooks at the time of this marriage. For his information about Rebecca Ann, Glass cites statements sent to him Rebecca Ann’s daughter Mrs. Elta Gage of Los Angeles and her granddaughter Mrs. Carrol Rock of Woodville, Texas.[4] As we’ll see later, Alexander spent his final years with Rebecca Ann and her husband James D. Collier in Warren, some 12 miles south of Woodville, and his obituary identifies her as his daughter.

Alexander M. Brooks also appears on the 1860 federal slave schedule in Houston holding three enslaved people, males aged 57 and 31, and a female aged 19.[5]  

I’m not sure what the designation of Alexander M. Brooks on the 1860 federal census as an engineer is intended to communicate. Both the 1870 and 1880 federal censuses list him as a lumber merchant in Houston. On the 1870 census, he and his family appear in Houston’s 5th ward.[6] Alexander is 61, born in Kentucky, a lumber merchant, and Aletha is 63, born in Georgia. Also in the household are Aletha’s granddaughters Kate, 18, and Fannie, 16, both born in Texas, with no surname given for them.

The 1880 federal census shows A.M. Brooks’s family again in Houston’s 5th ward, living on Liberty Road, with no house numbers given.[7] A.M. Brooks is 72, born in Kentucky, a lumber dealer. The census states that his father was born in Ireland, and gives no birthplace for his mother. The Irish birthplace for Alexander’s father Thomas Brooks is not correct. Elita is 73, born in Georgia with South Carolina-born parents. Also in the household are Aletha’s granddaughter Kate Fant and Kate’s husband Napoleon Fant and their children Carrie, Jessie, and Samuel. Kate is listed as a grandchild and her children as great-grandchildren. A domestic servant Dinah Phillips, 35, black, is also in the household.

Morrison & Fourmy’s General Directory of the City of Houston, 1882-83 (Washington, D.C.: Morrison & Fourmy, 1882), p. 101

Houston’s 1882 city directory provides specific information about where Alexander and his family lived in this time frame.[8] It states that Alexander M. Brooks was a lumberman living on the north side of Liberty Road between Chestnut and Chapman Streets. The 1886 city directory, a year after Aletha’s death, gives a specific address for Alexander M. Brooks: 37 Liberty Avenue, between Chestnut and Chapman.[9]

George W. Glass provides a helpful list of references to Alexander and Aletha in Harris County deed books, 1836-1903, in his collection entitled “Aletha Sorrels Hope Freel Patterson Pierce Brooks.”[10] As we’ve seen previously, Alexander was living in Houston in November 1842 when he assigned his Johnson County, Texas, headright grant to Charles Bigelow, also a Houston resident, and then bought from Bigelow four lots in Houston, which he then sold the following year to Isaac Applewhite. After this, he moved to Bastrop in 1846.

Harris County deed records show Alexander actively buying and selling property after he and Aletha moved there by Bastrop by 1860. On 30 January 1863, Alexander bought from William Burnett, both of Houston, for $800 a lot in Houston on the north side of Buffalo Bayou fronting on Liberty Road, starting at the northeast corner of a lot conveyed by said Burnett to Aletha Brooks, with all appurtenances thereon (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. Z, p. 584). Burnett signed and acknowledged the deed the same day and it was recorded 9 February 1863.

On the same day as the previous transaction (30 January 1863), Burnett sold Aletha for $800 lot or parcel in Houston, also on the north side of Buffalo Bayou fronting on Liberty Road starting at a point distant from the southeast corner pillar of the house in which Aletha lived, thence parallel with Chapman Street (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 3, pp. 749-750). There is no acknowldgment date; the deed was recorded 17 January 1867.

On 16 June 1866, D. Gregg sold A.M. Brooks and G.R. McGowen, all of Harris County, for $1,100 650 acres out of the Joseph Calihan tract assigned to D. Gregg (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 3, pp. 793-4). The land was near the southwest fork of Green Bayou about 8 miles northeast of Houston. There is no acknowldgment date. The deed was recorded 30 January 1867.

