MFA Quarterly January 2007

Quarterly Newsletter
of the


Founded 2001


            Volume Six        Number Two

January/March 2007


EDITOR – Jarrelyn Lang                                  ASSISTANT EDITOR – Dianne Middlebrooks


MFA QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER is published four times a year (December, March, June, and September) by the Middlebrooks Family Association, 5721 Fullerton Phillips Road, Monticello, GA 31604.

Subscription is free to paid members of MFA.


President’s Message, March 2007


The Decision: public access (read only)

If you remember from our last newsletter, we were requesting feedback on whether to expand access to our updated information for the 2009 Middlebrooks Family Register.  The proposal was to consider providing internet access to the Family Register data and to also include cemetery information.  Based on feedback collected by Leonard, it looks like the Board of Directors, along with a sampling of paid members (42%) and data contributors (43%), have voted to provide public access (read only). This means our relatives and others who are researching Middlebrooks family history will have access to the information the Association has collected via the internet.  We are also hopeful in the long term that this will encourage others to join the Association.

If you have not registered at, please do so and provide David Middlebrooks with some feedback on the website.  David has been working with Leonard and Joyce Arnold to make the website more user friendly.  David has put a lot of effort into developing the website since our last meeting and is in need of members to log-on and provide input. So give it a whirl and tell him what you think.  Much of our Middlebrooks family history information may be included on this website once the kinks are worked out.


2007 MFA Meeting July 12-14

Do not forget to make reservations for our 2007 Middlebrooks Family Association Inc. Meeting/Reunion in Morrow, Georgia, July 12-14. Plan on attending this year’s meeting by making reservations at the Best Western Southlake Inn, 6437 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA 30281.  The phone number for reservations: 770-961-6300.  According to Leonard, if you book your reservations through the Best Western website,, you will be charged $49.95 per night, versus the $59.95 quoted by Best Western Motel in Morrow.  Go to the link, type in “Morrow, GA,” then enter your reservation dates.


MFA DNA Project

Bob Middlebrooks has agreed to be the MFA DNA Project Manager.  A big thank you from the Association to Bob for taking on this job. With the recent advances in DNA research, the use of DNA information has become a very a powerful genealogical tool.  I encourage you to read the article submitted by Bob (see p. ), with input from Dave Clark, to become more familiar with this exciting project.  If we have enough male Middlebrook/s relatives participating in the project, the opportunities to learn more about how the various Middlebrook/s lines tie together is unlimited. For example: If you are of the Sims line (b. 1762), would you like to know if you are related to John (b.1755 ) or Thomas (b. 1763) or the rest of the Caswell County, NC, brothers?  Or would you like to know if you are related to our Fairfield, Connecticut, Yankee cousins? Or even better yet, how are we related to the Middlebrooks of England? DNA analysis can become a vitally important tool in figuring out family relationships where genealogical records have been destroyed or do not exist.  So follow Bob’s lead and participate in the MFA DNA Project at


Getting Ready for our Visit

Lastly, it is not too early to start thinking about our visit to the Georgia State Archives, the National Archives Southeast Region and a visit to your ancestors’ Georgia county courthouse.  I strongly encourage you to start compiling your existing genealogical information.  Next you need to decide what important questions you need to answer – what are the missing pieces to the puzzle?  Then decide what types of records may contain the information you are looking for (i.e. court, probate, military, land, or vital records, etc.).


Once you have this background information assembled you will next need to determine what types of records are archived in the Georgia State Archives, the National Archives Southeast Region, and the county courthouse you intend to visit. Remember, the National Archives Southeast Region also covers Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee


I first spend time on the websites trying to find out the holdings of the archives or courthouse.  In many cases the record holdings posted on the website are a summary.  You may need to e-mail or call the archives or courthouse to request a more complete list of their holdings. As far as setting priorities for searching records, I usually research first the records that are not available for rent on microfilm or another on-line website such as, unless you want a copy of the original record.  For county courthouse records that have been microfilmed by the LDS Church, go to   These microfilms can be rented through the local LDS Family History Centers.


Lastly, I put together a research plan for the upcoming trip. It includes the following:

  1. Background information – can include timelines, family trees and group sheets, and other key pieces of information you feel you need to have handy.
  2. A list of research questions you are trying to answer with supporting information.
  3. Records reviewed to date.  If you have previously done research, list records you have reviewed to prevent duplication of effort and wasting time.
  4. List the records you want to review at the archives or courthouse in priority order.  These should be tied to the questions you are trying to answer. Make sure, based on your research, that the facility does in fact have the records you are looking for.  It saves a lot of time to know in advance.
  5. Organize your information.  Make sure you use a research log or some other form or method to keep track of records you have searched.  When you get home, you want to know what you have accomplished. When you locate a family record, make sure to copy the entire record and the source. A record without documentation of where it came from is always subject to question.


Happy ancestor hunting – President Neal Middlebrook


Submitted by Bob Middlebrooks, MFA DNA Project Manager


These letters, MFA DNA, (Middlebrook/s Family Association DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) stand for an exciting new project that will assist us in attaining our goal, which is to locate, preserve, and share the history of our ancestors. 
For many of us, our connection to the Middlebrooks of Fairfield, Connecticut, or to other southern USA Middlebrooks, is not certain – or, at least, confusing.  DNA testing may help us to determine our relationship to specific long-dead persons within the Middlebrook/s family tree.

First of all, a primer on the subject of DNA: DNA is the carrier of our genetic information and is passed down from generation to generation. All of the cells in our bodies, except red blood cells, contain a copy of our DNA.  A person receives DNA from both parents.  The chromosome from the mother is always an X, and the one from the father, which determines gender, is either an X or a Y.  An X from the father would result in an XX combination, which is a female, and a Y from the father would result in an XY combination, which is a male. Since only the Y-type is passed from father to son, it is therefore useful in helping us trace our genealogy.

Middlebrook/s Surname Project: Family Tree DNA is the company we have chosen to start our project; it can be found on the internet at There you will find a wealth of information about the subject of DNA and how it relates to genealogy. In fact, they have a new word, “Genetealogy,” a combination of genetics and genealogy, that reflects the use of DNA to learn about one’s roots. We have registered the name Middlebrooks along with Middlebrook as a surname project to allow us to look at the collective results of our Y-DNA tests.

Tests: To find out more about the DNA test, and to order yours, visit the FTDNA website listed above and type Middlebrook/s in the upper right-hand search  box. You will be taken to a page describing our project and information about how to order a test.  As a group, we get a substantial discount on the tests. This page explains the requirements for testing and explains why the female testing (mtDNA) does not lend itself to this surname project. Females who would like to check their direct paternal line can have a male relative with this surname order a Y-DNA test. We can also order a Y-DNA test for someone who does not have access to the internet or wants to remain anonymous. The genetic test kit consists of a cheek scraper and a collection tube. The effect of using the scraper is about the same as brushing your cheek with a soft bristle toothbrush.  Blood samples are not taken.  When you participate, you will also be able to subscribe to a free newsletter published by FTDNA.


