John W. Brooks
Transcribed and Submitted by Martha E. Masters
Source: Commemorative Biographical record of Central Pennsylvania Including the Counties of Centre, Clearfield, Jefferson and Clarion, J. H. Beers & Company, 1898, pps 1241 and 1242.
John W. Brooks, one of the honored veterans of the Civil war who followed the starry banner on many a southern battlefield, is now numbered among the leading lumbermen and agriculturists of Gaskill township, Jefferson county. He is a representative of one of the leading families of this locality.
A son of W. B. and Alpha (Works) Brooks, our subject was born in Steuben county, N.Y. His father was born in Delaware county, of the same state, in 1811, and after his marriage removed to Steuben county. Some years later he located near Lumber City, in Clearfield county, Penn., where he followed the cabinet maker's trade until about 1839, when he purchased and located upon a tract of woodland in Gaskill township, Jefferson county. This he developed into a good farm, making many improvements thereon. He also erected a sawmill and for some time manufactured sawed lumber. In 1849 he sold his farm and removed to Punxsutawney, where he purchased property and followed his trade for six years. He then again sold out, and in 1855 removed to Big Run in Jefferson county. His wife died in 1888, leaving a family of seven children, and his death occurred in Big Run in March, 1894.
Their children are as follows: (1) Matilda, born in New York, came to Jefferson county with her parents and married the Rev. John Frampton, of that county. They now reside in Punxsutawney, and he is still engaged in the ministry. Their children are: Cyrus H., a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church; Edgar L., who is married, and is also in the ministry; Martha, wife of George Wainwright, who owns and resides on a farm in Gaskill township; Herbert, who is educating himself for the ministry; Ettie, John; and James, who is engaged teaching school. (2) James, a native of Clearfield county, enlisted in 1861, in Company A, 105th P.V.I. and was killed at the battle of Chancellorsville. (3) Jane, born in Jefferson county, is the wife of J. C. Miles, who served in Company A, 105th P.V.I., and is now residing in Clarion county, Penn. Their children are: John; Adda; George, who is married and lives in Clarion county; Eva; and Robert. (4) Joseph, a native of Jefferson county, was killed when about twenty-one years of age by the fall of tree while working in the lumber woods. (5) Fannie, born on the home farm on Jefferson county, is the wife of John Brink, of that county, by whom she has four children: Jane, Annie, James and Myrtie. (6) Sophia, born in Jefferson county, is the wife of William Coffman, who is engaged in the undertaking business in Big Run, and they have two children- Ollie and Hattie. (7) Annie, born in Punxsutawney, is the wife of James Green, who resides on a farm near that place. Their children are: Lettie, a teacher in the public schools; Alpha, wife of Ezekiel McHenry, a professor in the schools of Punxsutawney; Alice; Frank; Maggie; and Walter. (8) Frank, who was born in Jefferson county, is now following the carpenter trade in Nebraska.
John W, Brooks came with his parents to Jefferson county, where he was reared to manhood. In 1855 he married Catherine Holowell, of Indiana county, Penn., a daughter of Edward and Annie Holowell. He then located in Big Run where he followed the carpenter's trade for a few years, after which he purchased 103 acres of timber land in Gaskill township. In 1860 he took up residence on the farm, building there a log barn and frame dwelling, and continued to improve the place until the fall of 1861. In September of that year he joined the boys in blue of Company F, 105th P.V.I., under Capt. Robert Kirk, and from Pittsburg went to Washington and on to Alexandria. During the first winter the regiment was engaged in picket duty. In April, 1862, the troops were taken by boat to Fortress Monroe and marched to Yorktown, where they participated in the siege, and again met the rebels at Williamsburg. At Fair Oaks they suffered a heavy loss, but drove the enemy back, and then participated in the Seven-days' battle, ending in the engagement at Malvern Hill. From there they marched back to Yorktown and Alexandria. After the defeat at Bull Run they retreated to Arlington Heights, where they remained until November, 1862, when they started to check Stuart's raid in Maryland. They participated in the hotly-contested battle of Fredricksburg, in which Mr. Brooks was severely wounded in the head by a shell, while supporting a battery. He was then taken to a Baptist Church Hospital in Alexandria, and later to Portsmouth Grove, R.I. where he remained for three months, when he was honorably discharged in March, 1863, being unfit for further service. He then remained on the farm until 1866, when he removed to Schuyler county, Mo., but in the fall of that year went to LaFayette county, same state, where he remained until the spring of 1868, when he returned to his farm in Jefferson county, Penn., having made it his home continuously since. In 1879 he erected a large barn and other outbuildings, and in 1885 erected a commodious two-story frame residence. His land, under a high state of cultivation, constitutes one of the finest farms in Jefferson county.
To our subject and his wife have been born ten children, all yet living, namely: (1) Clark W., born at Big Run in 1859 and educated in its public schools, married Annie M., daughter of Daniel Smeyres. He is employed in the planing-mill at Big Run. They have two children- Celia and Laone. (2) Anna A., born in March, 1861, is the wife of William Vansice, a native of New York, now residing in Bradford, Penn. He is a railroad conductor, and their children are: Roy, Blanche, Olon, Delmar and Willie. (3) Miles M., born in Big Run, in March, 1864, is at home. (4) John C., born in Schuyler county, Mo., in 1866, is at home. (5) Lillie M., born in Jefferson county, in November, 1868, is the wife of J.H. Baun, of Foxburg, Jefferson county, and they have two children- James and Charlie. (6) Clarence B., born in 1871, (7) Ralph O., born in December, 1873, (8) Willie B., born in November, 1876, (9) George H., born in 1879 and (10) James B., born in November, 1884, are all at home. In politics the father of the family is a stalwart Democrat, and has held the offices of auditor, supervisor, assessor, school director and overseer of the poor. Both he and his wife were reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church. His life has been well spent, and all who know him esteem him for the many excellencies of his character.
© Alice J. Gayley, all rights reserved
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