List of Brooks Estate Files at the NC State Archives

The following list of BROOKS family estate folders were found in the Caswell County, North Carolina Series of Loose Estate Papers, 1772-1927; C.R. 020.508.8

Name Date
Christopher Brooks 1782
Thomas Brooks 1794
Ann Brooks 1808
Thomas Brooks 1824
Christopher W Brooks (Isabella Brooks) 1840
Sarah Brooks 1841
John K Brooks 1850
Isabella Brooks 1851
C W Brooks 1851
Thomas Brooks 1855


An Inventory of Wills and Estate Records for Williams Families of Granville Co NC

My ancestor, Henry Williams, was the son of Daniel Williams who wrote a will in Granville County, North Carolina in 1759. You can read Daniel’s will in a previous post here. I retreived a copy of Daniel Williams’ 1759 Granville Co., NC will from the North Carolina State Archives in downtown Raleigh. While I was there, I also took inventory of all of the Williams surname files that were in the same box of original wills and also an inventory of the Williams estate files as well. Here is a listing of this inventory:

Granville County Wills 

Name Date Estate?
Agnes Williams 1803 YES
B F Williams 1925 -
Charles Williams 1819 YES
Daniel Williams 1759 YES
Elijah Williams 1854 -
Elizabeth Williams 1871 YES
J T Williams 1912 YES
James Williams 1845 YES
James Williams 1892 YES
John Williams 1799 YES
Joseph Williams 1773 -
Mary D Williams 1896 -
Nathaniel Williams 1831 -
Robert Williams 1822 -
Robert Williams 1905 -
Thomas Williams 1761 -
Thomas Williams 1825 -
William Williams 1765 -
William Williams 1777 -

Granville County Estates

Name Date Will?
Agnes Williams 1803 YES
Alfred Williams 1866 -
Benjamin Williams 1842 -
Charles Williams 1819 YES
Daniel Williams 1760 YES
David Williams 1862 -
Eliza Williams 1862 -
Elijah Williams 1842 -
Elizabeth Williams 1788 -
Elizabeth Williams 1871 YES
George Williams 1851 -
George W Williams 1900 -
Henrietta Williams 1887 -
Hettie H Williams 1889 -
J Williams 1770 -
James Williams 1847 YES
James Williams 1891 YES
John Williams 1770 -
John Williams 1779 YES
John D Williams 1912 YES
John H Williams 1865 -
Judge John Williams 1799 -

Source Information:

Granville County Wills: 1749-1968, Cr. 044.801.41, North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC

Granville County Estates: Cr. 044.508.590, North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones St., Raleigh, NC

Amanuensis Monday – The Will of Thomas Brooks

Transylvanian Dutch blog author John Newmark started the Monday blog theme called Amanuensis Monday. According to John, “amanuensis” means:
“A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.”

This week I am posting a transcript of the will of Thomas Brooks of Caswell County, North Carolina written on the 31st of March, 1855.

The following will 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, please reference 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

Summary of Will:

Written: March 31, 1855

Wife: Martha

William Brooks (<21 years of age)
Nicy Brooks
Mary Ann Brooks

wife Martha Brooks

Original Scanned Images:

Thomas Brooks Will 1855 p1

Thomas Brooks Will 1855 p1

Thomas Brooks Will 1855 p2

Thomas Brooks Will 1855 p2

Transcript of Will:

In the name of God amen I Thos Brooks of the county of Caswell and State of North Carolina being in mind the uncertainty of life and the certainty of death and being weak of body but of sound mind and disposing memory Blessed be God do this 31st day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty five publish and ordain this my last will and Testament in the manner and form following that is to say first of all I recommend my precious and immortal soul unto the hands of God who give it and my body to the earth to be buried in a decent and Christian like manner,

Item 1st I give and bequeath to Martha my wife my tract of land on which I live containing 237 acres more of less and my stock of all description plantation tools household and kitchen furniture wagon and harness and carriage also the provisions of all description on hand during her natural life or widowhood.

Item 2nd I will and bequeath to my son William Brooks when twenty one years of age a seventy five dollar horse and a good Saddle and bridle. Item 3rd I will and bequeath at the death or marriage of my beloved wife Martha, that in the event my daughters Nicy and Mary Ann are both or either of them single, they are to have one hundred dollars of my estate each and then come in for an equal division with the rest of my lawful heirs.

