Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Brooks mss., 1838-1845, consist of letters to Thomas Jefferson Brooks at Mt. Pleasant, Martin County, Indiana, from John Bell of Louisville, Kentucky, agent for trustees of Bell Evans Co., Daniel Hunt of Boston, Massachusetts, David Jones of Belleville, Illinois, Nancy Newell of Pittsford, Virginia, George Brown, Henry B. Shields, Thomas Lacy Smith, and Charles Woodruff of New Albany, Indiana; and to Lewis Brooks at New Albany, Indiana, from Rufus Brown of Mt. Pleasant, Indiana.

Thomas Jefferson Brooks was born in Lincoln, Massachusetts, in 1805. In 1823 he joined his brother Lewis at Hindostan, Indiana, where he operated a factory and store. In 1828 he moved to Orange Valley in Orange County, Indiana, and engaged in business on his own account. In 1833 he returned to Martin County settling on a farm a mile west of Mt. Pleasant and operating a store there. Later he moved to Loogootee, Indiana, where he died in 1882. He established a mercantile and pork packing business at Mt. Pleasant in 1840 and a similar business at Loogootee in 1854. He held offices of public trust and encouraged the establishment and maintenance of schools in Martin County.

In 1830 Thomas Jefferson Brooks married Susan Poor (1811- 1874), an own cousin of Charlotte Chute who became the wife of Conrad Baker, the sixteenth governor of Indiana. Thomas Jefferson and Susan (Poor) Brooks became the parents of thirteen children among whom was Lewis Brooks, 1835- , who had a career as a flatboatsman and as a colonel in the 80th Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War.

The letters relate chiefly to the settlement of the estate of Lewis Brooks, 1802-1838?, the brother of Thomas Jefferson Brooks, who lived in Hindostan, Mt. Pleasant, New Albany, Indiana, and was engaged in the wholesale business. While living at Mt. Pleasant he built the first brick house in the area known as Wildwoods. The letters refer to Mary Caroline (Meriam) Brooks (Mrs. Lewis Brooks), her sister Eliza A. P. (Meriam) Brown (Mrs. Charles R. Brown, later Mrs. John Wise), the Lewis Brooks daughters Eliza who married Augustus Wise and Mary Caroline who married Benjamin Champneys, the artist, of Woburn, Massachusetts. The daughters attended school in Lexington, Massachusetts, taught by Rebecca (Brooks) Trask, 1808- , sister of Thomas Jefferson Brooks, who later came to Mt. Pleasant to teach.

A letter from Daniel Hunt of Boston, 1843, Sept. 12, inquires about land in Daviess County being offered for sale by the Boston and Indiana Land Company in Boston. Other letters discuss the exchange of money and the buying and selling of land.

Collection size: 26 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.