Asa Brooks was born about 1792, in “the area outside Fort Niagara.” Asa himself said he was the first white child born in this area of western New York. H. C. Taylor, who appears to have known Asa, says in his Historical Sketches of the Town of Portland: “Mr. Brooks claimed to have been the first white child b[orn] in Buffalo, N.Y. He disputed with a good deal of energy the claim to this honor with a daughter of Asa Ransom, who was afterward the wife of F. B. Merrill of Cheektowaga. Mrs. Merrill is claimed to have been the first white child b[orn] in all that region outside the walls of fort Niagara. Of the facts the writer has no means of knowing. Mr. Brooks was in Canada at the opening of the war of 1812, but soon returned and enlisted in the U. S. army. Towards the end of the war he was wounded in both arms. He came to P[ortland] in 1815, m[arried] Anna, dau[ghter] of David Joy, and for several years carried the mail between Buffalo and Erie on houseback. He purchased fifty acres of land of Elijah Fay, p[ar]t lot 40, T[ownship] 5, which he occupied in 1820. He was a mason by trade and a member of the Baptist church in P[ortland]. He removed to Illinois in 1830 or ’31.”
Asa Ransom, mentioned above, was a native of Sheffield MA, who moved to the Geneva NY area ca 1789 and to the Buffalo area ca 1798; he was listed as a resident in 1801. According to William Ketchum, there were 4-5 houses in Buffalo in 1798. Sylvanus Mabee came to the area in 1796-7 from Canada. There were 14 landowners in 1801, no one named Brooks, although a Judge James Brooks was in Buffalo by 1808. All previous records were burned in 1813. The 1800 census for Northampton Township, Ontario Co NY shows Asa Ransom, John Palmer, and Sylvanus Mabee on page 310, among the first names in the township.
It is the opinion of this writer that Asa was one of the numerous children of Michael and Elizabeth (Boughton) Brooks. I have these clues to Asa’s parentage:
- His oldest son was Barton Brooks. I have been unable to locate any Brooks/Barton connections, but I did find a Brooks family in Western New York with strong Boughton/Baughton connections.
- Asa’s second son was Charles Hiram Brooks. A probable son of Michael and Elizabeth (Boughton) Brooks of Bloomfield, Ontario Co NY was Hiram Brooks. I have not identified the Hiram Brooks who was next door to a likely son Charles in 1840 in Bloomfield, Ontario Co NY.
- Asa was born in western NY; Michael was there before 1800.
- Several members of Michael Brooks’s family moved to Illinois or other places in the west. Hiram Brooks was one county away from Asa’s family in 1850.
- Asa was a Baptist; some of the Boughtons were Baptists.
- After I assumed Michael Brooks was Asa’s father, I was pleased to see a bit more confirmation in the fact that Michael was found by 1820 in Genesee [later Wyoming] Co NY, much closer to Chautauqua County.
In the War of 1812, Asa served as a Private, Capt Hull’s Co, US Infantry. His lengthy pension file shows that he was shot through both arms and moved to Madison Co IL ca 1836.
Asa purchased land in Chautauqua Co NY in 1817 and in 1820; Asa and his wife Anna sold the land in 1832. Asa Brooks purchased land in Madison Co IL in 1834. A Madison County history written in 1882 states that Asa was “among the early residents of the township.” Additional facts about the early residents of this Illinois county are of interest. “The early settlers were almost wholly American.” And “Fosterburg has always been safely Republican.”
The Federal Censuses show a growing family for Asa and Anna, who married according to Taylor about 1815. In 1820, their family was in Chautauqua Co NY, Portland Twp, p 128, Asa Brooks (indexed as Ira): 100010/11100. In 1830, they were in Chautauqua Co NY: Asa Brooks, 231001/101001. In 1840, they had moved, Madison Co IL, p 148: Asa Brooks, 1023001/211001; see also the 1840 Veterans’ Census.
Asa and family were in the 1845 Illinois State census, Fosterburg Twp: Asa Brooks, 142001/34001. Anna was still alive and, based on the census record, had given birth by then to at least 16 children. My aunt Nellie (Alvis) (Becker) Penfield (1887-1980) wrote me that her grandmother was one of 18 children. Asa’s oldest son, Barton Brooks was also in the 1845 census, but had died by 1850.