On 10 December 1866, Alexender sold James E. Foster for $3,000 37¾ acres from the Samuel M. Harris league on the north side of Buffalo Bayou adjoining a survey for Peagow, conveyed by William Chapman to A. McGown and from him to Brooks (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 4, p. 39). Alexander acknowledged the deed the same day and it was then recorded.

On 20 November 1867, James E. Foster sold Alexander M. Brooks, both of Harris County, for $300 block 58 in the Nobles addition to the city of Houston, with all appurtenances thereon Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 6, pp. 578-9). Foster acknowledged the deed on 22 November and it was recorded 10 November 1868.

On 25 May 1869, J.E. Wood sold Alexander, both of Houston, for $200 4/5 of a lot adjoining Brooks’s lot on Liberty Road (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 7, p. 414). The deed has no acknowledgment and was recorded the day after it was made.

On 30 June 1868, M.A. Bryan sold A.M. Brooks for 30,000 feet of pine lumber to be delivered at A.M. Brooks’s lumber yard in the city of Houston the Randal P. Battis survey of 640 acres in Harris County on the south fork of Green Bayou about 6 miles northeast of Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 7, p. 579). Bryan acknowledged the deed on 28 June 1869 and it was recorded that day.

On 22 June 1869, A.M. McGowen of Harris County sold Alexander for Alexander’s relinquishment of interest in four lots in the Richey survey purchased from A. Crawford and also for $2,000 specie (being four notes of $500 each) all his rights, title, and interest in 650 acres in Harris County out of the Joseph Callahan survey that had been assigned to D. assignee and purchased by G.R. McGowen and A.M. Brooks from D. Gregg by deed filed 30 January 1867 (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 7, pp. 592-3). Also included in the sale were the steam saw mill on said tract with all fixtures and appurtenances thereto including oxen, mules, wagon, horses, buildings, lumber, logs, etc. Brooks assumed all indebtedness of the mill. This deed was witnessed by J. Brashear, Alex Hinckle, and W.A. Daly. Daly proved the deed the same day and it was recorded.

On 1 November 1869, Alexander sold A.M. McGowen, both of Harris County, for $1,500 block 58 in the Nobles addition to the city of Houston, on the north side Buffalo Bayou, also 650 acres on Halls Bayou bought from Denis Gregg with all appurtenances thereon (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 8, p. 200). Alexander acknowledged the deed on 10 December 1869 and it was recorded 18 December 1869.

On 5 July 1870, by virtue of a writ of execution out of the justice court of Harris County in favor of A.M. Brooks and against M. Lanier in a judgment rendered 7 May 1870 with the writ delivered to the sheriff on 13 June 1870, the sheriff sold A.M. Brooks for $100 lot 1 in block 7 and lots 1,2, and 7 in block 1 in Chapman’s addition to the city of Houston on the north side of Buffalo and White Oak Bayous (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9A, pp. 76-7). Sheriff Asher B. Hall acknowledged this execution of the writ on 22 July 1870 and it was recorded 26 July.

On 26 July 1870, A.M. Brooks sold K. McDuffie, both of Harris County, for $200 the property acquired on 5 July (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9A, p. 80;see the preceding deed). J. Brashear witnessed the deed and Alexander acknowledged it the same day and it was then recorded.

On 21 June 1871, a deed was recorded in Harris County stating that on 17 July 1845, a land certificate for 640 acres was issued by the board of commissioners of Washington County, certificate #250, to Randall P. Potter assignee of Malcolm B. Terrell (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, pp. 403-5). Potter received the certificate 22 May 1871 in Harris County. Potter later died died intestate. On 27 December 1857 his heirs, father Luther and mother Patia B. Potter, gave power of attorney to Edward H. Hopkins in St. Lawrence County, New York as Randall Potter’s estate was settled. This power of attorney was recorded in Harris County on 21 June 1858 (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. U, p. 210). On 29 June 1858, Hopkins conveyed to John L. Bryan the heirs’ interest in half of Potter’s 640 acres in Harris County (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, p. 402). Bryan then died leaving wife Mary Ann as executrix. On 28 June 1869, Mary Ann deeded to A.M. Brooks 640 acres from the Randall P. Potter survey (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 7, p. 579). Mary Ann made this deed improperly and not as executrix of John L. Bryan, so deed was declared null and void. Bryan had deeded a third interest in the land to Darius (Denis?) Gregg, who had died, and who conveyed his interest to A.M. Brooks. As executor of Gregg, Alexander McGowen, accepting considerations paid by A.M. Brooks, deeded the 640 acres to Brooks on 21 June 1871. McGowen acknolwedged the deed on 21 June 1871 and it was then recorded.

