William/1s Brooks

M, #21, (between 1610 and 1627 - 30 December 1688)
Appears on charts:Y-DNA Overlay Chart -- SPRINGFIELD line
Last Edited:25 May 2017
William/1s Brooks was born in England, perhaps as early as 1610, perhaps as late as 1627/28, to unknown parents. (Y-DNA testing has established that William had not shared a common male ancestor with other New England Brooks lines for at least a millennium.) The 1610 date may derive from Sheldon, who includes it in his histories of Northfield (1875) and Deerfield (1896), Massachusetts. A widely circulated tale is that William, b. London, 1610, first emigrated to Virginia and then to New England. In more than 20 years of research, however, this writer has yet to find any contemporary evidence supporting such a claim. The distantly secondary sources accompanying such claims inevitably reference each other in circular fashion.1,2,3 Some of the frequent conjectures in general circulation about William's origins are easily disproven, most notably the claim of a Whitchurch, Hampshire birth advanced in the so-called "Beverly Brooks" manuscript held by NEHGS and the Pocumtuck Library in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
     William Brooks first appears in New England 6 Feb 1648/49 at Springfield, Massachusetts, when he took the oath of fidelity (meaning that he was then at least 21 years of age).4 There he married, 18 Oct 1654, Mary/2 Burt, daughter of Henry/1 Burt and Ulalia/1 Marche, with whom he had 16 children.5,6 She was at the time recently delivered of an illegitimate child by Sgt. Samuel/2 Wright Jr. (who would be raised as Remembrance Brooks), for which Mary had been judged guilty of fornication (as also with Joseph Bond) and publicly whipped. (She paid a 30s. fine in lieu of a second whipping for her relations with Bond.) Wright was also whipped, and ordered to pay monthly maintenance for the child for 7 years, and then to pay costs to put the child forth to be an apprentice.7
     In the account books of William and John Pyncheon, father-and-son patroons of the Connecticut River Valley, are numerous notations of business dealings with William Brooks. Styled a tailor, William obtained the raw materials of his trade (cloth goods) from the Pyncheons.8
     In 1668, John Bagg, Edmund Pringridays and William Brooks joined hands and fortunes in a joint lease of town land on Chicopee Plain, located on the west side of Connecticut River in what is today West Springfield (details in the Local Records table below.) Their initial cooperation did not survive the term of the lease.9 5 May 1669, Wm Brookes complained of John Bagg, Edmund Pringridays and Joseph Bedortha that between them they had left 6 cattle in the field overnight without the required keeper. The Selectmen found for the complainant, and fined the cattle owners 30s. between them.10
     The defendants of 1669 pushed back the following year. 16 Sep 1670, Reice Bedortha complained against William Brookes and Mary his wife for theire abusing of his son Joseph Bedortha by Bad language flinging a stick at him and using Reproachfull words Threatning expreshons and Taunting speeches. William Brooke and Mary his wife appeared, and though they partly denied the charges, magistrate Pynchon found them "both guilty of a very great Misdemeanor Touching that Busyness." He fined William 20s. and witness fees, and Mary 10s. Bagg and Pringridays were witnesses against the Brookses.11
     In 1675, Rev. Samuel/3 Mather was preaching at Deerfield, and boarding with William Brooks, who must have been in residence there that year.12 Then Philip's War erupted, and after Lothrop's defeat at Bloody Brook, on the 18th of September, Deerfield's garrison and inhabitants abandoned the place.13 William's sons John and William were killed in an Indian ambush at Westfield on the 27th of October.14 Their father was among those who took the oath of allegiance at Springfield, 31 Dec-1 Jan 1678/9.15,16
     William Brooks and son Ebenezer were each granted 50 acres "beyond, or at ye upper end of Hight streete," at nearby Suffield, Connecticut, 1680. These grants seems to have been made in consideration of William's loss of two sons at the onset of war.17 8 Aug 1680, William Brooks was bound for his daughter Patience's unwed pregnancy at Springfield.18 One of 34 qualified voters at Suffield's first town meeting, 9 Mar 1681/82, he removed by 1686 to Deerfield, where he died 30 Dec 1688.19,20 His widow Mary died at Deerfield 31 Aug following.21