The locations tested on the Y chromosome are called markers; a marker is a distinctive landmark that allows comparisons with those of other members of the project.  Tests are available for 12, 25, 37 and 67 markers. If you decide to order a Y-DNA test, you can order the 12-marker test at the most economical cost, which can be upgraded to a higher level later if results stimulate your interest.

Privacy:  The test order form indicates that you understand that you are allowing me, as the Middlebrooks Group Administrator, to see your test results for the purposes of comparing them with the other members of this Surname Project. The FTDNA website has a tab at the top of their home page that is labeled “Privacy” and explains in some detail how the privacy of the participants is protected. The computer-generated number and your surname are the only pieces of information about you that the testing facility will see. Once your test has been completed, the results of the test will be entered into a secure database. A comparison between your specific genetic results and those of others in the database will then be performed. If a genetic match is found between you and another person in the database, and you have each signed the release form, you will be informed via email. A release form is provided with a purchased test.  MFA will establish its own privacy rules to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.

It may be possible to share matching information, without identifying personal information, on a unique website provided by FTDNA at a later date.

What DNA testing does not do: These tests do not show positive for a disease or provide any medical information.  They only look at specific locations on the Y chromosome where a marker is located, for the purpose of helping with genealogy. In addition, the test results will not come back with a neat printout that automatically fills in your family tree for you. However, we can assist you with understanding the correlation of your results to the Middlebrook/s family.


Bottom Line:  We expect to be able to refine the Middlebrook/s family tree through matches provided by our MFA DNA project. We also expect to be able to associate our ancestors geographically with early migrations of population groups called haplogroups. The haplogroup identifies a person's major population group and provides information about the ancient origin of the male line. We hope that this exciting project will offer an opportunity to take us to another level in our quest to learn more about the history of our family name. 
We encourage you to visit the FTDNA website and consider ordering a Y-DNA test so that your results can add to the database we are developing. We are optimistic that we will be able to make a very informative presentation at our MFA meeting in July – just another reason to make plans to attend.

(Editor’s note: See more info regarding the July MFA meeting on pp. 3-4.)




Saint Patrick


By Jarrelyn Lang

(information from

            St. Patrick, the man who would be known for introducing Christianity to Ireland, was born in the late fourth century (traditionally c. A.D. 390) in Roman Britain.  At the age of 16, Patrick was kidnapped, sent to Ireland, and sold into slavery to serve as a shepherd.  His period of servitude lasted approximately six years.  It was during that time that Patrick developed his deep faith in God.

            It is possible that Patrick devised his analogy that the three-leaved shamrock was a symbol for the Trinity during his years as a shepherd.  He certainly would have spent plenty of time in the meadows.  This is one explanation of why St. Patrick is associated with the shamrock, which is the national flower of Ireland.

            Following his escape from captivity, Patrick returned to Britain, then traveled to Gaul (now France), where he studied under the bishop of Auxerre for twelve years before returning again to his homeland.

            Sometime later, Patrick was sent by the church to convert his former captors in Ireland.  Although other missionaries had been sent to Ireland previously, he was the one who succeeded.  He stayed in Ireland for another thirty years, converting, baptizing, and setting up monasteries.

            Perhaps the best-known legend about St. Patrick is that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.  According to various sources, there were never any snakes for him to drive out, and the story was meant to be symbolic.  Snakes were thought to stand for the pagan beliefs of the heathens that St. Patrick converted, or even for evil itself.  So the parallel would be that he drove out pagan beliefs or evil, not snakes.

            The exact years of St. Patrick’s birth and death are not known, but he is believed to have died on March 17.  His burial place is a mystery.  Several places in Ireland claim that he is interred there, among them a chapel in Glastonbury and a shrine in County Down.

“Beware the Ides of March!”


By Jarrelyn Lang

Most everyone recognizes this warning to Julius Caesar, delivered by the Soothsayer in Shakespeare’s play.  And, of course, Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March (15) in 44 B.C.  In Roman times, every month had an Ides – and a Kalends and a Nones.  The Kalends (from which we derive our word calendar) was always the first day of any given month, but dates for the Ides and Nones were not the same in all months.  So, although the Ides of March was always on the 15th, it did not fall on that date in every month.  The Nones came eight days before the Ides.

            The original Roman calendar was based on three phases of the moon, and the days were counted backward from each lunar phase.  The Kalends marked the date of the new moon.  The moon’s first quarter was on the Nones, and the Ides fell on the day of the full moon.  In March, May, July, and October, the Nones  was on the 7th of the month, and the Ides occurred on the 15th.  For all other months, the Nones fell on the 5th of the month, and the date for the Ides was the 13th

Three Generations — 1798-1907

Sims, Silas, & Isaac



Samuel Cannon Middlebrooks, son

of Isaac Roscoe and Mary (Cannon) Middlebrooks


Submitted by Neal Middlebrook, Charles Middlebrooks, and Dianne Middlebrooks

(Originally titled Challenges of Survival, published in the MFA Newsletter, Vol. 3, November 2004)


The Middlebrooks families were in Georgia as early as 1808.  Sims was the “ringleader” of the line until his death, and then it was Isaac’s turn.  Isaac was Sims’s oldest son.  Other relatives are included in this article as they contribute to the timeline of Samuel.


Sims Middlebrooks (1762 – 1839)

Sims was the oldest of seven brothers to migrate to Georgia, but not the first to deal in real estate.  Robert, Sims’s brother, was next in line by one year.  Sims married Elizabeth Talbot (1775-1845).

          Being “in a foreign state and county,” Sims became the “ringleader” of the brothers.  He purchased 100 acres for $300 from John Ward.  The land was located on the North fork of Tiger Creek, it being part of a two hundred Acre Track originally granted to Parks King.  Tiger Creek is located in the southern part of Hancock County, Georgia, close to the Washington County line.  Both Sims and John Ward lived in Hancock County.


A Sims Middlebrooks was listed in the Jones County, GA, Census of 1820.  Listed are: “One male 20-30; one male 50-60; one male under 20; and one female 50-60.”  Is this our Sims, born in 1762?


1807 to 1812

According to an Abstract of Tax Defaulters from Georgia Newspapers of 1799-1800 (more specifically, The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State, dated December 6, 1800), Sims was living in Hancock County, Georgia, when he defaulted on his taxes for the year 1800.  At the same time, Sims was paying taxes on his land in Jones County, in Captain Carter’s District.  (Deed Book E, page 34 – out of circulation)

          While living in Hancock County, Georgia (1808), Sims purchased 101¼ acres of land located in the 10th District, southeast corner of Lot 66, originally Baldwin County and now in Jones County.  He bought the land from his brother Robert, who at the time was living in Baldwin County.  His lot joined that of Shadrick Goode, Land Lot 45.  The old, old records in Hancock County are out of circulation.  (Recorded September 17, 1811, Book C, p. 214, Jones County)

          In 1811, Sims filed his taxes on 101¼ acres of land on Hog Creek, located in Jones County, Georgia (1811).  At present, this land is located in Cedar Creek Wildlife Management, within the Oconee National Forest.  The forest is not far from the community of Bradley, GA.

