Biography of Francis W. Brooks

Francis W. Brooks, who died at Brattleboro, Vt., February 5, 1885, was born in Boston May 14. 1821, during the residence of his parents in that city or its vicinity. In the following August the family removed to Chesterfield. In 1839, however, they took up their residence in Brattleboro, and it was probably at about this time, or a year or two before, that the boy “Frank” went to Putney where he was the active, efficient clerk of Mr. P. R. Chandler, now of Chicago. After a few years spent at Putney the young man went to New York city as a clerk in the large mercantile house of Pierce & Brooks. His health, however, never robust, soon showed signs of breaking down and he was sent by the firm on a voyage to Europe, where he spent some time. Soon after his return the firm showed their confidence in him by sending him, in the fall of 1844, to Alabama to settle a bankrupt estate in which they had a large interest. The climate proved exactly suited to him, and here he soon grew strong and well. Here it was that he first met Mr. N. F. Cabot, the two becoming at that time, and remaining through life, warm and intimate friends. In 1847 Mr. Brooks entered into business with Mr. Cabot in the firm of Cabot, Tullis & Co., in the city of Wetumpka. Three years later the firm was dissolved, although Mr. Brooks remained there until 1852, when he came north, and soon afterward, in the same year, went to San Francisco and became a member of the firm of George J. Brooks & Co., in the large paper business which Mr. George J. Brooks had established there two years before. This house was the largest in its line of trade on the Pacific coast, and from the time of its establishment until the business was given up in 1865, the firm steadily controlled the paper trade of the coast. In addition to their paper business the firm were agents for one of the largest firms of New York type founders, and carried large quantities of their goods in stock, and were thus brought into intimate relations with the printers and newspapers of all that region. Their business was always held strictly free from speculation, and it was here by legitimate business methods that both F. W, Brooks, and his brother George J., accumulated their handsome private fortunes Mr. Brooks made as frequent visits to the east as the transportation facilities of that day would permit, and it was on one of these visits, on June 20, 1855, that he was married to Miss Matilda C. Smith, of New York, who, with four daughters, survive him. The daughters are Catharine Ritter, born in New York city, June 8, 18J9, married in Brattleboro, September 25, 1883, Oscar Azor Marshall; Matilda, born in San Francisco, Cal., August 29, 1860; Alice Mendora, born in San Francisco, November 26, 1863; and Mabel, born in Brattleboro, May 12, 1869. All the children reside with their mother. Eight children in all were born to Mr. and Mrs. Brooks, two of whom were sons. The death of one of these took place during the trying steamer voyage from Panama, while Mr. and Mrs. Brooks were on their way back to the east, in 1865, after the San Francisco business had been given up. On his return to the Atlantic coast Mr. Brooks came to Brattleboro and resided, living for some time in the Chapin homestead on Asylum street, and afterward buying the Folsom estate on the common, where the last fifteen years of his life were spent in leisurely enjoyment of his domestic life, which was of the happiest kind. Of his father’s family of eight children, Mr. George J. Brooks, Mrs. F. Goodhue, and Mrs. N. F. Cabot are now the only survivors–three brothers and one sister having died within the past five or six years.

*Brattleboro, where this fine hotel is situated, on the banks of the Connecticut, is pronounced by experienced travelers to stand unrivaled in natural and enjoyable attractions. Long a favorite summer resort, the thousands of visitors from all parts of the country, who have thronged here during the summer and autumn months for health and pleasure, will bear witness to its beautiful and varied landscapes, its charming drives and walks, and its delightful health-giving climate and pure water. Surrounded by hills and mountains, its scenery is grand and picturesque; and new drives may be enjoyed for weeks, over roads winding along the banks of swift running brooks, through groves and over hilltops, within a radius- of a dozen miles, each with its distinctive features of interest and beauty.

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