The Life of Charles M. Brooks

Contributed: November 4, 2007

Written and Submitted by Jerry Brooks

Based on census records, Charles M. Brooks was born about 1827 in Alabama, probably Franklin County. At about 17 years of age he married Caroline Wylie March 3, 1844 in Franklin County, Alabama. They were married by William Gotcher Stanphill, Justice of the Peace, in his home which is presumed to have been near the home of William Malone Brooks, Sr. since the Stanphill family was neighbors to William Malone Brooks, Sr. Caroline was born June 27, 1821 in Franklin County, Alabama and was, therefore, about 22 years old, or 5-6 years older than Charles, at the time of their marriage.

While the middle name of Charles M. Brooks has not appeared in any census or other records to date, it is believed that his middle name was Malone, as was the middle name of his older brother, William Malone Brooks, Jr. A significant finding which lends credence to this likelihood was the discovery of the World War I draft registration of Charles MALONE Pollock, the son of Louisa Ann Brooks Pollock, daughter of Charles M. Brooks. The draft registration document shows his middle name to be Malone, a name given him undoubtedly in honor of her father, Charles M. Brooks.

William Gotcher Stanphill, born August 14 1813 in Tennessee, was the son of Vincent and Anna Gotcher Stanphill, early settlers of the Red Bay area of Franklin County, Alabama. Vincent was born 1787 in North Carolina, and Anna Gotcher was born in 1793 in South Carolina. He was a fur trader and farmer, settling at Chub Hill. There Vincent ran a store and trading post with the Indians. Later they had a post office there, before moving it to the Red Bay area. He acquired numerous tracts of land in the same township/range as William Malone Brooks, Sr.; therefore, the families were neighbors. His son, William Gotcher Stanphill, also owned land in that same area. It is, therefore, reasonable to presume that he married Charles M. Brooks and Caroline Wylie because they also lived in that area. This information, therefore, places Charles M. Brooks living in the area with William Malone Brooks, Sr. in 1844, another indicator that he was his son.

It is believed that William Malone Brooks Sr. left Franklin County, Alabama about 1847 with his oldest son, William Malone Brooks, Jr. and family. The youngest son, Peter P. Brooks, Sr., born August, 1837, identified in the 1840 Franklin County Alabama Census, has not been located in the 1850 census; however, he was in Red River County, Texas, age 21, at the 1860 Census. His father, William Malone Brooks, Sr., was also in that county for the 1860 and 1870 Census.

Charles apparently relocated from Franklin County, Alabama to the adjoining county of Itawamba, Mississippi before, or about the time, William Malone Brooks, Sr. left Alabama in 1847 since their first child, Judith, was born in Alabama about 1846, but their next child, John William Brooks, was born about 1847 in Itawamba County, Mississippi. The fact that the first child of Charles M. Brooks, born about 1845, was named Judith lends some credence to the possibility that the mother of William Malone Brooks, Sr. was possibly Judith Malone (wife of a John Brooks) as some researchers believe. It is speculated that the wife of William Malone Brooks, Sr., died shortly before the birth of the first child of Charles M. Brooks, and a short time before 1847 when William Malone Brooks, Sr. left Alabama with his son, William Malone Brooks, Jr. And perhaps their second child, a son named John William Brooks, was named for (1) John Wiley, father of Caroline Wylie Brooks, the mother) and (2) William Malone Brooks, Sr., father of Charles M. Brooks.

BLM Mississippi Land Records show that Charles M. Brooks purchased 136.72 acres on July 3, 1846, Pontotoc Land Office. Location was shown as N1/2 Chickasaw 8 South 11 East Section 5.(Document No. 20322)

Charles M. and Caroline Wylie Brooks were living in Itawamba County, Mississippi in the 1850 and 1860 census. The 1860 census places them in Itawamba County in the community of Pleasanton which was located northeast of the county seat of Fulton and perhaps less than ten miles from the William Malone Brooks, Sr. land just across the state line in Alabama. Pleasanton no longer exists.