Sims served as a private in the War of 1812, in the 2nd Regiment (Jenkins) Georgia, Volunteers and Drafted.  His regiment was commanded by Lt. Colonel James R. Jenkins.

Did you know that the War of 1812 was the first international conflict (between Great Britain and the United States)?  Other firsts during this conflict were: the National Anthem was written; the Battle of New Orleans was fought; an American captain sang out, “Don’t give up the ship!” as he was being taken into captivity; and Washington, D.C., was burned.  (Now we know who was responsible for burning those censuses – the British!)  The final battle took place in Georgia at St. Mary’s River.

          “There is some uncertainty as to who actually commanded the American contingent and the exact size of the British force.  There is no question that the British suffered a stinging repulse as the American marksmen fired on the invaders from the banks of the river (St. Mary’s River).  Casualty counts vary considerably, with reports ranging from 100 to 180 killed and an equal number wounded.”[1]


1822 – 1828

Sims was still living in Hancock County, Georgia, in 1825, when he purchased an additional 101¼ acres from his brother Robert.  The property was located in the 10th District, in the northeast half of Lot 66, adjoining George Ross Estate, Sims, Noah Mercer, and others.  (Deed Book M, p. 159)

          The first purchase was for the southeast one-half of Land Lot 66, and a half-acre northeast section was purchased next.  He then owned the entire Land Lot 66.  This land, also, is now a part of the Oconee National Forest, owned by the Department of Natural Resources.


          Isaac purchased 202.5 acres of land from Wiseman and George W. Ross (deceased), located in the 10th District, Lot 65.  (Deed Book O, p. 152.)   According to The Georgia Journal magazine (1827), Isaac received 208 acres on Beaverdam Creek.  He attended a Sheriff’s sale in Hancock County, which was settled in his favor.

Silas Talbot Middlebrooks (1800-1844) was the third child of Sims and Elizabeth Talbot Middlebrooks.  He married Bethany F. Dillard (1807-1884) and had seven children:  Elisha, Livonia, Elbert, Saphronia, Saluda, David, and Elizabeth.

          In 1828, Isaac sold Silas 101¼ acres of land located in the 10th District on the northwest side of Lot 65, John R. Moore line, with line Lot 45 corner, S. (Sterling) Cassell on south, to James Barnes & Joseph Messer (Mercer) corner, to Spanish Oak, to line of the marked trees, to the first station. (Book O, pp. 152-153)


1832 – 1839

Sims was awarded 40 acres in Section 3, District 2, Land Lot 434, in the 1832 Gold Lottery.  The land was located in North Georgia Indian Territory.  The land grant did not designate Sims as receiving the land in return for military service.

          Isaac sold 101¼ acres to Thomas A. Middlebrooks in 1833.  This land was located in the 10th District, southeast half of Land Lot 65, and bounded by Sims Middlebrooks, T.J. Comer, Joseph Messer (Mercer), and Silas Middlebrooks.  The deed was signed by both husband (Isaac) and wife (Mary).  Witnesses were:  Silas Middlebrooks, John Cannon, and W.T. Williams.  (Deed Book P, p. 164)

          Isaac purchased 101¼ acres from his father-in-law, Samuel Cannon (1833), located in the 9th District of Jones County, Georgia, formerly Baldwin County, Georgia, and is described as:  North northeast half of Lot 97, bounded by T.J. Comer, James Gray, and Samuel Cannon.  Witnesses were:  Silas Middlebrooks, John Cannon, and John Moore.  (Deed Book P, p. 134)

          Fourteen months later (1834), Isaac purchased 202½ acres more from John Cannon, located in the 9th District, Land Lot 128, with adjoining lands belonging to:  W.M. Comer, T.J. Comer, and Isaac R. Middlebrooks.  Witnesses were:  Samuel Cannon, William C. Simmons, and Michael Sullivan.  (Deed Book P, p. 217)

          Not satisfied with the land he held, in 1835 Isaac purchased 133.33 acres in Land Lot 46 from Thomas J. Comer, Adjoining lands of Smith and Cannon running to the cross fence; thence a direct line to the lands formerly belonging to said Thomas, now owned by John Middlebrooks and part of Lot 45, known as the old pasture field and adjoining the lands of said Isaac R. Middlebrooks.  John S. Middlebrooks was one of the witnesses to the deed.  (Deed recorded July 22, 1835)

          John S. Middlebrooks was the last child born (1804) to Sims and Elizabeth Middlebrooks.  John and his wife, Sophia, did not have any children.

          In 1837, John S. Middlebrooks bought 200 acres of land from his father, located in the 10th District, Land Lot 66, in Jones County, Georgia.  Neighbors were Hugh Comer and Joseph Messer (Mercer).  Witnesses were:  Silas Middlebrooks and Isaac Middlebrooks, who swore to his mark.  (Deed Book P, p. 472)



Isaac Roscoe Middlebrooks (1796-1866)

Isaac sold 45 acres of land to James H. Finney, 10th District, Land Lot 46.  The land was located in the southeast corner of the Land Lot (#?), Adjoining lands of Isaac R. Middlebrooks, James H. Finney, and Sterling Cassel.  (Deed Book P, p. 378)


          The Panic of 1837 began when President Van Buren took office.  Economic crisis gripped the nation.  The price of cotton fell, banks found they could not make payouts in hard currency, sale of public land dropped, food prices rose, and unemployment was high.  A third of Americans were out of work by 1837.

          Isaac R. bought 196¼ acres of land from James H. Finney in 1836.  The land is described as:  On the waters of Hog Creek in the 9th District, southwest tract of Lot 97 and Lot 46, 10th District, being the dividing line of 9th and 10th Districts, and extending on said district from one end of said lot of land of 46 in the 10th District to the end of said lot as aforesaid, and being the lands whereon the said James H. Finney now lives, said lands adjoin lands of the estate of James Billingslea (deceased) on the west and James Gray on the southeast and Sterling Cassel on the northwest.  (Deed Book P, p. 378)

          Sims was subpoenaed to court (1837) on behalf of the defendant, who was on trial for cheating and swindling in Jones County, Georgia.  (Deed Book P, p. 472)

          Isaac sold 1½ acres to John T. Comer in 1839.  Description of property:  Lot of land known as the Morgan tract, east or northeast side of the original bed or run of Hog Creek below Comer Mills.  The northeast corner [is] bounded on the northwest by the foot of the big hill, on the northwest side of said creek.  (Deed Book Q, p. 631)


1840 – 1847

Isaac Middlebrooks bought 101¼ acres (1840) from Bennett Bell, Ezekiel B. Smith, and Howell Peebles, Executors for the estate of Sterling Cassel.  The land lay in the 10th District, half of Lot 45, adjoining Smith and D.M. Ware, and Isaac.  (Deed Book Q, p. 26)

          When Sims was about 75 years of age, his wife, Elizabeth, died; he then moved to Talbert County, Georgia, where his daughter Nancy and her husband, Jesse Fallin, were living.  Sometime after the deaths of her parents, Nancy and her husband moved to Tallapoosa, Alabama, where they died and were buried.

