November 30, 2017

Governor John Brooks

John Brooks was a well-admired doctor, respected military officer, and politician from Massachusetts. He served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts from 1816 to 1823 and was one of the last Federalist officials elected in the United States.

There is no statue or monument in Boston for John Brooks. There is just a simple painting that is hanging at the Massachusetts State House a few feet from where he once held office. In Medford, there is a tablet honoring her famous resident.

John Brooks
Picture of John Brooks hanging in the Massachusetts State House.

Fourteen things I learned about John Brooks

There's a lot to tell about John Brooks, here are a few things that I found interesting.

  • There is no record on when John Brooks was born. He was baptized on May 4, 1752. In the 18th century, parents usually baptized their children within 5 days of being born.
  • At the age of 14 he studied medicine under Dr. Simon Tufts in his practice in Medford.
  • He was a very active in the local militia. His military experience was basically watching the British army conduct military operations and practiced various military exercises on Dr. Simon Tufts yard.
  • When he turned 21, he left Medford to his own practice in nearby Reading, Massachusetts.
  • While in Reading he married Miss Lucy Smith. They had three children; Lucy, Alexander Scammella and John.
  • On April 19, 1775, he was alerted about the British marching to Concord from Paul Revere and lead a company of minute-men to Concord and Lexington. He arrived in Concord as the British were retreating back to Boston. His team of minute-men chased the British back to Charlestown. His calm courage was seen by many revolutionary leaders and he received the commission of a major in the newly formed Continental army.
  • He also fought at Bunker Hill and at the Heights of Dorchester, which victory caused the British to evacuate Boston.
  • He was praised for his loyalty to the Continental Army and promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the Eighth Massachusetts Regiment.
  • Served under George Washington in the New York and New Jersey campaigns of 1776 - including the Battle of Saratoga.
  • Was praised by George Washington and by Gen. Lafayette
  • After the war he went back to his practice as a hero to his fellow Medford citizens.
  • On January 13, 1800, he gave the eulogy for George Washington to Medford saying, "Thus was our much-loved friend, the Father of His Country, great in war, great in peace, great in life, and great in the moment of his defoliation."
  • Served as the 11th Governor of Massachusetts 1816 to 1823.
  • His biggest accomplishment as Governor was selling off 30,000 square miles of Maine became a state. The Government of Massachusetts sold off the land to help pay off the War debt.
  • He was the president of the Washington Monument Association, the Bunker-hill Monument Association.

Rev. Mr. Foster says of John Brook services of April 19, 1775,:

"On the morning of the 19th of April, just at sunrise, alarm-guns were fired. The regulars had gone to Concord. I ran directly to Major Brooks and asked if he were going to Concord, and when. 'Immediately,' was the answer."

"As the enemy passed the road from Bedford, they met a body of minute-men, commanded by Major John Brooks. A little below Bedford Road there was a sharp action, and several of the British were killed."

General Lafayette says of John Brooks in a letter dated September 20, 1824,:

My dear Friend, Col. Huger, my noble deliverer from the Olmutz prison, whose enterprise and sufferings you well know, is going to Boston. I am sure you will be glad to see him (John Brooks), and I take this opportunity to let you hear from me Receive, my dear Friend, the affectionate and grateful wishes of your old brother soldier. Remember me to family and friends, and believe me forever most tenderly attached to you.

Comments

Reid Bernie

December 8, 2017.

Colonel in Revolutionary Army; Major-General Massachusetts Militia; House of Representatives; Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788; Senate; Council; Marshal and Inspector of Revenue, 1795; Adjutant-General, 1812-15; Governor, 1816-23.

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