Dr Robert Forsythe Brooks

  • Birth 8 May 1839 Oxford, Butler County, Ohio, USA
  • Death 6 Sep 1899 Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Unknown, Specifically: Buried in the Brooks Family burial grounds in Oxford, Butler county, Ohio; location unknown
  • Memorial ID 82183681

Veteran: Civil War (USN)

Birth: 6th of ten known children near Oxford township, Butler county, Ohio.

~ NOTE: Click on underlined words and images for additional information!

Robert was son of Kennedy Brooks born 1806 in Ireland and Elizabeth Hill Butler born 13 MAR 1806 in Pittsford, Rutland county, Vermont, was grandson of Anthony Butler and Deborah Hill great grandson of James Hill and Dorothy Learned great great grandson of Ebenezer Learned and Jerusha Baker.

Above information obtained from brother Andrew's* application to Son's of the American Revolution (SAR). (courtesy of Sandra Kluge)

*Andrew Mears Brooks of Springfield, Sangamon county, Illinois, birth: Oxford, Butler county, Ohio October 9, 1831; admitted to SAR March 1895.

He, in addition of being brother of prominent school teacher of Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri who preceeded him in death in 1899 had other known brothers and sisters; Arpasia Brooks, John Kennedy Brooks, Anna M. Brooks, Andrew M. Brooks, Peter Hill Brooks, and Lucretia Brooks Miller and his loving sister Sarah Elizabeth Brooks.


Office: 110 West 4th Street.
Residence: 413 South Lyon street, living with older sister, Sarah E. 'Lizzie' Brooks, proprietor of Miss Brooks Select School for Girls (View school file at Powers Museum), near lake mentioned in the 1935 Carthage Press news article of Mrs E O Brown's, View Jo Ellis' 2013 article in the Joplin Globe of said 1935 article in Carthage Press of her early 1874 days in Carthage with a lake existing between Main & Lyon and 4th & 5th streets.

NOTE: click on images/pictures for captions.

Census: 1850, age 11 Oxford township, Butler county, Ohio with parents & nine siblings.

Census: 1860, age 21 Oxford township, Butler county, Ohio with parents & five siblings, noted as a medical student.

Medical education; first under Dr Goodrich at Oxford, Butler county, Ohio, graduating from Miami University (Ohio) 1858, University of Michigan's medical school with graduate work at Columbia College and New York's Bellevue Hospital.

On June 1865 Civil War registration list as Class 1, later served Union navy.

Census: 1870, age 31 Marion township, Jasper county, Missouri with older sister.

Charter member of December 1878 Jasper County, Old Settler's Association

Census: 1880, age 41 Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri with older sister & two boarders.

Dr Brooks bought the Congregational church building at 215 west 7th street[Photo at right] December 1880 for his sister to operate her school, Miss Brooks' Select School for Girls till her 1899 death. The church bought it in 1902 and was used for classes during construction of the 1904 built new high school building.

He reportedly owned a cane made from woodwork of the famous Civil War vessel "Merrimac".

Miami University of Oxford, Butler county, Ohio 1892 publication lists him as an alumni as well as his brothers, John Kennedy in 1864 and Peter Hill in 1868.

He presented his medical paper at 1896 Missouri Medical Association gathering in Lebanon, Laclede county, Missouri.

Show Me The Ozarks, Vol VIII, Issue 26 of October 2008 has article of him and McCune-Brooks hospital.

Following, in most part, from Malcolm G McGregor's 1901 published book, pages 57 & 58.

He served four years as assistant surgeon aboard battleship Florida, coming to Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri in 1869.

Was the local surgeon for the Frisco and many other railroads serving Jasper county. At some point in life, Dr Thomas E McCune associated with him before departing for Texas.