          In 1843, Isaac R. sold Mary Moore 200 acres of land located in the 9th and 10th Districts.  The description of the property is interesting:  Adjoining lands of Horatio Bowen and Elizabeth Towhee on the west, the lands of James Gray on the south, and the lands of Isaac R. on the east, the line which divides the said bargained lands from the lands of the said Isaac; commences at a small branch, running from the said branch into the lands of said James Gray; then up said branch near the gin house of Isaac; thence along a line of walnut trees to the ditch; thence along said ditch to a small hickory tree; thence a direct line to the lands of David Ware.  (Deed Book Q, p. 285)

          Isaac R. became the Guardian of Saluda, David, and Elizabeth, the minor children of Silas and Bethany, after Silas’s death in 1844.

          In 1846, Isaac R. and John S. Middlebrooks were witnesses to the will of Thomas W. Stewart and wife Polly Stewart.  The Stewarts were buried on land belonging to Joseph Glawson (and the Middlebrookses?).

          Isaac R. sold David Ware 110 acres of land in 1847, located in the 10th District, Land Lot 45 in Jones County, Georgia.  The description states that the land began on the northwest side of Land Lot 40, to an old cross fence; then parallel line across lot; adjoining H. Bowen on the west, Isaac R. Middlebrooks on the south, and John S. Middlebrooks on the east, & lying broad side of the said D. Ware on the north side.  (Deed Book R, p. 137)


1851 – 1859

Bethany Middlebrooks, Silas’s widow, married a second time, to James G. Barnes.  After her marriage to Mr. Barnes, she petitioned the court for guardianship of her children.  Her claim was that Isaac R. Middlebrooks had obtained the guardianship through fraud.  She lost the case.  (Book C, p. 148)

          In 1851, Bethany sold 110 acres of land to William H.C. Nivin (husband of Silas and Bethany’s daughter Lavonia), located in the 10th District.  The Land Lot number was not entered.  The same deed contained the following rendering:  Elisha Middlebrooks (oldest son of Silas and Bethany) to William H.C Nivin $120 and 22½  acres Being his interest in and to the dower of Bethany Barnes, formerly Bethany Middlebrooks … 10th District adjoining John S. Middlebrooks, Joseph Messer (Mercer), and James Barnes.  Elisha A. Middlebrooks, Jones F. Lewis, A. Middlebrooks, and James G. Barnes, JP, were witnesses. 

          Elizabeth, Silas and Bethany’s daughter, was given $500 and a certain Negro girl named Amy, 10 years old, black complexion, by her father, who called her Elizabeth in the deed.  (no date)

          Sarah, Isaac R.’s daughter, was 19 years of age and living with her father under the name of Sarah Goddard in 1857.

          Isaac began his duties as Administrator for the will of Silas Middlebrooks in 1858.  As Guardian of Silas’s minor children, Isaac had to answer to the Court and put up cash bonds for each child. 

Isaac is on record for having bought various items for the children.  David received two pairs of shoes and a “Spelling Book.”  (David was about ten years old.)  Saluda M. was given money for material to make jeans, flowers for the bonnets, “Whale bone,” and shoes.  Saphronia Elizabeth left the nest when she married Joshua Jones Flournoy Lewis.  In all the vouchers received by the court, Isaac’s signature ended with the word Esquire.

          As Administrator of Silas’s estate and guardian of his children, Isaac filed an application to the Court of Ordinary in 1853.  Ebert, one of Silas’s sons, wanted his full distribution share of the Estate that Isaac was holding, and a Negro boy named Tom.

          Five men were appointed in 1854 as Commissioners to appraise Silas’s Estate and then report their … findings … back to the Court.  When the appraisal was completed, the commissioners reported to the Court that Elbert’s share was to be $939.75.  This share breaks down to “one Negro boy named Tom” at $750 and $189.75 in “cash, it being his full and legal distribution of the estate.”

          The term antebellum,[3] “before the war,” is often used by historians to refer to the decades before the Civil War in the United States.  The word itself creates an image of a time when slavery was not only legal, but an integral part of life in the South.  The antebellum decades were also a period during which a religious revival swept the country, and Americans explored the trans-Mississippi West.

          Isaac sold John S. Middlebrooks 60 acres in Land Lot 45, known as “sage field,” adjoining lands of John on the north and Isaac on the south (1858).  Witnesses were Elbert P. Middlebrooks and Sophia Middlebrooks.  (Deed Book S, p. 320)


Samuel “Sam” Cannon Middlebrooks was born on March 14, 1838, to Isaac R. and Mary (Cannon) Middlebrooks. His maternal[4] grandparents were Samuel and Sarah (Riser) Cannon, and the paternal grandparents were Sims and Elizabeth (Talbot) Middlebrooks.  Sam was reared in Jones County, Georgia, in the Bradley Community, located in the area of North Cross Road and Hungerford Road.[5]

          Isaac sold three Negroes.  Saluda married Joseph J. Mercer, Jr. and received one negro from [her father’s] estate.  The estate paid for 20 weeks of English grammar … for tuition.

          William H.C. Nivin, Executor for the estate of his father (Daniel), sold “(El)Bert” 110 acres of land in 1858.  No land lot or district number was mentioned.  The property adjoined that of John S. Middlebrooks, Joseph Mercer, and Bethany Barnes.  (Deed Book S, p. 310) 

Elisha A.J. Middlebrooks bought 160 acres of Daniel’s land from William in 1859, being the highest bidder for the property on the courthouse steps.  No district or land lot numbers were available.  The land is described as Adjoining lands of Thomas McKissick, Alexander Hunter, and others.  (Deed Book S, p. 352)


1860 – 1869

Isaac was appointed the Guardian of Silas’s children and was paying for their essentials, looking after them even after they grew into adulthood (1860).

          Samuel married his second wife,[6] Harriet (Hattie) Ardecy Lane, daughter of Lewis and Martha (Renfro) Lane of Jasper County, Georgia.[7]

          The War Between the States began in 1861.  Samuel enlisted on May 5, 1862, into Company A, 32nd Regiment, Georgia Infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia, from Jones County, Georgia.[8]

          Samuel was paroled at Chester, South Carolina.

          Elizabeth Jolly, Silas’s daughter, requested her part of her father’s estate in 1862.  She received $1,134.48.