I hereby nominate and appoint my beloved wife Martha my executor to carry into effect this my last will and Testament herby ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament this day and date signed sealed and acknowledged to be the last will and Testament of Thos Brooks in presents of Charles G Russell and Byrd D Paylors.

Charles G Russell
Byrd D Paylor

Thomas (His Mark X) Brooks (Seal)

Unfortunately, at this time, I do not know much about this family. Thomas Brooks’ estate was probated in 1855 because there is a file at the North Carolina State Archives in the Caswell County Loose Papers of the Estate Files for Thomas Brooks, dated 1855. My goal is to copy, scan, and transcribe the contents of that file the next time I got to the Archives. If you know anything about the family of Thomas and Martha Brooks, please feel free to leave a comment below or email me directly at ginger.reney at gmail dot com.

Related Posts:

The Wills of Richard Brooks (1789) and his wife Ann Brooks (1808)

Wordless Wednesday – The Hill Girls

I found these photos among my great grandmother’s photos. My great grandmother was Blanche Kathryne Hill Binns. She was the daughter of Nathaniel “Gus” Gustaves Hill and Jessie Barton. Blanche had 4 other sisters, Jo Hill, Nora Lee Hill, Doris Hill, and Inez Hill. They were from Dierks, Arkansas.

Photos of the Hill Girls privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, AR. Digitized by Ginger R. Smith, 2005.

This post is part of the daily blogging theme hosted by GeneaBloggers.

Funeral Card Friday: Van C Binns

Van C Binns Rememberance Card 2

Funeral Card of Dr. Van C. Binns, front and back cover with services through the Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home in Monticello, Arkansas and the Twenty-Third Psalm on the back page. Privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, digitized by Ginger R. Smith, May 2006.

Van C Binns Rememberance Card 1

Funeral Card of Dr. Van C. Binns, inside covers with Funeral Services and Obituary. Privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, digitized by Ginger R. Smith, May 2006.

Funeral services and burial arrangements to be held at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Chapel in Monticello, Arkansas with Rev. Dennis Doson and Rev. Mike Qualls Officiating
Tuesday, July 10, 1990 at 4:00 pm
Burial in Oakland Cemetery in Monticello, Arkansas
“Active” Pallbearers:
Buddy Binns
John Paul Binns
Charles Hogue
Zach Binns
Don Hogue
William Lee Hogue
“Honorary” Pallbearers:
First Baptist Church Deacons
Dr. Van C. Binns was born July 11, 1905 in Drew County, AR. He departed this life Sunday, July 8, 1990 at the Drew Memorial Hospital in Monticello, AR at the age of 84 years. He was  a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Medicine, served his internship in Boston, MA and New York and served his residency in New York. He has served the Monticello and Pine Bluff area 55 years. He was a member of the 50 Year Doctor’s Club of Arkansas, the American Medical Assn. and the Arkansas Medical Society. He was a U.S. Army Veteran of World War II and a member of the First Baptist Church where he served as Deacon for many years. Survivors include his wife Evelyn Hogue Binns of Monticello.


Van C. Binns was the older brother of my Great-Grandfather John Brooks Binns.  He was one of the ones who stayed close to home after he became a doctor and fought in the war, running his medical practice in his hometown in Monticello until he died.  He was married to Evelyn Hogue and they had no children.

Van C Binns-Younger

Clipping of Dr. Van C Binns, privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, digitized by Ginger R. Smith, May 2006

Van C Binns Older

Clipping of Dr. Van C Binns from his Obituary privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, digitized by Ginger R. Smith, May 2006

This post is part of a Monthly First Friday blogging theme suggested by Dee Akard Welborn. Dee encourages geneabloggers to highlight our funeral card collections on the first Friday of each month. You can join the fun on Facebook here as well!

Wordless Wednesday – 50th Wedding Anniversary


John and Blanche Binns' 50th Wedding Anniversary Picture taken 19 August 1984, Fort Smith, AR. Privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Digitally scanned by Ginger R. Smith, November 2008.

