Donate to Brooks Historical

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Willoughby Brooks

Willoughby Brooks

b. c1725

d. c1795


John Brooks

Thomas Brooks

Isaac Brooks

Ann Brooks

Mary Brooks

Hannah Brooks Ansil

Without a doubt, Willoughby Brooks was one of those interesting chaps that Eastern North Carolinians referred to as a “Banker.” All reference to the man was in Currituck Co, NC and, in the part of North Carolina where these Brooks lived, Currituck County was confined to the Outer Banks after 1745. Hyde Co, NC had taken the mainland portion by then and, as we know, many Brooks settled there on the newly created Indian reservation by Lake Mattamuskeet following the end of hostilities between those Indians and English settlers in the Tuscarora War. Mattamuskeet Indians fought with the Tuscarora and, for many years waged a successful kind of guerilla warfare probably from the swamps surrounding the Alligator River, just north of the future reservation.

Even though the peace treaty allowed for the Indians to safely expose themselves, many of them remained in the swamps and lived rather peaceable lives, selling their cypress shingles as far away as Barbados. They had apparently shipped out their goods with some disregard for the English custom of checking in with the port authorities, who never knew anything of their economic activities nor did they collect the usual duties.

It might be Willoughby Brooks appeared on a 1744 list of Tithables as “William” for there was no known William Brooks at that date. The first time we see him as “Willoughby” Brooks was on another Currituck Co, NC Tax list in 1779 with a value of 933 pounds. Isaac Brooks appears on that same list with a value of 178 pounds.

It is not unusual that we don’t have many records for this man… a resident of the remote Outer Banks. Very few records come from there. Even though tax lists have been produced for Currituck Co, NC, there is no guarantee that they include residents from every island in the Outer Banks.

The only record that we know of is where Willoughby Brooks witnessed a deed in 1793. It may be sheer coincidence that a “Willougby Dauge” was the grantee on this deed:

[Deed Book 7, pg. 25] * Josiah NICHOLSON to *Willougby DAUGE*. December 18, 1793. Both of Currituck. Thirty-five pounds. Land in Currituck by *Lemuel WILSON, Tatum WILSON, Willougbhy BROOKS, Leml WILSON*. Two hundred and fifty acres. /s/ *Josiah NICHOLSON*. Witness, *Chloe DAUGE* and *S. FEREBEE*. February Term, 1794. Registered March 22, 1794.

Note that Willoughby Brooks is one of four witnesses to this deed, the other three being “Wilson”… apparently two Lemuel Wilsons & a Tatum. This “TatamWilson appears on the 1779 tax list with 14760 pounds. Other Wilsons are Lovey & Henry.

We find from the 1754 will of Caleb Wilson that Tatum & Love Wilson are his children. Sarah is his wife. Lemuel & Tatum Wilson both appear on the 1790 census. Lemuel Wilson, who married Martha Alston in the 1750’s doesn’t appear in direct connection to Willoughby Brooks. And Currituck County records aren’t revealing on this point except that both Willoughby Brooks and the Wilson family has a connection to the Ballentine family who also lived in the Outer Banks:

Henry Ballentine refers to Wilson in his will as “friend” although, in my experience, that can refer to a son-in-law, a cousin, etc. It seems as though Lovey is a brother to Lemuel Wilson and that she married a Ballentine, perhaps Joseph Ballentine. Willoughby Brooks named Peter Ballentine as his executor:

Willoughby Brooks

No date; March 26, 1795

Currituck Co. Will Book 2, pp. 37-38

In the name of God Amen, I Willoughby BROOKS of Currituck County State of North Carolina being weak in body in perfect sences do make constitute and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following

Imprimise I recommend my body to the earth in sure and certain hoful(?) of a glorious resurrection through the attoning blood of my great redemer and my worldly goods I dispose of in manner and form following to wit-----

Item: I give and bequeath unto my Son John BROOKS the land and plantation that my Father left me to him and his heirs forever but should my Son John BROOKS decese without lawful issue I give the said land to my Son Thomas and his heirs forever and should both my Sons John and Son Thomas decease without lawful issue I give the said land to be equally divided between my Daughters to them and their heirs forever.