          According to government records, Samuel was listed as a casualty in South Carolina, as wounded at Cummings Point, Morris Island.[9]   He suffered flesh wounds and a concussion from a shell that exploded 10-20 feet above him … .  He also had a Concussion of the brain … Fragments of a [bullet] shell.

          In later life, Samuel would become paralyzed, probably from his military days.  Samuel’s time spent in the War was two years and six months.  He was discharged in November of 1864.

1828 – 1866

Isaac bought and sold land!  In a span of 38 years, he accumulated 300­+ acres.  He even sold land to his children instead of giving it to them.

          When Isaac died in October 1866, Samuel took over the business that Isaac had built.  No grave has been found for Isaac per se.  There is one place on Hungerford Road in Jones County, Georgia, in the area where Isaac lived, that is close to a road, built up with rocks, and hidden in the weeds.  This could possibly be a gravesite.

          A coffin was made for Isaac by Frank Morris.  The material was black velvet and white cotton.  In 1866, when a person died, the community took care of the numerous details.  Mary (Cannon) Middlebrooks, Isaac’s wife, died two years later, in 1868.

          In November 1866, Samuel posted a bond to set up temporary administrator and recording fees.[10]   On Wednesday, December 12, 1866, the “Sale of perishables” from Isaac’s estate took place.  The money distribution was done the next day.

          It seems that everyone was looking for a share of Isaac’s wealth “in full of partial distribution share.”  Those who received a partial share were:  John T. Middlebrooks; A.T. Middlebrooks; J.M. (James Madison) Lane; J.E. (John Edward) Thomson; and N. (Nathan) Morris.

          The following year (1867), a bond was set for $6,000, for permanent Administrative duties.[11] 

          In May of 1867, J.W. Foreman came forward for his in full of partial distribution share.  Who was this J.W. Foreman that collected a share of Isaac’s estate?

          Sam began selling land to relatives: Elbert Middlebrooks; Bethany (Middlebrooks) Barnes and her husband, James G. Barnes; John Middlebrooks, husband of Sophia (Simmons) Middlebrooks; and Saluda (Middlebrooks) Mercer, wife of Joseph Mercer.

          John, Sims’s son, did not want his death to be a burden to his wife or anyone else.  In 1867, John had his inheritance all written out.  First:  John was to be buried in the family plot on his land.  If either one … Disagrees … who gets which lot … name in a hat and draws … one-half dwelling moved [to] Lot 45; other half stays on Lot 66.  David (Silas’s son) did not have children, so his share goes to Mrs. Lavonia Nivin and Mrs. Elizabeth Jolly  (Silas’s daughters).  Sophia, John’s wife, was to sell the land, “at public outcry,” to the highest bidder.

          Miss Sophie was “ … to control his estate” and “receive” $275 “after the sale of the perishables … .”  Sophia also inherited Land Lot 106, 8th District, located in Dooly (now Wilcox) County, Georgia.  Two nephews, David T. Middlebrooks and James Jones Middlebrooks, were to receive two lots, Land Lot 66 and Land Lot 45, after Sophia’s death.

          Samuel paid out $100 “To rent of Land” on 500 acres that made up his father’s homestead.[12]

          To real estate of dec’d at sale. To amount collected of Alick Stewart (colored) amt due not included in Inventory.  Who is Alick (Alex) Stewart?  Is this person male of female?  There was a Stewart family living in the area; could this person have been their servant?


http://www.measuringworth/calculators/compare   (open – to know what it is)


          Sam’s total Commission for being the Administrator of Isaac’s estate (1868) came to $1,109!

          The Tax Digest of 1868 is recorded in the Jones County Tax Records office, held in storage on the second floor.  Sam was listed in the Digest as being “Employed as [of] December 1865 with seven employees.”   It is not known if the seven employees were slaves, kinfolk, or white. 

1870 – 1875

Samuel paid rent (1867-1871) on 500 acres of land that belonged to his father, which, in time, he decided to purchase.  (Bond Book E, p. 37, Jones Co., GA)  The last bill Samuel paid as Administrator for the Estate of Isaac R. Middlebrooks was in 1870.

          To protect his family, Sam appealed to The county surveyor, to “mark-out” – survey and plat – a Homestead of Realty for Samuel Middlebrooks & his family of a wife & Six Children out of the lands Claimed by him in Jones County as provided in and by Section 9 of the Code of Georgia and return … to county no later than February 5, 1871.

          Section 2040 refers to claims by Samuel, out-of-land, with joint interest to estate tax or joint tenancy, with rights of survivorship.

          Sam bought the entire Land Lot 69 in the 9th District from James H. Bowen for $300, in 1872.  The land adjoined Rad Turner on the northeast and west, Samual Griswold on the south, and the public road.  (Deed Book T, p. 193)

          The year of 1873 was a lot like the panic in 1837, only 36 years later.  The Secretary of War was impeached by the House for taking bribes from dishonest Indian agents, the stock market collapsed, and thousands of businesses went bankrupt.  Crops plummeted and unemployment soared.[13]

          As a means for financing the Union Cause during the War Between the States, the U.S. Government issued paper money, called “greenbacks,” that were not backed by gold value.  In 1875, Congress passed the Redemption Act, to redeem all paper currency in gold at face value.  However, redemption did not go into effect till 1879, by which time the longest depression in American history had come to an end.

          Samuel had full power of Sophia’s estate when she died.  (Book B, p. 53, Letters of Administration)

          When Miss Sophia died, she gave her own properties to her family instead of doing what John had written in his will.  She wanted the bills to pay for her sickness and burial expenses to be taken care of, then her personal and household items to be divided.  James W. and Elvina (niece) Stubbs got her bedroom suite.  The rest was equally divided among:  John W. Simmons (brother); Thomas Simmons (half-brother); Mrs. Ruth Cook and husband George W. Cook of Talbot County; Adeline Pledge of Alabama; and Elizabeth Simmons Middlebrooks, formerly the wife of Alfred Middlebrooks.  (Deed Book E, pp. 116-17)

          Samuel took out a promissory note for rent of land known as Mitchell Lot and the crops raised on the said land, subject to the payment of the [full] amount, May 12th 1873He also bought Three Hundred Gallons of Scuppernong Wine made in the year of 1873 for $5.  (Deed Book T, p. 277, Jones Co., GA)

          Samuel used 202½ acres (Lot 45, 10th District) as collateral on a note in 1874.  He repaid the money and his obligation was settled.  The land adjoined Mercer on the northwest, Sam on the southwest, and D.T. Middlebrooks (Silas’s son) on the east.

          Samuel bought 202½ acres from David T. Middlebrooks.  In reality, the money was used as a promissory note, due February 25, 1874.  Sam gave David a down payment of $5.00 on $360.28.  The land, located in the 10th District, had some “improvements thereon.”  The property adjoined James Jones on the west, Mrs. Bethany Barnes on the north, and Joley Cary on the southeast.  (Deed Book T, p. 283)  Time was running out for Samuel to pay the price on the land located six miles northeast of Clinton and adjoining Joseph Glawson.