Children with Mary/2 Burt:

  • William/2s Brooks23 b. 18 Aug 1655, d. 27 Oct 1675
  • John/2s Brooks24 b. 10 Feb 1656/57, d. 27 Oct 1675
  • Sarah/2s Brooks25 b. 4 May 1658, d. 6 Jan 1733
  • Mary/2s Brooks26 b. 21 Dec 1659, d. before 1677
  • Patience/2s Brooks27 b. 5 Jun 1661, d. before 29 Dec 1687
  • Ebenezer/2s Brooks28 b. 21 Dec 1662
  • Nathaniel/2s Brooks29 b. 9 May 1664
  • Abigail/2s Brooks30 b. 25 Jan 1665/66, d. 13 Mar 1754
  • Joseph/2s Brooks31 b. 17 Oct 1667, d. 1743
  • Mercy/2s Brooks32 b. 25 Aug 1669, d. 22 Jan 1700/1
  • Benjamin/2s Brooks33 b. 25 Jul 1671, d. 3 May 1755
  • Deliverance/2s Brooks34 b. 28 Feb 1672/73
  • Thankful/2s Brooks35 b. 28 Feb 1672/73, d. 3 Apr 1673
  • Jonathan/2s Brooks36 b. 13 Oct 1674
  • Mary/2s Brooks37 b. 11 Jul 1677
  • Thankful/2s Brooks38 b. 19 Sep 1679

Local Records

Elected7 Feb 1669, Springfield, MASpringfield ffebruary ye 7—1669. At a meting of the Select Men …
     The selectmen chose … for viewers of ye fences …
     Wm Brookes & Wm Hunter for ye feild caled chickuppy playne.22

Source Citations/Notes:

  1. [S269] Sheldon and Temple, Hist. Northfield, 413: "b. 1610."
  2. [S403] Eno, "William Brooks of Springfield,."
  3. [S1188] George Sheldon, Hist. Deerfield, 2:90.
  4. [S31] The Pynchon Court Record, 217.
  5. [S929] Pynchon BMD Record Index, 42, William Brook/Mary Burt m.
  6. [S1594] Springfield VR, 20, william Brook/mary Burt m.
  7. [S31] The Pynchon Court Record, 104 (summary), 230–31 (transcript).
  8. [S1444] Philip C. Brooks, personal communication, 28 Sep 2006.
  9. [S639] Burt, First Century, 1:369-370.
  10. [S639] Burt, First Century, 1:381.
  11. [S31] The Pynchon Court Record, 270.
  12. [S283] Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 2:364-368, Richard Mather, at 364-5.
  13. [S283] Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 2:364-368, Richard Mather, at 365.
  14. [S811] Louis M. Dewey, Ancient Westfield, 34, 97.
  15. [S106] NEHGR, "Inhabitants of Springfield, Who Took the Oath of Allegiance" (Jan 1851), 5:83-84.
  16. [S1560] Mason A. Green, Springfield 1636-1886, 187.
  17. [S810] Sheldon, Hist. Suffield, 26-28, Sketches of Proprietors.
  18. [S31] The Pynchon Court Record, 105.
  19. [S20] Deerfield VR, 269, William Brooks d.
  20. [S233] Richard I. Melvoin, New England Outpost, 184: William Brooks d., ae 78.
  21. [S20] Deerfield VR, 269, Mary Brooks d.
  22. [S639] Burt, First Century, 1:385.
  23. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 9, William Brook b.
  24. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 9, John Brook b.
  25. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 10, Sarah Brooks b.
  26. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 10, Mary Brooks b.
  27. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 11, patience Brooks b.
  28. [S1594] Springfield VR, 18, Ebenezer Brookes b.
  29. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 12, Nathaneel Brookes b.
  30. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 12, Abigaill Brookes b.
  31. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 21, Joseph Brookes b.
  32. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 22, Mercy Brookes b.
  33. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 22, Benjamin Brookes b.
  34. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 23, Deliverance Brooke b.
  35. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 23, Thankfull Brooke b.; 1:48, d.
  36. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 24, Jonathan Brooke b.
  37. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 25, Mary Brookes b.
  38. [S1594] Springfield VR, Book 1, p. 26, Thankful Brookes b.