Capt. Thomas Brooks, Jr., of Concord
|Birthplace:||Manchester, Greater Manchester, England|
|Death:||Died in Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)|
|Place of Burial:||Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States|
|Occupation:||Captain, constable, land owner, representative deputy to General Court in Concord, maybe 1595?|
|Managed by:||Richard Frank Henry|
About Capt. Thomas Brooks, Jr., of Concord
The following text excerpted unchanged from the site is infinitely more readable on the site than it is below., The website also contains a photo of Manchester Cathedral, where Thomas Brooks was baptised and married. (Courtesy John Brooks Threlfall) and other detailed information.
- Appears on charts: Descendants of Capt. Thomas/1a Brooks
- yDNA Overlay Chart -- Concord Line
- Last updated 21 Sep 2016
"Capt. Thomas/1a Brooks Jr. was baptised 2 Mar 1594/95 at Manchester Cathedral, Manchester, Lancashire, England.2 As a grandson of Richard/b Brooke of Manchester, who made his will 5 Aug 1607, Thomas shared with his three siblings 13s. 4d. to be equally divided among them.3 He married, 2 Feb 1617/18 at Manchester Cathedral, Grace/1 Cunliffe, daughter of William/a Cunliffe and Elizabeth (–?–), "both of this parish."4,5 Four of their children are known to have grown to adulthood and emigrated to New England with their parents, but it is likely that further children were born in the years 1618-1628.6
Pope says that Thomas Brooks sailed with the Richard Saltonstall family in 1630, but no confirmation is found in surviving passenger lists in that year or in the published volumes of The Saltonstall Papers. There is an entry in Banks suggesting that Saltonstall servants may have come as early as 1629, as follows:
"1629: TALBOT, of London, Thomas Beecher, Master, carrying nineteen pieces of ordnance. Sailed about May 11 from the Isle of Wight, and arrived at Salem July 29, with about one hundred planters. 'We have allso sent some servants in the ship called the Talbot.' Also some 'servants' of Saltonstall and Johnson. She started from Gravesend."
However, if Thomas Brooks was among the Saltonstall servants reportedly aboard the Talbot, we must ask why there is no record of him in New England until 1636. If an indentured servant, he could scarcely have supported a family during his indenture. If, more likely, he was a free man in Saltonstall's employ, then he and his family might be expected to have left some trace in the records prior to 1636.
Virkus states that Thomas Brooks of Concord came from England in the Susan and Ellen in 1635. This oft-repeated association of the Concord man with the passenger of 1635, perhaps remotely logical on the face of it—the Susan and Ellen did carry William Buttrick and Rev. Peter Bulkeley, two of Concord's founders—may have originated with Walcott, who published in 1884. However, the Thomas Brooke, 18, who sailed with Richard Brooke, 24, in that year is the Thomas who went to Lynn.7,8,9,10 Rev. Charles Brooks, Virkus and Holmes all report that Thomas had a lot assigned to him at Watertown in 1631. Virkus and Holmes may borrow this unsubstantiated statement from Charles Brooks, the earliest of the three to publish, who provides no source. Watertown's published town records, however, state that no records survive prior to 1636.11,12,13
John Brooks Threlfall writes, "Thomas and his wife Grace were most probably the Thomas Brooks and Grace Cundelyve/Cundliffe/etc. who were married on 2 February 1617/18 in Manchester Cathedral. At least three of the children they brought with them to New England were born in Old England, tho there is no record of any children there, nor any further record of Thomas and Grace. That they were non-conformists seems obvious from the names they gave their known children, i.e., Mary, Joshua, Caleb and Gershom, all Old Testament names. They needed to be married in the established church of England to contract a legal marriage, but they were not required to have their children baptized there. The fact that there is no further record of the family in Old England strongly suggests that they emigrated."4
Thomas and Grace Brooks first appear on record in New England at Watertown, MA where as a "townsman then inhabiting" he had a grant of lot 26, consisting of 20 acres, in July, 1636.14 He was admitted a freeman by the General Court 7 Dec 1636.15 On 28 February the following year he received lot 52 in the Beverbroke (Beaver Brook) Plains plowland. Although he had perhaps already removed to Concord, in June, 1637, Thomas was awarded an additional four acres in the West Pine meadow at Watertown.14,16
