The Will of Ann Brooks, Caswell County, North Carolina, 1808

Ann Brooks was the wife of Richard Brooks.  She was probably actually the second wife of Richard Brooks.  She was mentioned in his will, written 1789.  You can read more about Richard and Ann Brooks here. It is quite possible her maiden name was “Armistead” and that her daughter, Frances Armistead Brooks was named after Ann’s father.
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, (dates), box no. 1
Call no. 020.801.1

Summary of Will:

Written: March 4, 1806

To Grand Children:

Six Children of Ann’s son William Bird Brooks:
John, Robert, and William Brooks

Betsy, Ann and Joanna Brooks

Three Children of Ann’s daughter Frances A Sheppard:

Ann, Betsy and Polley Sheppard

Executor:  Son William Bird Brooks
Witnesses: Sol[omon] Graves, S. Graves, John L. Graves

The sale of Ann Brooks’ estate was held in February of 1808. Many of the articles in her estate were purchased by William B. and Jonathan Brooks.

Papers of her estate can be found at the North Carolina State Archives in the Caswell County Original Estate files, C. R. 020.508.8 Ann Brooks. 1808.

Original Scanned Images:


Transcript of Will:

In the name of God Amen – I Ann Brooks of the County of Caswell and State of North Carolina – on this 4th of March 1806 – being in perfect mind, health and memory thanks be given unto the Supreme being for the same calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is once appointed for all men to die, recommending my spirit to God who gave it, and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a decent Christian-like burial at the discretion of my Executors; nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again through Christ, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it pleased God to bless me with in life I give demise and despose of the same in the following manner -

To Wit. I give to William B. Brooke’s son Jno my young  Sorrell Mare at my death Item I give the resideue of my estate to my nine grand children Viz. William B. Brooks’s sons John Robert and William and daughters Betsey, Ann, and Joanna, and Frances A. Shepard’s daughters Ann Betsey and Polly to be equally divided at my death and my three granddaughters Ann Betsey and Polly Shepard equal parts to remain in the hands of my Executor until they marry or arise to lawful age and then paid by my Executor to them as they come of lawful age or marry.
Lastly I constitute and appoint my beloved son William B. Brooks the whole and Sole Executor of this my last will and Testament – revoking and annulling all other wills and testaments heretofore made by me and declaring this to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I Ann Brooks doth set my hand and affix my seal the day and year above within signed and sealed in the presence of

Sol Graves (Jurat)
S. Graves Jr
John L. Graves
Ann Brookes(sealed)

Caswell County Lawful court 1808
The Executor of this will was duly proved in open court by the oath of Solomon Graves Esquire one of the subscribing witnesses thereto and on Motion ordered to be recorded. At the same time William B. Brooks qualified Executor.
Test A Murphey CC
Recorded Book E folio 379
Test A Murphey CC

The Will of Richard Brooks, Caswell County, North Carolina, 1789

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. Unfortunately, there is not a folder in the Series of Loose Papers of Estates in Caswell County for Richard Brooks at the Archives. This would have been C. R. 020.508.8. A list of Brooks Family Estate Folders in Caswell County are 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
John 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. There were 4 pages total and 8 scanned images total. I cut and pasted bits and pieces of the will and included below. I am happy to provide copies of the original will by request. Please leave a comment 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.

Richard Brooks of Caswell Co., NC (1730-1790)

Richard Brooks was born about 1730, probably in Virginia, and died about 1790 in Caswell County, North Carolina.  In his will written October 3, 1789 he mentioned his wife Ann Brooks and his 5 children (see original will transcript here):

  1. William Bird Brooks (c. 1774-after 1830)
  2. Elizabeth “Betsey” Brooks (born c. 1789)
  3. Francis Armestead Brooks (c. 1781 – after 1860 in Alabama) married James Sheppard
  4. John Brooks (c. 1785 – after 1809)
  5. Ann Smith Brooks (c. 1770 – c. 1805), married Solomon Graves

Richard Brooks was living in Kingston Parish, Gloucester County, Virginia prior to his removal to Caswell County, North Carolina between 1770 and 1780.  Caswell County was formed from Orange County in 1779.  It is possible, Richard lived in Orange County, North Carolina from 1770-1779 when part of the county became Caswell County.

On December 10, 1754, Richard and Thomas Brooks were listed in a survey to divide land equally between the two men according to the last will and testament of Mr. Jonathan Brooks in Kingston Parish, Gloucester Co., VA. [1]

On April 10, 1770, Richard and his wife _____’s daughter, Ann Smith Brooks, was baptized in Kingston Parish, Gloucester Co., VA [1].  Unfortunately, I did not see a marriage record for Richard Brooks in the Kingston Parish Book.

Richard’s wife Ann was listed on the 1800 Caswell County, NC census report after he died. She was listed between the ages of 26 and 45, born between 1755 and 1774. This would have made her about 16 years of age at the time of Richard’s daughter, Ann Smith Brooks’ date of birth in 1770 in Virginia.  It is possible Ann Smith Brooks’ mother was someone other than Ann. It is also possible her mother’s maiden name was Smith, for whom she was named after.

Richard’s will was written in October of 1789 and proved in January of 1790.  His Wife, Ann Brooks’ will was written March 4, 1806 and was proved in January court of 1809.  In her will, she listed her 9 grandchildren, 6 of whom were the children of her son William Bird Brooks and 3 of whom were children of her daughter Frances A (Brooks) Sheppard. Her son in law, Solomon Graves (married to Ann Smith Brooks) was listed as executor. Ann Smith Brooks Graves must have died prior to her mother writing her will in 1806 since she was not listed as an heir (or she was not the daughter of Ann).

Richard and Ann Brooks’ son William Bird Brooks settled in Giles County, Tennessee after his parents died. He was married to Sarah Paine in Person County, North Carolina.

Richard and Ann Brooks’ daughter Frances Armistead Brooks Sheppard removed to Butler County, Alabama where she died about 1860.

Richard Brooks was probably the brother of Thomas Brooks and son of Jonathan Brooks of Gloucester County, Virginia.  I believe Richard’s brother, Thomas Brooks, and his wife, Mary Blacknall, were the parents of my ancestor, Christopher Brooks (1755-1781), along with his siblings, Sarah/Sallie Brooks Holderness, Charles H Brooks, Thomas Brooks Jr., George Brooks and possibly Mary and Jonathan Brooks.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.