Sargent County Old Settlers and Pioneers

Sargent County Old Settlers and Pioneers These 2 links will take you to news articles submitted by Jerry McQuay.
Old Settlers' Banquet Oct. 15, 1935, at Forman
Old Settlers' Banquet 1941

Index of Pioneer Biographies

submitted by Sargent County researchers

ADSIT, Frances ... see BROOKS, Frances ADSIT
BIRCH, Sarah J. ... see PRENTICE, Sarah J. BIRCH BROOKS, Andrew Chambers
BROOKS, Gilbert
BROOKS, Samuel Norton
BROOKS, Vernon DeLysle
POST, Ezra D.
PRENTICE, Debbie ... see BROOKS, Susan Deborah                                         PRENTICE

Andrew Chambers BROOKS - (1865-1937)
Andrew Chambers Brooks -- "Andy" as he was known in Cogswell was the son of Gilbert and Frances Adsit Brooks of Forman Township. His farm was next to his father's. This photo - circa 1872 - shows young Andy (L) and Sam (R) Brooks, about ten years before their family moved to Dakota Territory.
Andrew Chambers Brooks was born Dec 12, 1865; he died Dec 27, 1937. He married Mary Anna Stein (Nov 11, 1869-June 29, 1957) in 1894 in Cogswell, ND. Both are buried in Cogswell Catholic Cemetery. Mary must've been Catholic...all the Brooks family were members of the Cogswell M.E. Church.
Note: When I visited Cogswell in Oct. this past year (2002) I stopped in the Post Office to inquire where the cemetery was located...a handful of senior citizens was seated in the hallway. They overheard my conversation and REMEMBERED Andy!

Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven 3 Jan 2003

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Frances ADSIT BROOKS - (1831-1907)
This is a photo of Frances Adsit Brooks, wife of Gilbert Brooks, of Forman Township.
Frances Amelia Adsit was born to Josiah and Mariah Knapp Adsit on January 14, 1831 in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York. She married Gilbert Brooks in October of 1853 in Wisconsin. The couple had eight children: William, Evelyn, Mattie, Nellie, Jennie, Andrew, Samuel N. (who married Deborah Prentice), and Mary.
The Adsits were lured westward - the promise of vast open space and cheap farmland overcame any desire to remain in New York. So, by the time she turned ten, Frances had migrated with her parents and siblings to Montville Township in Medina County, Ohio. Then, sometime during the 1840s, her family moved again to York Township in Dane County, Wisconsin.
A question: How did Frances meet her future husband, Gilbert Brooks? Stephen and Hannah Brooks raised their family in the town of Redfield, New York, in the early 1800s. Sylvanus Adsit, Josiah's older brother, was another Redfield resident at that time - he and his two wives produced a total of 19 children! Both the Brooks and Adsit families were devout Congregationalists. It is very likely that Frances Adsit occasionally came down from Potsdam, New York to visit her many cousins and, on such an occasion, was introduced to young Gilbert Brooks. Remember, also, that Josiah and Mariah Adsit moved to Ohio by 1840 and into Wisconsin by 1850. Meanwhile, Stephen and Hannah Brooks had migrated into Wisconsin by the early 1840s. Gilbert and Frances had managed to stay in touch, ending up together in Winnebago County, Wisconsin in the early 1850s.
On the 11th of October 1853, in a ceremony performed in the home of a neighbor in the village of Menasha in Neenah Township of Winnebago County, Frances Adsit married Gilbert Brooks, Justice of the Peace, Henry Alden, presiding. A copy of the marriage vows certificate was obtained. It reads: "Will you take each other as husband and wife to live together in the holy estate of matrimony, and love, comfort, honor, and keep each other in sickness and in health and forsaking all others keep yourselves unto each other so long as you shall both live...ans yes...By the authority vested in me I pronounce you Husband and Wife..." The document is signed by Justice Henry Alden.
Gilbert and Frances Adsit Brooks moved about the Lake Winnebago area - from Neenah in Winnebago County…to Lind Township in nearby Waupaca County…and finally to Nekimi Township just outside Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here they farmed, while their children were raised and educated.
Once again, the pioneer spirit struck Gilbert. In the summer of 1884 - after nearly 40 years in Wisconsin - the Brookses moved westward onto the endless Dakota Territory prairie. Gilbert filed a "tree-claim" and a "pre-emption" in order to purchase his farm property cheaply. The Brooks farm in Forman Township lay outside the small village of Cogswell [see photo below] in what eventually became Sargent County, North Dakota. The railroad station located on their property was called "Brookland." Brookland was home to a post office and an express office. Adjacent to theirs was the farm of their son, Andrew Chambers Brooks. Gilbert farmed, while Frances kept home. They were married for nearly 54 years. Frances Adsit Brooks died in Cogswell on September 30, 1907. She was buried in the Old Sargent Cemetery, just two miles south of Cogswell. [See photos of the cemetery on the next page…she is buried next to her husband, Gilbert Brooks, who died ten years after she did, in 1917.] Her obituary appeared in The Cogswell Enterprise on October 3, 1907.
Mrs. Gilbert Brooks passed quietly away at 11:25 Monday night at her home in Brookland at the age of 76. For two years she has been in poor health and for the past two weeks was confined to her bed. Since taking to her bed she has failed rapidly until the end, when she passed into the arms of her Maker as quietly and peacefully as her life has been beautiful. Mrs. Gilbert was an ideal and motherly woman, loved by all who knew her and rich in acts of kindness and christian charity.
Funeral services were held from the residence yesterday afternoon, Rev. Boselly conducting the services. Interment was made in Sargent cemetery.
Frances Amelia Adsit was born in Pottsdam, N.Y., Jan. 14, 1831, and during her childhood moved with her parents to Wisconsin. Oct. 11, 1853, she married Gilbert Brooks, and they lived for a time in Oshkosh, Wis., coming to North Dakota and settling on the farm now owned by Andy Brooks, in 1885. The station Brookland is on this farm and was named after the family. She leaves a husband and seven children to mourn her loss. The children are: William, who lives at home; Mrs. John McPhail, of Fargo; A.C. Brooks, Cogswell; S.N. Brooks, Richville, Minn.; Mrs. Mary Stanton, California; Mrs. E.E. Soule, Cogswell; Mrs. D.M. King, Marshall, Minn.
Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven 23 Dec 2002