Settlement of Concord—the 20th plantation to be founded in Massachusetts, and the first situated inland beyond coastal tidewater—had begun immediately following the General Court's charter of 2 Sep 1635, as the first arrivals that fall threw sod roofs onto dugouts excavated in the south side of the ridge which extends from today's public square to Merriam's Corner. In the village's second year, houses were erected as far as the location of the modern bridges in the village.17 In relocating to this raw new plantation, Thomas Brooks became one of a relatively small number of proprietors who would each have a share in each future division of the plantation's remaining undeveloped land. Thus a father could accumulate land of the various types and soils needed to support diversified agriculture and to provide self-sustaining farms for his sons. Watertown, which had been settled six years before Concord, was relatively oversubscribed by 1636 and had already seen disgruntled settlers leave for new lands to divide in Connecticut.18
4 Dec 1638, Thomas Brooks, "being chosen cunstable for the towne of Concord," took the oath. Inexplicably, the man he was succeeding in that office, Robert/1 Fletcher, was not discharged from office by the General Court until 4 Jun following, "being found not faulty." Thomas Brooks thereafter held the office until 1646.19,20,21 Between the years 1638–1660 he became a substantial landowner at Concord.11,22
As a new plantation, Concord was initially exempted from taxation, but in 1640, the exemption having run its course, the town was assessed £50. Owing to the scarcity of specie, Lt. Simon Willard, Thomas Brooke and William Wood were appointed a committee "for valuing horses, mares, cowes, oxen, goats, & hoggs" in Concord. ("The town paid its taxes this year in such property.") The committee's instruction from the General Court, given 13 May, was to "valewe them under their worth rather than above their worth."23,24
Thomas Brooks was deputy (representative) for Concord to the General Courts of 1642, 1643, 1644, 1654, and 1659–62.25,26 That he was captain of the trainband, or training band ("militia"), is known from his title in probate records. Various secondary sources report his years in this capacity as 1643–1649.27,28,29,30 In 1657, Thomas Broocks and petnors [petitioners] bought for £5, of the commissioners of the General Court, the Concord rights to trade in furs with the Indians., "the Trade to begin from ye 1st of the 5th moth 1657: to pay in Beuer." Shattuck comments:
The fur trade here was once very important. As early as 1641, a company was formed in the colony, of which Major Willard of Concord was superintendent, and had the exclusive right to trade with the Indians in furs and other articles; and for this right they were obliged to pay into the public treasury one twentieth of all the furs they obtained. The right to the fur-trade, in particular districts, was afterwards sold by commissioners of the General Court. … The solitary ponds, rivers, and meadows in Concord, were peculiarly the favorite resorts of the beaver and other amphibious animals.31,32
With Simon Willard and George Wheeler, Thomas Brooks returned the inventory, 16 Nov 1646, of his kinsman by marriage Thomas Atkinson, late of Concord. (Two of Atkinson's daughters married Thomas's son Caleb.).33 Thomas Brooks was named a debtor in the inventory, 9 Nov 1653, of Thomas Flint of Concord.34 "In 1654, Thomas Brooke, Senior, of Concord, and William Cowdrey, of Reading, were appointed for the County of Middlesex 'to sell wine of any sort and Strong liquors to the Indians, as to their judgments shall seeme most meete and necessary.' The licensed persons were forbidden to deliver to any one Indian more than a pint of liquor at a time, but what was lacking, by reason of this restriction, was more than made up from irresponsible traders, whose cupidity knew no law."35,36,37
Thomas Brooks was one of nine signers, 7 Mar 1654, of an agreement to divide the town into districts, or "quarters" (though there were only three such "quarters"). In the preliminary document of 2 Mar he is enumerated as a resident of Concord's East Quarter.38 The district was defined thus: The east quarter by there familyes, are from Henry Farweles all eastwards with Thomas Brooke, Ensign Wheeler, Robert Meriam, Georg Meriam, John Adames, Richard Rice. The home lot of Thomas Brooks was on the south side of the millpond which lay in today's town center. His descendants in 1775 occupied contiguous parcels of land in East Concord, about a mile east on the highway to Merriam's corner, where the old Bedford Road turned northeast from what is today Route 2A. These Brooks holdings included what was known in 1775 as Tanner's Brook (today Elm Brook), after a tanning mill erected by Thomas's son Joshua.38