Their first child, Judith, was born in Franklin County, Alabama. The next seven of their nine children were born to Charles and Caroline Wylie Brooks in Itawamba County from about 1845 to 1860 as follows:

  1. Judith J. Brooks, born about 1845
  2. John William Brooks, born about 1847
  3. Thomas D. Brooks, born August 26, 1849
  4. James Madison Brooks, born November 15, 1851
  5. Millie J. Brooks, born January 3, 1854
  6. Eli Brooks, born December 25, 1855
  7. Samuel L. Brooks, born November 15, 1858
  8. Louisa Ann Brooks, born February 22, 1860
  9. Cyrus C. Brooks, born July 23, 1862 – may have been born in Tennessee

Charles M. Brooks possibly moved his family from Itawamba County, Mississippi between 1860 and 1862 to Tennessee. Or, perhaps his family remained in Itawamba County, Mississippi when he left Mississippi to join the Union army in 1862. Upon his sudden death on March 6, 1863, five months after his departure from Mississippi, perhaps it was then that his widow, Caroline Wylie Brooks, joined her relatives in Illinois, moving later to Tennessee with other Wylie family members.

Through the account written by John W. Wylie, son of Samuel L. Wylie and, therefore, nephew of Caroline Wylie Brooks, a vivid portrayal of life during the turmoil of the Civil War in Itawamba County, Mississippi was presented. Caroline was undoubtedly distressed as her brother, Samuel L. Wylie, departed Itawamba County, Mississippi in 1862 to escape the turmoil of the war. John Wylie’s story is related below since it also describes the troubling times in which Caroline lived:

From “History of Scotts Hill, Tennessee” by Gordon H. Turner
Chapter 16 – Part Five – Page 2w13
As told by his grandson, Dr. Paul E. Eylie (1940’s)

“In 1862 when I was 17 years old I was living with my family in Itawamba County, Mississippi. At this time the Southern Army was hard pressed in its conflict with the Yankees. The President of the Confederacy gave orders to conscript (draft) young men my age to serve in the armed forces. One day while returning from the local mill where I had gone to have corn ground into meal, a man came riding up behind my wagon. He asked me my age and why I was not serving in the army. I told him that I had had a broken leg and it had not properly healed. He was not pleased with my answer and told me that the next time he saw me I had better be in uniform. This episode frightened me so that my father decided that we would go north and cross the line into Northern territory. We had no slaves and were poor farmers who had no interest in the conflict. We caught a steamboat (probably at Eastport Landing) and went to Illinois in the vicinity of Metropolis. We went far enough into the interior to feel safe. At that time boys so young were not being drafted into the Union army. My father and I got jobs doing labor on the farms around us. During our sojourn here an epidemic struck the community and all my folks died with measles and pneumonia except my little brother, Charles, and sister, Mary Frances. She was affected mentally and was never normal again. After the war was over we began to think about getting back home. By this time I was 20 years old and had been able to keep things together by working very hard and saving every cent that I could spare. Times were hard and money was extremely scarce. I was paid for my work mostly in food and home-made clothes. We got on a steamboat at Metropolis, Illinois with the idea of trying to get back to Mississippi. I thought that perhaps the purser of the steamer would let me work on the boat for part of our passage. But he had so many people wanting to do the same thing that he wanted what money we had. He said that we could ride as far as our money would take us. After two days and three nights he said our money was used up and that we would have to get off at the next landing. The ‘next landing’ happened to be Saltillo, Tennessee some 50 miles from our old home at Iuka, Mississippi. After a day or so I got a job helping to build a new house. My job was to help nail in the lathes for the plaster, the first such home in Saltillo. This was the Davey home sitting on a high shady hill overlooking the Tennessee River. This is how I came to be in this part of the country. I soon married Alice Holland and we moved to a farm a few miles south of Saltillo there to raise our family. I never returned to Illinois and the graves of my people I am sure are lost. There were no markers erected and nobody left in the community who knew or cared about them. Before moving to Illinois from Mississippi in 1862, the family consisted of: Samuel Wylie, 48, my father who was born in S. Carolina; Elizabeth Wylie, 43, my mother who was born in N. Carolina; Margaret, Mary F., and Henrietta, my sisters, 20, 16 and 12, my brother Charles, 9, and myself, John W. Wylie, 17. Now continuing the Wylie genealogy: Thomas Gardner (1770-1824) married Jane (Polk?) (1779-1870). A daughter, Martha Gardner (1820-1909) married William Holland (1813-1908). William and Martha Gardner Holland children were: Tennessee Adeline (Mrs. S. L. Davey); John M.; William Francis; Anderson; Lawson; Thomas; Alice (Mrs. John W. Wylie); and Melissa (Wyatt)."

