1810 – 1888

by Bobby Jay Wadsworth

Hood County Genealogical Society Newsletter – November 1995

Even before there was a Hood County, the family of Zachariah Brooks was living, working and dying there. He and his five sons settled along Paluxy Creek in what was then Erath County in the early 1860s. Although Zachariah was opposed to secession, four of his sons joined the Confederate forces and fought valiantly for their adopted state.

Born about 1810 in Blount Co., Tennessee, Zachariah Brooks married Sarah McGill Cheek, 7 May 1831 in Alabama. Sarah was the daughter of Valentine Cheek and Elizabeth McGill.

In December 1835, Zachariah enlisted in Co. A 9th Alabama Volunteers, for service in the Seminole War. But his stint as an Indian fighter was short-lived, as he contracted measles and developed a severe case of asthma from which he never fully recovered. After his discharge in May 1836, he returned to his home in Fayette Co, Alabama.

The family migrated to the Republic of Texas in 1845, eventually settling in Titus County in the spring of 1846. Zachariah acquired a preemption grant of 220 acres (about 10 miles north of Mt. Pleasant) in 1853 and sold same for $1,500 cash in July 1860. Soon thereafter, the family removed to Erath County.

Zachariah entered the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at Stephenville in 1864, and later aided the organization of Paluxy Lodge in 1873. This led to the construction of Rock Church, the second floor of which was dedicated for use as the Masonic hall. Sarah [Cheek] Brooks died of St. Anthony’s Fire 30 May 1873 and is believed to be the first person buried at Rock Church. Isaac Cowan, a Paluxy pioneer and old family friend, personally drove the wagon that carried Sarah’s body to the cemetery.

In 1877, Zachariah and his second wife, Mrs. Jane C. Smith, moved to Eastland County and purchased 160 acres of land (about 5 miles NE of Eastland City). Eleven years later, on 21 June 1888, Zachariah finally succumbed to the disease that he had developed more than 50 years earlier. He is buried in an unknown location at the Eastland cemetery.

Zachariah and Sarah [Cheek] Brooks had six children: James Alexander (1834-1877), Jesse V. (1837-1915), George Washington (1840-1912), Christopher Columbus (1842-1895), Martha Jane (1844-1868) and John Valentine Brooks (1847-?). Related families include Nevill, Stroud, Porter, Davis, Walker, Riggs and Dunagan.