On 5 July 1871, Benjamin F. Gammon of Harris County sold to A.M. Brooks and Mary Jane Gammon for $300 the south half of the Samuel Harris tract on the north side of Buffalo Bayou in Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, pp. 464-5). The deed was acknowledged by Gammon the (blank day) July 1871 and recorded 10 July. (Mary Jane was a granddaughter of Aletha Sorrells and James Hope, a daughter of their daughter Mary, who married Paul Garner Moffatt; Mary Jane Moffatt married Benjamin Gammon).

On 29 July 1871, Mary Jane and Benjamin F. Gammon of Houston sold to A.M. Brooks of Harris County for $450 Mary Jane’s half interest in the south half of a tract out of the S.M. Harris grant on the north side Buffalo Bayou within the incorporated limits of Houston Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, pp. 596-7). Half of this tract had been purchased by Thomas Williamson from D. Gregg (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 2, pp. 81-2) less two lots sold by the Gammons to Riley Van Patten. The land being sold to A.M. Brooks was the half interest of Mary J. Gammon in property sold by Benjamin F. Gammon on 5 July 1871 (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, p. 464). On 29 July 1871, Mary Jane and Benjamin F. Gammon acknowledged the deed and it was recorded 7 September 1871.

On 24 November 1871, A.M. Brooks of Houston sold Napoleon Fant of (blank) for $600 the south half of a tract out of the Samuel Harris grant on the north side of Buffalo Bayou (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 10, pp. 92-3). A.M. Brooks acknowledged the deed the same day and it was then recorded. (Napoleon Fant was the husband of Katherine Moffatt, daughter of Paul Garner Moffatt and Mary Hope; as noted above, Mary Hope was a daughter of Aletha Sorrells by her husband James Hope.)

On 22 November 1871, A.M. Brooks of Houston sold Sam Allen of Harris County for $1,000 533 2/3 acres out of 640 acres of the Randall P. Potter tract on the south fork of Green’s Bayou about 6 miles northeast of Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 11, pp. 88-9). A.M. Brooks acknowledged the deed on 23 November and it was recorded the next day.

On 14 January 1876, A.M. Brooks sold Frank Larch and wife Mary for $250 40 acres out of the Joseph Callihan survey near the headwaters of Halls Bayou (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 14, pp. 718-9). A.M. Brooks acknowledged the deed the same day and it was then recorded. Note that the surname Callahan, Callihan, Calihan is spelled differently in different deeds I’ve abstracted here; I’m replicating the spelling in each deed.

On a day month and year all left blank, but possibly 14 September 1875, Alexander McGowen sold A.M. Brooks, both of Harris County, for $1,500 block 58 in the Nobles addition of Houston, and 650 acres on the north side of Halls Bayou that McGowen had bought from Brooks on 1 November 1869 and to which he was selling Brooks the right, title, interest, and all appurtenances (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk.15, pp. 95-6). McGowen acknowledged the deed on 14 September 1875 and it was recorded that day.

On 7 October 1876, A.M. Brooks sold A. McGowen, no places of residence given, for $1,500 lots 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 in block 58 of the Nobles addition to the city of Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk.15, p. 940. A.M. Brooks acknowledged the deed the same day and it was recorded 10 October.

