John Brooks is a progressive farmer and stockman of Lyon township. He is a native of Iowa, born in Keokuk county, in 1848. He is the youngest child of Johnsey and Margaret (Glover) Brooks' family of ten children. His father's place of nativity was Maryland, born near Baltimore, in 1792. He was of Dutch and Irish extraction. He emigrated from Maryland to Ohio, subsequently to Guernsey county and from there to Iowa. Mr. Brooks' mother was born in Ohio. She died in 1882, at the age of seventy-five years. She was of French extraction.
Of this family of ten children, just half of that number are living, viz: Louisa Jane, widow of Samuel Snyder, of Smith county, Kansas, Martha, wife of Benjamin Denny, all Englishman; they live on a farm in Keokuk county, Iowa. A sister, Nancy Adair, living in Missouri. Samuel, of Osborne county, enlisted in the Mexican war, was detained by illness in New Orleans and did not see active service. T.J., of Marion county, Kansas, is a furniture dealer in the town of Burns.
Mr. Brooks has never engaged in any occupation but farming and started out to earn a livlihood without capital, but possessed with the ambition and courage that serves a young man just starting in life better than finances. He rented land which he farmed and later bought a small tract of ground which he sold and in 1875, came to Cloud county, and took up a homestead which he sold about twelve years ago and in 1880, purchased the farm he now lives on adjoining his original place. He improved this farm and in 1901, erected a splendid modern residence of seven rooms. He purchased his original homestead in 1899, and now owns four hundred acres of good land. Upon his advent in Cloud county, he had but little else other than a large family. His assets were forty dollars and his liabilities sixty dollars. In 1888, he engaged in the sheep business and has made it a successful industry, even when the price of wool was low. He started with seven hundred sheep and his flock has varied from two to seven hundred, feeding and selling. Mr. Brooks is an extensive wheat grower. In 1901, he had two hundred acres that averaged sixteen bushels to the acre.
Mr. Brooks was married in 1867, to Julia Roll, a daughter of Warren L. and Melissa (Asken) Roll. Her father was an old settler of Cloud county. Homesteading and living here until 1890, then moved to Doniphan county, where he died In 1897. They were formerly from Indiana, but emigrated to Iowa, and from there to Kansas. Her father was a native of Kentucky. Her mother died In 1898. They were the parents of twelve children, all of whom are living but three. Five of their children were born in Orange county, Indiana, Mrs. Brooks included in that number. A brother, Warren Roll, is a farmer of Arion township; Maggie, wife of Elmer Tilton of Glasco. She has two brothers in Doniphan county, a sister and brother in Oklahoma and two sisters in Iowa.
To Mr. and Mrs. Brooks twelve children have been born, ten of whom are living, viz: Nancy Jane, wife of Frank Graham, a farmer of Lyon township. Their four children are, Nellie Naomi, Edna May, John Calvin and Abbie. Isaac W., the eldest son is a farmer of Lyon township. His family consists of a wife and four children; Ray, Lela, Freddie and Eddie. Mary Effie, the second daughter, is the wife of Rozzel Bailey, a farmer of Arion township. They are the parents of six children; Charles, Leota, Ettie, Roy, Eva and Myrle. Abbie, the third daughter, is the wife of Max Cross, a farmer of Rooks county. They have two children; Otto Glen and Gladys Glee. Alice, wife of Pat Driscoll, a farmer of Marshall county, Kansas. Their family consists of three children: Rita, Julius and Mabel. Willard Eaton; unmarried and assists with the farming and stock. Hannah, wife of Alvin Gates, a farmer of Lyon township. They are the parents of one little son, Vernie Ray. John L., is a student on his second year in the Concordia high school. The two younger sons, Ferdinand Taylor, and William H., are both at home.
Although Mr. Brooks has had many discouragements to contend with he is now on solid footing. His farm is one of the most highly improved in Lyon township. He has a fine basement barn 36 by 40 feet in dimensions with sixten[sic] foot wall. A hail storm passed over his land in 1889. The corn was in roasting ear; every vestige of his crop was destroyed. The storm included a strip ninety miles long and from six to eight miles wide, starting in the locality of Superior, Nebraska. This loss was seriously felt by Mr. Brooks, who at that time was not in a financial position to lose his crop without being badly crippled. Politically, Mr. Brooks is a Populist. He is a good citizen, an honest industrious and practical farmer and stockman.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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