          James Henry Middlebrooks, Sr. was a son of Isaac (1827-1857).

          Sam wanted his father’s homestead very much, so much he was willing to risk everything he had  (1875).  He tried to buy Isaac’s homestead and land but failed.  He also tried to buy the James H. Bowen Plantation.  However, when the note came due, Sam had to forfeit.  The land and plantation were sold to Radford Turner, an adjacent landowner. 

          Sam had borrowed a total of $5,000 from a mortgage company, but two judgments against him had to be cleared before Isaac’s land and plantation could be sold.  One judgment was cleared when it was paid (fifa); the other judgment was issued by Mary Ann Middlebrooks, guardian.  In the records of the Probate Court of Putnam County, Georgia, there is a Mary Ann who was guardian of James’s three children – James, Jr., Laura, and Mary Ann.  This Mary Ann (guardian) could possibly have been Isaac’s daughter-in-law.    

          Sam’s property was sold on the Jones County Courthouse steps “by order of the Superior Court.”  Samuel lost his farm.  The highest bidder paid only $490 for 500 acres of land![14]

          Everything Sam had worked for was gone.  Time to move on.  He chose Arkansas.

          From the time he lost his dad’s land in Georgia, to the time he arrived in Arkansas, was only three years.


On the Road to Arkansas

When Samuel, Hattie, and their six children left Georgia, around 1878,[15] their first stop was in Hempstead County, Arkansas.[16]

Sam’s relatives were already in Hempstead County.  Tax records there show Sam’s father-in-law, Lewis Lane, father of Hattie (Lane) Middlebrooks, on the roll in 1877.

The Middlebrookses embarked on another trip.  This time Samuel put down roots close to Meridian, Texas, in Bosque County.  It was not long before he was ready to move again, back to Arkansas.[17]

Sam was on the tax roll in Bosque County from 1879 to 1883.  During this same time, county officials wanted to build a new courthouse to replace the one they had, which was only fourteen years old.  During construction days, numerous “six-shooters” terrorized the residents.  “There were at least two killings a week.  There was very little law enforcement in those days in Bosque (BOS-kee).”[18] Samuel left Texas because it was too rough a place to raise a family.

In the 1880 census for Bosque County, the last child of Samuel was two years of age and listed as having been born in Jones County, Georgia.

Samuel purchased 160 acres of land in Bosque County, Texas, located approximately six miles east of Meridian.  The land was sold in 1883, and the deed was signed by both Samuel and Hattie.  He held this land for only about a month.  Researchers believe that Samuel and his family left Texas soon after selling the property.  Something must have happened to cause Sam to move back to Hope, Hempstead County, Arkansas, so soon after acquiring the Bosque County property.

Tax Records of Hempstead County indicate that Samuel’s first year of paying taxes there was 1884, in School District 15.  His daughter Ora was born there that same year.  Sam continued to pay taxes in Hempstead County through 1888.

In 1886, the people of Bosque County, Texas, did get their new courthouse, complete with a clock in its tower, at a cost of $60,000.  Workers for the WPA (Works Progress Administration) installed the clock in its new home above the front entrance.[19]  The WPA was created in 1935 by orders of President Roosevelt, to provide jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression.

After settling in a new home, Sam secured a promissory note.  The collateral was:  a six-year-old dark brown horse; a ten-year-old black horse/mule; and one brown mare mule.  This was the second mortgage on the stock and the first and only mortgage on crops – 30 acres of cotton, 35 acres of corn – for the year.[20]

After the tax season was over, Samuel and Hattie left Arkansas and moved to St. Landry Parish/Bayou Beth, in Louisiana.

According to family members, Samuel was a part-time Baptist preacher and had established a small church on the grounds.  Hattie died in 1889 and was buried behind the church Samuel built.  Records from Hempstead County show that Samuel was a minister there in 1884, 1886, and 1887.[21]

The first marriage performed by Sam was in Saint Landry Parish, Louisiana, when he officiated at the wedding of his son Sims Middlebrooks and Mary T. Huckabee in 1888.  Sam left Hempstead sometime between the 1888 tax season and October 1889.

The pension papers that Sam received from the Louisiana Secretary of State, Confederate Pension Applications Database, state [that] Sam was paralyzed all over [the] lower half of his body, legs & feet … .  The pension also stated that Sam had five living children (four sons, one daughter) and eight dead children.

Before Sam became paralyzed, the man stood at six feet, six inches tall.  He was a BIG man for this time frame.

Sam spent 12 years in Bosque County, Texas, and 16 years in Louisiana (13 in St. Landry and three in Arcadia Parish).

Not long after Hattie died, Samuel married for the third time, to a widow, Mary Ann McDaniel Savant, in 1899.  Mary Ann owned the property that Samuel was farming and also the land where he had his church.

When Mary Ann Middlebrooks died, her son, Nathaniel Savant, settled her estate.  One of the provisions in the settlement was that Samuel could continue to farm on the land until he had gathered his crops.[22]

After the death of the third Mrs. Middlebrooks in 1900, Sam broke up housekeeping.  He was allowed to gather the crops that were in the ground.

          After his crops had been gathered, Samuel went to live with his son, Charles Middlebrooks, near Patmos, Arkansas (c. 1902).  Later he moved back to Hempstead County, Arkansas, living there until his death.[23]

          Mary P., Hattie, and Frank Middlebrooks were born to Sam before his death in 1904.  Their mother’s name and exact dates of birth are not known.  Sam and his wives had 13 children!

          Samuel is buried in Macedonia Cemetery, Hempstead County, Arkansas.  The tombstone has his name (without the –s) and dates, and it also has “Elder” on it.  Samuel was 69 years of age when he died.


[1] ”The Final Battle.” Georgia Backroads. Winter 2006.

[2] “The True Stories Behind the History Stories.”  The Best of the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

[3] Soifer, Paul and Abraham Hoffman.  “U.S. History:  Cliff Quick Review.”  Nebraska: Cliff’s Notes. 1998.

[4] Personal research of Charles Middlebrooks.

[5] Personal research of Neal Middlebrook.

[6] The Southern Christian Advocate, Nov. 1, 1860, Book B, p. 255, Jones Co., GA.

[7] Personal research of Charles Middlebrooks.

[8] Williams, C.W.  Roster of United Daughters of Confederacy.  Georgia Division. Vols. 2, 3, 6


[10] Administrator Temporary, Book AA, p. 149, Jones Co., GA.

[11] Estate bonds are posted to protect the assets of the deceased and cost a certain percentage of the amount of the bond.

[12] Annual Returns, Book X, pp. 162-63, Jones Co., GA.

[13] U.S. History I.  Cliff’s Notes.  Lincoln, Nebraska.

[14] Personal research of Charles Middlebrooks.