Anna appears to have died before her husband. His estate is the source of much information about their children. The final settlement of the “Estate of Asa Brooks, decd February 18, 1851,” p 167, lists heirs: Mary wife of Wm E Hill, Charles Brooks, David J Brooks, Joshua Brooks, Harriett intermarried with Lewis N Tapp, Sylvanus Brooks, Lucy Ann Brooks, Frances Brooks, Elias Brooks, Hannah Brooks, Permelia Brooks, Asa Brooks, and Geo W & Anna C Brooks, grandchildren. Each heir received $30.29. Related documents include Madison Co IL 33: 78-79, from Joshua Brooks to Charles H Brooks, from the estate of Asa Brooks, dated 10 Mar 1849; 33: 79-80, from David J Brooks to William E Hill, same date; 36:24-25, from Charles H Brooks and William E Hill to Irwin B Randle, “commissioner for the use of the heirs at law of Asa Brooks, deceased,” dated 10 Nov 1849; 36: 2627, from Irwin B Randle, commissioner, to Charles Brooks, same date, reading in part: “in a certain cause then in Court Pending wherein Charles Brooks, William E Hill and Mary his wife were plaintiffs and Lewis Tapp and Harriet his wife, Sylvanus Brooks, Lucy Ann Brooks, Elias Brooks, Frances Brooks, Permelia Brooks, Asa Brooks, Hannah Brooks, George Brooks and Catherine Brooks, Heirs of Asa Brooks deceased were defendants…”
Although known as a Baptist, Asa Brooks had married Anna Joy, from a Universalist family. Several of their children were baptized and joined the Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Madison Co IL after the deaths of the parents.
The known children of Asa and Anna (Joy) Brooks are listed below. For some of their children, descendants are known, and some can only be guessed from censuses.
- Barton BROOKS. Born in 1817 in Chautauqua Co NY. Barton died in Madison Co IL, ca 1848; he was 31. On 21 Nov 1844 when Barton was 27, he married Nancy RHOADS in Madison Co IL. They had the following children, possibly two others who died young:
- George W (ca1845-1860)
- Anna Catherine (ca1846-1864)
- Mary BROOKS. Born on 26 Jan 1819 in Chautauqua Co NY. Mary died in Madison Co IL. Buried in Short Cemetery, Alton IL. On 31 Mar 1835 when Mary was 16, she married William E HILL in Madison Co IL. Born on 11 Jan 1807 in Livingston Co KY. He married first Martha Wilson, Livingston Co KY. Child with his first wife, Anthony, b ca 1830, d ca 1880. History of Madison Co IL (1882) says first son was Anthony. William E died on 25 Apr 1890. At one time this couple lived in Dickinson Co KS. They had the following children:
- David L (ca1836-<1882)
- Ephraim W (ca1837-<1882)
iii. Anna M (ca1839->1882)
- William Henry (1841-1901)
- Mary (ca1842-<1882)
- Hannah M (ca1845-<1882)
vii. Charlotte A (ca1850->1882)
viii. John (ca1852-<1882)
- George (1854->1882)
- Harriet (ca1855-<1882)
- Margaret (ca1854-<1882)
xii. John [again in census] (ca1856->1882)
xiii. Allace (ca1858-<1870)
xiv. Martha (->1882)
- Charles Hiram BROOKS. Born on 17 Feb 1821 in Chautauqua Co NY. Charles Hiram died in Madison Co IL, on 18 Dec 1861. On 3 Feb 1848 when Charles Hiram was 26, he married Sarah Minerva HILLHOUSE in Madison Co IL. Born on 25 Jan 1827 in Bethany Twp, Livingston Co KY. Sarah Minerva died in Madison Co IL, on 23 Feb 1869; she was 42. The Henry Family by Eron M. Sharp of Memphis, Tennessee, 1961, states that “Sarah had no children of her own that helped raise children of Mr. Brooks by former marriage.”
This is a mistake, since estate documents in Madison Co IL show a son:
- Robert S Brooks, born 1854, died 1866.
After Charles’s death, Sarah married James Sanders. Within a short time James died, then Sarah, then Robert, leaving an estate that was divided among Charles’s surviving brothers and sisters. These documents led to the identification of the husbands and children of Lucy Ann (Brooks) (McCarver) Caskey and Rachel Permelia (Brooks) Frankford.