On 29 April 1876, A.M. Brooks and his wife (not named) sold W.P. Toole, all of Harris County, for $200 lots 1 and 2 in block 58 in the Nobles addition of Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 16, p. 109). A.M. Brooks and Alethea Brooks both signed and both acknowledged the deed on 3 May 1876 and it was recorded on 15 December 1876.

On 24 December 1877, Napoleon Fant sold A.M. Brooks, both of Harris County, for $1,600 the south half of a tract of the Samuel W. Harris grant on the north side of Buffalo Bayou (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk 16, pp. 463-4). The land was half of a tract purchased by Thomas Williamson from D. Gregg (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 2, pp. 81-2), less two lots sold by Benjamin Gammon and wife to Riley Van Patten, being the same property conveyed by Benjamin Gammon to A.M. Brooks and Mary Jane Gammon (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, p. 454), with Mary Jane and her husband conveying their interest to A.M. Brooks (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 9B, p. 596). On the same day Napoleon Fant acknowledged the deed and it was recorded.

On 17 April 1873, Luther Potter of Rutland, Vermant, father of R.P. Potter deceased, and Betsey J. Carncrose and Levi Carncrose her husband, Elisha A. Potter and Nancy Potter of St. Lawrence County, New York, the surviving children of Luther Potter and heirs of R.P. Potter, and E.H. Hopkins of Richville in St. Lawrence County, New York, sold to A.M. Brooks of Harris County, Texas, for $300 their right and interest to 640 acres granted to R.P. Potter, being the undivided one-third interest, and also their interest in the pine or other timber heretofore cut and removed from said land (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 17, pp. 355-7). All parties signed with E.H. Hopkins acting as attorney. The deed was recorded 1 June 1877.

On 23 February 1877, A.M. Brooks sold Frank Larch and wife Mary, all of Harris County, for $250 40 acres from the Joseph Callahan tract on north side Halls Bayou about 7½ miles northeast of Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 17, p. 494). A.M. Brooks acknowledged the deed the same day and it was recorded 9 August 1877.

On 4 February 1879, A.M. Brooks sold Harry F. Fitzgerald, both of Harris County, for $40 9 acres from the eastern part of a survey granted to M.B. Terrell on the waters of Halls Bayou (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 19, pp. 440-1). The deed has a plat of the land being sold. A.M. Brooks acknowledged the deed in Houston on 5 February and it was recorded the same day.

On 20 June 1879, A.M. Brooks sold Patrick McEvoy, both of Harris County, for $500 40 acres out of the J. Callahan survey on the north side of Halls Bayou about 7 miles northeast of Houston adjoining Frank Larch (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 20, pp. 35-6). A.M. Brooks proved the deed 25 June and it was recorded 19 September 1879.

On 6 December 1879, Wm. Burnett and Mrs. A.D. Burnett his wife sold Aletha Brooks, all of Harris County, for $600 a lot on Liberty Road north of Buffalo Bayou in Houston (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 20, pp. 224-6). This deed was made for the purpose of perfecting the deed William Burnett had made to Aletha Brooks on 30 January 1863 (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 3, pp. 749-750) by obtaining the signature of A.D. Burnett, and also the word “one” on the 7th line from the bottom was added before signing. On the same day both Burnetts acknowledged the deed and it was recorded 13 January 1880.

On 3 January 1880 A.M. Brooks sold George C. Davis, both of Harris County, for $1,000 270 acres, the north part of the survey of 640 acres originally surveyed for Randall P. Potter assignee of Malcolm D. Terrill on the south prong of Green’s Bayou (also called Halls Bayou) (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk.20, p. 234). Brooks signed with witness G.H. Grant, and acknowledged the deed the same day. It was recorded 16 January 1880.

On 26 November 1883, A.M. Brooks and Aletha Brooks his wife sold Z.T. Hogan, all of Harris County, for $1,000 a tract (no acreage or lot of block numbers given) on the north side of Buffalo Bayou on Liberty Road in Houston about ½ mile northeast of the courthouse (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 28, pp. 538-9). The land adjoined the Brooks homestead on Liberty Road. Of the $1,000, Hogan had already paid $250 and made a promissory note for the $750. Alexander and Aletha acknowledged the deed on 3 December and it was recorded on 5 December.

