John Brooks

John Brooks was born 1840, in Wayne County, Michigan, the son of Joseph (1815-1887) and stepson of Olive (b. 1837).

In 1850 John was attending school and living with his father, New York native Joseph who was working as a butcher in Plymouth, Wayne County. John and his father eventually settled on the western side of the state and by 1860 John was working for and/or living with the Norman Cummings family in Sparta, Kent County. In the meantime, Joseph had married his second wife, Michigan native Olive and they were living in Sparta as well.

John stood 5’10” with gray eyes, black hair and a dark complexion, and was 21 years old and living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. (He may have been related to Frederick Brooks who also came Wayne County but who enlisted in Company G.) John was reported as a pioneer from July of 1862 through October, and he was probably still on detached service when he reenlisted on December 23, 1863, at Brandy Station, Virginia; crediting Courtland, Kent County.

He returned home on veteran’s furlough in January of 1864 and probably rejoined the Regiment about the first of February. From April of 1864 through June he was a Brigade pioneer. For reasons unknown, at some point he was reduced to the ranks.

John was still on detached service as a Brigade pioneer when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained on detached duty through August of 1864. He was mustered out on July 5, 1865, at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

After the war John returned to western Michigan, and was living in Sparta when he married Ohio native Albina Mercy Place (b. 1844) on December 31, 1865, probably in Sparta. (Albina was the younger sister of Arthur Place who had also served in Company F. Arthur, too, lived in Sparta after the war.)

John and Albina were still living in Sparta in 1870; also living with them was 12-year-old Michigan native Barney Brooks who was probably John’s half brother (in 1860 2-year-old Barnabus Brooks was reported living with Olive and Joseph Brooks in Sparta). And nearby lived Joseph and his wife Olive and their family. By 1880, however, John and his family had "disappared" from the official record. In 1880 Joseph and Olive were reported still living in Sparta.

John may have died in Ottawa County, but was buried just over the Kent County line in Lisbon cemetery: lot 14, grave 1. (No death certificate appears to be available, however.) Joseph and Olive are both buried in lot 14, Lisbon cemetery as is another son, Andrew (b. c. 1840).
Curiously, lot no. 37 in Lisbon cemetery (which has no interments listed) is owned by one A. Place, however “Arthur” Place is buried in Greenwood cemetery in Sparta.

There appears to be no pension available.