Thomas Madison Brooks (1775-1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock (1774-1837): Alabama Years, 1836-1838

Original will (holographic, page 1) of Thomas Madison Brooks of Morgan County, Alabama,, 2 October 1838, in loose-papers estate file of Thomas Brooks held by Morgan County Archives

Or, Subtitled: The Mystery of an Estate Selling Land to Which the Decedent Does Not Have Title

With this posting, I’ll provide information about the final phase of the lives of Thomas Madison Brooks and wife Sarah Whitlock, after they moved in November 1836 from Wayne County, Kentucky, to Morgan County, Alabama, to join their adult children who had settled in adjoining Lawrence County, where Thomas’s brother James had died in 1835and Wayne County neighbors including Rev. Elliott Jones.  As I state at the end of the previous posting, because both Thomas and Sarah died not very long after they made their final move to Alabama, and doctors’ receipts in Thomas’s estate file indicate that medications like laudanum and morphine were prescribed for what appear to have been painful illnesses, I suspect that both were already sick at the time of their move, perhaps both with a lingering, debilitating illness such as cancer.

Thomas Madison Brooks (1775-1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock (1774-1837): Kentucky Years, 1798-1836

Thomas Brooks’s affidavit, 10 March 1804, Wayne County, Kentucky, in Whitlock v. Whitlock, Commonwealth of Virginia Chancery District Court, Staunton, box 10, file 38

Or, Subtitled: “A Rough Hardy Race of Men, Very Large & Stout, & Altogether an Excellent Population, for a New Country”

Thomas and Sarah Brooks Establish Their Young Family in Kentucky (1798-9)

In the previous posting about Thomas Madison Brooks (1775-1838), I track him up to 1798, when he moved with wife Sarah Whitlock and infant daughter Jane from Wythe County, Virginia, to Pulaski (soon to be Wayne) County, Kentucky. As that posting notes, when the Brooks family made that move, Thomas and Sarah were a young couple, he 23 and she 24. You may have noticed that the previous postings discussing the Virginia beginnings of this Brooks family cited no records for Thomas in Wythe County other than tax records — with the exception of the record in his family bible stating that Thomas and Sarah married 14 February 1796.

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

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

Or, Subtitled: A Virginia ➤ Kentucky ➤ Alabama Migration Pattern

Introduction: Now the Brooks Family Line

At the end of April 2021, I completed a lengthy series of postings that I began in November 2019. This series shared my information about my Lindsey immigrant ancestor, Dennis Linchey, who arrived in Richmond County, Virginia, aboard the ship Expectation some time before 1 June 1718 as an indentured servant from Ireland, and about his descendants. The series of postings that runs from November 2019 to April 2021 provides all the information I have about the descendants of Dennis Linchey, whose surname shifted to Lindsey before his death in August 1762 in Granville County, North Carolina — though my series does not follow family lines down to the last generations in each line.

Children of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks: Mark Jefferson Lindsey (1820-1878)

Pen-and-ink drawing of Mark Jefferson Lindsey from “an old family bible,” reproduced in Henry C. Lindsey, The Mark Lindsey Heritage (Brownwood, Texas, 1982), p. 3

Or, Subtitled: Migration of Alabama Families to Northwest Louisiana, Late 1840s and Early 1850s

Establishing Mark’s Birthdate

In the bible of his sister Frances Rebecca Kellogg, Mark Jefferson Lindsey recorded his birthdate, stating that he was born “in the year 1820 Oct the 9,” son of D. and Jane Lindsey. Above the diary entry, Mark has written the date on which he made this record: “December the 4 1853.” We’re able to know that Mark himself wrote this entry since his handwriting matches that of other documents he wrote. In the signatures of Mark below, note the stylized J, for instance, with the loop running back through the top of it, and the stylized capital M. The first is from a 15 September 1838 deed of trust between Jacob H. Huffaker and John M. Davis in Oakville, Lawrence County, Alabama, for a debt Huffaker owed Davis, with Mark signing as trustee.[1] The second is Mark’s signature as he gave bond on 19 October 1839 for his marriage to Mary Ann Harrison in Lawrence County.[2] The birth record for Mark in his sister Frances Rebecca’s bible is, it’s easy to ascertain, written in the same hand — by Mark himself.