May 1655, Tho. Brooke was one of six Concord men who returned to the Court an inventory of unclaimed land in the "New Grant" (also called Concord Village), later set off to Acton and portions of Carlisle and Littleton.39
Joseph Wheeler and Thomas Brooks were appointed, circa 25 Jan 1663, to a town committee to establish a permanent record of town deeds, with maps of same. Shattuck relates: To the oldest book of records in the clerk's office in Concord is prefixed an account of the proceedings of the town in relation to recording the individual titles to lands, from which it appears, that 'the latter grants of land to particular persons were only written on paper books [?] as granted, and not in a register booke.' The selectmen were desired to consider the expediency of obtaining 'a new booke to record them and all other land that men now doe hold;' and 'the thing tending to pece and preventing of strife,' they desired 'the help herein' of their 'Reverend pastor Mr. Edward Bulkeley, Thomas Brooks, and liff. [lieutenant] Joseph Wheeler, which company sett about it the 25th of Jan. 1663, and at the end of the day, concluded to call a meeting on the 29th of the aforesaid month, to come to a conclusion about transcribing every man's land in a new booke so that it might be for the comfort and peace of ourselves, and posterity after us.40'
The will of Thomas Fox (husband of Hannah Brooks, daughter of Thomas's kinsman Henry Brooks of Woburn), 25 Jan 1657/58, names as one of four overseers "my loving uncle Thomas Brooks," who returned the testator's inventory 23 Apr following.41
In 1660 Thomas bought, with his son-law Capt. Timothy Wheeler, of Dea. Edward Collins, a 400-acre farm at Medford, consisting of land, a house and "some artifacts," for £404 sterling [Midd. Deeds 2:218]. The property they acquired, in which Timothy Wheeler had a one-third interest, fronted on the Mystic River, and was part of the original estate (which Collins had bought) of Matthew Cradock, wealthy London merchant, principal of the London Company, financier of the plantation at Medford, and the man behind the 1630 Winthrop Fleet. This Medford property, which passed to Thomas's eldest son Joshua and thence to Joshua's younger brother Caleb Brooks, remained in the Brooks family until the 1940s. Today the 82.5-acre parcel remaining, known as the Brooks Estate, is owned by the City of Medford. Much of the surrounding municipal property, including the Oak Grove Cemetery, lies on land donated or sold to the town by Caleb's descendants.42,43,44
21 May 1660, Thomas was one of a committee chosen by the town of Concord to lay out Major Willard's 1,000-acre farm.45
22 Oct 1664, Thomas Brooks sold his Concord house and lot of 10½ acres, situated south of the millpond between the 26 acres of Dea. Robert Merriam and 20 acres belonging to Lt. Joseph Wheeler, to John Wheeler, presumably afterwards living with one of his children.46,47 28 Mar 1667, as a commissioner of Concord, he signed a court document concerning James Hamelton by mark.48
Thomas Brooks died at Concord 21 May 1667, intestate.49 The male heirs—his three sons and son-in-law Timothy Wheeler—presented an inventory of the estate for probate 16 Jun 1667, and the following day signed an agreement for division of the estate. Joshua, as eldest son, was to have a double portion, the usual custom.
Whereas Thomas Brooks, of Concord, hath left an estate, and the sonnes of the said Thomas not willing to troable the Court have Joyntly agreed that it shall be divided as followeth. First That the Inventory taken by Deacon Mirriam, Deacon Potter, and George Wheeler shall be accounted the full estate of Thomas Brooks. 2ly. wee do agree that Joshua Brooks shall have a full double portion out of the lands at Meadford, and the 3: other sonnes, Capt. Timothy Wheeler, Caleb Brookes, and Gershom Brookes to have equall portions, only Caleb and Gershom are to have the remainder of the said land after Joshua is first accomodated as a part of their portion, and Timothy Wheeler out of the moveable estate, and all to be distributed to them by those 3. partyes that tooke the Inventory; unto whose finall determination we do severally bynd ourselves in a bond of 100£ apeece, to stand unto, as wee do witness by setting of our hands to this present writeing, the 17th of June. 1667.
