Children of Thomas Brooks (1775 – 1838) and Wife Sarah Whitlock: James R. Brooks (1818-aft. January 1851) — From Alabama to California for the Gold Rush

27 June 1842 receipt of James R. Brooks to Milton McClanahan for $250 from estate of Thomas Brooks, in Thomas Brooks’s loose-papers estate file in Morgan County, Alabama

Or, Subtitled: “Then began … the emigration to California, by land and sea, of 1849 and 1850,” P. Sioli, Historical Souvenir of El Dorado County, California

The family of Thomas Brooks (1775-1838) and Sarah Whitlock (1774-1837) fascinates me because of the way Thomas and Sarah’s children scattered to so many different places. Only one daughter, Hannah, with husband Wesley Huffaker, stayed in Wayne County, Kentucky, where Thomas and Sarah raised their family. Six went to Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama, where Thomas and Sarah Whitlock Brooks spent the final year or two of their lives (in Morgan County): Jane (married Dennis Lindsey), Charles, Alexander, Samuel, James R., and Sarah. Charles and Samuel then moved from Alabama to Itawamba County, Mississippi, and Alexander lit out for Texas.

Children of Margaret Brooks (1803-1855) and Husband Ransom Van Winkle of Wayne County, Kentucky, and Morgan County, Illinois

Alexander Van Winkle, photo uploaded by Wendy Roiser to Find a Grave memorial page for Alexander VanWinkle, Franklin city cemetery, Franklin, Morgan County, Illinois, created by P. Meado

Or, Subtitled: “Two children were placed in baskets and strapped on a horse, looking like a peddler’s pack-horse”

This posting continues a two-part series (here and here) that I did previously about Margaret Brooks (1803-1855), a daughter of Thomas Brooks (1775-1835) and Sarah Whitlock. Margaret married Ransom Van Winkle, son of Abraham Van Winkle and Charity Sallee, in Wayne County, Kentucky, in 1823, and in 1829, the couple moved their family to Morgan County, Illinois, where Margaret and Ransom died and are buried. 

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

29 June 1847 (or 1849?) receipt of Ransom Van Winkle for payment of his inheritance in right of wife Margaret from Thomas Brooks, and for his brother-in-law Thomas Whitlock Brooks’s share of inheritance, in loose-papers probate file of Thomas Brooks held by the Morgan County Archives in Decatur

Or, Subtitled: “[They] settled on the unbroken prairie, prepared to cultivate the soil; there were spent the last days of the old folks”

This post is a continuation of a previous post tracking the family of Margaret Brooks, daughter of Thomas Brooks and Sarah Whitlock, and her husband Ransom Van Winkle in Wayne County, Kentucky. An obituary of their son Alexander Van Winkle confirms that Ransom and Margaret Brooks Van Winkle moved their family to Morgan County, Illinois, in the fall of 1829.[1] 

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

Tombstone of Margaret Brooks Van Winkle and Ransom Van Winkle, Franklin town cemetery, Franklin, Morgan County, Illinois, by Connie Clark: see Find a Grave memorial page of Margaret Brooks Van Winkle, created by Vicki

Or, Subtitled: A Southeastern Kentucky Family Migrates to West Central Illinois, Late 1820s

The third child of Thomas Brooks and wife Sarah Whitlock of Wythe County, Virginia, Wayne County, Kentucky, and Morgan County, Alabama, was

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

Original will (holographic, page 1) of Thomas 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 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.