FRANKLIN ELLSWORTH BROOKE. Though his permanent home has been in Kansas at Winona only five years, few would contradict the statement that Franklin Ellsworth Brooke is one of the most widely known and influential citizens in the northwestern part of the state. There are many facts to account for his standing. One thing that makes him interesting as a man and citizen is the rather unusual ability he has shown in several markedly different fields of enterprise. It is not customary to look upon a college president and minister of the gospel as a successful business executive, but Mr. Brooke is handling his affairs as a banker, rancher and business man with the same sagacity as a veteran in those fields.
For many years before locating at Winona Mr. Brooke was a minister of the United Brethren Church and president of one of the leading colleges of Iowa.
A man of distinction himself, Mr. Brooke comes of an old and prominent family of many interesting historical connections. In the colonial period of American settlement four Brooke brothers came out of England and settled in Virginia, then locating in the northern part of the state, near Alexandria. The Old Brooke Lodge No. 47, of Alexandria, one of the oldest in American Masonry, was named in honor of these four brothers, all of whom were high Masons. George Washington was Master of this Lodge for many years. The old Brooke estate was known as Meadowbrooke. Anyone familiar with Virginia and national history during the last century will recall one or two prominent members of that family. Most of them were planters and slave holders in Virginia, but there were others who were decidedly pro-Union in sentiment, and while Doctor Brooke's immediate ancestors owned slaves his father was an ardent free state man who helped purge the territory of Kansas from the taint of slavery.
The great-grandfather of Doctor Brooke was Thomas F. Brooke, who spent his life in Virginia, was a planter and slave holder and a man of considerable prominence in his day. The grandfather, John Brooke, was born in Virginia but in early life identified himself with Washington County, Maryland, and from there undertook an interesting pioneer journey to the Middle West. He set out for Western Illinois just about the time the Black Hawk war broke out and stopped nearly all western emigration for a year or two. As a result Mr. Brooke did not effect his settlement in Illinois until 1836. He located at Grand Detour and broke out one of the early farms in that locality, where he died in 1878. He was a member of the United Brethren Church. In Maryland he married Cornelia Coddington, a native of that state. She also died at Grand Detour.
William Brooke, father of Doctor Brooke, was born in Washington County, Maryland, in 1825, and was a small child when his parents moved out to Illinois, where he grew up and married. He early showed himself a man of the same pioneer instincts as his ancestors, and in 1849 went with an ox team overland to California. He spent two years prospecting for gold on the Pacific slope. After his marriage he settled down on a farm and lived most of his life in Whiteside and Ogle counties, Illinois. About 1858 he left the quiet routine of Illinois life and enlisted with a party of men bound for Kansas for the purpose of making this a free state. He was associated with a party of Free Soilers under Kretzinger, one of the lieutenants of old Osawatomie Brown. While in Kansas, he homesteaded a claim in Douglas County and the Town of Perry has since been built upon that homestead. To the end of his life he remained a keen student and observer of politics and history, and was especially well versed on many phases of the anti-slavery movement and the Civil war.
Incidentally it should be mentioned that William Brooke's aunt, Polly Brooke, came out of Old Virginia with sixteen slaves and settled at Lecompton, Kansas, during the early '5Os. She conducted the principal tavern in that historic town for several years. When the free state cause finally prevailed she freed her slaves, but every one of them refused to desert her. Later she went out to Butte, Montana, and her son was one of the early governors of that territory.
Though he proved up his homestead in Kansas, William Brooke left the state about 1863 and returned to Whiteside County, Illinois, and became a farmer at Coleta. In 1871 he removed to Eagle Point in Ogle County, and continued farming there until his death in 1880. He began voting as a whig and joined the republican party in its first national campaign. He was one of the active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Owing to physical disability he was rejected for service as a soldier in the Civil war, but lent his means and his earnest support to the Union cause.
That quality of patriotism which stood out so prominently in his character is none the less conspicuous in his son, Doctor Brooke. Doctor Brooke is captain of Company E, Fourteenth Battalion, Kansas State Guards at Winona, and largely through his vigorous policy has made that community as free from latent or expressed disloyalty as any section in Kansas.