This is the 50th Wedding Anniversary picture of my paternal great-grandparents, John Brooks Binns and Blanche Kathryn Hill who were married in Longview, Texas, 19 August 1934. Although they were married in Texas, they both grew up in Monticello, Arkansas and raised their family in Fort Smith, Arkansas. John was a meat cutter at the local Kroger grocer and Blanche was a homemaker. Once their 3 daughters were old enough to attend high school, the couple enrolled in education classes at Russellville Tech and obtained their teaching degrees. John taught 5th grade and Blanche taught 2nd grade at Alma Elementary in Alma, Arkansas. In 1963, Blanche was forced to retired from teaching after she had a stroke. John continued teaching and caring for his wife another 12 years.

Here is a copy of the news clipping that appeared in the local paper on 8 August 1984 announcing their 50th Wedding Anniversary:

John and Blanche Binns 50th Wedding Anniversary Newspaper Clipping Aug 8 1984

John and Blanche Binns 50th Wedding Anniversary Newspaper Clipping Aug 8 1984. Privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas. Digitally scanned by Ginger R. Smith, November 2008.

The photo of them included in this new sclipping was taken probably in the late 50s or early 60s before Blanche had her stroke.

Related Posts:
1. John Brooks Binns (1910 – 1989)
2. Using Google maps to view previous residences of my great-granparents Binns
3. Wordless Wednesday – Photo of Me and John Binns
4. Tombstone Tuesday – John and Blanche Binns
5. Funeral Card Friday: John Brooks Binns

Treasure Chest Thursday: Perthinia Brooks Binns Obituary

I am following along with Randy Seaver’s blog theme of Treasure Chest Thursday in which I post items of genealogical value and interest every Thursday.

This week’s item of interest is a newspaper clipping of my 2nd great-grandmother Perthinia Brooks Binns‘ obituary that I found in my great grandmother’s memory book (Privately held by my grandmother, Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas). There was no date or name of newspaper written on the clipping, however, I do know that “Pert” died November 3, 1942 in Monticello, Arkansas. According to the Library of Congress’ Catalog, the newspaper in circulation in Monticello at that time was the Advance-Monticellonian (1920-current).

Perthina (Brooks) Binns Obituary 1942

Perthina (Brooks) Binns Obituary 1942

Death cut short by five days the fiftieth wedding anniversary of Mr.and Mrs John Milton Binns of Monticello. Mrs. Binns had been seriosly sick in the hospital for several days and death came Tuesday afternoon about four o’clock.
Next Monday, November 9, Mr and Mrs Binns would have been married fifty years. Elaborate plans for the celebration that had been made by the children were canceled when she was taken seriously sick.
Mrs. Binns was the daughter of Colonel and Mrs. I. L. Brooks prominent pioneer Drew County citizen. She was born in Monticello, April 12, 1873 in a house where the Christian Science Church now stands, and had lived here all of her life.
Mrs. Binns was a devoted member of the Baptist Church and was an admirable woman. Her life centered around her family, her church and her friends. Despite years of semi-invalidism she managed to keep a bright and cheerful outlook on life and she remained a source of pleasure to her family.
Surviving besides her husband are seven children, Roy Milton of Monticello, James Howard of Little Rock, John Brooks of Fort smith,Capt. Van C. Binns in foreign service, Byron Zack, flight surgeon of Lubbock, Texas; Mrs. W. C. Brashears of Clifton, Texas and Mrs. W. F.Whitaker of Eudora.
Funeral services will be held this Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock at the chapel of the Stephenson Funeral Home conducted by Dr. T. W. Croxton and Rev. C. D. Wood. Funeral will be in Oakland cemetery.”

Had Pert lived another 5 days the family would have been celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. She married her husband, John Milton Binns in Drew County, Arkansas, November 10, 1892, and she was buried November 10, 1942. As it turned out, Pert’s husband lived another 19 years, enough to celebrate his 90th birthday!

Pert’s father, Colonel Iverson Lee Brooks, was from Caswell County, North Carolina, her mother, Bettie Lee, from Tennessee. Although I have a picture of Pert’s mother Bettie, I don’t believe I’ve located a picture of Pert yet.

Tombstone Tuesday: Eula (Brooks) Binns

Gravemarker of Eula L Binns, buried in Oakland Cemetery in Monticello, Arkansas. Date taken unknown. Photo is privately held by Eula Binns' granddaughter, Barbara (Binns) Smith of Fort Smith, Arkansas. Photo was scanned and digitized by Ginger R Smith, November 2008.

