LEWIS PINKNEY BROOKS. One of the early sheriffs of Young county and a gentleman invariably mentioned among its venerable pioneers is he whose name initiates this notice and it is his connection with some of the things that have been done here that is the province of this article especially to enumerate. Be it said, in general, that to the county’s welfare as well as to his personal gain, has he devoted almost forty years of his life, and both as a citizen and as a man he has achieved results to which his posterity may refer with pardonable pride.
During the period of the Civil War, Young county lost is organization and it was before it was reorganized that Mr. Brooks cast his lot with this portion of the Texas frontier. He came hither in 1866 and drifted about from place to place until 1870, when he sought the banks of the Brazos in the vicinity to Miller’s Bend and established his permanent home. In company with Taylor Brooks and Ambrose A. Timmons he purchased the Shelton survey settled by Locke Williams, of which he owns three hundred and twenty acres. The pole cabin constructed of pickets set on end became his domicile and it housed him for two years after his return from his hold home with his newly wedded wife. In its place, in 1874, arose the time-worn and massive stone pile which stands as a monument to the progress of that day and whose sacred walls whisper silent memories of days gone by.
For several years after 1866 the forays of the red man extended over Young county and the white settler caught out alone and unprepared paid the penalty too often with his life. Only on one occasion did our subject come into open encounter with this treacherous enemy and then not without comrades to spur him on to vigorous deeds of self-defense. A party of a half-dozen men were building a stone wall on the bank of the river near the Brooks home, of which party Mr. Brooks and his brother, and Alex. Timmons were members. Their arms were left in a pile between them and their horses on the sidehill below. Suddenly a bunch of eight Indians appeared up the road steering for the white man’s horses almost within their reach. With the rush of the party for their arms the Indians spied them and dropped into the brush near by and a fusillade was kept up between the two sides for some minutes without positive casualties other than a wounded horse. With an equal encounter of this sort of Indian was not at all the first attack. His courage and bravery were never more heroically displayed than in scalping a lone and unarmed paleface or in exterminating a family of defenseless women and children.
Mr. Brooks began his career in Young county behind the plow and as a farmer his active efforts will end. Content with his choice of location of the early time he has clung to the landscape commanding the streak of rust that winds its ways southward and moistens with hits liquid preparation the sandy bed of the Brazos. Out of his fertile soil have sprung crops which forced a groan from its burden-laden granaries and from its parched surface have occasionally come the chief element of the Egyptian scourge. Along with the bitter there have come doses of sweet and their alternation is the spice which flavors a frontier life to the pioneer’s taste.
Lewis P. Brooks was born in Cherokee county, Georgia, May 1, 1841, but migrated to Texas from Barto[w] county. William C. Brooks, his father, was born in Hall county, that state, in 1813, and died in Barto[w] county in 1898. The latter was a farmer, was a man of some education, although his father was not, and was a member of the Georgia legislature once. John P. Brooks, our subject’s grandfather, was born on the ocean while his parents, John and Mary Brooks, were en route to America to help settle the colonies of England. John P. Brooks had a brother James, who went to Mississippi after he grew up, but the former remained about his parents in South Carolina, where they first located and afterward founded the family in Georgia. He was called “Col.” Brooks, presumably from his connection with the militia service of his state. He married Hester Bennett and, with his wife, passed away in Cherokee county. The issue of their marriage were: William C., Melissa, Narcissa, Frank and Elijah, who died in Georgia; Nathan, of Polk county, Georgia; Mary; George, of Cherokee county, Georgia; Jefferson, of Farmington, California; Frances, who passed away in Arkansas, and Margaret.
William C. Brooks served in the Indian troubles of Georgia among the Cherokees and married Mary, a daughter of Noble Timmons. Mrs. Brooks was born in 1816 and died in 1902, being the mother of: John, of Cherokee county, Georgia; William W., who died in Arkansas; Julia, wife of A. J. Nally, who resides in Barto[w] county, Georgia; Caroline,who passed away unmarried; Lewis P., our subject; Elijah, who died in military prison at Camp Chase, Ohio; Alex. A. S.,of Knox county, Texas; Jane, who died in Young county, Texas, as Mrs. William Russell; Taylor, who lived awhile in Young county and died in Georgia; Margaret, wife of Jo Rogers, and Andrew J., both of the old home country, and Alice, who married Joseph Lusk and died in Georgia.
Lewis Pinkney Brooks acquired a limited education in the country schools of his state and shot as many feathered chinkapins into the ceiling of his schoolroom as the next one. As he approached man’s estate and was preparing to assume his station in civil affairs the rebellion broke out and he enlisted May, 1861, in Company B, Seventh Georgia Infantry, Colonel Gartrell, Hood’s Division, Army of Northern Virginia. Beginning at Manassas he fought in all the Peninsular campaign and at Gettysburg and Spottsylvania, in which latter engagement he was wounded, but returned to duty without much delay, and was again wounded in front of Richmond in December, 1864, this time receiving a ball through the left arm and into his side just under the shoulder, which retired him from further active service. He enlisted as a private and was promoted in the Peninsular campaign to a lieutenancy.
The year following the end of the war Mr. Brooks spent in his native state, getting back into the routine of civil life and preparing himself for a good, vigorous civil campaign in the state of his future home–Texas. His years of service in the ranks prepared him for his mission in the west and he came hither without misgivings as to the final result. Having blazed the way for a home he went back to his old home to claim the young woman who has promised to share his fortunes some years before, and in October, 1872, he was married. His wife was Miss Cinnie Moore, a daughter of John K. Moore, a farmer and mill man and an early settler of the Cracker state.
Mr. and Mrs. Brooks’ children are: Preston S., who is engaged in mining in old Mexico, and who is married to Ada Horton; Edna, wife of James Jordan, of Knox county, Texas; Ethel; Alvers, of West Point, Mississippi, named for the Alvers family, whom Mr. Brooks protected from ruffian intruders of his command while invading Maryland during the war; Retta, Lewis and Bessie.
Mr. Brooks was elected sheriff of Young county in 1876 and served a term of three years. While this was then a “wild and woolly” country, few murders were committed, and little crime of a nature to attract the public attention was enacted beyond the thievery of horses. He did his duty faithfully and retired from the office with the respect and confidence of his county. He is and ever has been a Democrat and his views on questions of moral turpitude are as well defined as those on politics.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 27-29.