On 28 May 1884, A.M. Brooks sold Z.T. Hogan, both of Harris County, for $700 640 acres, the Potter tract, and 400 acres from the Callahan tract less 40 acres conveyed to Frank Larch and wife (Harris County, Texas, Deed Bk. 30, pp. 64-5). On the same day A.M. and Aletha Brooks acknowledged the deed and it was then recorded.

The digitized copies of Harris County deed books available through FamilySearch (one must log into a computer within the system of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City) do not go beyond Deed Bk. 33. Glass has indexed Harris County deeds for Alexander M. Brooks in these later deed books, which I have not included here, since I do not have access to them via FamilySearch. Note that the deeds abstracted above confirm what other sources say — that Aletha owned a house on Liberty Road before marrying Alexander and she and Alexander then settled there when they moved to Houston, expanding the property; and that Alexander owned a sawmill on the southwest fork of Green Bayou on what had been the Joseph Callahan/Callihan tract about 8 miles northeast of Houston. He co-owned the mill with A.M. McGowen for a time and then had sole ownership of it later.

Aletha’s Death

“Death of an Aged Lady,” Galveston Daily News (4 December 1885), p. 3, col. 2

As I’ve just noted, Aletha Sorrells Brooks died in Houston in 1885. Her death occurred at home just after midnight on 3 December 1885. Her obituary published in both Houston Age and Galveston Daily Newsreads as follows:[11]

DEATH OF AN AGED LADY

Mrs. Aletha, wife of Major A.M. Brooks and grandmother of Mrs. B.W. McCarty, Mrs. George Harriman, and Mrs. Napolean Fant, died at the family residence in the Fifth ward at half past 12 o’clock last night. Deceased was one of the earliest settlers of this city. She has lived her for nearly half a century, and nearly all the time in the Fifth ward, in which her husband has been all the time a prominent, influential, leading citizen. She was a lady in whom the kind, benevolent graces of the christian character were beautifully blended, and won for her the tender regard of all who knew her. To her bereaved relations the Age extends condolences. But our sympathies go especially to Major Brooks, who has had stricken from him the partner of his bosom, with whom, locked hand and hand, he has made the journey of life.

In  a collection of notes and documents entitled “Miscellaneous Notes on the James Hope Family,” George W. Glass transcribes a brief account of Aletha’s funeral published in Houston Post on 4 December 1885.[12] This account stated,

The funeral of the late Mrs. Aletha Brooks…took place yesterday at 3 at the family residence at 37 Liberty St. The remains were followed to the grave by a large number of friends and acquaintances.

Tombstone of Aletha Sorrells Brooks, photo by bgbutler, at Find a Grave memorial page of Aletha H. Sorrels Brooks, Glenwood cemetery, Houston, Harris County, Texas, created by bgbutler

According to Glass, Aletha was buried in the old city cemetery of Houston, and when the land was cleared later for a building site, her granddaughters had her gravestone moved to Glenwood Cemetery, where Aletha’s granddaughter Mary Jane Moffatt Harriman is buried.[13] Aletha was buried in a lot at Glenwood belonging to this granddaughter. 

Alexander’s Final Years and Death in Tyler County

In an affidavit she gave in Houston on 4 September 1896 in the Brazos County lawsuit, Mary Jane Moffatt Harriman stated that Alexander M. Brooks was residing then at Woodville, Texas, having recently moved there from Houston. According to Glass in his “Hope Family Notes [and] Notes on Aletha Sorrels Hope,” from 1896, when Alexander left Houston, up to his death on 8 February 1899, he lived with his adopted daughter Rebecca Ann Chiek Collier and died at her house in Warren, Tyler County, Texas, some 12 miles south of Woodville.[14]

Rebecca Ann Chiek Collier, photo uploaded by Beverly Singleton to Find a Grave memorial page of Rebecca Ann Brooks Collier, Magnolia cemetery, Woodville, Tyler County, Texas, created by Beverly Singleton

