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Jonathan Brooks (1762 - 1827)

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Jonathan "Jon" Brooks
Born in Botetourt County, Virginiamap
Son of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Botetourt County, Virginiamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Madison County, Kentuckymap
Brooks-4223 created 18 Aug 2013 | Last modified
This page has been accessed 468 times.



The first proven ancestor in this line is that of Jonathan and Margaret “Peggy” Brooks, who lived in Madison County, Kentucky, in the early 1800s.

According to family records passed on by the late Lula Oliver Booth, Jonathan Brooks was born on November 27, 1762. No doubt it was in Virginia, and we continue to search for his family of origin. We speculate that Jonathan Brooks migrated first to Botetourt County, Virginia, where he appears on the tax list of 1787 as “Jon Brooks.” There, Jonathan Brooks married Margaret Reyburn on October 20, 1789. Some other Brooks appear in the Botetourt records, but thus far no proven connection has been made.

Our Jonathan had moved to Kentucky by 1796. Margaret Reyburn was born on April 30, 1767, according to the family records. She was the daughter of John and Jean Reyburn who lived most of their lives in Augusta County, Virginia.

John Reyburn wrote his will on June 30, 1797, and it was proved on February 20, 1798. Among others, he named his daughter Margaret, and left something to her oldest son.

In a subsequent lawsuit in 1812, the infant son’s name was given as Thomas Brooks of Madison County, Kentucky. Margaret also had a brother, Robert Reyburn, who settled in Madison County. Jonathan Brooks and his family settled in Madison County by 1796, when he appears in the tax record, 1 male, over 21, with 7 horses.

In 1820 The census did not give family names, but noted that the household included the following: 1 male 10-16 2 Females 0-5 1 “ 45 or over 2 “ 5-10 1 “ 26-45 This data matches the birthdates that we know, for Jonathan was 48 years old in 1810, and Peggy was 41. Also, we know they had one son and four daughters.

On March 17, 1813, Jonathan Brooks was summoned by the Grand Jury. He was charged with failing to keep his section of the public road passable. Logs were allowed to lie across the road from Muddy Creek to opposite the mouth of the Red River.

On September 10, 1813, he was again charged with failing to maintain the road, and the road was “nearly impassable,” with logs and mud holes. We do not know the outcome of this, but suspect that Jonathan was fined and ordered to clear the road.

In the April Court of 1817, the following entry was made: “On the motion of Jonathan Brooks it is ordered that the following be established his ear mark - , a crop of the left ear, and a half crop of the under side of the right ear.” (Court Order Book D, p. 329)

Beginning in 1818 Jonathan Brooks filed several suits against Robert Yancey in the Circuit Court. Yancey had borrowed $300 from Jonathan and had not repaid the loan, and Jonathan was trying to recover it.

Jonathan Brooks purchased 206 1/2 acres in Madison County on the Kentucky River from Thomas Allen on September 9, 1819. He paid $200. (Deed Book N, p. 464) On May 26, 1824 he bought 106 1/4 acres on Otter Creek from his son-in-law, Jeremiah Powell. (Deed Book Q, p. 162) Then, on July 3, 1826, he sold that land back to Jeremiah Powell. (Deed Book R, pp. 151-152)

Jonathan Brooks apparently died in January 1827, age 65, for the February Court was held on the 5th, and William Black was appointed administrator of the estate. “Peggy Brooks, widow of Jonathan Brooks dec’d. relinquished her right of administration.” Nathan Lipscomb, Enoch Burton, Thomas Grubbs and Jonathan Floyd, or any three of them, were appointed to appraised the estate and make a report to the court. (Court Order Book F, p. 3)

Wendell L. Brooks, a descendant, wrote in January 1992 the following: “According to stories passed down through the family--Jonathan and one of his slaves went into the woods to cut some wood, when they did not return home the family went in search of them, they found a shallow grave with Jonathan’s body in it, but no sign of the slave. It was believed the slave killed Jonathan and then ran away. This story has never been factually proved, but has been repeated many times in the family.”