William Brooke married Paulina Healey, born at Palmyra, New York, in 1830 and died in 1902 at Lecompton, Kansas, at the home of her son Charles M. Brooke, then president of Lane University. The children of William Brooke and wife were: John S., a fruit ranchman living at Los Angeles, California; William H., who was a merchant and rancher and died at Lecompton at the age of fifty; Charles M., who for ten years was president of Lane University at Lecompton, is a minister of the United Brethren Church, and is now ranching at Perkins, Oklahoma; Freeborn D., a minister of the Free Methodist Church at Aurora, Illinois; Jennie, wife of Clinton McElhaney, an employe of the Keystone Factory at Rock Falls, Illinois; Emma, wife of Thomas W. Pate, city agent of the Sante Fe Railway Company at Los Angeles, California; Franklin E.; Nellie, who died in 1907 at Onega, Kansas, where her husband, Coates Leamer, is a general merchant; Frederick M., a minister of the Christian Church at Turlock, California.
Franklin Ellsworth Brooke was born at Coleta, Whiteside County, Illinois, April 14, 1866. The first seventeen years of his life he spent on his father's farm and secured his education in the rural schools of Ogle County. He then entered Western, now Leander Clark, College at Toledo, Iowa, graduating A. B. in 1895. The same college conferred upon him the Master of Arts degree in 1909, and in that year he also received the Doctor of Divinity degree from the Lebanon Valley, York and Cornell Colleges. In the meantime he had taught nine terms of district school, and in 1898 was ordained in the United Brethren ministry, having served the three previous years in the pulpit of that church at Moravia, Iowa. From 1898 to 1902 he had one of the largest churches of his denomination in Iowa, the First Church at Cedar Rapids. His ministry was interrupted by ill health, which obliged him to take up outdoor work, and from 1902 to 1906 he was with the emigration department of the Rock Island Railway, with headquarters at Cedar Rapids. He then resumed his church work as pastor of the First Church at Kansas City, Missouri, which church he founded. There was not a single member nor a dollar in money when he took charge, but in two years time he had raised funds to erect a $30,000 church edifice at 40th and Harrison streets. He left that church in 1908 and in June of that year entered upon his duties as president of Leander Clark College at Toledo, Iowa, his Alma Mater. He was the administrative head of that institution until 1913 when there came another breakdown in health, and to recuperate he came to Kansas.
In the meantime Mr. Brooke had bought land around Winona, and has since had active charge of two ranches, doing that work while rejuvenating himself and still owning this property. He is vice president and a director of the Winona State Bank and is president of the Brooke Land and Trust Company.
Mr. Brooke, as above noted, is captain of Company E of the Fourteenth Battalion, Kansas State Guards at Winona. He is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, Iowa Consistory No. 2 of Cedar Rapids. His Blue Lodge membership is with the old historic Toledo, Iowa, Lodge, No. 118, where he lived many years.
On April 27, 1887, Mr. Brooke married Miss Effie Celeste Boone, of Polo, Illinois. Mrs. Brooke is a daughter of Hezekiah and Mary Ann (DeHaven) Boone, both now deceased. Her father was a farmer. Mrs. Brooke is a descendant of the Daniel Boone family. She graduated from the high school at Polo, Illinois, and in 1894 from the Leander Clark Conservatory of Music, and later she taught both vocal and instrumental music. Doctor and Mrs. Brooke feel great pride in their only son, Boone Winthrop Brooke. He was born March 10, 1888, is a graduate of West Des Moines High School, Des Moines, Iowa, and pursued advanced courses in Drake University and Leander Clark College, receiving his A. B. degree from the latter in June, 1910. Since then he has been a reporter on the Kansas City Star and the Chicago Tribune. In 1914 he became associated with his father and is secretary-treasurer of the Brooke Land & Trust Company, and assistant manager of the Brooke ranches. Just now, however, he is serving with the colors, and has attained a lieutenancy in the Aviation Corps. At this writing he is at Ellington Field, near Houston, Texas, and is editor of the official paper of that field known as "Tale Spins."
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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