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Gilbert BROOKS - (1824-1917)
Here's a photo taken in 1916 of Gilbert sitting in a rocking chair in front of his Forman Township farmhouse porch circa 1916.
Gilbert Brooks was the sixth of nine children born to Stephen and Hannah (Bennett )Brooks on February 22, 1824 in Redfield, New York. He grew up in Redfield, then moved with his family to Wisconsin Territory in 1939. On October 11, 1853 he married Frances Adsit in a ceremony in Menasha, Wisconsin just north of Oshkosh. They were parents of eight children: William, Evelyn, Martha (Mattie), Nellie, Andrew, Samuel (who married Deborah Prentice), Mary, and Jennie. Gilbert and family would later move from Oshkosh to help pioneer Dakota Territory in the mid-1800s.
It is interesting to try to piece together the events that brought Gilbert together with his future bride, Frances. Sylvanus Adsit was Frances Adsit's uncle. Sylvanus lived in Redfield at the same time Stephen and Hannah Brooks were raising their family. Perhaps Frances visited "Uncle Sylvanus" and her many cousins and met young Gilbert Brooks while doing so. Maybe their Congregationalist backgrounds brought them together. Although they took different routes to get there, the Brooks and Adsit families eventually arrived in Wisconsin. Gilbert and Frances were united once again - this time as husband and wife.
Again, much of the Brooks family history was traced by a descendant of Stephen Brooks, Wayne Hollister - he provided the following quoted material. By the early 1840s, Gilbert lived in Winnebago County, Wisconsin. He was employed by Harrison Reed, who is considered the founder of Neenah, Wisconsin. In 1843 Gilbert and Reed cut the first road between Oshkosh and Neenah. "'Gill Brooks, then a newcomer near Oshkosh, and a man employed by Reed, assisted in the work, while Mrs. Reed followed them through in a buggy," recalled the Reverend O.P. Clinton."
Gilbert Brooks was an early postal carrier in the county as described in a Winnebago County history written in 1877. Stories told by the county historian give added meaning to the mail carrier's motto, "Neither rain, nor sleet…" Hollister, quoting this source, wrote:
"The successor of [Simon] Quartermas in the carrying service was Gilbert Brooks, afterwards his brother-in-law. 'Old Sime' [Simon's aged horse - a household name in those parts of Wisconsin in his day] was hauled off the trade and sold to Townsend of Fond du Lac, his place filled by 'Old Gray,' who, after several years in the government services, was sold to Joseph Jackson. "Brooks had not been long on the route before he, too, in crossing the ice one stormy day, a mile below Appleton, walked into a large hole covered over with snow which has been made by a preceding equestrian; the horse's head got under the ice, and he broke through in a fresh place some distance off. Gil remained behind to maintain foothold on the strong ice and fish out the bag, while Old Gray scrambled up the bank and galloped off. Shouldering the heavy dripping load, the carrier trudged on along the trail, or along where the trail should be, but now covered by the driving storm, to the Grand Chute two-and-a-half miles backward upon his track in which direction his horse had disappeared. At that place he found Old Gray, who had established himself under an open shed near Parish Grignon's house. "Remounting, he turned back on the road to Neenah where he arrived in a famished condition. Henry James, then postmaster at that office, made his friend comfortable and dried out the mail. "Another adventure befell the adventurous Brooks the following spring. It was in the great swamp below Appleton, well known as Mud Creek Swamp; it is a dry road today, but in those primeval times the mud was up to a horse's knees, with no load upon him. Gil's custom was to allow his horse to walk ahead, while he waded behind. "This day they had nearly reached the opposite bank when a large buck sprang out of some swamp brush just ahead of the horse; Old Gray snorted loudly, shook like an aspen, then leaped forward, flying after the buck like the wind, mailbag and all. Sorely troubled indeed was our friend, as the pursuer and pursued disappeared in the thick forest, to the great danger of not only Old Gray, but of the sacred charge of the U.S. Mail. "Carefully [Gilbert ]followed the track through the woods for over two miles; here the bag was found, having rubbed against the trees in the wild passage and got dislodged; another two miles and the Indiana trail was struck. A few miles further on, towards home, the weary carrier found his wayward horse tied up in his own bridle, having evidently stopped to nibble at the grass. Relieving Old Gray from the entanglement, the U.S.M. continued in safety for the balance of the trip. "Once, Brooks was fording the bar off Doty's Island from the north to the south mainland where the waters of the lake divided by the island separated into two swift, though shallow, streams. The ice had been honey-combed in the lake for several days, but the bar had kept clear and was fordable. "That day, a severe sleety east storm had set in and the ice fields had begun to move in a manner still too well-known and to threaten the island channels. Brooks had arrived at the north shore and looked over the situation, thinking that he would have time to cross before the approaching ice floe should dispute the passage. He set out, as it was a measure of despair at best, for lack of other conveyance. Nearly half and a portion sped before the other with great speed. Closer and closer it began to edge in upon him; more and more did he hug the west side of the bar, 'till at last he was forced into the deep and open water and, striking out in a slanting direction, reached the north shore of the island below. "Passage further on the bar was impossible. The floe split upon the island point and came rushing down both channels with a fearful roar. Again plunging into the deep water, he swam across the south channel, ice scratching his horse's flanks as he clambered up the bank, and breathed free but fast."
Various census reports help us track Gilbert's movements throughout the latter half of the 1800s. As of 1850 the 28-year-old Gilbert worked as a laborer on the Harrison Reed farm in Neenah, just north of Oshkosh. Reed - the first white settler in Neenah - was one of the more prominent men in Winnebago County and the unmarried Gilbert lived as a boarder with Reed's family. Gilbert married Frances in 1853 and the couple began their family.
Gilbert and Frances, with their young children William, Evelyn, and Mattie, farmed in the town of Lind in 1860. The village is in Waupaca County, northwest of Winnebago County. It is interesting to note that two of their neighboring farms were owned by Richard Chambers and William Chambers. Gilbert and Frances would one day name a son, Andrew Chambers Brooks - clearly the families were close.
By 1870 the Brooks family had grown to ten, with eight children. Gilbert had made his final "Wisconsin move" to the town of Nekimi near Oshkosh in Winnebago County. He farmed this land beyond 1880, while Frances was "keeping house" as described by the census reports. But what else might Gilbert have done besides farming for nearly two decades on the farm?
The logging and lumbering community helped build the city of Oshkosh in the late 1800s. Gilbert had some type of relationship with the timber industry. In his book, John W. Mason states: "Gilbert Brooks for more than thirty years was a lumberman by occupation, a line of work which he followed until the time of his retirement." His granddaughter, Geraldine Brooks Kersting, also indicated Gilbert worked in the lumber trade. She wondered about "his association with the Weyerhausers...There is a story in my family about Grandpa acting as a sort of spy for the Gov't. when he hauled lumber. He could enter the camps around and watch the traffic between the south and Canada and for this service he was given 10 acres in Wisconsin and on this land he started a little store and it was called Brooks Corners. I remember when very young on a Wisconsin map I did see the town of Brooks Corners, but just can't remember the exact location. I think it might have been near Steavens Point as he seemed to be well acquainted there..." Brooks Corners, of course, is on the northwest outskirts of Oshkosh - and the Weyerhauser family was a powerful presence in Wisconsin at the time.
In the summer of 1884 Gilbert Brooks gathered his family and left Wisconsin - his home of half a century. They headed westward toward the untamed Dakota Territory, arriving in the township of Lisbon, some 25 miles north of where he would make his permanent home.
Property on the endless prairie was cheap - in fact free to pioneers hardy enough to tolerate its brutal winters and sweltering summers. The "Homestead Act of 1862" became law on January 1, 1863. It allowed a person to file a claim for a one-quarter section, or 160 acres, of free property. The stipulation was that the person offer proof that he (or she) had actually resided on the lot for five consecutive years, had built a house and sunk a well for water, had plowed ("broken") ten acres, and had built a fence around a specified portion of it. Additionally, the U.S. government enacted the "Timber-Culture Act of 1878," through which an individual could claim a quarter-section of land. The person making such a "tree claim" had to plant and then successfully grow ten acres of trees on his land.
Before either of the laws mentioned above became law, Congress enacted the "Pre-emption Act of 1841." Anybody who moved onto land before it was assessed by government surveyors could file a "pre-emption" claim. In this manner, a squatter could buy land at comparatively cheap prices - typically at $1.25 an acre. The person could purchase a lot of 160 acres by this method after he or she "proved up" the claim. This meant having the claimant and two neighbors submit sworn affidavits to testify that the claimant lived on the property and had improved it by building and by planting crops.
Gilbert Brooks walked into the Land Office at Fargo in Dakota Territory on January 29, 1887. He made his declaratory statement (D.S. 18017) under the provisions of the Pre-Emption Act, claiming the southwest quarter of section 30 in Forman Township of Sargent County. His written testimony states that his was "level prairie land and most valuable for farming purposes." He stated that no timber was growing on the property and that, to his knowledge, no trees had ever grown there. He swore that he had made an actual personal settlement on the property on June 15, 1886, when "I broke ten acres - value, about $3000." Gilbert wrote that he built his house on the section "In February 1887, by myself, and it is habitable at all seasons of the year."
According to his testimony, he actually moved onto the lot on the 4th day of March in 1887 with his wife, daughter, and one son. Gilbert gave the following description for his properties: "One story frame house, 12 x 14 ft, sides built of drop siding, shingle roof, board floors, one door, 3 windows, value, $10000. Frame barn, 14 x 22 board sides and roof, value $50oo. Henhouse 8 x 12, shingle roof, value $2000. Outhouse frame, $1000. A good well, curbed up, value $40.00. 40 acres of breaking, all backset, value $20000. Total value about $52000." As a farmer, Gilbert made an inventory of his farm implements, animals, livestock, and articles of furniture. "2 binders, 2 wagons and one buggy, seeder, 3 harrows [see insert ], 2 gang plows, mower and rake, 2 breaking plows that I had owned about 2 years…cook stove with furniture, beds and bedding, chairs and table…8 horses, 3 colts, 3 calves, 3 hogs, 5 cows, 60 chickens…and I have two yoke of oxen on Sect. 31…"
Gilbert was a wheat farmer. In his testimony he claimed harvesting about 150 bushels in 1885, 500 bushels in 1886, and 286 bushels in 1887. What accounts for the 1885 crop - which was harvested before he actually settled on his property? In his testimony he writes, "In 1885, 8 acres cropped to wheat. I worked this on shares…This land was in contest in the fall of 1885, which accounts for my crop prior to settlement." Gilbert seems to have been "working" the crops, while his family was in Lisbon, some 20 miles to the north. On November 17, 1887 Gilbert paid $19650 at the Fargo Land Office and became the owner of 157.20 acres (Doc. No. 11152).
On February 7, 1887 Gilbert went back to the Land Office at Fargo with the intention of gaining another 160-acre parcel. He filed a "tree-claim" (No. 11656) for the northeast quarter of section 30 - recall that he was building a house on the southwest quarter of the same section - in Forman Township. He paid a $14 registration fee. Eight years later, on July 18, 1895, he paid $4 - and the land was his (Doc. No. 1165). During that eight year period he testified to have broken ten acres the first year, cultivated those acres the second, and planted box elder and ash tree seeds in the third year. Severe drought conditions devastated crops - including trees - and Gilbert was forced to re-plant in 1892 and 1893. Gilbert's son, Andrew Chambers Brooks, followed his parents from Wisconsin, arriving on his land in April of 1888. He made a "pre-emption claim" and, on June 2, 1891, received title to 160 acres in the southeast quarter of section 30 - adjacent to his father's farm in Sargent Township (Doc. No. 11607). Three years later another son, Samuel Norton Brooks, filed a homestead claim. In 1891 he chose a section directly west of his father's property in Sargent, a neighboring township just west of Forman. The Brooks families farmed these properties - the post office there was called "Brookland" - well into the 1900s.
The Brooks families lived near what is today known as Cogswell, North Dakota. This small town held a centennial celebration in 1986 and a book, Recollections: Cogswell 1886-1986, was prepared to preserve the town's history. A statement from the Gilbert and Frances Brooks biography offers us this: "During the summer of 1884, Gilbert Brooks, Oshkosh, Wi. With his family arrived in Lisbon, ND, later moving by ox cart to a Tree Claim he had acquired from the Gov't. This was in Sargent township [biographer's note: this is in error - his tree claim was actually in Forman, which lies next to Sargent]. He later purchased a quarter in Forman township. A part of this land was sold to the Great Northern Railroad when the railroad was built." The families attended the Methodist Episcopal Church in Cogswell.
By 1900, according to census information, Gilbert and Frances were living with Andrew's family. Frances died in September of 1907. Gilbert continued to live with his son and is listed in their household in the 1910 census. At some point, however, Gilbert developed "senility." He was moved to the State Hospital for the Insane in Jamestown, N.D. He died in that institution at the age of 93 on November 12, 1917. His death certificate listed senile dementia as a contributory cause of his demise. He was buried alongside Frances in the Old Sargent Cemetery, about two miles south of Cogswell.
His obituary, posted in the Cogswell Enterprise, read:
"Gilbert Brooks, aged 93 years, 8 months and 12 days, died at the hospital in Jamestown, N.D., after a protracted illness from old age and complications. The remains were shipped to Cogswell for interment and services were held from the M.E. church at 2 o'clock this afternoon. The remains were laid to rest in Old Sargent cemetery. Deceased was one of the pioneers of the county and until recently made his home with his son, Andrew Brooks."
Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven 23 Dec 2002

