Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Let Me Introduce You to My Brooks Family-Part 1-Brooks Genealogy

My grandfather, Edwin Amos Brooks. There are no pictures of my grandmother, Amanda Jane Sayers.

I was born--many, many years ago--actually in 1938--to George Edwin Brooks and Opal Clark. George was the youngest of 10 children born to Edwin Amos Brooks and Amanda Jane Sayers-- 8 boys and 2 girls. All but Daisy Elizabeth lived to adulthood. All of the children were born in Finch, Ritchie County, West (By God) Virginia. As my dad always said, he was born on Whiskey Run and Dog Trot. You gotta love those names. John Henry, the first born, was born in 1878. Lillie Elizabeth was born in 1879. Following were: Charlie William in 1881, Delbert Nicholas in 1884, Daisy Elizabeth in 1888, Harry Arthur in 1890, Hobert Clarence in 1893, Knols Curtis in 1895, Earl (no middle name poor guy) in 1898 and my dad, George Edwin, in 1900. It seems, according to family history, that my poor grandmother had a history of mental problems. (And with 10 kids, who can blame her!!). She would go into an institution, get better, come home, get pregnant, have another kid, go back to the institution and start the whole cycle over again. My poor aunt Lillie, being the only girl, ended up raising her brothers.

This was taken at my dad's funeral of the remaining Brooks boys. From left to right are Knols, Charlie, Earl and Hobert.

My dad only went as far as 4th grade in school. He started driving a wagon in the oil fields at the age of about 10 and continued working in the oil fields for most of the remainder of his live. He also had several brothers who worked in the oilfields also. Earl settled in Texas and Charlie settled in Crawford County, Illinois. John, Harry, Hobert and Knols all remained in Ritchie County, Wood County, and Harrison County, West Virginia. Aunt Lillie ended up marrying and settling in Parkersburg, Wood County, West Virginia. Ok, I say married. My Uncle Knols always contended that she never actually married Pawdaw (our name for her husband Charles Murray) but lived common law with him. Whatever, they were together for many, many years.

My dad and his brother Hobert Clarence Brooks. My dad is on the right. Boy was he a good looking dude or what?

My dad moved from oil field to oil field. He met my mother in Wabash County, Illinois where they were married. They moved to Texas and actually lived in a tent there, then back to Illinois where my brother was born. They then moved to Kentucky and finally to Michigan where I was born. My brother was in something like 10 different schools before he was 10 I think. Luckily, they stopped the moving when I came along.

I love this picture of my dad. He had the greatest smile.

You notice, I haven't mentioned my Uncle Delbert. There has to be a black sheep in every family and apparently Uncle Delbert was our black sheep. The family lost track of him for many years and thought he was somewhere in Utah but weren't sure. One of my cousins was a career man in the Navy. He had to have a background check for security clearance and thanks to the US Government, we learned a whole lot more about Uncle Del.

Uncle Del apparently found his way to Mexico and joined Panco Villa sometime after 1918 where I found his World War I draft registration. (Maybe he was a draft dodger.) Anyway, he apparently was made Lieutenant Governor of Sonora Province by Villa. When Villa was assassinated, Uncle Del left Mexico just one jump ahead of the revolutionaries. According to his ramblings late in his life, he fathered an illegitimate daughter with a Hispanic woman while living in Mexico. Uncle Delbert either did not know or could not remember her name. He just knew he had a daughter and he never married the mother. He bummed around Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona for a couple of years, then took a job as an Armed Guard in the mail cars of the Union Pacific Railroad. He kept this job (and his gun!) for several years, at least through the late 1930's. His record shows he was still employed by Union Pacific in 1935 when the Social Security System was started. He later left that job and moved to Utah to pan for gold. He thought he would make a fortune! He lived the rest of his life in Utah. After he retired, Uncle Delbert has the dubious distinction of being the first man to shoot up a Post Office. He claimed that the postmaster had taken his government check. What actually happened was, there was a holiday and the mail wasn't delivered. Uncle Delbert didn't believe the postmaster, so he pulled his gun and started shooting. Luckily, the postmaster wasn't killed. Uncle Delbert finished out his life in a Nursing Home mumbling about his "good ole days" when he was much younger and could "whip anyone who looked cross-eyed at him." Uncle Delbert died on August 30, 1966, and is buried in the Washington City Cemetery in Washington County, Utah. He has a small headstone with his full name, birth and death dates on it.

Delbert Nicholas Brooks 1884-1966. Now, doesn't this look like someone who would ride with Pancho Villa?

