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 Seeking Information on Jeremiah and Benjamin Brooks/Brock

By Jim Wentz


Documented Records for Jeremiah Brooks

1791 - Jeremiah Brooks mentioned as a witness in a land dispute in Bototourt County, VA. This is in the area south of Roanoke where he lived when he paid taxes after getting married, The court record allows a deposition to be taken in lieu of appearance, meaning he was not a resident, or he frequently traveled for work. Some of the people in the land dispute are names associated with the Brethren Church. Jeremiah’s future father-in-law is Jacob Miller, a Brethren Elder who regularly held services in the area.


1794 - Marriage Bond, Franklin County, Virginia. Wife: Catherine Miller, widow McElwain

1795 - Personal Property Tax, Boutetourt County, Virginia, south of the Roanoke River, near Franklin County

1796, 1797, & 1798 - Personal Property Tax, Franklin County, Franklin County, Virginia

1799, 1800, & 1801 - Personal Property Tax, Botetourt County, Virginia

1802 - Jeremiah likely died by 1802


1810 - Catherine Brooks is on the 1810 Census for Botetourt County, VA as Head of Household (It is possible this is a different Catherine Brooks)


1856 - Death Record for Abraham W. (William) Brooks in Braxton County, now WV identifies his birth place as Franklin County, Virginia and his parents as Jeremiah & Catherine Brooks

1865 - Death Record for Jeremiah Brooks (Jr.) in Braxton County, WV identifies his birth place as Franklin County, Virginia and his parents as Jeremiah & Catherine Brooks


Many family researchers have tried to find Jeremiah’s family over many decades with no success.  At least two professional genealogists have studied Jeremiah and met with the same brick wall to his past.


Family lore indicates Jeremiah was related to Benjamin Brooks of Franklin County, Virginia.






Some Brock family trees identify a Benjamin Brock, b. 1762 and a Jeremiah Brock b. 1765, Bedford County, Virginia to George and Catherine Napier Brock, along with various known Brock siblings.


Jeremiah and Benjamin Brock are on the Franklin County, VA Personal Property Tax list for 1787, the same year George and Micajah Brock first appear in Franklin County.


If Jeremiah Brock was born in 1765 it would make sense that he was first required to pay taxes in 1787.


The birth date of Benjamin Brock of 1762 is an issue, since Benjamin had a documented son, William, who started paying personal property tax in 1796.  This means William was born ~1774-75. It is unlikely Benjamin fathered a child at the age of 12-14. Not impossible, but Benjamin was likely born no later than 1760.


Land Tax Records indicate a William Brooks acquired 444 acres of land near Jacks Creek in 1786, Franklin County, VA. No deed is found in the Deed Books for Franklin County, or Henry County.


Land Tax Payments on 444 acres

1787 - William Brack

1788 - William Brock

1789 - William Brock

1790 - William Brock

1791 - William Brock

1792 - William Brock

1793 - William Brock

1794 - William Brooks

1795 - William Brooks

1796 - William Brooks

1797 - William Brooks NOTE: Wm Brooks acquires 163 acres on Jacks Creek adjoining line of Benisman (Benjamin) Brooks, indicating that William is likely William Benjamin Brooks or Brock.

1797 - William Brooks, Benjamin’s son, acquires two tracts of land along Jacks Creek.

1800 - Benjamin Brooks is paying land taxes on two additional tracts of land.


Personal Property Tax payments for Benjamin

1788 - Benjamin “Brucks”

1789 to 1791 - Benjamin is absent from the county - not paying personal property tax

1792 thru 1802 -  Benjamin Brooks

1803 thru 1805 - Benjamin is out of the county, still paying land tax, but no property tax.


1805 - Benjamin Brooks sells 100 acres of land on Jacks Creek to his son William Brooks. The signature line clearly reads Benjamin Brocke.


Note: Beverly Merritt, author of numerous genealogy books on Franklin and and Henry County told us the Franklin  court clerks commonly “modernized” last names in the late 1700s. This is likely to make it easier to find names in the books & files. Jeremiah and Benjamin could have been born with the last name of Brock. Benjamin lived close to the Brock family during his Franklin County years. The Jeremiah in 1787 definitely lived in the same tax district. After all these decades of research Jeremiah’s descendants have found no earlier  documents or credible family trees for a Benjamin and Jeremiah of the correct ages and location. There are many trees on Ancestry and Hackers Creek, but these arise from the pre-Internet days and are easily disproven.


Any clue, no matter how trivial it might seem, may help us discover Jeremiah’s origin.


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