MFA Quarterly June 2006

Volume Five                     Number Four

June/August 2006




President’s Message …………………………………………………………..…………………61

Secretary Report ….……………………………………………………..……………………………..66

Coordinator’s Report ….…………………………………………………………..………………63
Middlebrooks Paths ……………………………………………………………………………..…64

Editor’s Notes..……………………………………. ………………..………………..……….…70


Frog, Enforcer, Death ..………………………………………………..………………..…………………..71


Annual Dues ………………………………………………………………………………………75

MFA General Business Meeting …………………………………………………..…………..67


Missouri Genealogy ………………………………………………………………………70


Southern Plantations..….…………………………………………………………………………. 75

Aunt Beck ― Octogenarian ……………………………………………………………………… 75

Migrations ………………………………………………….……………………………..…….. 76

Family Coat of Arms …………………………………………………………………………….. 76

Old Federal Road …..…………………………………….………………………………77

Louisiana ………………………………………………………………………………. 77

Instant Biography ………………………………………………………………………..……… 77


OBIT …………………………………………………………………………………………….79

MFA Newsletter Archives ……………….…..………….………….………………….……….. 79





MFA Quarterly


Editor ― Dianne Middlebrooks

Assistant Editor ― Jarrelyn Lang


Contributors:  Jarrelyn Lang ~ Neal Middlebrook ~ Leonard Middlebrooks ~ Dianne Middlebrooks


MFA Quarterly is published by Middlebrooks Family Association, Inc., 5721 Fullerton Phillips, Monticello, Georgia.  The Quarterly is published four times a year (September, December, March and June.

Subscription rates:  $20 per year. 





Top 10 Don’ts for Being a Good Neighbor


10.               Don’t mow at the crack of                             dawn on weekends.


9.       Don’t hang a wind chime                              collection near your                            neighbor’s bedroom                          window.


8.       Don’t leave your inflatable                  Santa up until the Fourth                            of July.


7.       Don’t holler “What’s for                       dinner?” every time your                              neighbor fires up the grill.


6.       Don’t plant invasive                            perennials close to a                          neighbor’s garden.


5.       Don’t make your                                 neighbor’s bay window an                             automatic home run when               playing baseball with the



4.       Don’t run over windblown                             garbage can lids, even if                     you’re in a hurry.


3.       Don’t rake only half the                      leaves from the maple you                  planted on the property line.


2.       Don’t aim the snow blower                  at your neighbor’s                               driveway.


1.       Don’t forget to smile and                   wave![1]



President’s Message 

Neal Middlebrook


Those of you that were not able to attend this year’s meeting missed a great opportunity to meet and socialize with other cousins, learn more about your ancestors, and visit Louisiana’s oldest Fort, St. Jean Baptiste, and the city of Natchitoches (a National Historic Landmark District, established in 1714).  As a side trip, one group of hardy souls visited the American Cemetery, located a couple of blocks from the Fort.  American Cemetery is also Louisiana’s oldest cemetery, established in the1750s.

     Leonard and Toni, a great big thank you for hosting this year’s meeting.  You did a wonderful job in selecting the hotel and conference room, the restaurants, the field trip, and our Friday night dinner speaker, an ex-mayor of Natchitoches, Bobby W. Deblieux (aka Boss Hogg).  Bobby shared his knowledge of the early diaries relating to the Natchitoches area. Toni attended the sign-in desk and was ever diligent in performing her duties, which included getting relatives to update or fill out member profiles. 

     Leonard will be putting together a CD of the meeting that will include a summary of the meeting, presentations, pictures, and other information.

     If you know someone who is not a member and would like a copy of the CD, please let Leonard know.

     To set the mood, Dianne dressed in period costume as part of the meeting. Special thanks to Dianne for putting all the door prizes together.  We had a drawing after every session of the meeting.  Dianne was presented with a new Canon digital camera for all her hard work as Editor of the newsletter, hosting the previous Georgia and North Carolina meetings, and countless other tasks.  Dianne is also co-founder of the Middlebrooks Family Association.

     Joyce Arnold was a big help with the door prizes and other logistics before and during the meeting.  Joyce’s husband, Jim, had to pinch-hit for her one day while she was under the weather by presenting the Thomas line information.  Good job, Jim.

     I would like thank everyone who was involved with preparing and giving brother presentations for their line at the meeting.  It takes a lot of time to assemble family history information.  The following members worked on presentations: Jarrelyn, Joyce, and Jim for Thomas; J. A. Middlebrooks for Robert; Dianne for Micajah; and Leonard for Isaac and Joseph.  Leonard also did a great job starting the day out with an overview of our Middlebrook/s family migration from Massachusetts and Connecticut southward. All the presentations were very well done and will be included on the meeting CD.  If you have not sent Leonard a copy of your presentation, please do so.

     At our short business meeting, we made the following decisions: I will stay on another year as President; Joyce Arnold will move into the Vice President slot.  (Leonard remains as Secretary/Treasurer.  All officers are automatically members of the Board.) New members on the Board of Directors are Jarrelyn Lang, Jean Shroyer, and J. A. Middlebrooks.  Jarrelyn will move into the slot vacated by Charles Middlebrooks of Dickenson, Texas, and Jean will move into the position vacated by Joyce Arnold. J. A. will fill a new board position.  Thank you, Charles and Joyce, for continued service and support of the MFA.

      J. A. Middlebrooks agreed to take over the cemetery project from Dianne, and Jarrelyn Lang will replace Dianne as Editor of our quarterly newsletter.  Dianne has agreed to stay on as Assistant Editor.  All these decisions are effective September 1, 2006.  Dianne has just recently proposed to resurrect the MAZE, a monthly bulletin.  The MAZE will target non-members and be 1-2 pages in length.

