1837 – 1915

 From History of Texas, Published in 1896

Since 1860 J.V. Brooks has been identified with the development of central Texas and has been an important factor in all that pertains to the improvement of this section of the state. The vast area of the Lone Star State, with its many available resources, had long been awaiting the hand of civilized man. Mr. Brooks, with others, had subjugated considerable tracts of wild land and transformed the wild prairie into rich fields and happy homes. Thus the work of progress is ever carried forward and the men who engage in the task are deserving the gratitude of all who come after them.

Mr. Brooks is a native of Alabama, born in Fayette County on the 30th of September 1837. His parents were Zachariah and Sarah McGill (Cheek) Brooks. The father was a native of Blount County, Tennessee, and of Scotch-English descent, while the mother, a native of Georgia, was of Scotch lineage. Both went to Alabama in an early day and were married there, after which Mr. Brooks followed farming in the Cotton state until 1843, when he came to Texas, first settling in Red River County. A year later he removed to Cherokee County, where he also remained one year and then returned to Red River County. Twelve months later he took up his abode in Titus County, where he continued his residence until 1860, when he again sought a frontier home, finding the same in Erath County. Here he followed stock-raising for about four years. He opened up a farm in Hood County and carried on agricultural pursuits until the latter part of his 1ife. During the war, in connection with Alex. McCamlet, he engaged in tanning, and found this a very successful undertaking. While farming he frequently suffered the loss of his horses, which were stolen by the Indians, but he prosecuted his labors with energy and accumulated a comfortable competence. Before the war he served as justice of the peace. Both he and his wife were consistent and faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which he served as steward and class-leader. Socially he was connected with the Masonic fraternity and politically with the Democratic Party. He was, however, opposed to the secession of the southern states from the Union, and was a follower of Sam Houston. Although his views were at that time very unpopular, he lived to see the time when his neighbors acknowledged him in the right. He died in June 1888, at the age of seventy-six years, and his wife passed away in May 1873. They were the parents of six children, who reached adult age, namely: J.A., now deceased; J.V., of this sketch; G.W., of Coleman City; C.C., deceased; Martha, who was twice married and has now passed away; and John Valentine, who also has been called from this life. The sons were all soldiers in the Confederate army and attested their bravery on many a battlefield.

The subject of this review was a little lad of six summers when brought to Texas by his parents. He was reared on the frontier farm, sharing in the hardships and trials incident to pioneer life and bearing his part in the arduous task of developing new land. The advantages of his boyhood, educational and otherwise, were very meager. He continued to give his father the benefit of his services until his marriage, which important event in his life was celebrated on the 1st of January, 1857, the lady of his choice being Miss Nancy Jane Porter, who was born in Red River County, Texas, a daughter of Benjamin and Rebecca (Boran) Porter, who came from Alabama to Texas in the fall of 1842 and located in Red River County. After a two-years residence there they removed to Titus County, where the mother died, on the 26th of February 1854. The father departed this life in October 1856.

After his marriage Mr. Brooks settled on a farm in Titus County, where he made his home until November, 1860, when he located on the bank of Paluxy Creek in what is now Somervell County and opened up a farm of about forty acres. The Civil War having been inaugurated, he enlisted in the fall of 1862, in Captain Puckett’s company and Colonel Gurley’s regiment and was in the service of the western army until the close of hostilities. He then returned to Somervell County, where he was employed in his father’s tanyard for a year. His next home was on the Brazos River above Granbury in Johnson County. There he also improved a farm and later he aided in the organization of Hood County. After three years he returned to the Paluxy, trading his property for a partially improved farm on which he lived for a year. A year later he took up his residence upon a farm two miles distant, and while residing there his horses were stolen by the Indians. In connection with his father and brothers, he lost more than twenty head in this way. In 1872Mr. Brooks took up one hundred and forty-seven acres of wild land under the pre-emption act and began the task of clearing and improving his fourth farm in central Texas. His property now comprises two hundred and fifty-one acres, of which one hundred and eighteen acres is under a high state of cultivation, the well tilled fields indicating the thrift and enterprise which are so characteristic of the owner. He carries on general farming but his principal crop is cotton. He is a man of systematic habits, his careful management and energy have been the means of bringing to him a well-deserved success.

Mr. and Mrs. Brooks are the parents of seventeen children, of whom seven are still living. These are Margaret J., wife of J.S. Johnson, of Hood County; John F., a resident of Hood County; Mary I., the wife of P.S. Tidwell, of the same county; Letitia, wife of Charles Pair, of Hood County; Samuel H., Eveline and Adalaide; the last three are still single. Also all the family reside in Hood County excepting B.A. Collings, husband of a deceased daughter, Luveney, who lives in Somervell County. Of ten deceased children nine died in infancy, and Mrs. Collings died February 28, 1893, leaving seven children living.

The family hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which Mr. Brooks is acting as steward. He is also a member of Paluxy Lodge, No. 393, F. & A.M. and in his political proclivities is a Democrat.

J.V. Brooks died May 15, 1915 and was buried next to his wife in Rock Church Cemetery in Hood County, Texas.


History of Texas, 1896, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Co.