On October 24, 1862 at Bethel, Giles County, Tennessee Charles M. Brooks enlisted as a Private in Company D, 6th Regiment of West Tennessee Volunteers (Union) under Captain Fielding Hurst. Bethel, Tennessee is located about 80 miles northeast of Pleasanton on the Alabama/Tennessee border. The Official Army Register of the Volunteer Force of the United States for the Years 1861-62-63-64-65 states that the 6th Regiment of the Tennessee Cavalry “was organized at Bethel, LaGrange, Bolivar, Trenton, Dresden and North Gibson, Tenn., from August 11, 1862 to July 1, 1863 to serve three years. It was mustered out of service July 26, 1865 in accordance with the orders from the War Department.” It is not known why Charles chose to join the Union army and to enlist at Bethel.

One article written about Captain Fielding Hurst and his regiment refers to the group as “a regiment of renegade Tennesseans” led by Colonel Fielding Hurst of the 6th Tennessee (USA) Cavalry. The author said that the regiment had been plundering throughout southwestern Tennessee, perpetrating “wanton destruction of property”. Hurst was noted for unbelievable atrocities. One of the young southern Lieutenants that was killed by Hurst and his men was “most horribly mutilated, the face having been skinned, the nose cut off, the under jaw disjoined, the privates cut off, and the body otherwise barbarously lacerated and most wantonly injured.” One can only wonder if Charles Brooks, had he lived to serve longer in the regiment, would have participated in such barbaric acts.

Charles served only a brief time following his enlistment in October 24, 1862 because he died less than five months later on March 6, 1863 at Bolivar, Tennessee (Hardeman County) from complications of the measles. (William Malone Brooks, Sr., his father, died after 1870 probably in Clarksville, Red River County, Texas. It would seem likely that he would have learned of his son’s death.) One history of the activities of the 6th Regiment states that the regiment was at Bolivar during November and December, 1862, with various skirmishes occurring in that area through May of 1863. It was during this time in Bolivar that Charles contracted the measles and died.

Pension Applications

Information regarding the service of Charles M. Brooks in the Union army was provided in two “Widow’s Declaration for Pension” applications filed by his widow, Caroline Brooks, dated August 5, 1863 and July 25, 1864 respectively.

The first Declaration was filed in Marion County, Illinois on August 5, 1863. The document states that Caroline was 44 years old and a resident of Marion County, Illinois. Other documentation in the pension application file was a declaration by Eli Epps and Ann Wylie, dated August 11, 1863, Marion County, Illinois, that they knew that Caroline Wylie and Charles M. Brooks were married because of “their presence at their marriage in the County of Franklin County, State of Alabama.” It is believed by this author that Eli Epps (born about 1815 in North Carolina) was related to Caroline Wylie through his marriage on August 10, 1842, Itawamba County, Mississippi, to Sarah Wiley (born about 1818 in Alabama). Eli Epps was the son of Marvel Epps a former neighbor of William Malone Brooks, Sr. in Franklin County, Alabama. Ann Wylie is believed to be Amy Ann Brooks Wylie, the sister of Charles M. Brooks, who married James M. Wylie. The Declaration further stated that Charles and Caroline had children under the age of sixteen residing at Franklin County, Illinois as follows:

The second Declaration was filed in Perry County, Illinois, July 25, 1864 with Caroline’s address shown as the town of Little Mudy, Franklin County, Illinois. She stated that her age was 43 and that she was a resident of Franklin County, Illinois. She appointed Wm. Elstern of Du Quoin, Illinois (Perry County) as her attorney. Testifying on Caroline’s behalf were Mary Murphy and Jane Murphy who said they knew she was a widow of Charles M. Brooks from “a long and personal and intimate acquaintance with the parties.” Their statements and signatures were notarized in Perry County, Tennessee. Mary Murphy was the sister of Caroline Wylie Brooks and was possibly living in Franklin County, Illinois at the time of Charles M. Brooks’ death; therefore, Caroline perhaps moved to Illinois about 1863 to live near or with her brother Samuel or with her sister. Mary and James Murphy were living in Franklin County, AL in 1860 and Hardin County, Tennessee in 1870; therefore, they possibly lived in Illinois only a few years in the mid-1860’s. It is noted that the oldest son of, James Columbus Mitchell (son of Mary Murphy), was born in Illinois about 1866, but the second son was born in Tennessee. It was James Columbus Mitchell who became guardian of Charles and Caroline’s children upon her death on April 11, 1867 in Hardin County, Tennessee.