Dr Brooks never married, maintaining a pleasant home with older sister "Lizzie". Younger brother Peter Hill studied medicine under him, On April 19, 1899 sister "Lizzie" died and Robert following her in less than five months, 6 September 1899, with younger sister Lucretia's 15 January 1918 death in Joplin, Jasper county, Missouri ~ ~ Robert and 5 of his siblings (Anna, Sarah E. 'Lizzie', Peter H. and Lucretia Brooks Miller), bodies were removed to near Oxford, Butler county, Ohio for burial with family members in the Brooks family burying grounds. Brother Andrew M. Brooks was discovered buried in Oak Ridge cemetery, Springfield, Sangamon county, Illinois and brother John Kennedy Brooks, a Civil War army veteran, found buried in Avilla cemetery at Avilla, Jasper county, Missouri.
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Devoted to his profession and fellow Carthagenian's, he set up his estate, including mining property near Joplin, in a trust to be used in either erecting and/or equipping and maintaining a public hospital. His library of medical books willed to the city to be kept and used in such hospital and such was apparently used to construct a fourteen bed facility on the home site of Sarah R Wood, sold 17, March 1930 for $1,250, opening in 1907 at Centennial and Forest streets, most likely using the anonymous $10,000 donation received by the city in 1903 for hospital construction, to wit:

"An anonymous gift was made to the [1892 created branch of; Faithful Circle of King's Daughters] Association [in 1903] in the amount of $10,000, which was to specifically be used for the construction of a hospital. Later it was learned that Lizzie A McCune left those funds as a memorial to her son Dr T E McCune, who was an associate of Dr Brooks. Mrs McCune, acting as a major impetus for the Carthage Hospital Association contracted for a hospital facility to be constructed near the corner of Centennial and Forest."
Source: "McCune-Brooks Regional Hospital History" (12/19/11)

June 15, 1899

Dr. R. F. Brooks, who is suffering with stomach trouble, is reported to be very weak and unable to walk around without assistance. He has lost thirty-five pounds within the few weeks intervening since the death of his sister, and looks very pale and wan.

June 22, 1899

Donates His Library for the Proposed Hospital-Has Further Plans

Mayor C. O. Harrington today took into his possession in trust for the city, Dr. R. F. Brooks; fine medical library valued at $1,200, which the doctor, now that he has retired from the practice of his profession, proposes shall be placed where it will be available for the proposed hospital in this city for which the King's Daughters have been working for so many years.
Dr. Brooks' long practice, both as a physician and a surgeon has impressed upon him the great need for a first class, modern hospital for the southwest, and it has long been a dream of his life to establish such an institution in Carthage. He is now preparing his plans to build for himself, in this way, a lasting monument in Carthage and will make such provisions in his will and will provide something handsome for a hospital.
Dr. Brooks, while considerably out of health just now, is taking thorough care of himself and is receiving the best of medicaid, so that it is hoped he wills soon recover his strength and health and live many years in which to perfect his plans.

Carthage Weekly Press
Thursday, week of September 7, 1899


All His Property Goes for that Purpose at the Death of His Two Unmarried Sisters - Sketch of Dr. Brooks Career -
Funeral Today