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Samuel Norton BROOKS- (1868-1938)
Samuel Norton Brooks, the son of Gilbert and Frances (Adsit) Brooks, was born at Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 22, 1868.
This photo - circa 1872 - shows young Andy (L) and Sam (R) Brooks, about ten years before their family moved to Dakota Territory.
He was educated in the public schools of Oshkosh. Sometime between 1885 and 1890, he left Wisconsin for the prairies of Sargent County in Dakota Territory. The location of his property brought him close to the Adam and Sarah Prentice farm outside of Cogswell. In 1891 Samuel married Susan Deborah Prentice, a daughter of the Prentices. Sam and Debbie had three children: Maude, Vernon DeLysle (who one day would marry Mabel Peterson Gabrielson), and Gilbert.
This photo is of Samuel N. Brooks and his wife Debbie Prentice Brooks, and two of their children, Maude and Vernon D. Brooks (my grandpa). It was taken on their farm located on the SE 1/4 of Section 30 in Sargent Township.
This is a portrait photo of Samuel Norton Brooks, son of Dakota Territory pioneers.
John W. Mason wrote the History of Otter Tail County in 1916. Since Sam eventually made his home in Richville, Otter Tail County, Minnesota, the book is a fairly reliable biographical source of information concerning our ancestor:

"Samuel N. Brooks, well-known and successful salesman of Richville, this county, was born at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, August 22, 1868, the son of Gilbert and Frances (Adsit) Brooks, both of whom were natives of New York state, the former born on February 22, 1822, and the latter in the year 1829. About the year 1856, Gilbert Brooks and his family moved to Neenah, Wisconsin, and later to Oshkosh, and then to the state of North Dakota, after which they made their home with their son, Andrew C. Frances, the wife of Gilbert Brooks, died in the year 1907. Gilbert Brooks for more than thirty years was a lumberman by occupation, a line of work which he followed until the time of his retirement. Gilbert and Frances Brooks were the parents of eight children: William, Evelyn (deceased), Mattie, Nellie, Jennie, Andrew C., Samuel N., and Mary.
"Samuel N. Brooks was educated in the public schools of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, after which, in the year 1886, he went to the state of North Dakota and six years later he homesteaded one hundred and sixty acres of land and also took up a "tree claim" of one hundred and sixty acres [note: This tree claim seems to be in error - no record of such a transaction can be located]. Until the year 1904, Mr. Brooks lived on his land in North Dakota and then he came to Richville, where he engaged in the mercantile business, as a member of the firm of Prentice & Brooks, for about four years. Afterward, Samuel N. Brooks traded one hundred and sixty acres of his land in Rush Lake township for land in North Dakota, which land he rents, and now Mr. Brooks has a farm in North Dakota and a home in Richville, where he lives as the representative of the Rose Hill Nursery Company, of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"During the year 1890 Samuel N. Brooks was married to Deborah Prentice, who was born at Toronto, Canada, in 1871, the daughter of Adam F. and Sarah (Birch) Prentice, both of whom were natives of Canada. Adam F. Prentice died in the state of North Dakota, where he went from Canada, his death occurring in the year 1905. His widow, Sarah, died on February 10, 1915. Samuel N. and Deborah Brooks are the parents of the following children: Maud, who was educated at Northwestern College of Fergus Falls, and who is now the wife of Elmer Christensen, butter manufacturer of Stewartsville, Minnesota; Vernon, who was educated at Park Region Lutheran College, now assistant butter maker of Stewartsville, Minnesota; Gilbert, educated at Perham High School, and who is now assistant cashier of the Farmers State Bank, of Richville, Minnesota."
In June of 1891 Sam Brooks entered a homestead claim (No. 18918) for the southeast quarter of section 30 in Sargent township. This put him next door to his father's farm in Forman. When he "proved up" his claim on May 29, 1897, he testified that he had moved onto the land on or about October 10, 1891. He offered the following description of his property: "Frame house, barn, granary, cow stable, hog pen, hen house, 10 acres fenced, wire, 150 acres under cultivation - value, $1200." He wrote that he lived on the land with his wife and 2 children. He claimed to have cultivated 150 acres of land from 1891 to 1897 - spanning seven growing seasons. He described the land as level prairie land suitable for farming.
Another pioneer family in Sargent County was that of Adam F. and Sarah Prentice. The Prentices had grown children, including Debbie - who married Sam Brooks in 1891. Sam and his brother-in-law, Fred Prentice, purchased a piece of property near Cogswell on November 9, 1903. For this land they paid James Camp the sum of $100 (Deed Doc. No. 15622).
Farming did not seem to suit Sam Brooks. U.S. Census reports help track his movements during the early part of the century. As of 1900 he and his family were still on the farm in Sargent County and his occupation was farmer. The biographer John Mason wrote that Sam left North Dakota in 1904. The beautiful rolling hills of west-central Minnesota beckoned. In the 1910 U.S. Census, the Brooks family lived in Fergus Falls of Otter Tail County, Minnesota and Sam reported "odd jobs" as an occupation.
Why would the Brooks family be in Fergus Falls at that time? The town of Richville lies in Rush Lake Township 40-plus miles east of Fergus Falls in Otter Tail County. It was incorporated in 1905. Among its earliest land holders were Fred Prentice and William G. Brooks, Sam's oldest brother. One historical account of Richville tells us that on June 2, 1908 Debbie Brooks was one of several people elected as trustees of the Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church in Richville. Yet for some reason - perhaps a lack of work in Richville in 1910 - the family lived in Fergus Falls during the time the census was taken.
The 1920 U.S. Census lists Sam, Debbie, and 25-year-old son, Vern, in Richville. Maude was married and gone and Gilbert had moved away, as well. Fred Prentice had left the farm life and ran a general store in Richville. He invited his brother-in-law, Sam, to join him - and the Prentice & Brooks store was born. According to his granddaughter, Carol Brooks Mongoven, Sam operated grocery stores in other towns in Otter Tail County, including Fergus Falls and Battle Lake. In fact, Sam's death certificate lists "general store proprietor" as his occupation.
Another source of information on the Brooks family is the History Museum of East Otter Tail County. Pieces of Brooks history were found on its website in The Bulletin - later called The Enterprise-Bulletin - a newspaper of nearby Perham, Minnesota. It reported:
"July 18, 1907: Mrs. A. F. Prentice of Cogswell, N.D. visits her son Fred and daughter Mrs. S. N. Brooks at this place. She returned with Mr. Brooks who was out to Cogswell looking after business."
Mrs. A.F. Prentice was Sarah Birch Prentice. Recall that the Prentice and Brooks family farms were within a few miles of one another near Cogswell, North Dakota. The "business" mentioned here could have involved the farm or the declining health condition of his mother, Frances.
"October 3, 1907: Mr. and Mrs. S. N. Brooks went to Cogswell, N.D. on account of the illness of Mr. Brooks' mother."
It would be Sam's last visitation to see her - Frances Adsit Brooks died in Cogswell on September 30, 1907.
"January 18, 1917: Mrs. Elmer Christianson and babe and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Brooks, left for Stewartville Monday. Mr. and Mrs. Brooks intend to spend the winter at the home of their daughter of that place."
Maude Brooks had married Elmer Christiansen and had moved into southern Minnesota to the town of Stewartsville.
"March 28, 1918: Mr. & Mrs. S.N. Brooks returned from a three month visit with their daughter, Mrs. Elmer Christiansen, and family at Stewartville."
America was at war - Vern was in the Army and Gilbert was about to enter the service. How comforting a visit to their daughter must have been for the parents.
"September 23, 1920: Mrs. Elmer Christensen and her two children of Stewartville visit her parents, the S.N. Brooks."
Sam Brooks had a very large house in Richville - one which could easily accommodate prolonged visits from the relatives.
"October 7, 1920: Mrs. Elmer Christiansen and children returned home at Stewartville after visiting her parents, the S.N. Brooks."
At this time of year in Minnesota, the air is clean and crisp. Days can be "Indian Summer" warm - or turn awfully chilly, hastening a visitor's return trip.
"September 18, 1930: Gilbert Brooks and wife, of Stewartville, visited at the S. N. Brooks home."
Gilbert had married Ruth Bowman - he would eventually move with his family to Oregon, where he lived out the rest of his life. There are several more articles like these to remind us that family visits were important in those days - even newsworthy in a small Midwest community. Sam's granddaughter, Carol Brooks Mongoven remembers her Grandpa Brooks as a handsome man with a "big belly," who always wore a suit and hat. His brilliant gold watch chain is etched into her memory. "He was so good to me," she stated, "and I remember his wonderfully big car that he took us out to Marion Lake in."
In the midst of the Great Depression, Sam and Debbie moved from Richville to Kenyon, Minnesota to be with their daughter, Maude. Debbie died there in the winter of 1934. Sam eventually entered a nursing home. He died on January 24, 1938 at the Vocational Hospital in Minneapolis. The cause of death was listed as coronary thrombosis caused by hypertension and arteriosclerosis. His body was returned to Richville where he was buried next to Debbie in the Richville Cemetery outside of town on Highway 14. His grave is marked with a simple marble stone.

Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven 23 Dec 2002

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Vernon DeLysle BROOKS - (1894-1970)
This is a photo of Vernon DeLysle Brooks, born in Cogswell, N.D.
Vernon DeLysle Brooks, the second child of Samuel and Susan Deborah (Prentice) Brooks, was born on January 16, 1894 on a farm outside Cogswell, North Dakota. He spent some of his childhood, in Richville, Minnesota. In a ceremony in Fergus Falls, Minnesota on September 22, 1920, Vern married a young widow, Mabel Peterson Gabrielson - see The Peterson Family. Mabel already had an infant daughter, Leona Mae, by her first husband. After marrying Vern, Mabel gave birth to two more children, Dale and Carol (who would eventually marry Pat Mongoven). Much of the life of Vern Brooks comes to us through his daughter, Carol Brooks Mongoven. Her attention to detail makes her an excellent genealogical source. Attending the Park Region Lutheran College, Vern learned much about business and the art of two-finger typing (according to Carol, he was fast!). As a young man, Vern helped his brother-in-law, Elmer Christensen, and brother, Gilbert, as an assistant butter maker in Stewartville, Minnesota. In 1917 the United States declared war on Germany. Vern enlisted in the Army, where he was a corporal in the Ordnance Department, helping patrol the Mexican/American border and in pursuit of the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa.
At home after the Great War, Vern returned to Richville and, for a time at least, lived in the home of his parents. He was engaged briefly to a woman named Rose. She died, however, before their marriage. Around this time, Mabel's husband, Leonard Gabrielson, had died of influenza. In September of 1918, soldiers at an Army base near Boston began to die. Soon the flu virus had spread across America. Epidemiologists call it the "worst epidemic in American history" and well over 600,000 people succumbed to the illness dubbed the "Spanish flu." The Gabrielson family was not spared. American children were known to skip rope to the following:

I had a little bird,
Its name was Enza.
I opened the window,
And in-flu-enza
Vern and Mabel grew up near one another in and around the Richville area. After their first loves had died, they found themselves together. They married on September 22, 1920. The couple, with tiny Leona Mae, moved to Lidgerwood, North Dakota where they made their first home and Vern worked at the creamery. Soon they made their way to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota where Vern worked in a local store. By this time their son, Dale Lorimer, had been born. Feeling the need to move once again, the Brooks family made the trek to Plentywood, Montana where several of Vern's brothers-in-law resided. He sold GM cars - Chevys, Cadillacs, Buicks, and Pontiacs - at Battleson Motors. His daughter, Carol Elizabeth, was born in Plentywood.
Mabel missed Minnesota and Vern suffered badly from arthritis and gout, so the Brooks family moved back to Minnesota - first to Stewartville, where Vern found work in an auto garage, and then back to Richville, where he rejoined his parents, Sam and Debbie Brooks. For nearly a year he spent a great deal of time in bed due to a battle with gout. When he felt better, Vern worked for Otter Tail County qualifying welfare recipients, while he and his family lived with his father and mother in their spacious home - built originally as a hospital by a Richville doctor. In 1936 he moved his family to Pelican Rapids, Minnesota. There he garnered many diamond pins for top car sales at Lee Chevrolet. He made sure that his son always had a car to drive. Near the end of the Great Depression people still feared leaving their cash in the bank. Carol remembers her dad going to farms to sell cars - people would excuse themselves, go into their backyards, and dig up the money they had buried in coffee cans!
Mabel fell gravely ill in 1942 and was in and out of hospitals. Vern rarely left her side. She passed away in the summer of 1942. America was at war again and Vern was 48 years of age. Leona had married Arlon Puckett and moved to Hibbing, Dale was in the Army and stationed in California, and Carol was a 13-year-old schoolgirl. Vern never dated nor married after the death of his beloved Mabel. He kept her photo with him always.
Carol married Pat Mongoven in 1949 and the couple moved to Wahpeton, North Dakota. Vern moved to Breckenridge, Minnesota - a stone's toss across the Red River from Wahpeton - where he found work in a hotel. The Mongovens left North Dakota for California in the summer of 1956. Dale, too, had made California his home and lived with his wife and daughter in San Diego. Leona Puckett and her family moved from Yakima, Washington to Twin Falls, Idaho. Vern's family had scattered.
Having no close family ties to Minnesota, Vern set out for "sunny" Southern California. He arrived in 1958, living first in a hotel in San Diego. In 1960 he moved permanently to Vista where he could be near Carol and his grandchildren. By the mid-1960s the Pucketts had moved into San Diego and then to Vista. Vern was surrounded once again by his children. He lived out his retirement as a boarder, renting out rooms from two different families. Dinnertime was usually spent at the Mongoven home.
His grandson, Jan Mongoven, remembers his Grandpa well. "He was an Angels baseball fan from their beginning in '61. He'd sit for hours in our garage in his favorite chair wearing a green cardigan sweater, smoking his pipe or King Edward cigar, and watching the few cars that'd drive by. He'd flick the ashes into an old Folgers coffee can he kept next to the chair. He'd have his little brown transistor radio on - which still works in 2002 - and stood ready to curse those 'damned' Angels when they were losing (which was often!). I loved talking Angels baseball with him. He saw every one of my Little League games. One of Grandpa's favorite expressions was, "Aw, you talk like a man under a boat!" He'd use that expression whenever I said something that didn't make a lot of sense - which could have been often. I don't ever remember him cussing and swearing, except the occasional "damn." Once every week, without fail, he'd call me over to him and hold out his hand. Then he'd drop a quarter and a dime into my hand, smile, and say, 'Here, this is for you.' He was kind, and loving, and had a huge heart. I think I cried softly at night for the entire year after he was gone. I still miss him."
Sue Mongoven, his granddaughter, recalls his red bottle of Fitch Hair Tonic and blue bottle of Aqua Velva Aftershave. "His clothes always had a faint smell of cigar or pipe smoke on them, which I loved. And he was gentle. He named our stray kittens and played with them when they were tiny and together in a box. He'd give us M&Ms, too." It was Grandpa who made sure the family cats always had food to eat. He'd shake the box of Friskies Cat Food and they'd come running to him.
On May 30, 1970 - Memorial Day - Vern ate dinner as usual with his family, the Mongovens. He walked a short distance over the hill, returning to the room he rented. Within minutes he had suffered a fatal heart attack. His landlady ran to the Mongoven's home to alert them. The family hurried over the hill…too late. Vern was 76. His body was flown back to Minnesota where he was buried in the Richville Cemetery next to his beloved wife, Mabel.

Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven 23 Dec 2002

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JOHN G. CARLBLOM - [1824 -1899] Sargent County Pioneer
John G. Carlblom immigrated to America from Sweden in 1865, arriving with 13-year-old son John Frederick Carlblom at New York City before making their way to Wright County in Minnesota. John G. filed an 80-acre homestead claim near Cokato on Jan. 28, 1867, and the rest of his family, including wife Cajsa and six other children, joined him from Sweden in 1869. He applied for U.S. citizenship and received it on Sept. 12, 1871, and he received his homestead patent on Sept. 25, 1872.
As the Dakota Land Boom geared up later that decade, the Carlbloms were among the first to respond. In 1881, the 57-year-old John G. left the Minnesota farm in the hands of his eldest son Elias Robert and joined John Frederick and third son Irenus – both married with families of their own -- in heading west by ox carts for open lands in what would become Sargent and Ransom counties. Irenus filed for a 160-acre homestead in Fort Ransom Township in August of 1881, while John Frederick secured land in both counties and joined his father as two of Whitestone Hill Township's earliest settlers. Two other children, daughter Matilda and fourth son Otto, also became Whitestone Hill homesteaders. Youngest son A.N. Carlblom opened a store in Gwinner and also served terms as county auditor and state auditor, according to early township notes by Nils Petterson.
John G. Carlblom never saw the 20th century – he died in 1899 and was buried at Whitestone Hill Cemetery -- but he gave his family a promising start in America with his vision, courage and work ethic. Johan Gustav Karlblom was born Aug. 29, 1824 on a farm called Trådgården in Karleby parish in the Swedish heartland of Skaraborgs Lan, or Västra Götaland, near the present municipality of Falköping. He was the fourth of 10 children and eldest son of peasant farmer Johannes (Gabrielsson) Karlblom and his wife Anna-Lisa Svensdotter. At the time of Johan's immigration at age 40, Sweden was plagued with famine, disease and economic hardship in addition to a scarcity of affordable farmland. Karleby lies within one of Sweden's longest-inhabited districts, and family history suggests the surname Karlblom -- meaning someone from Karleby – perhaps was adopted after a family member received that name while serving in the Swedish military. Carlblom is simply an Americanized spelling. Relatives in Sweden trace the family roots at Trådgården back to Johan's great-great-grandfather Lars Larsson (1684-1775), and Lars' youngest son Jonas Larsson (1725-1784) used the surname Karlblom while serving as a church rector in Estonia.

Submitted by Keith Olson of Snohomish, Washington, June 2009
Note: I am a great-great grandson of Johan Gustav Carlblom, who was the first of my Scandinavian ancestors to set foot in America. Irenus Carlblom was my mother's maternal grandfather. -ko

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BERTEL B. HAMMER - (1880-1966)
Bertel was born May 23, 1880 and died May 29, 1966, at the age of 86 years and 6 days. He went by the name B. B. Hammer much of the time.

Bertel Bendiksen (Myklebust) Hammer was born at Jølster, Norway, the first child of Bendik and Martha (Myklebust) Hammer. Bertel immigrated to the United States, leaving Bergen Harbour on October 7, 1898 at age 18. Oline Andersen (Myklebust) also traveled on the ship that day. She was 38 years old and her home is listed as Moorhead, Minnesota. (Was she a sister to Bertel's mother?) They traveled on the Stjernelinjen Line. Bertel's occupation was listed as “Gaardbrson” on the ship's roster. (A 1962 biography of Bertel in the Sunnfjordlaget Anniversary Book says he traveled on the ship called “Mauritania,” Cunnard Line.) Bertel was the oldest son, so the home farm would have been his eventually. However, it would not have been his for a very long time, and it was not a very good farm. He had many younger brothers and sisters, who would not be grown up for many years. Arnold thinks these are the reasons he chose to come to America.

Bertel's uncle, Andreas Bendiksen Hammer, born in 1857, emigrated in 1876 and had a farm in Sargent County, North Dakota, near the town of Milnor. He is buried at a cemetery in Moorhead, Minnesota. (Atle Hamar told me in 2000 that he has Andreas' immigration trunk. It was given to Atle's grandfather, Andreas Hamar by his Uncle Andreas when he returned to Norway for a visit, because they shared the same name.) Andreas is also listed on a ship's roster leaving Bergen Harbour on June 26, 1891. His occupation is listed as “Amerik Borger”. Bertel probably heard about America from his uncle and became interested in emigrating.

Bertel stayed with Uncle Andreas when he first came to America. He was 18 years old, but attended the country school nearby to learn English. He got a job working on a farm for a family named Peterson. The farm was located a short distance north of Moorhead, Minnesota, near a small settlement named Kragnes. Bertel worked at farms around Moorhead, Minnesota and Fargo, North Dakota for 10 to 12 years. In 1904 he also filed a homestead in Smiley Township of Pennington County, 11 miles east and 4 miles south of Thief River Falls, Minnesota. (This was land that had belonged to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians. Through an agreement with the United States Government, some of the land was opened for white settlement in 1904.) He paid $4 per acre for 160 acres of land. He had to build a house on the land and was required to live there for 6 or 8 months during the first year to “prove up” the homestead. He never talked about being on the farm during the winters, so we think maybe he spent the winters in Moorhead or somewhere away from the farm.

On September 10, 1910, Bertel married Emma Olivia Bredeson Nyhus. That same year, Emma's father, Reverend August Bredeson, read that land was available for homestead in South Dakota. Bertel, Emma, little Olger, and Emma's brother, Alfred, went to Harding County, in the northwest corner of South Dakota. Emma and Alfred each had a homestead of 160 acres in opposite corners of a section of land. (Bertel already had a homestead, so he could not have any more land with his name on it.) They lived there for 2 years in a sod house with a dirt floor. In later years, they talked about places such as Camp Crook, Ladner, Table Mountain, and the Little Missouri River, all near where they had lived. While in South Dakota, Emma and Bertel's son, Bendik Otto, was born on September 2, 1911. In 1912, Bertel, Emma, and Alfred moved back to Thief River Falls. Alfred married, and shortly after the marriage the couple lost their house in a fire. Alfred needed a house, so Emma traded her house in Thief River Falls to Alfred and his wife, Naomi, with Emma receiving Alfred's homestead in South Dakota in trade. (Those two quarters of land remained in the family until March of 2000. Kenneth Nelson, the rancher who owned the other two quarters of that section had rented the land from the Hammer family for many years, but was selling out. It was a good opportunity to sell. Arnold, Grace, and Esther were there for the sale.)