     David Middlebrooks has proposed, and is currently busy working on, some new approaches to the design of the existing MFA website, the Family Register Update, and the Repository.  You will hear more about this effort being spearheaded by David in coordination with Leonard Middlebrooks and Jennifer Braswell.  If you would like to participate, please contact Leonard.  Leonard has sent out an e-mail to others requesting input. We appreciate David and his wife, Sheryl, for attending this year’s meeting and bringing some fresh ideas.

   Charles Middlebrooks of Waco, Texas, provided some very good ideas on topics for next year’s meeting.  With Charles’ background in marketing, he has agreed to help develop some new marketing approaches to increase membership and attendance at our annual meetings. 

     Remember, if you would like to volunteer to help on any of the Association projects or serve as an officer, board member, or committee member, please let us know.  There is plenty of family history work to go around, and there are ways to volunteer without being an officer or Board member.

Well, it’s that time of year for us to start thinking about where we will meet next year.  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas are the states mentioned as possible candidates by members attending this year’s meeting.  

     Georgia had the highest number of votes, with Alabama and Texas second.

     Where would you like to meet next year?

Send me or one of the officers or board members, an e-mail and let us know your choice of where the meeting should be held.

Neal Middlebrook


Coordinator’s Report

Leonard Middlebrooks



July 27, 28 & 29, 2006


“Our Migrating Ancestors: Sharing Our Family Histories”


Thursday, July 27th ________

            History of Natchitoches

Registration for this year’s meeting began at 10 a.m. in the Holiday Inn Express Motel’s continental breakfast room. Toni Middlebrooks handed out the meeting packets and tracked the registrants, while Joyce Arnold provided everyone with a name tag. Twenty-six attended this year’s meeting, and attendees came from as far away as North Bend, Oregon, and as near as Shreveport, Louisiana.

      The morning’s remainder was spent renewing old acquaintances and eating at one of the many nearby restaurants.  These restaurants provided a quiet atmosphere for family discussions and the upcoming Association meeting.

      The Middlebrooks group convened at the motel after lunch and as a group went to visit Louisiana’s oldest fort.  The fort is on the banks of what was at one time the Cane River.  In 1830, the river shifted its main course five miles to the east, which ended Natchitoches’ direct route to New Orleans. This ended the town’s bid as a major transportation center, but not before many of our Middlebrooks were able to travel northwest from New Orleans by steamboat, and then by land, to Panola County, Texas. 

      The fort, known as Fort St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches, was constructed in 1714 to act as a hub for the handful of earlier settlers in the area.  Located three miles from the MFA meeting area, it provided a glimpse into the past as to how these settlers lived.  The fort was a buffer against eastward Spanish expansion, as the Spaniards had their own fort and settlement 30 miles to the west. The small French community

co-existed with the area Natchitoches Indians and was the first permanent European settlement in the territory later known as the Louisiana Purchase.

      After the fort visit, some of the group visited the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase.  While there are no Middlebrooks buried in this cemetery, some noticed names that appeared in later Texas and Arkansas lines of the family.  We wonder…?

     After returning to the motel to cool off from the afternoon’s heat, the group met for dinner at the Natchitoches historic district’s Pioneer Pub & Restaurant. The restaurant overlooked the city park and the Cane River Lake. The lake was made when, as mentioned earlier, the Cane River course shifted eastward, leaving a loop of the river as a lake. This river shifting preserved the nostalgic town from the sprawling growth of other river towns.


Friday, July 28th _______


Prior to the first session, Neal Middlebrook welcomed the attendees and, on behalf of the Board of Directors, presented Dianne Middlebrooks with a (surprise) Canon digital camera in appreciation for her past efforts.  Dianne has been the Editor of the MFA Newsletter and the early MAZE Bulletin, the first MFA treasurer, and the Association’s first Vice President.  How did she manage to get so involved?  Dianne is one the co-founders of the MFA.  There was a standing ovation of thanks.


Middlebrooks Paths 


The day’s first session began with Leonard Middlebrooks’ presentation on the four known pre-Revolutionary War Middlebrook/s lines. Groups discussed were the Connecticut family of Joseph Middlebrook, born 1610; the Middlebrooks sisters group of the late 1630s from Boston, Massachusetts; the mysterious Middlebrooks of Virginia; and last, but not least, the Maryland Middlebrooks.

     Early migration paths were shown from the Concord Plantation to Fairfield, Connecticut, and on to the English acquisition of the New York area. Further expansion of early migration routes was noted as the Boston Post Road developed into the Kings Highway and eventually linked the thirteen colonies from Boston to Savannah.

      As our country grew, Alexandria, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland, became the major ports of entry.  From this area of the Chesapeake Bay, Scots-Irish, English, and German immigrants pushed inland to Pennsylvania and the western sections of Virginia, and south to Fredericksburg, Virginia. This southern route became known as the Fall Line Trail and passed approximately 75 miles to the east of the Orange County area of North Carolina, eventually providing a route to the capital of Georgia in Milledgeville.

      The early military roads westward from the Philadelphia area to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, were the beginnings of the northwestern routes into the Ohio Country and south through the Shenandoah Valley.

     The westward route through the Allegheny Mountains provided access for the Connecticut and Massachusetts Middlebrooks to move westward across the northern part of our expanding country in the post-war years.  The Shenandoah route was known as the Pioneer Road, or Great Philadelphia Road, and passed approximately 30 miles to the west of the Hogan’s Creek, Orange/Caswell County area.

     The Maryland Middlebrooks would have taken the Kings Road route from the Kent County area of Maryland to the New Kent County area of Virginia.  From there they would have connected with the Fall Line Road and migrated south to Caswell County.  Eventually, in the 1790s, they would have traveled southward to Georgia using the Pioneer Road, which merged with the Fall Line Road at Augusta, Georgia. Once over the Savannah River, our Southern Middlebrooks went north and west, near the territory occupied by the Cherokee and Creek Indians.

