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Fayette County, Iowa
Portrait & Biographical Album of Fayette County Iowa
Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of
Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Chancy Brooks, a retired farmer residing on Section 12, Smithfield Township, is the oldest pioneer now living in the county. He was born in Livingston County, New York, September 18, 1817, and is a son of Benjamin Brooks. His father was born in Vermont about 1781, and was reared on a farm. He removed to Lower Canada when a young man and there married Miss Olive Harris, daughter of Silas Harris who was of Irish descent, and a native of Lower Canada. After his marriage he took his wife to New York, where our subject was born. In 1819, he emigrated to Upper Canada, from the Government entered a piece of wild timber land which he cleared and improved and there made his home until 1838, when he came to Iowa, locating in Muscatine County, where he entered two hundred and forty acres of Government land. Nineteen years were spent by him on that farm and in 1857 he sold out, coming to Fayette County and locating on a farm in Fairfield Township, where he died in 1864. His wife also died on the old homestead in 1871. Both were for many years faithful members in the Methodist Episcopal Church. This worthy couple were parents of thirteen children. John who was born in Lower Canada, died in Elkader, Iowa, while on his way to McGregor in the winter of 1862; Chancy of this sketch is the next younger; Eliza; Hiram was killed by lightning in Fairfield township in August, 1851; Jessie is now in Washington; Benjamin died in Fairfield township in December, 1862, being suffocated by smoke in the loft of his own house; David is now living in Oregon; Melinda died in Oregon; Roxy resides in Washington; Henry is living in Decatur County, Iowa; Betsy is now deceased; Lydia born in Fayette County is now in Kansas and Sarah is in Washington.
Now we take up the personal history of our subject who has so long been widely and favorably known in this county. He spent his boyhood days on a new farm in Canada where he learned to swing the ax and aided not a little in clearing the land. He advanced little beyond the three Rís in the school room but his primary education has been supplemented by reading and experience till he became a well informed man. He was about twenty-one years of age when his family came to Iowa. In 1845 he settled in Linn County on a farm and on May 13, 1847 came to Fayette County. He was united in marriage with Hannah Casebier a native of Wayne County, Ohio, born July 22, 1826. Two years later Mr. Brooks sold his farm and came to Fayette County, entering one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 12, Smithfield township his present home. Indians were still numerous in the neighborhood and there were no settlers north of the Volga, while they had but two neighbors, John Brooks and Andrew Hensley. In the forty-three years that have passed since that time, great changes have come to him.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Brooks were born the following children; Hiram H., born in Linn County, March 18, 1847, is now a stockman in Montana; Amanda, born May 10, 1848, is now Mrs. Newton of Washington; Eliza Jane, born December 9, 1849, is the widow of Samuel Feriday, formerly of Smithfield township; Mary, born October 12, 1851, is the wife of L. M. Stranahahn of Smithfield township; Charles Henry, born August 6, 1858, resides on the old homestead; James C., born August 28, 1857, married Sally Brooks, and is extensively engaged in raising sheep and horses in Montana; Lydia, born May 3, 1861, married Melvin Fuller of Grand Island, Nebraska; Sarah O., born December 15, 1862, is the wife of William Gell who operates the old homestead; Edwina B., born August 29, 1865, and is now Mrs. Carpenter, of Winnebago County. The mother of this family died in 1873, and on August 7, 1875, Mr. Brooks married Mrs. Ann Nefzger, whose maiden name was Burling. She was born in England, August 10, 1844, and in 1851, came with her parents to America. After about two years spent in Chicago, they removed to Freeport, Illinois, and from there came to this county where her father, William Burling, still lives. By the second marriage there are three children; Jenny Irene, born May 23, 1877; Nina Imogene, December 15, 1879 and Joel B., born July 3, 1882 and died August 20, 1884.
For about thirty years he has been a member of the United Brethren Church, to which his first wife also belonged.
~transcribed for Fayette County IAGenWeb by Dorothy Gosse
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