Bertel and Emma lived on their farm in Smiley Township the rest of their lives. They had four more children, Marvin, Martha, Esther, and Arnold. They also had a set of triplets, born before Marvin, which did not survive. Bertel baptized the babies as each was born. They are buried in an unmarked grave at the Bethany Cemetery in the family plot.
June 28, 2009
R. E. Halverson
Here's a link to a photo of the Bertel Hammer farm, southeast of Thief River Falls, Minnesota, taken in 1951.

Submitted by granddaughter Ruth Halverson, 11 May 2010

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H. H. HARRINGTON - (1827-1899)
The home of H. H. Harrington was a sod house and the first white man's house in Herman township and think also in the county. This house at first had a sod roof but later was replaced by boards.

Submitted by great-grandson Dan Harrington, Boise, ID, 1 Jun 2003

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Ezra D. POST - (1831-1922)
Mary Post Kelsey, a descendant of Ezra D. Post, wrote an interesting narrative of the early settlement of Hamlin. A partial copy was obtained from June Fritzen, Curator of the Sargent County Museum located in Forman by Daniel Harrington of Boise, Idaho, in 1999.
Other names mentioned in the narrative include: H. HARRINGTON family, Frank STRONG, George GATES, James DAVIS, John HERMAN, Allison BLYTHE, Charles WOLFE, Dan THORTON, SHOREY brothers, Durain MAKINSTER.
Click here to view page one of the copy.
Click here to view page two of the copy.

Submitted 25 Jan 2003

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Adam F. PRENTICE - (1837-1906)
Sarah J. BIRCH PRENTICE - (1844-1915)
Photos courtesy of Jayne M. Jester Tuohig.
Adam F. Prentice was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on May 15, 1837. He crossed the St. Lawrence River and stepped onto American soil in May 1865, arriving at the river port of Ogdensburg, New York. Sarah Birch, born September 26, 1844, crossed the border a year later. Their parents' identities have not been determined - although census records tell us they were English Canadian.
Adam and Sarah married on October 16, 1866. They had seven children: Jennie, John, Susan Deborah - or Debbie - (who eventually married Samuel N. Brooks), Fred, Florence, William, and Edith.
Here's a photo of Debbie (L) and Jennie Prentice (R), daughters of Adam and Sarah Prentice, of Sargent Township, taken circa 1880s.
The details of the family's first homes are limited, but Mason's biography of Fred Prentice places them in Boston, where they allegedly remained for a couple years. Although it has never been verified, family legend has it that Debbie and John were orphaned after their parents were massacred by Indians. They were consequently adopted by Adam and Sarah Prentice, according to stories heard by Debbie's granddaughter, Carol Brooks Mongoven.
Adam filed "first papers" for citizenship in the courthouse of Clarion County Pennsylvania on September 4, 1877. Second papers were submitted on December 10, 1883 in the District Court of Cass County in Dakota Territory. Adam was granted American citizenship on May 24, 1890, while residing in Cogswell of Sargent County in Dakota Territory.
By the late 1870s the Prentice family made their home in Salem Township in the heart of oil country in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. Adam worked as an oil "pumper" according to 1880 census information. In the autumn of 1881 Adam and Sarah packed their family belongings and made the trek with their family to a new home in Dakota Territory. Prairie land was cheap as a result of homestead and tree claim acts and, for people who were hard-working, brave, and adventuresome, the attraction was almost irresistible. For nearly three years they lived in Fargo, while Adam prepared to begin a new life on the farm.
The "Timber-Culture Act of June 1878" was a federal attempt to entice pioneers westward and to encourage the growth of trees on the nation's prairies. Those who planted and successfully grew ten acres of trees could "tree claim" a quarter section of land at very low prices. On an icy December day in 1882 Adam Prentice walked into the Land Office at Fargo and made his tree claim of 160 acres in Sargent County. In 1883 Adam broke 5 acres of land in the northwest quarter of section 15 in Harlem Township and, with his son, John Wesley, began a nearly futile attempt to grow trees.
In his affidavit Adam wrote, "5 acres of said land was broken in 1883. In the year 1884 the 5 acres were cultivated and 7 acres more broken and the first 5 acres broken were planted with tree seeds the Fall of that year. In 1885 the 7 acres was cultivated and planted with tree seeds and the first 5 acres planted with tree seeds were cultivated. In 1886 the whole 12 acres so planted with tree seeds were cultivated. In 1887 the whole 12 acres had been planted with tree seeds were killed by excessive drought and had to be plowed up and replanted with tree seeds of box elder and ash variety. The tree seeds planted in 1887 were cultivated, but in 1890 and 1891 the trees were killed by drought and cattle." Adam had planted over 7000 seeds per acre - not one had survived. In April 1892 Adam decided to "prove up" his tree claim. Neighbor Simon Mills testified on Adam's behalf, stating, "I know that claimant tried to make the trees grow on said tract ever since the year 1883 and he has failed to make them grow. The tract is sandy and dry and it would be difficult to make trees grow on it." Ten years had passed from the time Adam made his tree claim application to the time of proving the claim - and nature certainly had not been kind to him. For his own part, Adam wrote, "I have tried hard to comply with the law, but drought and sand blown by the wind killed the trees. I believe trees can not be grown on said tract because it is too sandy to raise them." Land office officials agreed and on April 20, 1892 Adam paid $1.25 an acre - a total of $200 - and 160 acres of Dakota farmland were his (Certificate No. 12234).
The "Homestead Act of 1862" required a settler to reside upon and cultivate the land for a period of five years from the time of filing an affidavit - although sometimes the five-year requirement was "shortened." Any abandonment of the property for more than six months resulted in the squatter's forfeiture of the land. On December 10, 1883, Adam returned to the Fargo Land Office and applied for homestead status on another 160 acres in Sargent County in the northeast quarter of section 17 in Sargent Township. In his testimony on October 15, 1885 Adam declared, "I built my house in April 1884 and established residence at that time. My house is 14 X 16 feet frame, shingle roof, matched floor, one window, one door - a stable 16 X 16 - of lumber - one well of water stoned up. Sixty acres of breaking. Total value is $600...My family consist of a wife and seven children and we have resided there continuously...I cultivated 35 acres in wheat, corn, potatoes, and garden in the summer of 1885." On October 21, 1885 Adam paid $1.25 an acre - a total of $200 - and owned his farm (Certificate No. 10212).
Adam soon sold his homestead. Congress had enacted the "Pre-emption Act of 1841." Any squatter who moved onto land before it was assessed by federal surveyors could file a "pre-emption" claim. He or she would then live on, improve, and finally purchase the tract for a low price. On November 19, 1887 Adam made his claim on 160.16 acres in lots 3 and 4 of the south half of the northwest quarter in section 3 of Sargent Township. In sworn testimony he stated he had sold his homestead property, yet still held his tree claim land. He described the farmland as "level prairie land and most valuable for farming purposes." He continued, "March 23, 1887 I commenced building a house and dug a well. Built a stable. Value $200." The Prentice family began living on the property on April 1, 1887. He described his new farmhouse as a "one story frame house 14 X 16 ft. Sides ship lap. Matched flooring for floors. Roof double boarded and papered. 2 doors and one window. And the same is habitable at all seasons of the year. Value $100. 50 acres of breaking. Value $200. Total value $500."
When asked what kinds of farm implements he owned on this property, Adam replied, "1 self binder, 1 seeder, 1 gang plow, 2 sulky plows, 2 walking plows, 1 cultivator, farm wagon, 1 buggy." He also reported owning "5 horses, 1 colt, 3 oxen, 3 cows, 6 pigs, 4 hd. young cattle, 100 chickens." Adam also had "a good cook stove, with furniture. Beds and bedding, chairs and table, sewing machine, dishes, books and papers." At the time his affidavit was taken, Adam had only grown one season of crops, "flax, barley, and garden vegetables."
Asher Waller, a neighbor who testified for Adam, wrote, "I saw him move upon the land April 1st 1887, and can see his house plainly from my own. I have seen him there every day during the past six months, at work upon the land. He passes my house on his way to town after fuel and provisions and I know that he is and has been well supplied with the same. He has a good house, barn, well, stock and farm machinery. He has lived there since April 1st 1887, and has lived there continuously since that date." On November 25, 1887 Adam paid $1.25 an acre, a total of $200.20 (No. 11174).
The Prentice farm was only a few miles from the Brooks farm in Sargent Township, allowing Adam's daughter, Debbie, to meet Sam Brooks. They eventually married and moved to Richville, Minnesota.
Sarah's obituary helps shed light on the couple's final years. According to the newspaper, Adam built the first hotel in Old Sargent in 1885 and ran it for several years. He and Sarah bought and moved onto the Zimmerly farm. They moved to Cogswell in 1892, running another hotel. Later they moved onto a farm in Cogswell. In 1904 Adam and two sons, J.W. and W.D., purchased a hardware and furniture store in Cogswell from L.H. White. The building was destroyed by fire two years later.
Adam lived the remainder of this life on the farm near outside Cogswell. He was an active member of the Methodist Episcopalian Church. He died on December 20, 1906 from stomach cancer at 68 years of age. His obituary in the Cogswell Enterprise on December 27, 1906, entitled, "Pioneers Pass To The World Beyond," read:

"It has been our painful duty for the third time within a year to chronicle the passing away of a member of the Prentice family. The death of a little granddaughter, which occurred April 18, was the first break in the family chain. This was followed by the death of a daughter, Mrs. B.J. [Florence] Boner, Oct. 18; the third, Adam F. Prentice, father of the family, passed away last Friday.
"He had been ailing for some time and everything possible was done by loving hands to ease his suffering and prolong his life. A consultation of doctors was held a week before his death, and the family was then told the end was close at hand.
"Adam F. Prentice was born in Ottawa, Can., May 15, 1837, coming to North Dakota in 1880. He located in Sargent county in 1883, where he has since resided. He was a member of the M.E. church and active in church work.
"There are many among us who can look back into the past and recall acts of kindness and charity prompted by the Christian spirit of the deceased and many a silent tear is shed by those who knew him well and realize that he has gone never to return.
"Deceased is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters, J.W. and W.D. Prentice of Cogswell; Fred Prentice of Richville, Minn.; Mrs. S.N. Brooks, Richville; Mrs. W.Z. Haight, of Fullerton; Mrs. J.F. Bowman, Fergus Falls, all of whom were present at the funeral. There are also fourteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren."
"A precious one from us has gone,
A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.
God in His wisdom has recalled
The boon His love has given,
And though the body moulders here
The soul is safe in Heaven."
After her husband's death, Sarah lived with her sons in Cogswell. As of the 1910 census William was a real estate agent and John worked as an agent for the railroad. Eventually William moved to Fargo and Sarah joined him there. She died at his home at 11:30 on the night of January 10th in 1915. The cause of death was "erysipelas" (an infectious disease of the skin and mucous membranes caused by streptococcal bacteria and characterized by local inflammation and fever). Sarah had been ill for about two weeks before her death. She was 70 years old. Her obituary, headlined "Aged Woman Passes Away," appeared in the January 11, 1915 edition of the Fargo Forum & Daily Republican:
"Mrs. Sarah J. Prentice, aged 70 years, died at 11:30 o'clock last night at the home of her son, W.D. Prentice of 603 Tenth street south. Death came as a result of old age. She was the mother of seven children, of whom six are now living and are grown up. She had made her home with her son for some time past.
"A short funeral service will be held from the residence this afternoon at 4 o'clock, Rev. J.M. Walters, officiating, after which the body will be shipped to Cogswell, N.D. via the Milwaukee tonight. Services will be at Cogswell tomorrow and the remains interred in the family lot. "Undertaker B.F. Wasem is preparing the body for shipment."
A second obituary was written in the Cogswell Enterprise on January 14th. Its headline said, "Grandma Prentice Is Called Home." It read:
"Mrs. A.F. Prentice died at the home of her son, W.D. Prentice, in Fargo, Sunday, Jan. 10, at the age of 70. She had been sick about two weeks with erysipelas. The remains were shipped to Cogswell and laid at rest beside her husband in Old Sargent cemetery.
"The funeral services were held in the Methodist church Tuesday afternoon conducted by the pastor, assisted by Rev. Rumsey, who preached the sermon, taking for his subject, "The Immortal Crown." He paid a glowing tribute to the beautiful life led by the departed one, and in closing said:
'Thank God for the pleasant memory of an old-fashioned mother. Others may be removed from the vision of our past, but her sweet face that smiled upon our infant days and shone upon life's rugged pathway will still remain with us to the last.
'Her eyes, into whose clear depths the love light shone, will ever be to us the brightest eyes of all.
'Her voice, so tender and sweet will ever float to us like the perfume of flowers.
'The music of other voices may be hushed in the silence of the past years, but the enchanting memory of mother's voice will echo in our souls forever.
'Those lips that have kissed the furrows of care from our forehead will ever be calling us to higher ideals of life.
'Those hands that have felt the clasp of baby fingers will beckon to us to the shores of eternal day.
'Sleep on, dear mother, and rest in the arms of your Saviour whom you loved and served so well, for yours is a crown of glory.'
"Sarah Birch was born in Ontario, Can., Sept. 26, 1844 and was married to Adam F. Prentice, Oct. 16, 1866. They moved to North Dakota in the fall of 1881 and lived in Fargo for three years, coming from there to Sargent county, where they took up three quarter sections of land, a homestead, a pre-emption, and a tree claim. In 1885 her husband built the first hotel in Old Sargent and ran it for three years. They bought and moved onto the Zimmerly farm now occupied by James Randol and 1892 they came to Cogwell and ran a hotel for several years. Later they moved onto a farm. In 1904 Mr. Prentice and two of his sons, J.W. and W.D. bought the hardware and furniture business in Cogswell from L.H. White which was destroyed by fire two years later. Her husband died in December, 1906.
"Seven children were born, six of whom are still living: Mrs. J. F. Bowman, Fergus Falls, Minn., Mrs. S.N. [Debbie] Brooks, Richville, Minn., Mrs. W.Z. Haight, Fargo, J.W. Prentice, Cogswell, W.D. Prentice, Fargo, Fred Prentice, Richville. After the death of her husband grandma made her home with her sons, J.W. and W.D."
Gail Hayes and Jan Mongoven, descendants of Adam and Sarah Prentice, conducted a search in Cogswell for the Prentice family plot in October of 2000. No stones could be located. The exact burial location of their Dakota pioneer ancestors remains a mystery.

Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven 23 Dec 2002

2003 Addendum - "This summer, my sister, Ann Jester Buechler joined the 'Prentice Research Team' and we sent her 'on the road' with an assignment! She was persistent in her mission and quite successful. Below are a few sentences to include in Jan's piece on our g g grandfather, Adam Prentice:

'We now know for sure where Adam and Sarah Birch Prentice were laid to rest. Ann Jester Buechler (great granddaughter of Edith Ellen Prentice) visited Cogswell, North Dakota on July 7, 2003, and met Jim Caulkin at the "Town Hall/Post Office." Ann viewed and photographed the original record book and plot map, and located the actual plot at the Old Cogswell Cemetery. The Prentice Family Plot is located Block 3, Plot 269. There are entries of four grave sites: A.F. Prentice; Mrs. A.F. Prentice, Height [Zola Haight, little granddaughter of Adam and Sarah Prentice, daughter of Edith Prentice and Willard Haight], and Wesley Prentice. Unfortunately, there are no gravestones remaining to mark these graves.' "
Submitted by Tuohig, Jayne M., great-great granddaughter of Adam Prentice and Sarah Birch (15 Dec 2003) csk

Click here for a portrait photo of Adam F. and Sarah Birch PRENTICE taken circa 1890's.
Click here for a photo of Adam F. and Sarah Birch PRENTICE outside their home in Cogswell circa 1900. The children have not been identified.
Click here for a photo of Sarah (Birch) PRENTICE sewing, early 1900's.
Click here for a photo of Edith PRENTICE, youngest child of Adam and Sarah, before she married. Edith PRENTICE (1883-1964) married and divorced Willard Z. Haight. She then married Charles Allen, spending the remainder of her long life with him in the state of Washington.
Photos courtesy of Jayne M. Jester Tuohig, great-great granddaughter of Adam and Sarah Prentice. Jayne is descended from Edith Ellen Prentice, the last child of Adam and Sarah. Edith's daughter, Florence Jester (now deceased), was Jayne's grandmother.