[15] Hattie D. Middlebrooks (Samuel and Hattie’s daughter) was born about 1878, Jones Co., GA, and died before 1884.  Birth date estimated from 1880 census records for Bosque Co., TX.  Death date based on when Samuel appeared back in Arkansas. Personal research of Neal Middlebrook.

[16] Personal research of Neal Middlebrook and Charles Middlebrooks.

[17] Charles Middlebrooks’s Aunt Mary.

[18] West, Jim. Texas Courthouse Trivia – Part I. Used by permission, National Assoc. of Watch and Clock Collectors, Inc. 2006.

[19] West, Jim.  Texas Courthouse Trivia – Part I and NAWCC Bulletin, Feb.2006.

[20] Personal research of Neal Middlebrook.

[21] Hempstead Genealogical Society. Marriages of Hempstead County, Arkansas 1875-1900.

[22] Estate of Adolph Savant. No. 46op, 13th Dist. Ct., St. Landry Parish (Oct. – Dec. 1889), and Estate of Mary Ann McDaniel, No. 5555, St. Landry Parish Probate Ct. Filed Jan. 10, 1889.

[23] Cemetery in Hope, Hempstead Co., AR




Was a Pig Responsible for Starting the War of 1812?

One of the most intriguing tales of animals in history is an undocumented story circulated during the early 1800s. It seems that a certain pig in Providence, Rhode Island, was constantly breaking through fences and eating the contents of a neighbor’s garden.  Now the neighbor in this case was a Federalist candidate for Congress who became so enraged one day at the sight of the pig eating his garden, that he killed the pig on the spot – with a three-tined pitchfork!       

This, in turn, enraged the late pig’s owner who, on Election Day shortly thereafter, naturally cast his vote for his neighbor’s opponent – who as it turned out, won the election by one vote.  So the winner went to Congress, and presumably the loser stayed home tending his garden and no doubt spent some time wishing he’d delayed his revenge upon the pig, at least until after all the votes had been cast.

          Sometime later, when the question of war with England came to a vote before the U.S. Senate, the measure passed by only one vote – that of the Senator who had debated the Federalist gardener.  The outcome, of course, was the War of 1812 and our eventual economic liberation from England.      

This story might be a lot of hogwash, but then, it might not![2]


War Between the States Trivia

Submitted by Dianne Middlebrooks


The youngest soldier killed in the War was 10 years old; the oldest, 73.

The bloodiest battle of the War was the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg.

Some women disguised themselves as men and fought alongside the men. (McClain, Bill. Do Fish

            Drink Water? A Harper Resource Book)

Abraham Lincoln offered Robert E. Lee the position of Commander of the Union Army before the

            War started. (Silverman, Matt. “Trivia Truths.” Civil War Trivia Quiz Book.  NY: Barnes &

            Noble. 2001)

Winfield Alcott, the 75-year-old hero of the Mexican War, was the head of the Union Army at the

            beginning of the War.

Ulysses Grant and Jefferson Davis both agreed that the handsome Kentuckian General, Albert

            Sidney Johnson, was the best soldier in the Confederacy.

Oh, the Mighty Scuppernong!


By Jarrelyn Lang

(This article was originally published in the December 2005 newsletter.  Since it also concerns Samuel Middlebrooks, I thought I’d resurrect it.)


          Dianne’s article on the Timeline of Samuel Middlebrooks (pp. 8-18) tells how he borrowed money in order to buy, among other things, “300 gallons of scuppernong wine made the year of 1873.”  The trivia buff in me had to know more.  Wine connoisseurs may be familiar with the scuppernong grape, but I had never heard of it.  It occurred to me that scuppernong wine must have been very special stuff indeed, if old Sam was willing to go to such lengths to acquire it.  (On the other hand, poor Sam wasn’t very smart about land management and money matters, was he?)

          The word scuppernong is derived from the Algonquin name for the sweet bay tree, “Ascopo.”  Early maps of North Carolina show a river in Washington County called the “Ascupernong,” meaning “place of the ‘Ascopo’.”  By 1800, the spelling of the river had become “Scuppernong.”1

          Scuppernong grapes are grown in Georgia (where Sam probably bought his wine) and in many other southeastern and Gulf coastal states.  But it is the state of North Carolina that claims the grape as its own – and those folks are so serious about the scuppernong that they have made it their state fruit.  The grape is even mentioned in the state’s toast, a portion of which declares: “Here’s to the land of the cotton bloom white, / Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night.”2

          The Society for the Preservation of Fruitcake (I kid you not!) features a recipe for Ice Box Fruitcake on its website:  The woman submitting the recipe, who signed her name simply as “Linda D.,” suggests pouring ¼ to ½ cup of sweet wine into the mixture, stating that “homemade scuppernong wine is the best.”

          A group of ladies who reside in an assisted-living facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia, annually brew up a batch of wine, dubbing themselves as the “Vintage Vintners.”  Their 2003 scuppernong wine, “Golden Glow,” won a gold medal in an international wine contest.3

          So, what is all the fuss about?  The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services claims that the scuppernong is the first wine grape to be cultivated in the U.S.  In 1524, Italian/French explorer Giovanni de Verrazano (of Narrows and Bridge fame) discovered the grapes growing in North Carolina’s Cape Fear River Valley, declaring in his logbook that “without doubt [they] would yield excellent wines.”  Two explorers commissioned by Sir Walter Raleigh wrote in 1584, “[The scuppernongs’] smell of sweetness filled the air.”  Raleigh’s colony on Roanoke Island, near the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is given credit for discovering the scuppernong “mother vine,” which continues to grow there today.4  The vine’s website,, offers to sell cuttings from the vine, claiming they are easy to grow and should bear fruit within 2-3 years.  Legend has it that Raleigh sent a keg of his homemade scuppernong wine to Queen Elizabeth I, hoping to encourage her to settle the New World.

          The scuppernong, a variety of muscadine grapes, is probably most notable as a wine grape.  Several online vintners sell scuppernong, classified as a white wine, in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic forms.  One or two of these merchants also offer a scuppernong cider.  In addition, the grapes can be eaten fresh or used to make grape juice, jams, and jellies.  A variety of recipes for making homemade scuppernong wine, jams, and jellies can be found online.

          Muscadine grapes are promoted as being beneficial to good health.  From the mother vine’s website comes this claim: “The muscadine family . . . contain[s] resveratrol (a reducer of heart attacks and strokes) as well as elegiac acid, a strong anti-oxidant which inhibits cancer. . . . As far back as 1885, Scuppernong brandy was recommended by druggists for its medicinal properties.”  Additionally, “Recent studies have tended to show resveratrol may reduce cardiac disease and reduce LDL as well as IDL (bad cholesterol).”

          So, even though we will never know exactly what prompted old Sam to sell his property in order to acquire some scuppernong wine, we can, in all likelihood, feel safe in knowing that he was not the only one who liked having it around.

1 North Carolina Winery History. N. Carolina Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services. Online.

 2 Majors-Duff, Lisa. “Does North Carolina need a state fruit? Absolutely!” The Sylva Herald  Ruralife Café, 14 Feb. 2002. Online.