In the presence of us. Hugh Mason, Joseph Estabrookes. Timothy Wheeler, Joshua Brookes, Caleb Brookes, Gershom Brookes.50,4
His inventory, by kinsmen Robert Mirriam and Luke Potter and neighbor George Wheeler, was dated 12 Jun 1667, and amounted to £448 3s., with debts of £26 5s. 2d. His three sons and son-in-law presented the inventory for probate on the 18th. It reads as follows.
An inventory of the estate and goodes of Thomas Brookes. Deceased prised by us whose names are under written
Impr[imus] Purs, money, and girdle 000-02-00 Wearing apparrell, linnen, woollen, hoses, shooes, and hatts 008-17-00 1. feather bed, 1. bolster, with pillows, blankets, and coverletts, and curtaines 014-10-00 5. yds greene Kersie 001-15-00 6. yds ½ English Mohayre 001-04-00 3. yds broad cloath 001-16-00 1. muskett and rest 000-10-00 In linnen 005-16-00 2. yds ¼ red Serge 000-16-00 2. Chests, 1 bed cord 001-13-00 1. bedstead with other things 001-00-00 In common lands 006-00-00 In housing and lands at Meadford 230-00-00 In Rebecka Cuttlers hands widow, a debt of 024-11-07 A debt mr Russell 004-15-11 A debt Ralph Houghton 014-08-00 A debt Jno. Hayward 005-00-00 A debt Joseph Jencks 003-00-00 A debt Jno. Slathor 015-10-06 A debt Jno. Scotchford 003-08-00 A debt Edmund Wigly 004-10-00 A debt Richard Hildreth 002-12-06 A debt Samuel Stratton 001-00-00 John Wheeler 001-10-00 In other small things 000-03-06 A debt Golden Moore 013-18-00 A sword 000-06-00 £ 368-03-00
A debt Caleb Brooke to pay out of the Mill at winottimie 080-00-00
The debts of Thomas Brooke deceased to pay
It[em] to mr Edward Bulkly 000-06-00 It[em] to mr Chickery 000-04-06 It[em] to Capt. Timothy Wheeler 000-04-06 It[em] to Robert Mirriam 000-14-06
George Wheeler Robert Mirriam Luke Potter.51,4
For a groundbreaking multigenerational study of land use and ownership among the Concord families of Brooks, Merriam and Hartwell, see Brian Donahue, The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord (Yale University Press, 2004). I hope to add extractions from the book to these pages as time permits.18
Family Grace/1 Cunliffe b. 14 Oct 1593, d. 12 May 1664
* Mary/2a Brooks+14 b. circa 1623, d. 4 Oct 1693 * Dea. Joshua/2a Brooks+14 b. circa 1630, d. before 24 Aug 1697 * Caleb/2a Brooks+52 b. circa 1632, d. 29 Jul 1696 * Gershom/2a Brooks+53 b. circa 1634, d. 1686"
1. [S1405] Threlfall, Ancestors, 1024, Thomas Brooke; 2048, Richard Brooke. 2. [S1405] Threlfall, Ancestors, 1024, Thomas Brooke; 512, Thomas Brooks. 3. [S1405] Threlfall, Ancestors, 2048, Richard Brooke. 4. [S1405] Threlfall, Ancestors, 512, Thomas Brooks. 5. [S1412] Christopher Hunwick. 6. While a fifth child, Hannah, is often ascribed to Thomas, she was the daughter of Henry/1w Brooks, of Concord and Woburn. The will of Hannah's 1st husband Thomas/1 Fox, 25 Jan 1658, refers to uncle Thomas Brooks. Confirmation of Hannah's parentage is also found in the will of Henry Brooks, 18 Jul 1682, in which Hannah, whose 2d husband (of three) was Andrew/1 Lester, is called "my daughter Lestor." 7. [S58] Virkus, Comp. Amer. Genealogy, "from Eng. in the 'Susan and Ellen.'" 8. [S97] Banks, Planters, 60 (Talbot), 134 (Susan and Ellen). 9. [S288] Pope, Pioneers of Massachusetts, 71. 10. [S1016] Walcott, Colonial Concord, 1. 11. [S48] Charles Brooks, Hist. Medford, 526. 12. [S58] Virkus, Comp. Amer. Genealogy, "to Watertown, MA, where he was assigned land, 1631." 13. [S220] Holmes, New England Families, 32–33: "1631." 14. [S282] Threlfall, "Thomas Brooks", 9. 15. [S222] Paige, "Massachusetts Freemen", 14, Thomas Brooke. 16. [S303] Watertown Lands, 7, A Grant of the Plowlands at Beverbroke Planes. 17. [S1590] Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Recs. of the Massachusetts Bay, 1:157. 18. [S1343] Brian Donahue, The Great Meadow. 19. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 18. 