     This movement into Georgia set the scene for the post- War Between the States movement to what was then the Old Southwest. This area was comprised of the current states of Alabama to Louisiana. This is where we see some of the Middlebrooks traveling to New Orleans, northwest up the Mississippi River and Red River to the Natchitoches area and westward into northeastern Texas. Other Texas-bound families would have crossed at Natchez, Mississippi, and traveled into the southern portions of Texas.


Seven Brothers


The next session was devoted to the Caswell County brothers’ movement into the Deep South. Isaac’s (1753) and Joseph’s (1773) movements were presented by Leonard Middlebrooks; John’s (1755), Sims’s (1762), and the Virginia Garland group’s migrations were presented by Neal Middlebrook; Micajah (1758), Robert’s (1766), and Thomas’s (1763) movements were presented by Dianne Middlebrooks, J. A. Middlebrooks, and Jim Arnold, respectively.

     Most presentations were given using an LCD projector.  This was a much-improved means of displaying maps and data, as opposed to the overhead projector used in previous years.

     After a well-earned lunch break, the next session was devoted to individual group discussions.  Family members were present to represent the John, Sims, Thomas, Robert, and Garland groups, and each met separately over five-foot diameter tables covered with maps of the Old Southwest and Texas. Each group traced their individual North Carolina ancestor’s westward movement, and in the case of the Garland group, their possible movement in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and on to Oklahoma. 

      The Thomas group had the most detailed map. They plotted their ancestors’ movements as they worked their way into middle Texas and to the north central part of Texas, in the Jack County area.




Dinner Hour     


The evening’s meal was at another historic district restaurant. Dominic’s Restaurant and Bar provided another scenic overview of the lake and was where the former Mayor of Natchitoches entertained us with local history, migration tales, and humor. The former mayor, Bobby W. Deblieux, who asked to be called Bobby W., was one of the major promoters in the preservation of the historic district, leading to its National Historic Register listing, and to the construction of the fort replica from the original construction plans.  The fort effort alone was the culmination of a 25-year effort.  MFA presented the mayor with a small stipend, which he assured us would go to the Natchitoches Historical Fund.


Saturday, July 29th _____


This morning found the MFA Board of Directors’ meeting to discuss future and past business of the Association.  The separate “Meet and Greet” session provided a morning social hour where others discussed past and present family happenings.


Board of Directors


Leonard Middlebrooks


Meeting was convened at 8:03 a.m. by President Neal Middlebrook.  Other Board members present were Joyce Arnold, Charles H. Middlebrooks, Leonard Middlebrooks, Dianne Middlebrooks, and J. A. Middlebrooks.  Outreach strategy was discussed, and it was noted that the meeting announcement post cards have not provided any significant increase in meeting attendance. This is to be researched and a decision made by year-end as to the use of mailers for the 2007 meeting.

     Further outreach methods were discussed, and Neal agreed to pursue MFA marketing with Charles David Middlebrooks.  Charles had previously volunteered to assist.

     J. A. Middlebrooks volunteered to head the Cemetery Project and will get with Dianne for the transfer of data and photos.  Adding the Cemetery Tombstone Photo Index to the MFA website was discussed, and it was agreed that we proceed.   No photos are to be added at this time, only the index. J. A. and Leonard are to coordinate with Jennifer.

     Neal commented that the next step in obtaining non-profit status with the IRS is to file for 503c3 status.  Joyce volunteered to pursue the matter.

     The value of using a real-time web-based family tree was discussed.  Leonard is to investigate this real-time web link approach.  Outcome is to be communicated to the Board. Dave Middlebrooks volunteered to create a temporary prototype site for use in the evaluation process.

     Meeting was adjourned at 8:59 a.m.


Secretary Minutes

Leonard Middlebrooks


MFA General Business Meeting


The first group session of the day was devoted to the business of the Association.  It consisted of the President, Treasurer, Newsletter, Cemetery, Family Register, Website, and Family Repository Reports. Complete reports will be detailed on the meeting CD; a brief synopsis is found below.


President’s Report 2005:


A number of follow-up items for last year’s Danville meeting were completed, and information from the North Carolina research was compiled for inclusion on the 2005 CD.  The CD of the Danville meeting was sent to our 55 members. The other publications are the MFA Newsletter and the MAZE. The Newsletter was changed from a monthly to a quarterly publication, and the MAZE bulletin was discontinued.

     One of the 2005 MFA milestones is that we were officially incorporated in the state of Georgia.  Enhancements to the website were continued this year, and the annual meeting announcement was posted on the MFA website.  Outreach this year for the annual meeting consisted of 600 postcards being sent out to states surrounding Louisiana, as well as posting the meeting information on various other websites and message boards.  Progress continued on the Family Register Update and the Cemetery and Repository Projects.  At last year’s meeting, we added two board positions in addition to the existing officer positions.  This year, we continued our efforts in developing a Middlebrooks Virginia research plan.  Membership information and dues were collected, and new members were added to the MFA.  A more detailed report is included on the CD.


Newsletter Report submitted by Dianne Middlebrooks:


The MFA Newsletter, per the direction of the Board, was changed from a monthly to a quarterly publication, to average no fewer than 18 pages per issue. Dianne stated that this year’s third quarter issue will be her last, and she is passing the baton to Jarrelyn Lang, who has been the Assistant Editor for the last two years. Dianne has accepted the position of Assistant Editor in order to keep her printer from becoming rusty. [The Board thanks Dianne for her many efforts and the cajoling of those who do not like to write newsletter articles.]