3 Simpson, Elizabeth. “Assisted-Living Residents Basking in Glow of Making Wine.” The Virginian-Pilot. 19 Jan. 2004. Online.

4 North Carolina Winery History. N. Carolina Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Online.




Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire.  Author unknown


How Children Should Act With Their Parents in Public


Originally printed in the 1967 Farmer’s Almanac

   Always call them “Mother” and “Father,” or “Dad.”

   Always introduce people to your mother. No matter how important the other person is, begin: “Mother, I’d like you to know —.”

   When your parents introduce you to their friends, make them proud. Stand up for an introduction, and acknowledge it with the friend’s name: “How do you do, Mrs. Carter?” Don’t sit down while either your mother or Mrs. Carter is still standing.

   If your parents’ friends ask questions, even though they seem a little foolish, answer. Never say “I dunno” or just giggle. Admittedly, “You’ve grown so, haven’t you?” is silly, but it becomes sensible conversation if you answer, “Yes, I’m nearly two inches taller than I was last year.”

   If your dad tells a story involving you and gets some of the facts wrong, let it go. Setting him straight in front of an audience just sounds quarrelsome and childish.

   Let your mother precede you into a train or bus, or down a theater aisle. In these places, walk ahead of your father.

   Treat your mother like a lady and your father like a gentleman, and you can’t help impressing the world with your own charm and poise.

    Still good advice 40 years later!


Speaking of “the way we were,” here are

Rules for Teachers, 1872,

that my mother gave me when I first started teaching.  Many of you have also been in the education field and will get a laugh or two from these.  The author is unknown. (JL)


  1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
  3. Make your pens carefully.  You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
  4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
  5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
  7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years, so that he will not become a burden on society.
  8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
  9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

Easter – the “Movable Feast”?


By Jarrelyn Lang

            Ever wonder why Easter occurs on different dates, while Christmas remains the same?  “Because the [Catholic] church said so,” according to Daniel Engber, who is known as the online Explainer (“Why Some Feasts Are Movable,” posted Feb. 9, 2005).

            He goes on to explain that the date of Christmas is fixed according to the solar calendar, but Easter’s date is determined by the lunar calendar.  There were very few who celebrated Christmas before the year 325, when the First Council of Nicaea was held.  The council decreed December 25 as the Feast of the Nativity.  “Because Christmas was not directly related to a lunar holiday, and because it had never been celebrated before, … and questions about [the date of Christ’s birth] had been settled by a proclamation from the pope just five years earlier – the council was able to establish an unambiguous date for the celebration,” Mr. Engber states.

            On the other hand, Easter had often been celebrated.  Some Christians did so on Passover (a lunar holiday), and others celebrated the following Sunday.  The Council of Nicaea formalized the date, so that everyone would celebrate on the same day.  They determined that the Easter holiday would fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after March 21, the first day of spring.

            There were still problems, however.  The Julian calendar, which relied on the leap year (every year that was evenly divisible by 4) to keep the seasons straight, was in use at the time.  It did not work very well, and by the 16th century, the vernal equinox was occurring more than a week before March 21.

            In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued his own calendar (the one still in use today) and solved the problem.  First, he made October ten days shorter that year.  October 4, 1582, was followed by October 15, 1582.  The Gregorian calendar also eliminated leap years for those years that are evenly divided by 100, except those that are evenly divisible by 400.  (The year 2000 had an extra day, but 1900 didn’t, and 2100 won’t.)

            Engber goes on to say, “In theory, Easter falls on the Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox.  In practice, the church’s methods are a bit imprecise, in part because the vernal equinox doesn’t always fall on March 21, and in part because the church uses traditional tables (rather than modern astronomy) to determine the dates of full moons.”

            An interesting side note – the Eastern Orthodox churches never adopted the Gregorian calendar, so their Easter remains on the Julian calendar and may be celebrated as late as May.

            Our Easter falls on April 8 this year.  I hope each of you has a joyous celebration!





Anna Middlebrooks, born May 19, 1925, in Ruston, LA, left this world February 26, 2007, in DeQuincy, LA.  Anna is survived by her husband, MFA member and Sims descendant J.D. Middlebrooks.  Other survivors include a son, Danny Middlebrooks, a daughter, Gale Dean, a sister, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. 

     Anna had been a schoolteacher and also taught piano lessons, in addition to being a music and choir director for several churches.  She was a Past President for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

     Her funeral was held February 28 in the First Baptist Church of DeQuincy, where she had been pianist for 17 years.  Burial was in Pilgrim Rest Cemetery, Eunice, LA.

      The Middlebrooks Family Association extends its deepest sympathies to J.D. and to all of Anna’s family and friends.



(Editor’s note:  This section is a place for your input.  If you have a favorite genealogy-related website, book, location, insight, etc., send it to me at for inclusion in a future quarterly.)


Alert! – If you are planning to attend the MFA 2007 meeting and haven’t read Neal’s President’s Message on p. 1, you need to do so.  He tells how the room reservations can be obtained for $49.95 instead of the $59.95 mentioned in the last quarterly.  One note of caution:  It is possible that the online rate will go up if you wait too late – so book early.  (The original $59.95 rate for phone reservations is good only through June 12; after that, the rate rises to $99.00.)  Cancellation is no later than 4 PM the day of arrival.-JL


Senior Research – Dianne Middlebrooks

If you’re working on the personal history of a senior relative, these websites offer additional help:

   – provides good questions and tips

   – offers online genealogy course, plus helpful tips and


   – has a coaching corner and gives historians by


Not about senior research, but well worth checking out:

http://www.measuringworth/calculators/compare  You may have skimmed over this website in Dianne’s article on the three generations of Sims, Silas, and Isaac.  She didn’t reveal its contents, so I won’t, either.  I think you’ll benefit by looking into it.-JL


A History of Orange County, Virginia – Neal Middlebrook

This book, compiled by W.W. Scott, contains information “From its (Orange Co.) Formation in 1734 (O.S.) to the end of Reconstruction in 1870; compiled mainly from Original Records, With a Brief Sketch of the Beginnings of Virginia, a Summary of Local Events to 1907, and a Map.”  The book’s publisher is Genealogical Publishing Co., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211.  If you wish to order a copy, you can do so by calling 800-296-6687.  There is also an online version at


Family Data – Leonard Middlebrooks

            If you have not been to the MFA extended website, take a moment to check out the work that David Middlebrooks is doing.  This site, which may eventually be an extension of our existing MFA site, can be reached at  One of the left radio buttons on the home page leads to “Our Family,” and, at the moment, to additional links for the seven NC brothers, as well as for the 1909 Register transcription.  There is a world of potential for maintaining our family genealogy in a near-real-time environment such as the one created by David.


Website – Charles Middlebrooks

   – Funeral information – type “Middlebrooks” or other surname into the search box