20. [S1300] Palfrey, Hist. New England, 2:17-18: "Courts, according to their dignity, were attended by the Beadle (afterwards called Marshal) of the Colony, who was appointed by the General Court, and who received a liberal compensation in salary and fees,—or by Constables, who were chosen for a year, first by the General Court, and afterwards by the towns, and who in the early times were taken from among men of property and consequence." 21. [S1590] Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Recs. of the Massachusetts Bay, 1:248. 22. [S1300] Palfrey, Hist. New England, 2:17-18. 23. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 19, 45 (quoted). 24. [S1590] Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Recs. of the Massachusetts Bay, 1:167, 295. 25. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 235, Representatives: "8th Sept., 10th May, 1642, 1643, Thomas Brooks"; 365: "representative seven years…." 26. [S282] Threlfall, "Thomas Brooks", 9: "He was representative to the General Court from Concord in 1642–4 and for four years after 1650." 27. [S41] SCW General Register, 1902, 578: Elected captain 1643. 28. [S58] Virkus, Comp. Amer. Genealogy, "capt., 1643." 29. [S83] Bond, Watertown Genealogies, 2:719-20. 30. [S155] George Thomas Little, Gen. Hist. Maine, 967–69: "1643 to 1649." 31. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 19, 203. 32. [S1564] NHHS Collections, 3:96, Return of the Commissioners about the Beaver Trade. 33. [S106] NEHGR, 8:57 (Jan 1854): "Abstracts from the Earliest Wills on File in the County of Suffolk, Mass." 34. [S106] NEHGR, 16:72–73 (Jan 1862): "Abstracts of the Earliest Wills from the Records and Files at East Cambridge, Mass., in the County of Middlesex": Thomas Flint. 35. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 45, quoted. 36. [S282] Threlfall, "Thomas Brooks", 9: "in 1640 he was appointed to prevent drunkenness among the Indians." 37. [S1016] Walcott, Colonial Concord, 101. 38. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 33–35. 39. [S1016] Walcott, Colonial Concord, 51-52. 40. [S182] Shattuck, Hist. Concord, 36. 41. [S1192] Thomas Fox of Concord, 12, 59-63, will of Thomas Fox. 42. [S83] Bond, Watertown Genealogies, 2:721. 43. [S282] Threlfall, "Thomas Brooks", 9: "In 1660 he and his son-in-law, Timothy Wheeler, jointly bought of Edward Collins, for £404, 400 acres in Medford, a house and some artifacts. One third of it was for Wheeler. (Middlesex Deeds 2:118)." 44. [S1300] Palfrey, Hist. New England, 2:55-56: "Fishing led to ship-building. The year after Winthrop's arrival, to help in obtaining supplies of corn from the Indians, he built on Mystic River a bark of thirty tons' burden, which he named the Blessing of the Bay. The next year a vessel of a hundred tons, and a year later another of twice that size, were launched on the same river, at the plantation of Mr. Cradock." 45. [S1016] Walcott, Colonial Concord, 66. 46. [S282] Threlfall, "Thomas Brooks", 9: "…the next October he sold his house and lot in Concord to John Wheeler (ibid. 3:169) and presumably went to live with one of his children, for he died in Concord 21 May 1667, intestate." 47. [S1016] Walcott, Colonial Concord, 87. 48. [S1272] "Middlesex County Court Files (1649-1675)", 1666 1m 28, John Hamelton. 49. [S185] Concord BMD, 13, Thomas Brooks d. 50. [S1300] Palfrey, Hist. New England, 2:29: "Ward's laws of inheritance and of servitude borrowed principles from the Law of Moses. The oldest son of a parent dying intestate was to have 'a double portion of his whole estate, real and personal, unless the General Court, upon just cause alleged, should judge otherwise.'" 51. [S83] Bond, Watertown Genealogies, 2:719, Thomas Brooks. 52. [S282] Threlfall, "Thomas Brooks", 9, 10: "b. about 1632, probably in England."