Cemetery Report submitted by Dianne Middlebrooks:


The number of photos has increased to 638 due to the efforts of many of the family who have contributed.  The index is up to date, but documentation of each cemetery location is about 60% complete.  She requested that each member continue in their “cemetery hopping” and submission of photos and documentation.  Dianne announced that she is turning over the project to J. A. Middlebrooks.


Family Register Update submitted by Leonard Middlebrooks:


Update progress has been slow, with only two team workers involved in the master file. Approximately 20% of the 211 people on the MFA mailing list have submitted information on their lines. [The following is submitted by team – team name: submitted/total number in team): Garland: 2/14; Isaac: 4/14; Joe 1610: 1/10; John: 2/23; Joe 1773: 3/18; Micajah: 6/6; Robert: 3/31; Sims: 6/32; Thomas: 11/38; unknown: 0/24.   

   The compilation of the 2009 Update will begin in the spring of 2008. Synchronization of the master database and the individual team leader files presents an ongoing challenge.  Those who submit data will receive a copy of the Update; those who don’t participate will not.  There are no plans to sell copies of the Update.


Website Report submitted by

Leonard Middlebrooks:


The total number of hits on the MFA Rootsweb site is at the 1,000 mark. Seventy-five percent of these have been in the last year, but inquiries about the MFA have been few.  No additions have been made to the “Corrections” or “Photo” section.


Family Repository Report submitted by Leonard Middlebrooks:


Jean Shroyer and Dianne Middlebrooks investigated the feasibility of using public libraries as repositories for family data and artifacts.  Each found that libraries will only take bound material. Further work is needed to determine the quality and type of material that could be submitted to state archives, if any. A possible alternative is an electronic archive of scanned documents. This, in itself, would be a large undertaking and would require a separate team to accomplish. The separate team would have to be composed of individuals outside of the Update and team leader groups. Equipment needed would be higher-end computers with OCR capability and high resolution scanners. Further research is needed in this important area.


New business:


Data synchronization prior to publication of the Update was noted. Discussion ensued about the feasibility of creating a link from our MFA website to a real- time site. Such a site would allow for synchronizing of family tree data and eliminating the lag and coordination issues between updates of information to the same line by different Update personnel.

     David Middlebrooks, an MFA member and developer of his Sims Middlebrooks site, proposed using his site’s software and allowing public access to the information. It was noted that the current Update guideline rules did not allow the information to be made public and that information dating from the present 1930 cutoff to today is to be maintained in a confidential file for use with the 2019 Register Update.  Dave is to pursue how, and if, this may be achieved and inform the Update Chairman.

     Leonard noted that there are numerous deeds from the North Carolina archives that need to be transcribed.  The exact documents are on the 2005 meeting CD, and anyone who will help may contact Leonard.

     The photo session for each North Carolina descendant’s group followed the conclusion of the MFA business meeting.  Groups represented were Garland (Virginia), Robert, Sims, and Thomas. The Connecticut family branch was represented by Phil Landes’ photos and by descending charts of Patience Middlebrooks, whose family migrated from Connecticut to New York and on to New Hampshire.


Critiques of Group Discussions:


It was great to see old friends; better understanding of group of the North Carolina brothers; many were encouraged to complete their genealogy; good location; there was a great deal of information, sometimes difficult to assimilate; sessions exceeded time limits.

 Meeting Close-out: 


Overview of Meeting, Assignments, Feedback, and Next Year’s Meeting Place.    Suggestions for next year’s meeting location were: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.  Georgia had the most votes, with Alabama and Texas tied for second. Meeting topics suggested were: Migration from England; Middlebrooks in the military; DAR and SAR applications as required documentation; Female Middlebrooks; Middlebrooks in religion, their positions and denominations; land records, DNA, and research techniques.




After the closing session, all convened to Mariner’s Seafood Restaurant.  This is one of the more renowned restaurants in the area, overlooking an area lake complete with egrets and marsh grass.  The meal was enjoyed by all and goodbyes were said until next year.◊


Editor’s Notes


Jarrelyn has been the proof-reader and Assistant Editor. She has done a marvelous job.  Keep her busy!  Look for article in the next MFA Quarterly (September-November)

Dianne Middlebrooks



Missouri Genealogy

 and History

Submitted by Neal Middlebrook


From Cheri Casper, Association of Professional Genealogists; contributed by Neal Middlebrook


The State Archives website is invaluable. It contains early birth and death records, land patents, coroner’s inquests, naturalizations, military records, and death certificates from 1910 to 1955.  Digitized images of the certificates from 1910 through 1923 are linked to the site, and the plans are to have all certificates through 1955 digitized:


Do you have specific counties in mind?  CassMoFind has all of the cemeteries for Cass County indexed:


Jackson County has all of their marriage records indexed and linked to digitized images of the license, application, and subsumed minister’s return:


You can search Missouri lawsuits, including probates and divorces, on CaseNet:


You can use NETRonline for any state, for any county.  It will tell you which governmental departments have records online and will provide links to those websites.  I find it an invaluable tool:


   Randolph County their death and cemetery index online.  Northwest Missouri cemeteries are available.  Lafayette County newspaper abstracts available online.  Elmwood Cemetery in Jackson County has many tombstone photos and biographies available.

   Also, you can contact the State Archives and obtain a catalog of their holdings, which used to be free.  They offer research services.

   The State Historical Society in Columbia, Minnesota or, has a catalog that you can purchase that tells you all of the newspapers available in their collection, the years they hold, etc.  They also offer research services.  The Society has the largest collection of historical newspapers in the state.  The Jackson County, Minnesota, Public Library will obtain obituaries for you that were published in the Kansas City Star or the Kansas City Times for the modest fee of $2 each.  You can order obits right off their website.