Children of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks: Sarah Brooks Lindsey Speake (1818-1889)

Lindsey, Sarah Brooks Speake Obit., Moulton Advertiser, 24 Jan. 1889, p. 2, col. 5
“In Memoriam [Sarah Lindsey Speake],” Moulton Advertiser, 24 January 1889, p. 2, col. 5.

Or, Subtitled: “Hers Was a Strong Character — One on Which One Could Rely”

Often, when it comes to female ancestors, we have limited evidence to document their lives, especially as we move back in time. In the Southern United States, it was not the norm for women, including those of higher social status, to read and write from the colonial period into the 18th century.[1] As a result, we have few documents from that time frame written by Southern women recording details of their daily lives, how they viewed what was happening around them, and so on. Continue reading “Children of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks: Sarah Brooks Lindsey Speake (1818-1889)”

Children of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks: John Wesley Lindsey (1814-1903) — Wayne County, Kentucky, and Lawrence County, Alabama, Years

Lindsey, John W., Signature to Original Will of Thomas Brooks
John Wesley Lindsey’s signature as witness to will of his grandfather Thomas M. Brooks, 2 October 1838, Morgan County, Alabama (from loose-papers estate file of Thomas Brooks, Morgan County)

Or, Subtitled: Weathervane Turns on Fortunes of North Alabama Merchant Planters in 1830s

John Wesley Lindsey’s Birth in Wayne County, Kentucky, April 1814

In line with their strong Methodist commitments, Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks named their first child (and eldest son) John Wesley, after the founder of Methodism. As we’ve seen, Dennis had a brother who also bore the name Wesley — Fielding Wesley Lindsey. Another brother, William Burke Lindsey, was named for the first Methodist circuit rider in Wayne County, Kentucky, at the time the Lindsey family lived there. John B. McFerrin, another Methodist circuit rider whom James Edmond Saunders mentions in connection with Mark and Dennis Lindsey in his Early Settlers of Alabama, as we’ve noted, provides abundant information about William Burke in his History of Methodism in Tennessee.[1] Continue reading “Children of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836) and Jane Brooks: John Wesley Lindsey (1814-1903) — Wayne County, Kentucky, and Lawrence County, Alabama, Years”

The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) — Inventory of Notes Held by Estate and Estate Sale Account

Dennis Lindsey Estate Inventory of Notes, from Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake (1)
Dennis Lindsey, inventory of notes owed to estate, from case file, Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake as administrators, Lawrence County, Alabama, loose court case files 247, box, 171, folder 6 (1)

Dennis Lindsey Estate Inventory of Notes, from Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake (2)jpg
Dennis Lindsey, inventory of notes owed to estate, from case file, Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake as administrators, Lawrence County, Alabama, loose court case files 247, box, 171, folder 6 (2)

Here are two more transcripts of documents from the estate records of Dennis Lindsey (1794-1836). The transcripts that follow are 1) the inventory of notes owed to the estate of Dennis Lindsey at the time of his death, which administrators John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake presented to Lawrence County Court on 9 December 1836, and 2) the account of the sale of Dennis’s estate, which seems to have taken place on 25 December 1836. In a previous posting, I shared my transcript of the inventory of Dennis’s estate compiled by commissioners appointed by the county court. Continue reading “The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) — Inventory of Notes Held by Estate and Estate Sale Account”

The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) (4)

Dennis Lindsey Estate Inventory, from Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake (1)
21 October 1836 inventory of estate of Dennis Lindsey, from case file, Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake as administrators, Lawrence County, Alabama, loose court case files 247, box 171, folder 6 (1)

