Midget Brooks (1794-1875) & Rebecca O'Neal (1802-1870)
Midget was born in 1794, the exact date is not known, in Hyde County, North Carolina, close to the outerbanks, to the Revolutionary soldier Thomas Brooks and his wife Angelica Riordame. Before 1820, he moved with his family to lust mountains of East Tennessee. It was there he married Rebecca O'Neal, the daughter of his father's war friend and North Carolina neighbor. They married on August 24th, 1820 when he was 28. She was 18 and not educated.
The next year, they had their first daughter, Mary. Mary never married and lived with them when they were elderly.
Their next child was Robert Bailey. His story:
Born on October 3, 1823 in Henderson County, Tennessee . The family record shows that Robert Bailey Brooks, the son of Midget Brooks and Rebecca O’Neal, got married while living in Henderson County, Tennessee to his first wife, Nancy E. Rhodes, who was born in 1828. While living in Henderson County, Tennessee Robert Bailey Brooks and his wife Nancy E. Rhodes had three children: 1) Mary Jane Brooks born 07 Nov 1846; 2) Rebecca S. Brooks born 03 Nov 1848; and 3) William Calvin Brooks born 03 Mar 1852.
Tragically, some time between 1852 and 1855, Nancy died. He then married his second wife, Martha Jane Phillips, who was born in 1837. Goodspeed’s History of Southeast Missouri published in 1888, page 1184, and family records state that the family of Robert Bailey Brooks set off from Henderson County, Tennessee on their way to Missouri in 1855.
They crossed the Mississippi River near the vicinity of Dyer County, Heloise , Tennessee by boat over to Island #18. This island was in the middle of the Mississippi River on the Tennessee side between Dyer County , Heloise , Tennessee and Pemiscot County , Cottonwood Point, Missouri. Island #18 is where Robert Bailey Brooks and his family lived until late in 1856 when they moved to Pemiscot County , Cottonwood Point, Missouri . While the family was living on Island #18 Robert Bailey Brooks and his wife at the time Martha Jane Phillips had a son named James Franklin Brooks born on 27 Jul 1856.
Robert Bailey Brooks enlisted in New Madrid County, New Madrid, Misouri in the 1st Missouri Infantry, Company B, CSA (Confederate States Army) sometime between 1861 and 1862. Goodspeed’s History of Southeast Missouri states that Robert Bailey Brooks fought in the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee (April 6 – 7, 1862) and the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi (October 3 – 4, 1862).
Once Robert Bailey Brooks moved to Pemiscot County, Cottonwood Point, Missouri with his family, he had two more children with his second wife Martha Jane Phillips; 1) Nancy Brooks who was born in 1859 and 2) Carle Thomas Brooks who was born in 1861. Sometime after the birth of Carle Thomas Brooks but before 1870, Martha died.
He married his third wife while living in Pemiscot County, Virginia Township, Virginia, Missouri sometime in 1870. Her name was Lucinda Smith. She died in 1873, without having any children.
Bailey married his fourth wife, Annie Prock, in 1873. By Annie Prock, Baileyhad a son born in 1873 named Louis (Lewis) M. Harper. Annie Prock died in 1877.
After the death of Annie Prock, Robert Bailey Brooks married his fifth wife named Nancy Grubbs. Nancy Grubbs died in 1882. They did not have any children together.
On 06 Jan 1882, Robert Bailey Brooks married his sixth and last wife Martha J. Bowen (or Brown) who was the widow of Joseph Bowen (or Brown).
Around 1890, Robert Bailey Brooks, the son of Midget Brooks and Rebecca O’Neal, built a house in “Upper Cooter” on the outskirts of what is today Steele , Missouri and moved his family there. The present day location of the house built by Robert Bailey Brooks was on Main Street (Route 1) going toward Interstate 55, first house on the right after crossing Cooter Road. Robert Bailey Brooks lived at this house that was located in present day Pemiscot County, Route 1, Steele, Missouri until his death on 25 Feb 1903.
The following is the obituary of Robert Bailey Brooks:
Uncle Bailey Brooks passed away to him home beyond this life on February 25, 1903. He was sick only a few days having been stricken with pneumonia. Uncle Bailey as he was always called was the second of seven children born to Midget and Rebecca Brooks. He was born November 26, 1823 in Henderson County, TN. He remained with his parents until he was 21 years old when he began farming for himself.
In 1856 he moved to Missouri and located near the foot of Island #18 where he lived one year. Then he moved to the farm where he died. He was married six times. His first wife was Nancy Rhodes who bore him three children, two of whom are living, W. C. Brooks and Rebecca Davidson. His second wife was Martha Phillips who became the mother of four children. One is now living, James Franklin Brooks, His third wife was Lucinda Smith who lived only three years. His fourth wife was Annie Prock who lived four years. Two children were born to them of these L. M. Brooks is the only one living. He then married Nancy Grubbs who died five years after. His last wife, Mrs. M. J. Bowen, he married on July 6, 1882.
He was a democrat. During the war he served ten months in Company B, first Missouri infantry, Confederate States Army, and was at the battles of Shiloh and Corinth . At the time he located in Pemiscot County there were only four families in Cooter Township and the county was very sparsely settled. Uncle Bailey was a true friend to those who were in need of his help. Many men in this county at present owe their start to Uncle Bailey, who helped them in time of need.
He has long been a consistent Christian. Ever since he became a member of the church he has grown stronger in faith and works, which shows that his religion attended him in his season of retirement from the world. He will be greatly missed, but our loss we pray will be his reward. It is hard to give up a dear father, yet we should keep this sweet prayer before us, “Father, Thy will be done.”
Their next son was James Franklin Brooks (1832-1893). He would become my gr grandfther. He and his wife Sarah Richards would have 8 children, and lived in Pemiscot County, Missouri. Much more about them later.
The last boy was William (1838-?). He and his wife Elizabeth had 4 girls and 1 boy: Rebecca, Emiline, Mollie, Thomas, and Sarah. They, too, farmed the land in Pemiscot County, Missouri.