The pension application file also included:
(1) A statement by Wm. R. Dodd, Marion County, Illinois, dated June 29, 1866, that he served with Charles in the 1st Tennessee Cavalry and was present when he died in Bolivar, Tennessee on March 6, 1863 of measles. Wm. R. Dodd served in the 6th TN Union Cavalry, Co. D, entering with rank of Corporal and as a Sergeant when discharged.
(2) Affidavit of Wm. G. Stanphill, age 74 and a resident of Burleson, Franklin County, Alabama, taken by James M. Jordan, Probate Judge of Franklin County, Alabama, dated December 30, 1887) in which William Gotcher Stanphill states that he performed the marriage ceremony between Chas. M. Brooks & Caroline Wiley. He states he was a Justice of the Peace at the time and that the ceremony was performed by him in the year 1844.

It is not known why Caroline and her children moved to Marion County, Illinois after the death of her husband, March 6, 1863. But she filed her first application for a pension in that county on August 5, 1863. There were probably several of Caroline’s relatives living in that area at the time. In the family history written by John W. Wylie, son of Samuel Wylie who was the brother of Caroline, he stated that his family left Itawamba County, Mississippi in 1862 when he was 17 years old to avoid being forced to serve in the Confederate army. He said, “We caught a steamboat (probably at Eastport Landing) and went to Illinois in the vicinity of Metropolis. We went far enough into the interior to feel safe. At that time boys were not being drafted into the Union army.” The area in which the family settled was possibly Marion County, Illinois, and that was why Caroline relocated to Marion County, Illinois after the death of her husband. John Wylie continued to relate in his family history that his parents, and two sisters died of an epidemic of measles and pneumonia while living there. When the war was over he left Illinois and settled at Saltillo, Hardin County, Tennessee, as did numerous other Wylie, Brooks and related family members.

Death of Caroline Wylie Brooks

On April 18, 1867, at age 45, Caroline Wylie Brooks died at Saltillo, Hardin County, Tennessee and was buried at the Anderson Cemetery, near Saltillo, Hardin County, Tennessee. Upon her death, her children were split-up among relatives and/or friends. In 1870, daughter, Louisa, was living with Jesse and Julia Etheridge in Savannah, Hardin County, Tennessee. It is possible that Julia Etheridge was the oldest child of Charles M. and Caroline Wylie Brooks. Sons, Thomas, James and Eli were living with John L. Davy, also in Savannah. Samuel and Cyrus C. have not been located in 1870 census records, although both were still living in 1870.

On September 11, 1875, James Columbus Mitchell, nephew of Caroline Wylie Brooks and a resident of Saltillo, Hardin County, Tennessee filed a “guardian’s Declaration for Minor Children’s Army Pension” requesting the minor children of Charles M. Brooks (Judy, Thomas D., James M., Eli, Samuel L., Louisa L., and Cyrus Brooks) be provided pensions based on their father’s service. Appearing as witnesses, residents of Hardin County, Tennessee, were J. W. Wylie and Charles C. Wylie, both related to Caroline Wylie Brooks. James Columbus Mitchell was born September 30, 1839 in Fulton, Itawamba County, Mississippi and died January 2, 1894, Paducah, Kentucky. He was the son of Cyrus or Samuel Mitchell (b. 1816 NC) and Mary Wiley (b. 1817 NC/d. Itawamba County, Mississippi). It is believed that Mary Wiley Mitchell Murphy was the sister to Caroline Wylie Brooks. James Columbus Mitchell was, therefore, the nephew of Caroline Wylie Brooks and first cousin to the minor children.

The file also contains an affidavit of Wm. G. Stanphill and certificate of the Probate Judge, dated December 3, 1887, that W. G. Stanphill, aged 74 years old of Burleson, Franklin County, Alabama, “solemnized the rites of matrimony between Chas. M. Brooks & Caroline Wiley”. The pension application file, relating to the guardianship, also contained a certified statement by William G. Stanphill, dated August 8, 1881, that he married Charles M. Brooks and Caroline Wylie in Franklin County, Alabama about 1844.


(Note: Numerous "related" families were living as neighbors to Charles M. Brooks in 1850, presented below)
1850 Census – Itawamba County, Mississippi, District No. 7

Thomas M (Marion) Bates, 35, AL, farmer, $1000
Sarah, 24, AL
James, 10/12, MI
Jane Bates, 56, Georgia (widow of Robert Patrick Bates)
Note: Thomas Marion Bates was son of Robert Patrick Bates and Jane Hill Chisholm Bates. His wife was Sarah Burgess Bates. Thomas was the brother of Eliza Bates Brooks, wife of William Malone Brooks, Jr., making her the sister-in-law to Charles Brooks. In the 1840 census of Franklin County, Alabama, the unmarried Thomas M. Bates was neighbor to Dr. Sam Sevier, son of Gov. John Sevier, and two Sherrill families, related to the mother of Dr. Sam Sevier, Bonnie Kate Sherrill Sevier. Dr. Sam Sevier’s son, Daniel, below, would have been about 16 at the time.