Dr. Robert F. Brooks, one of the oldest and best known physicians and surgeons in the southwest, died today at 12:12 o'clock after a long illness of cancer of the stomach. Dr. Brooks had been in failing health for the last eight or nine months and the latter part of last last May he gave up his practice and has been able to be out very little since that time. Dr. Brooks realized fully the nature of his ailment and that death was certain. As early as last April he told his brother, John Brooks, that he was fatally ill and would die in September. When asked why he should say he would die in September Dr. Brooks replied that he had within the last few years treated eight different persons suffering from the ailment with which he was afflicted and that in each case the disease had run its course within a few days of the same length of time. Thus he figured that his death would occur in this month, and evidently knew full well whereof he spoke.
Dr. Brooks closed up every detail of his business affairs while he was still able to be up or to see people in his room, and there is nothing now to be done which has not been provided for by him. To various friends who called on him during his illness he talked of his death as certain to come soon and to all he indicated his perfect resignation and preparation.
During the past few weeks he has sunk very rapidly. Up to between six and seven o'clock this morning he retained consciousness, but from that time on he was in a sort of stupor, from which he never revived and passed away peacefully without a struggle just after noon. Dr. McBride of Webb City, has waited on him constantly and Dr. Thomas of this city has also attended him.
Dr. Brooks was born at Oxford, Ohio May 8, 1839 and was consequently a little more than 60 years of age. He studied medicine and surgery at Ann Arbor, Michigan and at Bellevue Hospital in New York after which he entered the American Navy as a surgeon, serving with t he North Atlantic squadron from 1863 to 1869. He came to Carthage in 1869 and began the practice of medicine, building the house on Lyon street in which he lived and in which he died. For years Dr. Brooks had been the surgeon of both the Missouri Pacific and Frisco Railroads and was known all over the southwest as the leading surgeon of this part of the state. He was also a leading practitioner. Except Dr. Carter he has been longer in the practice of medicine in Carthage than any other physician.
Dr. Brooks was unmarried. He leaves two brothers, John K. Brooks of near Avilla, Andrew M. Brooks of Springfield, IL., and three sisters, Miss Anna M. Brooks, with who he lived. Miss Arpasia B. Brooks, of near Zincite, and Mrs. Lucretia B. Miller of Oxford, Ohio. John K. and Miss Anna Brooks are here and the other brother and sisters are on the way here.
Dr. Brooks was noted for his generosity and kindness to all with whom he had any dealings, although he was a man who had a peculiarly brusque manner about him and at times that caused some to misjudge him. He was held in high esteem by all and the news of his death will be received with genuine regret by every person in Carthage and the southwest who knew him.
The funeral will be held some time Friday at the Westminster church and the remains will be taken to Oxford, Ohio for interment in the family burying ground.
Within a year a brother and sister of Dr. Brooks have died here and been taken back to Ohio for burial.


Dr. Brooks' Philanthropic Bequest to the City

Several months ago the PRESS announced that Dr. Brooks had decided to endow a hospital. At that time he turned over to Mayor Harrington in trust for the city his entire medical library to be used for a hospital in this city. In addition to this he has provided that all of his property be turned over to the city at the death of his two unmarried sisters; that the property be then turned into cash and the same devoted to the erection and maintenance of a hospital in Carthage. During the life of these two sisters they are to receive an annual annuity, but not ill their death is his property available for hospital purposes. Part of Dr. Brooks' property is mining land near Joplin, on which big mineral is being opened up and the land may become very valuable.
This bequest of Dr. Brooks shows his true philanthropy. In his practice as a surgeon he has constantly seen the great need of a suitable hospital in the southwest and it was this that led him to appropriate all his property toward building a hospital in Carthage. The King's Daughters have long been working for a hospital and the funds they have raised together with the funds to be raised later will come in good play for the hospital, which now becomes an assured fact. It will almost certainly be called the Dr. Brooks hospital.

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The name McCune-Brooks was an act by the city fathers in the late twenties when a fifty bed additional building was designed by Kansas City architects Hoener, Baun, and Frosse opened in the fall of 1929 with the major donation from John C Guinn's estate of $75,000 matched with community contributions, ~ constructed by the Busboom Bros (Frank & George) Construction company of Carthage, immediately west of first hospital building which opened twenty-two years earlier, 1907 and was converted to nurses quarters.

September 14, 1899

Veteran Physician of Carthage Passed Away Yesterday


Dr. Brooks Was One of the Most Prominent Missouri Physicians, a Profound Scholar, a Tirol as Student and a Man Whose Place Will Long Remain Vacant