Alexander M. Brooks’s obituary published in Houston Post on 13 February 1899 states,[15]

A.M. BROOKS DEAD

An Old Citizen of Houston Passes Away at Warren

Major A.M. Brooks, for many years a citizen of Houston, died on the evening of the 8th instant at the residence of his daughter Mrs. J.D. Collier, with whom he has been living for the last three years. Major Brooks, for whom Brooks street, in the Fifth ward, is named, was born in Kentucky in the year of 1808, and came to Bastrop in 1837, where he resided quite a while, and moved to Houston in 1860, and lived on Liberty avenue for many years. He accumulated quite a fortune in the sawmill business. Deceased has been very feeble for more than a year, and actually died from old age, having reached his 91st year. His remains were interred in the Woodville cemetery on the evening of the 9th instant.

“The Death of A.M. Brooks,” Bastrop Advertiser (18 February 1899), p. 6, col. 4

The Bastrop Advertiser also published an obituary of Alexander M. Brooks on 18 February 1899, noting his recent death in Warren and that he had had one son, Thomas Brooks, long dead, who was father of attorney Robert A. Brooks of Bastrop. This obituary also notes that Alexander M. Brooks built the Wilbarger house on Main Street in Bastrop “in the fifties,” and states that, “In the death of Major A.M. Brooks, a good man has gone to his reward.”

Tombstone of Alexander Mackey Brooks, photo by Grace Patterson, at Find a Grave memorial page of Maj. Alexander Mackey Brooks, Magnolia cemetery, Woodville, Tyler County, Texas, created by Debra O’Neill

As a previous posting notes, Alexander M. Brooks is buried in Magnolia cemetery at Woodville, Tyler County, Texas, with a tombstone stating that he was born 8 September 1808 and died 8 February 1899.[16]Alexander’s adopted daughter Rebecca Ann Chiek and her husband James Dallas Collier are buried in the same cemetery.

Notice that appeared in the Houston Post on 14 November 1899, p. 2, col. 3

Alexander Mackey Brooks was named, it appears, for a member of a Mackey family who lived near the family of Alexander’s grandparents Thomas and Hannah Phillips Whitlock on Illwill Creek in Cumberland County, Kentucky. This family was headed by James and Mary Mackey, two of whose children married grandsons of Thomas and Hannah Phillips Whitlock: Reid Mackey married Elizabeth N. Bryson; and Mary Mackey married Thomas Whitlock Bryson.[17] The parents of Elizabeth and Thomas Whitlock Bryson were Abner Bryson and Nancy/Ann Whitlock. Nancy was a daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips, and a sister of Sarah Whitlock who married Thomas Brooks — the parents of Alexander Mackey Brooks.

At the sale of Thomas Whitlock’s estate in Cumberland County, Kentucky, on 16 June 1830, the Whitlock family bible was purchased by Alexander Mackey, a brother of Reid and Mary Mackey, who was born in 1802, six years prior to Alexander Mackey Brooks.[18] It’s not clear to me that Thomas Brooks and Sarah Whitlock named their son for this particular Alexander Mackey; James Mackey, father of the Alexander Mackey born in 1802, is said to have been the son of an Alexander Mackey and to have had a brother Alexander. The name runs through multiple branches of this Mackey family over generations — but the particular family living near and intermarried with the Whitlocks at the time Alexander Mackey Brooks was born in Wayne County, Kentucky, in 1808 was the family of James Mackey and wife Mary, whose maiden surname was also Mackey.

In my next posting or postings, I’ll share the information I have about Aletha Sorrells, Alexander’s second wife, and about Alexander’s only child, his son by Carolina Puckett, Thomas Jefferson Brooks, and Thomas’s family. I’ll also share information about the daughter Alexander and Aletha adopted, Rebecca Ann Chiek (Collier).


[1] 1860 federal census, Harris County, Texas, Houston, 2nd ward, p. 406 (dwelling 876/family 874; 16 October).