- David J[oy] BROOKS. Born in 1823 in Chautauqua Co NY. David J[oy] died in Madison Co IL, in 1867; he was 44. Buried in Short Cemetery, Alton IL. On 12 Feb 1846 when David J[oy] was 23, he married Mary Maria VANATTA in Madison Co IL. Mary Maria died on 14 Jul 1868. They had the following children in both 1850 and 1860, although the 1855 State census, possibly for this man since it was a few houses from several Vanatta families, reads D Brooks: 31001/10031.
- John R (ca1846-)
- Aaron (ca1849-)
- Joshua P BROOKS. Born in 1824 in Chautauqua Co NY. On 8 Oct 1857 when Joshua P was 33, he married Mary Ann LEE in Madison Co IL. Born ca 1832 in IL. They had the following children in 1870:
- Sarah (1868-)
- Mary M (1870-)
- Harriett M BROOKS. Born in 1825 in Chautauqua Co NY. Harriett died before 1867. On 21 Dec 1845, she married Lewis N TAPP in Madison Co IL. Born ca 1821 in VA. Lewis died in Jackson Co MO, on 8 Sep 1888.
- Sylvanus BROOKS. Born in 1827 in Chautauqua Co NY. He was living at the time of the settlement of his father’s estate. On 5 Jun 1851, William Hill acted as guardian for Silvanus Brooks.
- (son) BROOKS. Born in say 1828, but not living in 1849.
- Lucy Ann BROOKS. Born in 1830 in Chautauqua Co NY. Lucy Ann died in Madison Co IL, on 17 Jun 1907. On 23 May 1850 when Lucy Ann was 20, she married James McCARVER in Madison Co IL. He was born in 1830 in IL and as James “McCuvey” was working in the household next door to Lucy’s residence in 1850.
On 1 Sep 1856 when Lucy Ann was 25, she second married as his second wife Augustus FRANKFORD in Madison Co IL. Born on 18 Dec 1818 in Hesse-Kassel, Germany. Augustus died in Madison Co IL, on 6 Jan 1880; he was 61.
They had the following children:
- Joshua Augustus (1857-1922)
- Ida Rebecca (1859-1936)
iii. Martha Frances (1861-1935)
- Irene (1862-)
- Andrew H (1864-1916)
- Benjamin Frank (1866-1928)
vii. Lettie Love (1868-1936)
viii. Rinald Asa (1870-1950)
- Wany Fort (1873-1951)
- (daughter) BROOKS. Born in say 1832, but not living in 1849.
- (daughter) BROOKS. Born in say 1834, but not living in 1849.
- Elias Fort BROOKS. Born on 22 Feb 1835 in Madison Co IL. Elias died in Texas Co MO, on 18 Dec 1907; he was 72. On 22 Sep 1859 when Elias Fort was 24, he married Phebe MOORE. Born ca 1840 in IL. They had the following children:
- Beth A (1860-)
- Frank M (1863-)
iii. John D (1864-)
- Charles (1870-)
- Thomas J (1872-)
- Mary Frances (1874-)
vii. Phebe Ellis (1878-)
viii. Nannie Bell (1879-)
- John [again] G (1886-)
- Frances BROOKS. Born on 17 Jan 1837 in Fosterburg, Madison Co IL. Frances died in Irving, Montgomery Co IL, on 13 Jan 1917. Buried on 16 Jan 1917 in Nokomis, Montgomery Co IL. On 14 Dec 1856 when Frances was 19, she first married William Henry Harrison ALVIS, son of James Woodson ALVIS & Leatha/Luvina Merrick PULLIAM, in Madison Co IL. Born on 11 Jan 1832 in MO. William Henry Harrison died in Brighton, Macoupin Co IL, on 17 Apr 1874; he was 42. They had the following children:
- Cora (1857-1925)
- Isabella (1857-)
iii. Edward Amandus (1861-1934)
- William Elmer (1869-1924)
On 5 Jul 1883 when Frances was 46, she second married as his second wife Martin HARKEY in Nokomis, Montgomery Co IL. Born ca 1803. Martin died on 18 Nov 1893.
- Hannah Foster BROOKS. Born in 1839 in Madison Co IL. Hannah died in Dickinson Co KS. In say 1864, she married Thomas Sebastian WILSON in IL. Born ca 1830 in IL. They had the following children:
- Alice Eva (1865-)
- Omar P (1867-)
iii. Anna G (1872-)
- Rachel Permelia BROOKS. Born on 17 Feb 1841 in Madison Co IL. Rachel Permelia died in California on 30 Aug 1921; she was 80.