From Thursday's Daily
At 12:05 o'clock, Wednesday, September 6, 1899 Dr. Robert F. Brooks passed from this life at his home in Carthage, death being caused by cancer of the stomach.
Few physicians were better known in Jasper county than Dr. Brooks who for 30 years was in active practice in Carthage and few were recognized as his peer in the state. Dr. Brooks was not a man of prepossessing style, his studious habits and severe cast of mind making him respected rather than admired, but when the heart of the man was reached it was seen that few persons had more human sympathy in their soul that the silent, self-possessed man who seemed to look upon suffering with indifference. his was a sensitive nature and understanding human anatomy and human emotions he often repelled sympathy through fear of being thought to wear his heart upon his sleeve for daws to pick at.
Dr. Brooks was devoted to his profession. From the time of his graduation until failing health caused him to retire from practice a few months ago his entire time was devoted to study and experiment when not actively employed in practice. He was a conscientious practitioner and in his daily work saw the necessity of a hospital at Carthage and the efforts of the Kings Daughters had his earnest support. In his will he has provided that after the death of his unmarried sisters his estate shall be used in the erection of a hospital in the city and some time before his death he donated his valuable medical library to the city.
Dr. Brooks was born at the family homestead at Oxford, OH., May 8, 1839, and was a graduate of the medical school of Ann Arbor, Michigan. After taking a post graduate course at Bellevue Hospital, New York, he was commissioned as surgeon of the Federal Navy and served in the North Atlantic squadron from 1863 to 1869 in which year he retired from the Federal service and came to Carthage where he has since resided.
Death has laid its hand heavily upon the Brooks family in the last year, Peter Brooks and Miss Lizzie Brooks preceding their brothers but a few months. The surviving members of the family are Andrew M. Brooks of Springfield, IL., John K. Brooks of Avilla, Mrs. Lucretia Brooks Miller of Oxford, OH., Miss Anna Brooks of this city and Miss Aspasia Brooks of Zincite.
The arrangements for the funeral of Dr. Brooks have not yet been completed but it is said the services will be held Friday afternoon at the Westminster church and on Saturday morning the remains will be shipped to Oxford, OH., where they will be interred Sunday.

The services will be in charge of the I.O.O.F. lodge of which order the doctor had long been a member.

Death: in Carthage, Jasper county, Missouri with burial at Oxford township, Butler county, Ohio.

Appointed executor of his will, without bond, (although later it is shown he was required to do so), was Colonel William King Caffee, handling an estate of ten to twelve thousand dollars with mining interests expected to produce more.

September 14, 1899

Col W. K. Caffee is Made Executor With Primary Powers

From Saturday's Daily

The will of the late Dr. Robert Brooks was filed for probate yesterday. It was witnessed by E. O. Brown and T. B. Tuttle. By its terms it provides that the body of the testator shall be shipped to Oxford, OH., and interred in the family cemetery. The will then provides as follows:
To Anna M. Brooks, sister of deceased, the home on lot 73 original Carthage in fee simple with all household goods and articles contained in the building.
To Lucretia B. Miller, sister, life lease on undivided interest of deceased in and to lot 4 section 16 of Miami University land in Oxford Township, Butler county, Ohio - 160 acres, the same to go to Anna M. in fee upon the death of Lucretia. In case of the death of Anna before that of Lucretia the property to revert to the estate.
To Lucretia B. Miller the deceased's undivided interest in the fee of 50 feet off north end of lot 111 Carthage.
To Arpasia Brooks, sister, life lease on sw qr and nw qr; and e hf sw qr 36-28-334, and bequeaths to said Arpasis all personal property on said farm except mineral scales.
To the city of Carthage in trust the medical library of deceased to be used in connection with the hospital hereafter to be provided for.
The estate is charged with the payment of an annuity of $500 each to Anna M. Brooks, Lucretia B. Miller and Arpasia Brooks.
Upon the death of the last surviving sister all property not otherwise disposed shall be sold and the money resulting from such sale together with all which may come into the hands of the executor from other lands and property in his hands shall be given to the city of Carthage for the purpose of erecting and maintaining a hospital and if at that time the city has no hospital building the funds may be used for the erection of such building. Any surplus left from the erection of the hospital is to be used for the creation and maintaining of beds in the hospital, or it may be invested and the income used.

The will provides that in the management of the estate the executor shall not be bound by any order of court nor shall he be required to give bond, but the last clause was not observed. Col. Caffee being required to give bond in the sum of $10,000 before Judge would issue letters.

Revised: 11/26/2014

Brooks family research information prepared and presented by Bill Boggess and Nancy J. Brewer, 2012

Family Members

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  • Maintained by: NJBrewer
  • Originally Created by: Bill
  • Added: 19 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 82183681
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Robert Forsythe Brooks (8 May 1839–6 Sep 1899), Find A Grave Memorial no. 82183681, ; Maintained by NJBrewer (contributor 47097113) Unknown, who reports a Buried in the Brooks Family burial grounds in Oxford, Butler county, Ohio; location unknown.