Item I give and bequeath unto my Son Thamie (Thomas) the tract of land and plantation I bought of Mallathias WILLIAMSON to him and his heirs for ever but should Son Thomas BROOKS decease without lawfull issue I give the said land to my Son John BROOKS and his heirs for ever and should both my Sons Thamis and John decease without lawfull issue I give the said land to be equally divided between my Daughters to them and their heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeath to my Son Isaac BROOKS one black horse by the name of Bow.

Item I give unto Hannana ANSIL two year old mare colt with a blas face by the name of Inna.

Item I give to my Wife Frances a negro gairl named Penny and her increase, one linnen wheel, one wooling wheal, one feather bed and furniture whereon she lays, four stocks of bees, the first choice, and two cows and calfs first choice one iron pot and three barrels of pork ten barrels of corn, twenty head of hogs first choice one with mare caled quen to her and heirs for ever.

Item I lend to my Wife a negro man by the name of Isaac for the space or term of fourteen years to support and raise the children but in case that my Wife should marry then the said negro to gow to my Son John which I give to ham and his heirs for ever and admit my Wife should not marray, the said negro man to gow to my Son John after fourteen years.

Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Ann one negro wench named Diniah and her increase and one feather bed and furniture, two ewes and lambs to her and her heirs for ever.

Item I give and bequeath unto my Daughter Marry BROOKS two negro boys one by the name of Lamb the other Will to her and her heirs for ever.

Item after my lawfull debts are discharged I give the remainder part of my estate to be equally divided between my four children John, Thomas, Ann and Marry BROOKS to them and their heirs for ever.

I do nominate constitute and apoint my trusty friend Peter BALLENTINE my sole and whole executor of this my Last Will and Testament revoking all and every will by me heretofore made given under my hand and seal this ( blank, no date given)

/s/ Willoughby BROOKS seal

signed seald and delivered in presense of us

Peter BALLENTINE jurat

Joseph WORMINGTON jurat


Recorded and examined the 26th day of March 1795

So, who was the Frances Brooks, wife of Willoughby Brooks? Is she somehow related to Peter Ballentine? It seems that Willoughby’s son, Thomas Brooks might have been married to a Ballentine… Julia Ballentine. Joseph J. Ballentine was shown as bondsman for Thomas’ children in 1828 with Julia Brooks & Augustus Linton. Unfortunately, we don’t have the will itself.

The following was found on the Brooks Genealogy Forum:

Henry Ballentine- Born ? Died 1794 Currituck Co, NC- married Mary ?. Children:
Euphon Ballentine- Born ? Currituck Co, NC
Died 1806 Currituck Co, NC
Lydia Ballentine, Julia Ann Ballentine, Joseph Ballentine, Sarah Ballentine, Henry Ballentine, Love Ballentine, Mary Ballentine and Davis Ballentine.

BCB: The Julia above may be the one we’re looking for…

Again, our Lemuel Wilson appears in relation to Peter Ballentine’s settling the affairs of John Brooks who died before 1799, presumably Willoughby’s son:

Ordered that John Northern Esq., Lemuel Wilson, Maxn. Boren and Simon Wilson... audit and settle the accounts of Peter Ballentine admr. of the estate of John Brooks decd...

Ordered that Davis (?) Ballentine be appointed guardian to Nancy Brooks orphan of Isaac Brooks decd....securities Peter Ballentine and Joseph Ballentine...150 pounds.

Isaac Brooks is also a son of Willoughby Brooks and dies about the same time as John. What happened? Thomas Brooks dies in 1828 and might have been naturally influenced but, John and Isaac go in 1799. Are these Outer Bankers seamen, as so much of the information on the Outer Banks residents (shipbuilding community) suggests? If so, they may have perished at sea. When looking at the court records, especially the care of orphans, it becomes clear that there is a greater chance of mortality at a younger age than most farmers on the mainland. But, that could also be due to the preponderance and intensity of the Northeasters. Then again, they may have fallen off a barstool! :)

One thing that becomes clear from all the Willoughby's in early N.C. on the outer banks is that the Barbadian connection must have been there. Francis Willoughby, a high-profile Tory supporter during the English Civil War, was appointed governor of Barbados in 1650 by Charles II. An earlier source for the name may have been Thomas Willoughby, the early settler to Virginia. Still, the Barbados connection has my money considering the names of Barbadians and the similarities in early outer bankers, even early prominent North Carolinians like Edward Moseley and his in-laws, the Moores, very much the colorful pair in North Carolina history! And, I should know about ol' Eddie and Maury! lol

No comments: