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Dr. William Atherton Brooks, 1826-1909
Jane Vance, 1830-1882

William Atherton BROOKS, eighth child and son of James Robinson & Elizabeth CHANDLER BROOKS, was born 26 Dec 1826 in Oldham County, Kentucky and died 23 MAY 1909 in Ripley County, Missouri. He married Jane VANCE, daughter of David & Margaret VANCE, on 28 MAR 1850 in Kentucky. Jane was born 26 JAN 1830 in Tennessee and died 30 JUN 1882 in Ripley County, Missouri.

William and Jane are both buried in Brooks Cemetery, Pleasant Grove, Ripley County, Missouri.

William and Jane had the following children:

1. Napoleon Thomas BROOKS, 20 MAR 1852-31 MAY 1901
2. Solomon William BROOKS, 26 MAR 1857-14 JUL 1939*
3. Sarah Frances BROOKS SMELSER, 8 AUG 1861- 11 AUG1907
4. Eliza Jane BROOKS SIMON, 9 NOV 1863- 28 AUG 1898
5. Bertie Earl BROOKS (adopted), 8 JUL 1889- 28 MAY 1970


Land Patent

Notes for William Atherton Brooks:

Dr. William Atherton Brooks was the eighth child of James Robinson Brooks and Elizabeth Chandler Brooks. He was born in Oldham County, Kentucky, December 26, 1826. His father died in 1836, and William had to help make a living for the family. Because of this, William only went to school about one year in his entire life, but was an avid reader and learner, and spent all of his spare time studying.

On March 28, 1850, William married Jane Vance in Calloway County, Kentucky. Sometime before his marriage he borrowed some “doctor books” to read and study. From this he determined that he would like to be a doctor, and bought the best medical books that he could find to study. Thus, he began to practice medicine.

In William’s own words “the great state of Missouri were presenting many attractions to immigrants and I felt a desire to better my condition before my family was any larger.” On March 10, 1858, after selling off his property, William, his wife, and two small children loaded in wagons and left for Missouri. Three weeks later they stopped on the south prong of the Little Black River, and bought 120 acres, which later became known as Pleasant Grove.

In Missouri, William was hired as the first public school teacher in that area and also continued to practice medicine. When the Civil War began, he had trouble with bushwhackers stealing his crops, horses, money and anything else they could take, so he determined to join the Federal Army. He was mustered into the service of the United States as Company A. 47th Regiment of Infantry Volunteers at Ironton, Missouri, on August 6, 1864, and was mustered out on March 28, 1865. He then served as examining surgeon for Butler and Ripley Counties.

After the war, William continued farming and the practice of medicine, and was appointed as Justice of the Peace. In 1877, he built a store on his farm, and petitioned for a mail route from Doniphan to Van Buren, Missouri. The post office was opened in his store and called Pleasant Grove.

William and Jane had four children: Napoleon Thomas, born in Kentucky, married Sarah Barton in Ripley County and they had eleven children; Solomon William, born in Kentucky, married Susa Thompson in Ripley County and they had four children; Sarah Frances, born in Ripley County, married Rev. Houston Harmon Smelser in Ripley County and they had eleven children; Eliza Jane married John J. Simon in Ripley County. Napoleon, and Sarah are buried at Brooks Cemetery near their parents; Solomon is buried at Macedonia Cemetery; and Eliza Jane is buried at Elizabeth Cemetery in Ripley County.

William adopted a ten year old boy in 1899, Bertie Earl Brooks. Bertie was walking with William on the farm when William fell. A sharp stick went into his mouth and down his throat. He was unable to eat and died three weeks later on May 23, 1909 at age 82.

1850 Census, Calloway County, Kentucky, Dist 2:
24 449 452 Brooks Wm A 24 M Farmer Ky
25 449 452 Brooks Jane 20 F Tenn
26 449 452 Brooks Elizabeth 60 F Va
27 449 452 Brooks M. Van B. 11 M Ky

1860 Census, Ripley County, Missouri:
273 Brooks, Wm 33 M KY
Jane 30 F Tenn
N. 8 M KY
S. 3 M KY
E. 70 F VA
M.V. 21 M KY (Note: Martin VanBuren?)

1880 Census, Ripley County, Missouri, Jorden Township:
4 4
Brooks, Wm A W M 53 KYVAVA
Jane W F 51 Wife TNPATN
Solomon W W M 23 Son KYKYTN
Sarah F W F 18 Dau MOKYTN
Eliza J W F 15 Dau MOKYTN
Jas D W M 18 Nephew MOKYTN

1900 Census, Ripley County, Missouri, Jordan Township:
Brooks, William A. Head Dec 1826 78 KY VA VA
Brooks, Bertie E. Servant Apr 1890 10 Mo MO UNK


1. Notes from James E. Brooks, Chatham, Virginia
2. Memory of Dr. W. A. Brooks, His Past Life, Written by Him in his Seventy-First Year
3. 1850 Federal Census, Calloway County, Kentucky
4. 1860 Federal Census, Ripley County, Missouri
5. 1880 Federal Census, Ripley County, Missouri
6. 1900 Federal Census, Ripley County, Missouri

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