Note: Until now, above extract was not attributed to any author. Perhaps the following from Christopher Brooks, the researcher whose 20+ years of research into early Brooks families of New England will correct that. He is the source of the name Cunliffe, and has been in personal contact with the archivist of Manchester Cathedral, where the marriage record of Thomas Brooks and Grace Cunliffe is found; it's the only marriage of a Thomas Brooks and a Grace which has been found in England in the correct time period. Christopher Brooks has a book on Capt. Thomas Brooks in preparation. You can find a meticulously sourced and documented account of Thomas and his descendants through 4 generations at his web site, including the yDNA research which establishes relationship to Henry Brooks, here:
He says, "Thomas is the uppermost entry in the Massachusetts box of the founders table. Henry, who was his 1st cousin, is the line below. Read up, enjoy the documentation, and please don't fail to credit where you found the information, so that other wanderers in historical time and space can find their way to the oasis and drink of its waters. If you want a gold star for careful scholarship, please read the site FAQ. There's a "can't miss it" link to the FAQ at the bottom of the site's main page. "
The above detailed information should be attributed to Christopher Brooks. L. D. Courtney, June 2, 2013.
Additional notes containing errors below:
Captain Thomas BROOKS, born around 1610 in England, the immigrant ancestor, is said by some authority to have come from Suffolk, England, in April 1631, on the Susan and Ellen, Edward PAYNE, Master. He settled first in Watertown, Massachusetts, where he had a lot assigned to him in 1631. He was admitted a Freeman on December 7, 1636, but very soon afterward moved to Concord. In Watertown, he was one of the "townsmen then inhabiting" to whom the General Court granted certain plowlands along Beaver Creek in 1636.
On December 4, 1638, he was elected, by the General Court constable of Concord, and for seven years he was deputy to the General Court from Concord. He was Captain of the Concord military company. He held many other offices such as: assessor or appraiser of houses, cattle, etc., "for the purpose of taxing"; special officer to prevent drunkenness among indians. He purchased, of the General Court, the right to carry on the fur trade in the Concord area for the sum of five pounds. He was a leading citizen in both civil and military affairs. He married Grace Cunliffe, who died May 12, 1664.
He died intestate on May 21, 1667. An agreement among his heirs, on file in the probate office, made June 17, 1667, was signed by the eldest son, Joshua BROOKS; Captain Timothy WHEELER, husband of Mary BROOKS; Caleb and Gresham BROOKS; also sons of Thomas BROOKS. Children: Mary, married to Captain Timothy WHEELER; Hannah, married to Thomas FOX; Joshua, mentioned below; Caleb, born 1632; Gresham, married Hannah ECKLES; perhaps other children.
The Find A Grave Profile also has errors:
Capt. Thomas Brooks, Jr., of Concord's Timeline
March 2, 1594
Manchester, Lancashire (Present Greater Manchester), England, (Present UK)
March 2, 1595
Manchester, Greater Manchester, England
Elston, Bedford, England
Probably England, (Present UK)
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Immigrated to the U.S.
May 21, 1667
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony, (Present USA)
Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States