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Susan Deborah PRENTICE BROOKS - (1871-1934)
This is a photo of a young Susan Deborah - Debbie - Prentice, daughter of Adam and Sarah Prentice. The family homesteaded the NE 1/4 of Section 17 of Sargent Township.
Susan Deborah Prentice was born on January 26, 1871. Susan Deborah - "Debbie" - was the daughter of Adam and Sarah (Birch) Prentice of Canada. According to family lore passed down to her granddaughter, Carol Brooks Mongoven, Debbie and her older brother, John, were made orphans when their parents were killed in an Indian attack. Supposedly, the two young children were adopted by Adam and Sarah Prentice. The story has never been proven, however, and some of her descendants are not so certain it is true.
In 1891 Debbie married Samuel N. Brooks. The Brooks' farm was within a few miles of the Prentice farm in Cogswell, North Dakota. The couple raised three children: Luella Maude, Vernon DeLysle (who later married Mabel Augusta Peterson), and Gilbert Lloyd.
This is a portrait photo of Deborah Prentice Brooks.
The Indian massacre "story" is an interesting one to attempt to solve. The first record of Debbie is found among the pages of the 1880 U.S. Census for Salem Township, Clarion County, Pennsylvania. She is shown living with her parents, Adam and Sarah Prentis (sic), and her siblings, Ann J., who was called "Jennie" throughout her life, age 12; John W., age 11; Susan D., age 9; Adam F., called "Fred" during his lifetime, age 7; Florence E., age 5; and William D., age 2. According to the census, parents Adam and Sarah were born in Canada, as were both of their parents. Ann J. (Jennie) and John W. were both born in what appears to be New Hampshire (the census taker misspelled many words!). However, Susan D. (Debbie) is listed as born in Canada! The rest of the children, Adam F., Florence, and William were all born in Pennsylvania, according to the report. Why would Debbie have been born in Canada when all of the older and younger Prentice children were all born in the United States?
The obituary for Jennie Prentice Bowman and the 1910, 1920, and 1930 U.S. Censuses help us verify Jennie's New Hampshire birth. Jennie's obituary lists her town of origin as Manchester, New Hampshire. The three census reports give her address as 520 Channing Avenue in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minnesota - and her place of birth as New Hampshire. Manchester is only 60 miles north of Boston. In a biography of Fred Prentice - a younger brother of Jennie and Debbie - John Mason said this about the family patriarch:

"Adam F. Prentice, after leaving his native country, went to Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained for some time and then moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he engaged in the oil business and then, in the year 1879, the elder Prentice homesteaded a farm in the state of North Dakota, where he spent his last days, dying in the year 1905. His widow, Sarah, survived her husband until the year 1915, dying on February 10 of that year…"
Mason seems to have gotten some of the dates wrong, but it seems likely the rest is correct.
Adam Prentice, Debbie's father, signed his immigration "first papers" in a Clarion County courthouse in Pennsylvania in 1877. He swore in those citizenship declaration papers to have entered the United States from Canada on or about the month of May in 1865. There is no record of Adam and Sarah returning to Canada after their arrival in America.
The U.S. Census of 1900 for North Dakota says that Debbie Prentice - now Debbie Brooks - immigrated in 1871. At the time of the census, she claimed to have lived in the United States for 29 years. If the adoption story is true, then Debbie was an infant when brought from Canada to the United States. However, if the Indian massacre was simply "a good story," then the Prentices - for some reason - returned to Canada for a year or two to have their baby. Yet that begs another question: Why would Debbie tell the 1900 census taker that she had immigrated in 1871 if her parents had entered the United States in 1865?
Another factor to consider is the age difference between Debbie and her older brother, John. John's birthday was February 22, 1870. Debbie's was January 29, 1871 - only an 11-month difference. The spacing for all of Adam's and Sarah's other children was somewhat greater.
The 1920 U.S. Census was scoured for birth information on the Prentice children. Floyd Prentice, son of John W. Prentice, lived in Cogswell at the time. Floyd's father's place of birth is listed as Maine - this is corroborated by the 1910 U.S. Census - although the state was misspelled by the census taker. John's daughter, Ethel Prentice Severson, lived nearby in Sargent Township and gave her father's birthplace as Maine.
Finally, John W. Prentice himself - his first name misspelled and virtually illegible on the report - lived next door to the Seversons. He reported his place of birth as Maine. Maine lies next to New Hampshire - and both are within striking distance of Canada and Boston. Might John Mason's biography of the Prentices have correctly described Adam's movements?
As for the family legend, the Indian massacre and subsequent adoption remain unproven. However, in this researcher's opinion, the odds are in favor of the adoption theory. In the final analysis, however, the fact is that Adam and Sarah raised all of their children as their own - as Prentices!
By the autumn of 1881, Adam and Sarah and children had moved to Dakota Territory. Debbie grew up on the farm near Cogswell, where she met Sam Brooks, whose father's farm was but a few miles away. Both families were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Cogswell. They married in 1891.
By 1904, Debbie, husband Sam, and their three children left the farm in North Dakota for the lake-dotted beauty of Otter Tail County in Minnesota. Debbie's brother, Fred Prentice, and Sam Brooks went into business together in Richville, starting a general store called, Prentice & Brooks, which continued until 1910, according to the biography by John W. Mason. Debbie was a staunch member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Richville and on June 2, 1908 was elected one of its five trustees.
Debbie and Sam often spent time at Maude's home in Stewartville, Minnesota, south of Minneapolis. The following is taken from the Perham Enterprise Bulletin of January 18, 1917:
"Mrs. Elmer Christiansen and babe and her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Brooks, left for Stewartville Monday. Mr. and Mrs. Brooks intend to spend the winter at the home of their daughter of that place."
Another article from the same newspaper, dated March 28, 1918 read:
"Mr. and Mrs. S.N. Brooks returned from a three-month visit with their daughter, Mrs. Elmer Christiansen and family at Stewartville."
And twelve years later, on June 26, 1930, the following appeared:
"Gilbert Brooks and wife of Stewartville spent the weekend at the S.N. Brooks home."
Another, dated November 24, 1932, stated:
"Mrs. S.N. Brooks has been confined to her bed with influenza since her arrival at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Elmer Christianson at Kenyon."
Her granddaughter, Carol Brooks Mongoven, remembers Grandma Brooks as being an intelligent and well-heeled woman who seemed a bit aloof when compared to the Peterson side of the family. "I don't remember her as being very big...Grandpa Brooks was so large...and she wore little glasses and had her hair pulled up and in a 'pug.'" She recalls that her grandmother spent a lot of time in the kitchen. "She made me dresses with bloomers that had a pocket for my handkerchief, so that if I had to blow my nose, I'd have to lift up my dress to reach the pocket. The dresses were short so you could see the bloomers! She used very pretty fabrics." In the winter of 1934, Debbie and her husband, Sam, traveled to Kenyon, Minnesota to spend time with their daughter, Maude Christensen. Debbie was gravely ill at the time and died of cancer on December 4, 1934. The State of Minnesota Certificate of Death records the cause of death as cancer of the gall bladder with complications of terminal hypostatic pneumonia, auricular fibrillation and decongestion of the heart. Debbie Brooks is buried next to her husband, Sam Brooks, in the Richville Cemetery. Her obituary appeared in the Fergus Falls Daily Journal on December 5th:
                                                                        Mrs. S.N. Brooks Dies Of Cancer
Former Resident of This City and Richville Called to Rest *** Mrs. Brooks' Death Is Third In Family Within the Past Nine Months
Mrs. J.F. Bowman received a message Tuesday evening telling of the death of her sister, Mrs. Sam N. Brooks, which occurred at 9 p.m. from heart trouble and other complications. She has been ill for some time, and death was not unexpected.
Mrs. Brooks was born in Pennsylvania [sic] in 1871, and was nearly 64 years of age at the time of her death. Her maiden name was Deborah Prentice. The family located in Richville a great many years ago, and her husband was engaged in the general store there, as a member of the firm of Prentice & Brooks. They later spent a few years in Fergus Falls, where Mr. Brooks was in the Glass Block Grocery.
They have been spending the winter at Kenyon, Minn., where their daughter resides, and her death took place there.
She is survived by her husband, and a family of three children. They are: Mrs. Elmer Christianson, Kenyon; Vern D. Brooks, Richville and Gilbert T. [sic] Brooks, Stewartville, Minn. She also leaves two sisters, Mrs. J.F. Bowman, of this city, and Mrs. C.H. Allen, of Spokane, Wash.
The family has had more than its share of afflictions lately, two brothers, Wm. D. Prentice and Fred Prentice having died within the past eight months.
Mrs. Brooks was a woman of fine character and will be deeply mourned by her family and friends.
The time of the funeral is not yet announced, but the remains are to be brought back to Richville for burial."

Submitted by Jan Patrick Mongoven, great grandson, 23 Dec 2002

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