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

Binns Genealogy Packet from New Cousin


Over the holiday break I scanned a packet of genealogy materials that a new cousin of mine sent me back in August.  This packet contained genealogy information he collected back when he was doing genealogy of our Binns and Brooks family in the 80s.

Some of the information contained correspondence between he and another researcher, Freida Scheibel (relation unknown to me at this time), and the genealogy reports she had compiled over the years. Her reports were actually sourced, pointing to information I did not know existed, like the estate records of my 3rd great grandfather, Iverson Lee Brooks and the non-culpative will of his wife, Bettie Brooks. From these records, she provided Iverson’s date of death as February 15, 1877 and Bettie’s death of July 22, 1907.  Of course, I will need to look for copies of these wills and estate records myself to verify this information, but these are some good hints to get me going in the right direction.

This packet also contained various correspondence with another cousin named Lillian Brooks who was a Historian at a local Georgia Historical Society and DAR Chapter member. I found a letter from Lillian to my great-grandfather’s sister, Rubye Binns from 1957 in which she discussed the ancestry of Colonel Iverson Brooks.  Lillian claimed that Iverson’s grandfather was George Brooks, a Revolutionary soldier from Virginia, because he gave a military bounty land grant to Iverson’s father, Christopher Williams Brooks when he was still a minor.  I’ve written several posts refuting this claim in “The Parentage of Christopher Williams Brooks.”

Lillian Brooks also claimed that my 5th great-grandmother, Mary Graves of Caswell County, North Carolina, was the daughter of John Herndon Graves, the Revolutionary War Soldier.  They were actually siblings. Lillian cited the DAR application no. 90023 for John Herndon Graves, however, there isn’t even a daughter named Mary listed, so I’m not sure why she said Mary was his daughter.

Another letter included in the packet was from Rubye Binns to my cousin Richard written in 1981. It talked about her siblings, including my great-grandfather, John Brooks Binns.  It was very informative about how my great granduncles Roy and Howard (the oldest) ran cattle and opened a meat market; uncle Van went to Medical school; uncle John Lavert died young; and about how their father simply did not provide for them.  She also mentioned that their grandmother, Bettie Lee Brooks was related to General Robert E Lee and was from Bell Buckle Tennessee.  I have not seen any documentation about the relation to Robert E Lee.  Doesn’t everyone claim to be descended or related to him? The tidbit about her being from Bell Buckle Tennessee might be helpful. Lastely, aunt Rubye mentioned that she sent most of her genealogy information to her niece Judy Whittaker’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Eloise Howard in Lake Providence, LA so that she could file a DAR application.

There was a letter to Richard from Mrs. Thelma Plunk, one of Aunt Rubye’s cousins, however, she did not provide any new information.

There were copies of the family bible of William Cole, a descendant of James Anthony, another Revolutionary War soldier ancestor from Virginia who’s daughter, Elizabeth Anthony married into the Binns family.

Lastly, there was a copy of a typed up “Binns Family History” document included. There was a bibliography, however, I did not see any references included in the actual text, so the bibliography sources would have to be evaluated individually.



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

Tombstone Tuesday – Milton A Binns

Milton A Binns Gravemarker

Gravemarker of Milton A Binns buried in Buelah Cemetery in Monticello, Drew Co., AR. Photo taken by James Lamar Baker, date unknown, sent to me by Pat Sheldon (Pat and James are both descendants of Burwell and Lucinda).

BORN AUG. 30, 1836
DIED NOV. 11, 1896”

Milton A Binns was my 3rd Great-Grandfather. He was born August 30, 1836 in Georgia to Burwell and Lucinda Phelps Binns (also buried in Beulah Cemetery – see their gravemarker here). He moved to Arkansas in 1857, but returned to Georgia in 1858 (to marry his wife). He married Susan Ann Dupree, November 10, 1959 in Georgia. They returned to Arkansas and had 11 children. Milton was a prominent farmer and resident of Lacy, Arkansas. He was written about in Goodspeed’s “Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas” of 1890. He was a Mason. He died November 11, 1896 and was buried in Beulah Cemetery along with parents and several children and grandchildren.

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.

Wordless Wednesday – John M Binns’ 90th Birthday Party

John M Binns 90th Birthday

Group photo of John Milton Binns' 90th Birthday Party taken January 1958 in Monticello, AR. Privately held by Barbara Smith, Fort Smith, AR. Digitized by Ginger R. Smith, 2005.

From Left to Right:
Back row:
Verline (Binns) Raney (dau of Howard Binns)
James Howard Binns (son of John Milton Binns)
Dovie (Stewart) Binns (wife of Howard)
Van Carl Binns (son of John Milton Binns)
Evelyn (Hogue) Binns (wife of Van)
Bill Brashears (Husb of Rubye Binns)
Rubye (Binns) Brashears (dau of John Milton Binns)
Beverly Binns (Dau of Byron Binns)
Byron Zack Binns Sr (son of John Milton Binns)
Pauline (Berry) Binns (wife of Byron Binns)
John Brooks Binns (son of John Milton Binns)
Barbara Jo Binns (dau of John B Binns)
Blanche (Hill) Binns (wife of John Binns)
Judy Whittaker (dau of Lura Binns)
Unknown (boyfriend of Judy Whittaker)
Lura M (Binns) Whittaker (dau of John Milton Binns)
Willifred Whittaker (husb of Lura Binns)

From Left to Right:
Front row:

A Raney Boy (Jeff or Glenn)
John Milton Binns – The Birthday Boy (Son of Milton A. & Susan Dupree Binns
Lou Ellen Binns (dau of Byron Binns)
John Paul Binns (son of Byron Binns)
Byron Zack Binns, Jr (son of Byron Binns)
Diane Whittaker (dau of Lura Binns)

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