[2] George W. Glass, “Hope Family Notes [and] Notes on Aletha Sorrels Hope.” This collection of genealogical notes and documents is undated. The original typescript and collection of documents are held by Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston. The collection has been filmed and digitized by the Family History Library of Salt Lake City and is available digitally through the FamilySearch site.

[3] 1 November 1895 affidavit of A.M. Brooks in Brazos County, Texas, District Court case #2809, 15 March 1895-15 October 1897, Mary J. Harriman et al. vs. D.C. Giddings et al., transcribed in Glass, “Hope Family Notes [and] Notes on Aletha Sorrels Hope.”

[4] Glass, “Hope Family Notes [and] Notes on Aletha Sorrels Hope,” and “Aletha Sorrels Hope Freel Patterson Pierce Brooks,” an undated collection of notes and documents compiled by George W. Glass, focusing largely on Brazos County, Texas, lawsuit, District Court case #2809, 15 March 1895-15 October 1897, Mary J. Harriman et al. vs. D.C. Giddings et al. Glass transcribed the trial documents, and the transcripts are accompanied in this collection by his genealogical notes about Aletha Sorrells and her five husbands. The original typescript and collection of documents that comprise this collection are held by Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston. The collection has been filmed and digitized by the Family History Library of Salt Lake City and is available digitally through the FamilySearch site

[5] 1860 federal slave schedule, Harris County, Texas, Houston, p. 496.

[6] 1870 federal census, Harris County, Texas, Houston, 5th ward, p. 629A (dwelling 87/family 94; 8 August 1870).

[7] 1880 federal census, Harris County, Texas, Houston, 5th ward, p. 38B (ED 73; dwelling 79/family 93; 3 June). 

[8] Morrison & Fourmy’s General Directory of the City of Houston, 1882-83 (Washington, D.C.: Morrison & Fourmy, 1882), p. 101.

[9] Morrison and Fourmy’s General Directory of the City of Houston, 1886-87 ((Washington, D.C.: Morrison & Fourmy, 1886), p. 85.

[10] Glass, “Aletha Sorrels Hope Freel Patterson Pierce Brooks.”

[11] In his collection entitled “Miscellaneous Notes on the James Hope Family,” George W. Glass transcribes the obituary as it appeared in the Houston Age on 3 December 1885; the same obituary appeared in Galveston Daily News (4 December 1885), p. 3, col. 2. As with Glass’s other genealogical collections, the original “Miscellaneous Notes on the James Hope Family” file is at Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston, and a digital copy is available at the FamilySearch site.

[12] Glass, “Miscellaneous Notes on the James Hope Family,” transcribing account of Aletha Brooks’s funeral in Houston Post on 4 December 1885.

[13] Glass, “Miscellaneous Notes on the James Hope Family.” See also Find a Grave memorial page of Aletha H. Sorrels Brooks, Glenwood cemetery, Houston, Harris County, Texas, created by bgbutler with tombstone photo by bgbutler.

[14] Glass, “Hope Family Notes [and] Notes on Aletha Sorrels Hope.”

[15] “A.M. BROOKS DEAD: An Old Citizen of Houston Passes Away at Warren,” Houston Post (13 February 1899), p. 8, col. 2.

[16] See Find a Grave memorial page of Maj. Alexander Mackey Brooks, Magnolia cemetery, Woodville, Tyler County, Texas, created by Debra O’Neill with a tombstone photo by Grace Patterson. The information on this memorial page that Alexander lived in Savannah, Georgia, at some point is not correct.

[17] On this Mackey family, see Everette Mackey, Barbara M. Grider, and Hazel Wells, Founders of the Mackey Clan in Kentucky (Albany, Kentucky: Gibson, 1980).

[18] Cumberland County, Kentucky, Will Bk. B., pp. 426-433.

4 thoughts on “Children of Thomas Brooks (1775 – 1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock: Alexander Mackey Brooks (1808-1899) — Houston Years and Final Years in Tyler County, Texas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.