Richard Brooks was born about 1730 in either England or Virginia. In 1754, he and his brother Thomas were mentioned in a survey to divide the land of their father Jonathan Brooks in Kingston Parish, Gloucester Co., VA. He and his family stayed in Virginia until the 1780s. I first saw Richard Brooks in Caswell County, North Carolina in 1788 when he purchased 400 acres of land from George Barker. I have posted more information on Richard Brooks here.
Richard’s brother Thomas Brooks was my ancestor. He had moved from Virginia to North Carolina a few years before Richard. Thomas was found in Orange County, North Carolina in 1773 (Orange was the parent county of Caswell) when he purchased land. I have not yet found Thomas’ will (he died in Caswell County, North Carolina in 1819) . But I did find Richard’s will and it is posted below. If you are connected to this family, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email me at ginger. reney at gmail.com.
The will of Richard Brooks was obtained from the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh, North Carolina. For more information on locating wills and ordering copies from the North Carolina State Archives, check out my Looking for Wills at the North Carolina State Archives - Updated post.
The following will was found in the Caswell County Series of Original Wills, 1771-1927, box no. 1 Call no. 020.801.1.
Looking for more information? Want to know who bought Richard’s kitchen dishes? Well, unfortunately, although he wrote a will, I did not find an estate file for him in the loose papers at the Archives. This doesn’t mean proceedings of his estate were not copied in a bound volume (check out the FamilySearch bound Probate Records here) To see a list of all available Brooks family Estate files in Caswell County, North Carolina, click here.
Summary of Will:
Written: October 3rd, 1789
Wife: Ann (Ann’s will can be found here)
William Bird Brooks (under 21)
Elizabeth “Betsy” Brooks
Frances Armstead Brooks
Ann Smith Graves
Executor: wife Ann and son in law Solomon Graves
Witness: W. F. Smith and Israel Barker
Original Scanned Images:
The original images are 16″ wide and were scanned in two pieces and then stitched back together using Microsoft PowerPoint software. There were 4 pages total which I have shown below.
Transcript of Will:
In the Name of God Amen, I Richard Brookes of the County of Caswell and state of North Carolina, Being in a low state of health, but of perfect sense and memory thanks be to Almighty God for the blessing. But taking into Consideration the shortness and Uncertainty of this Transitory Life, and that it is appointed for all Men once to die, do make Constitute and ordain this my last will and Testament to be peformed, In manner and form following that is to say first and Principally I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it me and my body to the Earth from whence it was taken to be Buried in Decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of my Executors whom I shall hereafter nominate and appoint – and unto such worldly goods as it hath pleased Almighty God to bless me in this life with I Give Dimiss and Depose of the same in Manner and form following and first my Desire is that all my Lawful Debts be paid, ….
Item; I lend to my Beloved Wife Ann Brookes, the Land and Plantation whereon I now live, with one third part of the rest of my Estate both real and personal, during her natural life or Widowhood, and at her Death or Intermarriage to be Equally Divided among my four youngest children (to Wit) William Bird Brookes, Betsy Brookes, Frances Armisted Brookes, and John Brookes, Excepting the land and plantation whereon I now live, which at my wifes death or Intermarriage I leave to be Equally divided between my two sons to Wit, William Bird Brookes and John Brookes and their heirs.
Item; I give and bequeath to my Daughter Ann Smith Graves one negro woman named Hannah, and one Negro boy named John,
Item, I leave all the remaining part of my Estate in the hands of my wife until my son William Bird Brookes shall arrive to the age of twenty one years and then to be equally divided among my four youngest children to Wit, William Bird Brookes, Betsy Brookes, Frances Armsted Brookes, and John Brookes. Except my Wife should Intermarry before my son William Bird Brookes arrives to the age of Twenty one years and then and in that case my will and Desire is that the division should be made at her intermarriage.
Lastly I appoint my beloved wife Ann Brookes and my son in law Solomon Graves, Whole and sole executrix and Executor of this my last will and Testament to be performed. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand affixed my seal this third day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty Nine.
Signed sealed published and Declared in presents of
W. Smith, Jurat
Israel Barker, Jurat
Signed Richard Brookes
Soloman Graves Qualified Executor
To learn more about Richard Brook(e)s of Caswell County, North Carolina, check out my other post here.