Frogs, Enforcer,


Submitted by Neal Middlebrook

Edited by Dianne Middlebrooks


James Bryan Middlebrooks, J. B. as he was known, was born July 29, 1897, in Hempstead County, Arkansas, to James L. and Fannie D. (Hinton) Middlebrooks.  J.B. was born just two years before his father’s death in 1899. It is believed that, at the time of James’s birth, the family was either living on rented property south of Hope in the Bodcaw Township, or had actually moved to Hope.  Like the rest of his brothers and sisters, J.B. attended Center Point Elementary School.

     J. B. loved to hunt and fish as a boy growing up on a farm, and later in life, also.  J. B. and his brother Verdo (grandfather of Neal Middlebrook) were always looking for opportunities to get together and go hunting or fishing.  On one such trip, J. B. invited Verdo to come down to Pine Bluff and go frog gigging.[2]  Verdo left the farm on Patmos Road early one morning with his son, Ray, in their Model T Ford.  They met J. B. and R. H. “Buss” Tunstall and a relative of Buss’s, Tunce Walton, who was attending the school for the blind in Pine Bluff.  Verdo said he would drive, and they ended up at an “oxbow lake” across the Arkansas River.  It was remembered that, on the way down, Tunce started drinking moonshine.  Not long after they arrived, he crawled under the car and went to sleep.

     After dark, they pushed off from shore in the boat and followed the shoreline.  They used a spotlight hooked up to the car battery to locate the large bullfrogs.  The trip was a real success, with three dozen large bullfrogs for dinner! This was the first time that Ray, Verdo’s son, had tasted frog legs. (Ray is the father of Neal Middlebrook) 

      J. B. left home, the Old Hinton Home Place on Patmos Road, at the age of 18, and went to work for the Pine Bluff Fire Department in 1916.  Two years later, he joined the Pine Bluff Police Department and served as a motorcycle officer.  It was remembered that, after J. B. started to work for the Pine Bluff Police Department, he would ride his motorcycle home on weekends to visit his mother.            While visiting, he would give the neighborhood kids rides on the rough and dusty dirt roads.  It was funny to see a motorcycle coming down Patmos Road, since most of the farm kids had seen very few motorcycles.


Callie Lucretia Cunningham was born on March 22, 1900, in Lincoln County, Arkansas. Her parents were Albert and Lillie (Shumake) Cunningham.

     J. B. and Callie were married on May 15, 1918, at Pine Bluff, Arkansas.[3], [4]

     Less than a month after being married, James registered for service in World War I on June 5, 1918.[5]  His birth date, however, was listed as July 29, 1896 (instead of 1897). He listed Hope, Arkansas, as his birthplace.  His mother was listed as the nearest relative. He was employed by the City of Pine Bluff and listed his home address as his place of employment.  He was described as being tall, with a medium build, gray eyes, and light-colored hair, and he was not disabled.  On August 25, 1918,

J. B. Middlebrooks (Serial # 814746) was enlisted at Pine Bluff as a private with Company C, Development Battalion #3, 162 Depot Brigade, for a period of emergency.  His unit was demobilized at Camp Pike, Arkansas, and J. B. was honorably discharged from the U.S Army on December 18, 1918.[6]

     In 1926, J. B. was appointed a Deputy Sheriff.  J. B.’s younger brother, Tom, and his wife, Zora, moved to Pine Bluff.  J. B. helped Tom to get a job with the Pine Bluff Police Department.    


Nine Years Later…..[7]

Officer Middlebrooks

Found Dead ― May 14, 1935

How Did J.B. Die?


James Bryan Middlebrooks was found dead on May 14, 1935, four miles south of Pine Bluff, near the Ohio Street Pike.  He succumbed to a wound in his chest from his own .38-caliber Smith and Wesson service revolver.  J. B. was found the next morning near his parked car by two Deputy Sheriffs. The area was one of J. B.’s favorite quail hunting spots. 

     According to the Sheriff’s Department, J. B. had been in “…ill health for a number of months, and his condition had grown worse since an automobile accident several months ago.”  The Sheriff also mentioned “…his poor physical health, his eyesight had also started to fail him, and he was very despondent….” 

     J. B. was scheduled to enter the Veterans Bureau Hospital in Little Rock for a checkup.  The Sheriff told J. B. to meet him at 8:00 A. M.

      After the evening meal, J. B. had gone into the living room and removed his shirt.  He was sitting around with some of us including mama (Callie) and Sybil (his daughter).  The phone rang in the hall and mama answered the phone and told daddy it was for him.  He went into the hall, talked a minute, came back, and started to put his shirt back on. He told mama he had to ‘go down to the Pike’ and see a couple of men. He left the house about 8:15 at night and did not return the next morning.

      When J. B. failed to come home that night, Callie, his wife called the Sheriff about 7:30 a.m. the next morning, she said, “J. B. arrived home late yesterday, cancelled an appointment with (the) Deputy … because he said he was not felling well …”

     Two witnesses who lived near the Ohio Street Pike said J. B. had stopped to ask them directions to the cattle gap in the old Taylor field at about 9:00 p. m.  They pointed him in the right direction and heard his car drive over the cattle gap, about 15 minutes later they heard a gunshot. The witnesses did not investigate that night but waited until morning, when they walked to the field and saw the top of the car in the woods.  They then immediately went to town to report to the Sheriff’s office that they had found the car in the woods.


Unanswered Questions:


  • Who were the men J. B. received the phone call from around 8:15 the night before (May 14) that wanted to meet him at the Ohio Street Pike?
  • If J. B. was not feeling well (as he had already cancelled the appointment with the Deputy), why would he agree to meet the two men at the Ohio Street Pike around 9:00 P. M.?  Moreover, he had to meet the Sheriff at 8:00 A. M. the next morning to go to Little Rock.
  • What was the appointment with the Deputy about the night before?
  • Why would J. B. have to ask the two men where the cattle gap was located in the old Taylor field if this was one of his favorite quail hunting spots?
  • Why would the Justice of the Peace order the body removed from the scene and have it sent directly to the mortuary?  Why was the coroner not summoned to the scene to take charge of the body?  Was an autopsy performed?
  • Why was the funeral service scheduled for the next day (May 15), instead of waiting the normal three days?  This would not allow adequate time for relatives living out of the area to attend the funeral or time for the coroner to inspect the body.