Eula L “Pert” (Brooks) Binns was my great-great grandmother. She was born April 12, 1873 in Monticello, Arkansas and died November 3 1942 in Monticello, Arkansas, just one week shy of her 50th wedding anniversary. She married John Milton Binns November 10, 1892.
Pert Brooks was the daughter of Colonel Iverson L Brooks from Caswell County, North Carolina and his wife Elizabeth “Bettie” Lee of Tennessee. She had lived in Monticello her entire life.

My first trip to the Southern Historical Collection at UNC

This weekend I visited the Southern Historical Collection located on the 4th floor of the Wilson Library at UNC.  I checked out a box from the William S. Powell Papers. This was my first visit to the Collection library. I was allowed to bring my laptop and digital camera in, but had to use the loose leaf paper and pencils they provided to me. They do not provide photocopying services, and if I had not had digital camera, I would have been able to check one of theirs out for free. The only two conditions to using digital cameras were 1) I cannot use a flash and 2) I had to sign a form that said I would not reproduce any images I photographed without the written permission from the Southern Historical Collection.

The purpose of my trip was to find the research notes of William S. Powell that he used in writing his book, “When the Past Refused to Die: The History of Caswell Count, North Carolina.” On page 71, he mentioned my ancestor, “Colonel Henry Williams” as a Revolutionary War soldier and I would like to know what source Powell used to indicate that my ancestor was a Colonel or that he was a Revolutionary War soldier. I have blogged previously here and here that I can’t find any other documentation that he was a Colonel or participated in the Revolutionary War.

The box I reviewed had 5 folders in it which were not named or numbered. As I took a folder out, I had to insert a placeholder in its place. The first folder had printed pages from the book with some corrections Powell made. The 2nd and 3rd folder had correspondence Powell had with his publisher, the Caswell County Historical Association members, and Caswell County residents, just to name a few.  I found a few index cards with notations made of other collections titles that Powell reviewed (although he did not list the repository – whether they were contained in the Southern Historical Collection, the Duke Manuscripts, or North Carolina State Archives, for example), but no reference to any Revolutionary War Records.

In one of his letters to his publisher, Powell mentioned that he had indexed every name and place title he found in each record he reviewed on index cards. These cards were not included with these materials. Maybe he sent these cards to his publisher?

I learned a lot about writing a North Carolina history book from reading Powell’s correspondence.  I learned about the administrative practices of securing an agreement with a publisher and securing funds. I learned about feasibility and finding enough subject material to write about. I learned about how to get the county residents involved and soliciting submissions for historical essays on the history of places like churches, mills, houses, and schools.  I also found in his papers a guide that was written about how to write a county history including a list of subject matter and outline material!  I also saw some correspondence Powell had with people who disagreed with the information he wrote about their ancestors. This gave me great insight into what it would be like to write a historical book, which is something I would like to do someday!

So all in all, my trip was good. I would love to do more research in the Southern Historical Collection. I found their online finding aids to be very information and specific enough to determine if a collection is what I am looking for. Although I did not find exactly what I was looking for, I will not lose hope.

Funeral Card Friday: John Brooks BINNS

John B Binns Rememberance Card

Funeral card of John Brooks Binns, Fort Smith, Arkansas, citing services on 12 December 1989; Privately held by daughter of the deceased, Barbara Jo (Binns) Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas, scanned by Barbara

John Brooks Binns was my Paternal great-grandfather. He was tall and skinny and had blonde hair and blue eyes. He was married to the love of his life, Blanche Kathryn Hill and they had three beautiful little girls, Kitty, Barbara, and Brooxine Binns. John was a member of the Big 3 Little 3 Press Association in college and played football for the Monticello A&M Bollwevils in Arkansas. He was a meat cutter for Krogers grocery for ten years and when his kids were old enough to go to high school he and his wife went back to school and became school teachers. He taught 5th grade until he retired in 1975.

This post is part of a Monthly First Friday blogging theme suggested by Dee Akard Welborn. Dee encourages geneabloggers to highlight our funeral card collections on the first Friday of each month. You can join the fun on Facebook here as well!


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