William Mitchell, 41, farmer, $100, NC (b. abt. 1815 NC)
Louisa, 35, NC
Mary, 16, AL
Charlotte, 14, MS
Sarah, 12, MS
Margaret, 9, MS
Tabitha, 7, MS
Note: William Mitchell’s wife, Louisa, was the sister of Caroline Wiley, wife of Charles M. Brooks.

Ellender Mitchell, female, 60, $150, VA
Sion, 25, male, farmer, TN
Daniel, 21, farmer, TN
Jacob, 17, farmer, TN
Eliza, 15, TN

Sarah Chisholm, 52, $150, born GA (?)
Malinda, 32, KY
Richard, 22, farmer, TN
Thomas Chisholm, 25, farmer, $100, AL
Lavina, 19, TN
Note: Sarah Chisholm, above, was the widow of John Chisholm, brother of Gillington Chisholm and Cynthia Hill Chisholm. Malinda, Richard and Thomas Chisholm were the children of John Chisholm and, therefore, niece and nephews to Gillington Chisholm….and first cousins to Eliza Bates and Thomas M. Bates.

Caroline, 25, AL
Judy, 6, MS
John, 4, MS
Thomas, 2, MS

Dr. Daniel Sevier, 26, Physician, TN
Note: This is the son of Dr. Samuel Sevier and the grandson of Governor John Sevier of Tennessee. His wife was Mary Sophronia Chisholm Sevier (1821-1858), daughter of Gillington Chisholm and Cynthia Hill Chisholm. Cynthia Hill Chisholm was the sister of Jane Hill Bates, wife of Robert Patrick Bates. It is interesting to note that Gillington Chisholm and his wife, Cynthia Hill Chisholm, were apparently close friends and neighbors to Dr. Samuel Sevier, son of Governor John Sevier, after he arrived in Franklin County, Alabama. Three of Gillington’s children married children of Dr. Samuel Sevier:
1. Mary Sophronia Chisholm married Daniel Vertner Sevier about 1847 2. Lewis Clark Chisholm married Jane Sevier about 1846 3. Malinda Chisholm married Archibald Rhea Sevier. Also, Gillington named his last born son, Edmund SEVIER Chisholm, about May 29, 1840.
(Pleasanton no longer exits, but was northeast of Fulton and only a few miles from the area of Red Bay, AL, Franklin County, AL where William Malone Brooks, Sr. and an Amy Ann Brooks owned property.)

1860 Census - Itawamba County, Mississippi, P.O. Pleasanton
(Pleasanton no longer exists, but was northeast of Fulton and only a few miles from the area of Red Bay, Franklin County, Alabama, where William Malone Brooks, Sr. and Amy Ann Brooks owned property.)

Charles M. Brooks, 33, farmer, $200 Personal Prop., AL
Caroline, 40, AL
Judith J., 14, AL
John W., 13, MS
Thomas B., 11, MS
James M., 9, MS
Milly A., 7, MS
Eli, 4, MS
Samuel M., 2, MS
Louisa A., 3/12, MS
Note 1: Living at residence 852/852, Itawamba County, MS, Mooresville, was a Charles Brooks, age 59, born in KY. His wife was Diniah, age 55 and daughter, Martha L. Brooks, age 16. He was a farmer. It was initially thought that he could perhaps be the father of Charles M. Brooks; however, it has now been confirmed that this Charles Brooks was born in Wayne County, Kentucky and was the son of Thomas and Sarah Brooks. This Charles and Diniah Cornelius Brooks did not have a son named Charles; therefore, this Charles was not the father of Charles M. Brooks.

Wm. Mitchel, 50, farmer, $400/$600, NC
Louisa, 45, NC (sister of Caroline Wylie Brooks, above)
Ellenor, 18, MS
Tabitha, 16, MS
Catherine 8, MS

1860 Census – Itawamba County, MS, P.O. Oak Farm
James M. Wiley, 31, farming, 20, AL (born abt. 1829)
(brother of Caroline Wylie Brooks & Louisa Wylie Mitchell, above)
Amy Ann Wiley, 24, AL (born abt. 1836) (AMY ANN BROOKS, sister to Charles M. Brooks)
Mary L., 8, MS
Sarah F., 4, MS
Syithia, 2, MS
John Wiley, 69, school teacher, NC (father of James M. Wiley)
Margaret Wiley, 68, NC (mother of James M. Wiley)

Back to the Top