  • Were ballistics tests performed to make sure it was J. B’s revolver that actually inflicted the fatal wound to his chest?
  • Why would J. B. remove his jacket and shirt before taking his life? 
  • Would it not take more than 15 minutes, as reported by the witnesses, to drive over the cattle gap, park the car, walk to an elevated spot, take off your jacket and shirt, lie down and mortally wound yourself?
  • Why were several shells in the magazine ejected from the rifle lying in the back seat on the car’s floorboard?
  • Why were family members not more aware of the serious nature of J. B’s health?


We may never know if J. B.  committed suicide or not, based on the accounts in the newspaper.  His death certificate lists the cause of death as a gunshot wound self-inflicted with his service revolver. However, the account of events during the evening before, when J.B. left the house, as described above by his daughter, Sybil, at the age of 16, brings into question whether others were involved in his death.  It is not known if an official investigation into his death was ever conducted. Others feel J. B. may have been trying to deal with health problems and took his own life.




J. B. served as a Deputy Sheriff for nine years at Pine Bluff (1926-1935).  As reported in the newspapers by his fellow officers, Officer Middlebrooks had an enviable record as a courageous, clean and efficient peace officer and was widely known throughout Arkansas as one of the finest.  He was also a member of the American Legion and the Fraternal Order of Eagles. 

     James Bryan Middlebrooks was buried May 15, 1935, at the family plot in Hickory Grove Cemetery, Star City, Lincoln County, Arkansas.  Callie L. (Cunningham Middlebrooks)

Craig died June 5, 1970, in Pine Bluff.  She is also buried in the Hickory Grove Cemetery.

     Callie L. (Cunningham) Middlebrooks married Albert B. Craig April 8, 1937, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

     Children of J. B. and Callie were:

1.     Sybil Eloise

2.     Alton “Buddy” Lawrence

  3             3.     Carlton Ray

  4.       James Bryant “J. B.”       

 5.      Mildred Louise

   6.    Baby Girl  (Died at birth)

 7.      Lillie Mae[8]


It’s that time of year


It’s that time of year to pay your 2006-07 MFA dues.  The Natchitoches meeting CD will be in the mail shortly and we hope that each of you will make plans for next year’s July 12, 13, 14th meeting. The 2007 meeting location will be announced by E-mail within the next month.

     If you are not one of the early birds that have paid, please send your payment to the Association Treasurer.  Make your check payable to Middlebrooks Family Association, Inc.

 Mail to: Leonard Middlebrooks

           404 Rustling Pine Drive

             Slidell, LA 70458 



Submitted by DM


People think the “South” had a lot of plantations.  But plantations in Georgia were only farms, in terms of land.  Land was considered to be plantation if the owner had at least two-thirds of his land cultivated.

     Farms were classified in four ways in 1860: A man who owned 20 slaves or more would have been called a planter; if he owned five to 20 slaves, he would be a farmer; owning zero to five slaves made him a yeomen; a man who had no slaves or farm laborers was considered to be “poor white trash.”[9]


Aunt Beck the Octogenarian

Submitted by Dianne Middlebrooks

Edited by Jarrelyn Lang


Sarah Rebecca Pace Skelton was born in Henry County, Georgia, on February 12, 1855, and moved to Atlanta in 1881.       Her husband, W.W. Skelton, who died in 1913, was a farmer in the Shakerag District of Henry County.  According to tradition, the term “shakerag” had its origins in railroad history.  Small towns had no railway stations, so would-be passengers had to stand near the tracks and “shake a rag” to let the engineer know he needed to stop. 

      Earlier in life, Mrs. Skelton worked at the old Atlanta Cotton Mill on Marietta Street in Atlanta and at Elsa and May’s Cotton Mill, located near Atlanta.

      Known as “Aunt Beck,” Mrs. Skelton clearly remembered the time “the Yankees burnt the powder house in Atlanta,” in 1864, and how she “screamed all night because my daddy had to lead some Rebels down to Macon and leave us children alone.”       She remembered being “frightened by the sight of Sherman’s soldiers and seeing the sky blackened with the smoke of Atlanta burning.”

     Aunt Beck died following a short illness shortly prior to her 100th birthday in 1955.  She was living with her son in East Point, Georgia, at the time.  She had moved to East Point in 1925 because of that year’s drought and an onslaught of boll weevils. 

     Active for most of her life, Mrs. Skelton spent her 99th birthday quilting. 

      At the time of her death, Mrs. Skelton was the oldest member of Mount Zion Methodist (now known as United Methodist) Church of Henry County, a church she had attended “practically all my life.”  For many years, she was a friend of Dianne Middlebrooks’ family, who attended the same church.

      Aunt Beck was buried in Masters Cemetery in DeKalb County, Georgia.[10]



Submitted by Dianne Middlebrooks


One night as I was surfing on the Internet, I found “Migrations Project,” where people can register their “Ancestor’s Migration.”  A surprise greeted me ― I saw two Middlebrooks registered. The first one was about Reuben Middlebrooks and his wife, Martha Ware Ingraham. You can register the given name, surname, lifespan, place of birth, and migration steps. 

     This particular entry was about the migration of the Ingraham famliy. The surname “Ingramham” is German.[11]  The latter part of the name was dropped at sometime in the past.  The Americanized name is Ingram.