Confirmation of this story is found in the Madison County Circuit Court records, case number 11331. It is entitled “Commonwealth vs. Dick, negro slave of Jonathan Brooks.” The pages are faded and parts are illegible, but this part is evident: Dick, the negro slave, was “moved and seduced by the devil” and repeatedly beat Jonathan Brooks with a large stick on January 30, 1827. He beat Jonathan on the head, back, side and stomach. Then he dragged Jonathan to a log and burned him. Jonathan died later the same day. “Lotty” or Charlotte, Jonathan’s daughter, was called upon to testify as a witness. Also, Chastity, a negro slave, testified. The case was tried on February 13, 1827, and then in the March court Dick was sentenced to be hanged the following month, on April 13.

Curiously this case merited a brief item on August 12, 1827, in the newspaper Wilmington and Delaware Advertiser: “The slave named Dick, who murdered his master, Johnathan Brooks, some weeks since, and burnt him, was tried and found guilty in Madison Circuit Court, (Kentucky) and sentenced to be hanged on the 13th of April.” Probably what made this newsworthy is the fact that many slave owners lived in fear of a slave revolt.

The civil court met on February 5, 1827, and William Black was appointed administrator of the estate. “Peggy Brooks, widow of Jonathan Brooks, dec’d relinquished her right of administration.” Nathan Lipscomb, Enoch Burton, Thomas Grubbs, and Jonathan Floyd, or any three of them, were appointed to appraise the estate and make a report to the court. (Court Order Book F, p. 3)

Jonathan’s estate was appraised as ordered, and the report was brought to the court on April 2, 1827. Three pages of possessions were listed, including three slaves, Chasity, Nilly and Ann. They were valued at $200-300 each. Jonathan held several notes on people who owed him money. Jeremiah Powell owed $200, plus interest. Others included John Fluty, William Tinder, Isaac Whitsel, Thomas and George C. Howard, and William and Thomas Townsend. (Will Book D, pp. 268-272.

On March 16, 1827, the “Jonathan Brooks heirs” went to court and sold the 206 1/2 acres, with the exception of the “widows dower” for the rest of her life, to Isaac Oliver of Clark County. The indenture mentioned Thomas Brooks and Elizabeth, his wife; William Brock and Jane, his wife; Jeremiah Powell and Nancy, his wife; and Charlotte Brooks; “the heirs of Jonathan Brooks, dec’d. (Deed Book R, p. 501) The deed was recorded on November 16, 1827. As we shall see, the land was sold to Isaac Oliver, who married Polly Brooks, another daughter of Jonathan. Regarding the widow’s dower, by law it was 1/3 of the estate as long as she lived.

An estate sale was held, and a report made to the court on October 6, 1828. Apparently most everything, except the slaves, was sold. Peggy Brooks bought a bridle, tub and pail, warping bars, cups and saucers, sugar bowl and cream pot, bread tray, knives, forks and spoons, a “gilted” pitcher, a trumpet, cupbard, flax wheel, flour bag and meal bag. William Brock bought one large Bible. Charlotte Brooks bought a small hymn book. She also bought a secretary for $22.00. Livestock brought the most money: $36.00 for 20 hogs and $20.00 for a yoke of oxen. A clock sold for $30.00. Other purchasers included Jeremiah Powell, Isaac Oliver, Abraham and Charles Goolman and John Brock. (Will Book D, pp. 436-442)

From the above and marriage records we can determine the children of Jonathan and Margaret “Peggy” Brooks at the time of Jonathan’s death in 1827. Since there was a large gap between the son and his sisters, we suspect there were more children who died in childhood.

Clark Rice Birth: Sep. 27, 1805: Death: Mar. 16, 1877 Family links: Spouse: Charlotte Brooks Rice (1805 - 1872) Children: Mary Armilda Rice Stone (1836 - 1909)*[1]


Family Records


  1. Entered by Cheryl Caudill.


Thanks to Cheryl Caudill for starting this profile. Click the Changes tab for the details of contributions by Cheryl and others.

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No known carriers of Jonathan's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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