I never met Uncle Del but I know I would have loved him! I met all of the rest of my dad's siblings but my favorite was Uncle Earl. After my dad died, I always kind of looked to him as my second dad. He and Aunt Geneva never had kids of their own but really loved kids. We visited them several times in Texas and they came to Ohio to visit us several times. It was Aunt Geneva who got me started on genealogy.

Earl and Geneva (Neva Underwood) Brooks. Taken in 1978.

My mom died in 1953 in an accident caused by a drunk driver. My dad remarried in 1955 to Olive Biehl, a girlhood friend of my mom's, and lived out the rest of his life in Allendale, Wabash County, Illinois. He died in 1967. My parents are buried in Standish, Arenac County, Michigan where I grew up.

My parent's gravestone in Woodmere Cemetery in Standish.

In my next post, I will continue with the Brooks Family Part 2. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Starts of My Very Long Line of Ancestors-Brooks Genealogy

Yup, that's me.

I guess when you start down a road, you need to start at the beginning. And I guess when you start on a path to find your ancestors, you start with yourself. So here we go!

My mom and dad met, fell in love, and married in Allendale, Wabash County, Illinois. My dad was George Edwin Brooks born July 10, 1900 in Finch, Ritchie County, West Virginia. My mom was Opal Clark. (No middle name so she later chose Imogene as her middle name. I think I could have thought of a better name but oh well.) She was born August 30, 1907 in Allendale, Wabash County, Illinois. They were married May 27th 1926. She actually was married one day and graduated from high school the next day.

George and Opal on their wedding day.

My brother, Bill, was born in Allendale in 1928 and I followed 10 years later. I was born in the huge metropolis of Omer in Arenac County, Michigan. You've never heard of this huge metropolis? Could be because if you blink you will miss it as you drive through. Of course, Allendale isn't a whole lot bigger.

My brother and me in 1938.

I grew up in Standish, Arenac County, Michigan. My dad worked in the oil fields and my mom held several jobs including working in the Post Office, in a Heinz Pickle Plant, and at the local newspaper.

My parents, my brother, and me in 1946. Why are my parents looking one direction and my brother and I another? Weird.

My mom died June 7, 1953. We were coming home from visiting a friend and a drunk driver hit us head on. My dad was severely injured and took many months to heal physically and mentally. In 1955 he and I took a trip to visit his family in West Virginia and my mom's family in Illinois. While there, he met (or should I say re-met) my mother's girlhood friend, Olive Biehl. My dad had been very lonely after the death of my mom and Olive after a divorce. So they were married in Allendale September 30, 1955.

George Brooks and Olive Biehl Brooks.

I returned to Standish to finish my senior year of high school and Dad and Olive remained in Allendale, living in her home where she had grown up. A side note here--the house they lived in was actually built by my mom's uncle in the early 1900's.

My dad died in 1967 and my stepmother continued to live in Allendale until her death in 1987. On January 7, 1989, an F4 tornado wiped out much of the town of Allendale including my stepmother's house. It is indeed sad to go back to Allendale now and see very little of the town I remember from my childhood.

I was married March 31, 1962 in Trenton, Wayne County, Michigan to Charles Alvin Runta.

On our wedding day.

We have two children, Dave and Karen and 5 beautiful grandchildren.

David and Karen in 1997

So, there you have it. This was about me and my beginnings. My next post will be about my dad's family, the Brooks clan.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Beginning

My Mom and Dad on their wedding day. May 27, 1926 in Allendale, Wabash County, Illinois

I have been blogging about my life on Sanibel and my life at rescuing and rehabbing wildlife for several months now. My other love is genealogy. Sooo, I decided to start a blog about my ancestors, hoping that I might be able to pick up some readers who are interested in my heritage or who just might be on a branch connected to my roots. I will be posting from time to time about each of my lines. My mom was born and raised in Wabash County, Illinois. Her ancestors mostly came from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky and settled in Southeastern Illinois in Wabash, Edwards, Lawrence, Richland, and Clay Counties. My dad was born and raised in Ritchie County, West Virginia. His ancestors came mostly from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. They met and married in Allendale, Illinois.

I also LOVE to do online research and have lots of books about Richland County, Illinois where my Clark, Richards and McCoy lines resided. Let me hear from you if you are interested in some research help.

I have done research for several of my friends so I might be posting some of their lines on here from time to time. Who knows?

Anyway, this is the birth of yet another blog. I hope that my readers enjoy it.