     The researcher is Faye Ingram Wendeburg.  Her folks were from Ulster, Ireland, and migrated sometime before 1796; the family arrived in Savannah, Georgia, on the Prince George

     The other Middlebrooks were John Middlebrook and his wife, Sallie Beth Odonnell, who were married in Mineral Wells, Texas.  From Mineral Wells, they moved to Snake Creek, Texas, and Bold Springs, Texas.[12] ◊ 


Family Coat of Arms


“Because ‘heraldry’ mills produced and sold coats of arms for practically any surname for decades, the myth in American culture is that every family has one, or at least that one exists for every surname.  It has also become popular to use the expression ‘family crest’ when referring to the arms, but the two words are interchangeable; the crest is what sits atop the coat of arms. [Claims made by] mail-order coat of arms companies hinged on one surname being a variant of another.  Genealogical research, however, indicates that [even similar] last names [may be] unrelated.”[13]



Submitted by Leonard Middlebrooks


The “Old Federal Road” was the primary travel route and was conceived and built to connect Fort Wilkinson, near Milledgeville, Georgia, to Fort Stoddert, an American outpost north of Mobile, Alabama.  It was developed from the 1806-1811 postal horse path that followed earlier Native American paths. 

     The “Old Federal Road” was one of the major routes through the Creek Nation at the turn of the century. It was also the route to the first railroads through the “Old Southwest” and a means to travel from middle Georgia to Louisiana and beyond.  The “beyond” was a primary route for pioneers going to the Mississippi Territory and was an important link between Washington, D. C., and New Orleans.

      Early settlers of the area now known as Monroe and Conecuh Counties, in Alabama,  included many Georgia and South Carolina families.[14]



The Pelican State


President Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803.  The area expanded from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and contained 800,000 acres of land.  Louisiana has a long history, beginning in 1541 when Hernando De Soto explored the area.  The state of Louisiana has survived the War of 1812, the War Between the States, and two World Wars.[15]




The perfect time to start a portfolio of your life to leave for your descendants is now.  Genealogists, more than most people, should be aware that we all will pass away eventually, and when we do, most of the knowledge of who we were and what we have accomplished will die with us unless we do something about it. Don’t let another day go by before you start!   Here’s how to simplify the job.

  • Gather all documentation you can find about yourself and put it in one place.  This may include all sorts of things:  newspaper clippings, letters, invitations, photos, certificates, resumes ― the list is endless.
  • Get a large binder, some page savers, and some dividers and tabs.
  • Starting with last year, put everything that pertains to that year into one section.  Then work backwards.  The section just before that should include everything having to do with the previous year, and so on.
  • Add a piece of paper at the beginning of each section.  Write down all the significant happenings of the year.  Don’t worry about your writing.  Sentence fragments are fine at this point.  So is sloppy writing.  The idea is to get it written down.  Someday in the future, when you have more time, you can put it into better shape.  What you are doing now will make the job easier.
  • Keep doing that with your “artifacts” until you get back as far as possible. You will reach the point where you can’t remember what happened in which year.  Then you can add things by five-year increments (say 1945-1950) or even by decades.
  • When you finish all your mementos, there will be an interesting, organized story.  Whatever you do, do it now! Time is of the
  • essence. [16]



Submitted by Jarrelyn Lang

Margie Middlebrooks Pilcher of Macon, George, left this world on April 29, 2006.
     Her funeral was held at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, with burial in Macon Memorial Park.  She leaves behind a daughter and two sons,
six grandchildren, four great grandchildren, a sister, a brother, and several nieces and nephews.
   The Middlebrooks Family Association extends deepest sympathy to all of Margie’s family, and especially to her brother Paul, an MFA member.  This family descends from Robert 1766. ◊


MFA Newsletter Archives

Vol. 2  No. 4 April 2003





By Dianne Middlebrooks and Sharron Middlebrook Currie


     After the War Between the States, times were hard in Texas and people couldn’t make money with farming. However, in South Texas there was plenty of wild game and cattle and in fact, thousands of Long Horn cattle were running wild in the area. Although there was no shortage of beef in Texas, the situation was different further north and west. There was a big demand for beef in these areas and men began gathering the Long Horns to take to areas where the need existed. Since there were no railroads to move the cattle, the men came up with the idea of driving them overland.

     Jake Middlebrook was one of the men involved in these overland drives.  He lived near a little town called Sweet Home in Lavaca County, Texas, so named as conditions were “ideal for home life.”  Lavaca County is located about halfway between the current cities of Houston and San Antonio and Lavaca’s post office was established in 1852.  By 1860, Sweet Home had a store, hotel, and stables.  Jake had wanderlust and was always looking for work away from home.  A cattle drive was a good opportunity for Jake to earn money and indulge his lust to travel.  Jake was married and his wife, Ellen, stayed at the Texas home while he was working wherever that might have been.  Their first daughter, Quinnie Bell, was born in June 1873 and Jake was on his one and only cattle drive when his daughter celebrated her first birthday.

     Jake was hired as a cattle driver due to his probable acquaintance with George West, the owner of the town’s store, hotel and stables.  West was a partner in the firm of McCutcheon & West of Lavaca County, Texas and the firm was preparing for a cattle drive to Ellsworth, Kansas, some 800 miles away.  West’s younger brother, Sol, was selected to be the trail boss for the upcoming drive.  George and Sol West were from a prominent family in Lavaca County in the 1800s.  Sol began as a cattle driver in 1872 and had already made three trips up the trail to Abilene, Dodge City, and Ellsworth, Kansas.  A typical cattle drive consisted of 8,000 to 10,000 head of cattle.

     Sol, along with Jake and the other men, left for Ellsworth, Kansas on February 27, 1874.  The next day they reached Gonzales Prairie in Gonzales County, Texas.  On March 1, they crossed the Red River into Indian Territory is that now the state of Oklahoma with the river serving as the boundary line between Texas and Oklahoma; the present day trail could be from San Antonio, Texas up to the Fort Worth and Dallas and into Oklahoma.  So far the weather was cooperating with beautiful, clean, clear blue skies. 