Rachel Permelia married as his second wife John CASKEY. Born ca 1831 in NC or TN. John died in Tomlinson, Scott Co AR, in 1880; he was 49.
They had the following children:
- Mary L (1866-)
- John Dorrell (1870-)
iii. Thomas (1879-)
- Asa BROOKS. Born in 1843 in Madison Co IL. Asa was living in Fosterburg, Madison Co IL, in 1880; he was possibly charged with larceny, according The Edwardsville Intelligencer, 21 Oct 1891. The same newspaper stated on 23 Mar 1892, that the case was declared “nolle by state” and defendant dismissed. Along with two other men, the 6 Mar 1896 paper announced, Asa Brooks brought suit against Thomas Delahanty for damages “for false arrest and imprisonment on charge of burglary in city of Alton.” Two weeks later, each of the three plaintiffs had to give security for costs. On 24 Apr 1896, the cases were dismissed because the plaintiffs did not file the bonds.
© 2008, Kathy Alvis Patterson
 H.C. Taylor, Historical Sketches of the Town of Portland (NY), 1873, p. 337.
 I investigated the US Postal Service records for that era. Catherine L Mason, of the Buffalo and Erie Co Historical Society wrote me in 1993 that “records before 1880 are almost unheard of in this area.” She sent a page from Pitt Petri, The Postal History of Western NY: Its Post Offices, Its Postmasters 1895-1960, which states on page 299 that most records were destroyed when Washington was burned by the British in 1814 and again in a Department of the Post Office fire in 1836.
 William Ketchum, An Authentic and Comprehensive History of Buffalo… 1864-65, which I found on microfiche at the Laredo Community College Library.
 Since neither Asa nor Anna could sign their names, I consider this name the biggest clue to Asa’s parents; for years I looked for a Brooks-Barton connection in NY, before I discovered the Brooks-Boughton marriage. Think a New England accent with an Illinois county clerk, who wrote “Barton.”
 1820 Covington Twp, Genesee Co NY, Hyram Brooks: 200010/01010, next page to Michael.
 Pension papers, War of 1812, file #24078. 1830 Perry Twp, Genesee [now Wyoming] Co NY, p 260, Hiram Brooks: 2120001/010001. 1840 Warren Co IL: 00301001/0101001, a few houses away from John S Peasley.
 Karen E Livsey. Western NY Land Transactions 1804-1824, p 184. “Asa Brooks, 28 J[ul]y 17, Lot 2.”
 Chautauqua Co NY Lb 2, p 214. Asa Brooks was listed as a resident of Chautauqua Co NY; the deed is dated 9 Aug 1820. Also, Chautauqua Co NY Lb 18, p 38, dated 3 Sep 1832, signed by Asa Brooks and Anna his wife, with their marks.
 Madison Co IL Bk 10, p 533. Dated 21 Apr 1834.
 History of Madison Co IL, W R Brink & Co, 1882, p 44.
 Centennial History of Madison Co IL, 1912, p 513, “early settlers.” Page 514: “The native stock was almost wholly American.” Page 515: “Fosterberg has always been safely Republican.” [Note: Asa died before the founding of the present Republican party.]
 Op Cit.
 Estate, Madison Co IL, File Box 42. Final settlement of the “Estate of Asa Brooks, decd. February 18, 1851,” p 167.
 Barton’s children. He married Nancy Rhoads, 21 Nov 1844 in Madison Co IL. She was the daughter of Samuel H and Anna Catherine (Waggoner) Rhoads and married second Thomas Waggoner on 16 Jun 1852. Two probable older children from 1845 State census must have died before Asa’s estate.
 Frances was baptized April 1853 at the Mount Olive Baptist Church, east of Alton IL. Also members there were Nancy (sister-in-law), Elias, Hannah, Asa, George, Catherine, and several other Brooks relatives.
 Based on his 1850 census, I would guess that his brother and sister are meant, not his own children.
 This also led to the identification of the son-in-law of Frances (Brooks) Alvis, William Caskey, who married his stepmother’s niece.
 Ancestry.com. Illinois Wills and Probates, accessed 5 Sep 2015.