Dennis Lindsey Estate Inventory, from Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake (2)
21 October 1836 inventory of estate of Dennis Lindsey, from case file, Jane Lindsey v. John W. Lindsey and James B. Speake as administrators, Lawrence County, Alabama, loose court case files 247, box 171, folder 6 (2)

Or, Subtitled: A North Alabama Example of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce

Dennis Lindsey’s Death

I have found no information about the cause of Dennis Lindsey’s death on 28 August 1836 at Oakville in Lawrence County, Alabama. Dennis was a young man not yet 42 years of age when he died. He left a young widow, Jane, who was 39, and eleven children, the first two of whom — John Wesley and Sarah Brooks Lindsey — were married. Several of Dennis and Jane’s children were very young when their father died: the last child, Dennis Edward, was not a year old, and the next four daughters — Margaret Tranquilla, Frances Rebecca, Martha Ann, and Mary Jane — were aged 2, 5, 7, and 10. As we’ll see from Dennis’s estate documents, though he had acquired a rather substantial estate, it was encumbered by debt, so in addition to having the responsibility to care for a large family of children when her husband died, Jane also had to face financial worries. Continue reading “The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) (4)”

The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) (3)

Oakville Incorporation, Alabama Legislature, Acts 1833, #8, p. 57
9 December 1833 act of Alabama legislature incorporating town of Oakville, Lawrence County, Alabama, and naming Dennis Lindsey (Lindsay) with William Hodges and Samuel White to hold election for town officers (Alabama Legislature Acts 1833, #8, p. 57)

Or, Subtitled: Legends of Witches, Native American Curses, and Drowned Towns

In this posting, I’ll discuss the records I’ve found tracking Dennis Lindsey from 1830 to his death in 1836. Almost all of these records are from Lawrence County, Alabama, where he had settled in 1817 when the area was still Madison County in Mississippi Territory. The following are records I’ve found for Dennis Lindsey from 1830 up to his death on 28 August 1836: Continue reading “The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) (3)”

The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) (2)

Lindsey, Dennis, BLM Tract Books for AL, vol. 19, p. 95
Dennis Lindsey, 9 September 1818 land patent, Huntsville, Alabama, land office, Bureau of Land Management Tract Books for Alabama, vol. 19, p. 95

Or, Subtitled: Alabama Fever and Skyrocketing Cotton Prices as Alabama Opened to White Settlers 

By 9 September 1818, Dennis Lindsey had moved his family from Wayne County, Kentucky, to Lawrence County, Alabama, since he patented a piece of land on that date in township 7, range 6 west, section 8 at the Huntsville land office.[1] Alabama would become a state the following year, so this land was in Mississippi Territory when Dennis Lindsey patented it. As my previous posting showed, this land was adjacent (on the west) to what would become the town of Oakville in Lawrence County, a town that Dennis would play a role in founding. The fact that Dennis Lindsey disappears from Wayne County, Kentucky, tax returns after 1816 and then shows up acquiring land in Lawrence County, Alabama, in 1818 indicates, I think, that he moved his family to Alabama in 1817. The Huntsville Republican newspaper contains a notice on 14 October 1817 (p. 3, col. 4) that an unclaimed letter was waiting in the Huntsville post office for Dennis Lindsey, further evidence that he moved to Alabama in that year.

When James Edmond Saunders writes of Mark and Dennis Lindsey coming to Alabama in 1827,[2] it seems he had mistaken 1827 for 1817, though it was Dennis who came to Alabama in 1817. Mark and his wife Mary Jane actually moved to Alabama with Dennis’s younger siblings in 1819. Dennis’s move in 1817 would have been a step to prepare for the resettling of his parents and siblings two years later. Continue reading “The Children of Mark Lindsey (1774-1848) and Mary Jane Dinsmore: Dennis Lindsey (1794 – 1836) (2)”