     On April 6, 1874, the cattle drive reached Rush Creek in Indian Territory, an area southeast of current Oklahoma City.  The weather changed and the misty rain, light snow and brisk wind from the North was about to change the cattle drivers’ lives.  None of cattle drivers were over 25 years of age.  Jake was only 22 years old. 

     The crew stayed for two days in the area Rush Creek area before getting an early start with the herd to the next camp.  The chuck wagon had already left for the next campsite at Hell Roaring Creek. The wagon was filled with food and the necessary utensils.  Tin cans had tight fitting lids and were placed in secure spaces so the contents would not spill as the wagon drove over the uneven Oklahoma terrain.

     After a particularly bad day, the cattle and drovers were within sight of the camp on Hell Roaring Creek when a blizzard roared to life. The cattle turned their backsides to the wind and began drifting south with it. In the trying to hold the cattle back until dark, the horses froze to death under their riders within five miles of Hell Roaring Creek camp.  After the weather cleared up some the drovers checked the herd and they were not far from camp.  All the drovers made it back to camp except Sol West, Charles Boyce, and Jake Middlebrook.

     Sol, Charles and Jake saw a dim light in the nearby hills and started hiking through the snow toward the light. They found a “dug-out” house where and the two men who lived put them up for the night. This meant a warm bed and hot food which was much needed after their one hour trek through 18 inches of snow.

     A dug-out was a house built into the side of a hill with the back part dug into the hill. The front part of these dug-outs typically had adobe walls or mud bricks and the door was of either wood or animal hide. Many dug-outs had no windows.  The bricks were made of mud and straw by the local settlers. The roof was covered with small trees, if available, and the canvas of the covered wagon.  Sod was put over the canvas and grass would grow in the sod and become insulation against the bad weather.

     As the weather cleared by the following morning, the herd was driven back to Hell Roaring Creek camp through ice and sleet and the 18 inches of snow. The cattle survived the freezing weather, but all 75 horses froze and died.  The men had to walk which suited Jake just fine. He didn’t like horses.

     Sol traded some cattle for horses with the Indians.  He also bought three steers and one mule from the men who owned the dug-out.  The crew then continued the drive and reached Ellsworth, Kansas on May 20, 1874. 

     Ellsworth, Kansas was organized in 1867 and was near Fort Ellsworth.  The Fort, named for the builder, Allen Ellsworth, was a frontier Army post originally founded in 1864 and renamed o Fort Harker in 1866, a year before the founding of the trail’s end town.  The fort was later abandoned in 1872.  Ellsworth succeeded Abilene as the northern terminus of the Texas cattle trail and is still noted on the Kansas map.

     Arriving at trail’s end in the middle of the 1874 summer, the drovers were finally able to set the stage for the upcoming cattle sale and to begin the long trip home.  The actual selling of the cattle was finalized on December 1, 1874 just two months shy of one year on the trail.

     During that summer, in June of 1874, Jake wrote to his wife from Ellsworth, Kansas that he was “well and hard at work herding Beeves (beef).”  Being gone almost one year from home Jake realized he did not know how much he loved Ellen until he left home.

     Jake had five children by Ellen, of which the first three were born in Lavaca County, Texas, in 1873, 1876, 1880.  The fourth child was born in 1883, possibly in Wilbarger County, Texas. The fifth child was born in 1886, Lampasas County, Texas.

     Before 1886, Jake and Ellen were living in Lavaca County, Texas when her parents, Samuel Jefferson McCord and Pernecy Emilene Oliver McCord, migrated northward to Lampasas County. The Middlebrook family must have followed the McCords, as Jake’s and Ellen’s fifth child was born in Lampasas County.          The McCords and the Middlebrooks continued moving northward. The Middlebrooks settled in Foard County, Texas and the McCords traveled a little further, over the state into Oklahoma and near the Foard County area.

     Jake’s wanderlust was finally tamed and he at last settled down.  He was a Constable for 15 years in Margaret, Foard County, Texas.  He was also a farmer and in the produce business and lived to be 84 years of age. Ellen outlived Jake by two years.


Editor’s note:

     Jake Middlebrook, born October

     3, 1851, d. May 25, 1935, was

     the son of James Bird

     Middlebrook who was Joseph          Middlebrook’s son.  Joseph was the youngest brother of Isaac,

     John, Micajah, Robert, Sims and    Thomas. Jake’s wife, Ellen,       May 17, 1856, died August 2,



1Backyard Living, by Patricia Beecher of Horsehead, NY

[2] Personal communication between Neal Middlebrook and Ray Middlebrook

[3] Jefferson County, Pine Bluff, AR, Marriage Book Y, p. 516

[4] Marriage performed by a Justice of the Peace

[5]World War I Registration Card

[6]Discharge Certificate, 1925 

[7] Officer Middlebrooks Found Dead, Commercial Newspaper, Pine Bluff, AR

[8] Census:  Lincoln Co., AR, 1880, 1900; 1930,  Jefferson Co., AR

[9] Newspaper clippings, dates and names unknown

[10] Ibid

[11] Piedmont Lineages Quarterly, VA/NC Piedmont Genealogical Society

12  The Trail Drivers of Texas. Martin J. Hunter, University of Texas, 1989

[13] Genealogy Magazine, Vol. 2, May. 2005, No.2


[15] Louisiana Statehood Quarter -Dollars

[16] Sequoia Genealogical Society, written by Virginia Smallwood, 1994

Letter from Jake to Ellen Middlebrook in possession of Sharron Middlebrook Currie

Kansas City On-line Library




Columbus’ ships transported the first chickens to this county.  They were a strain that had originated in Asia and were considered more valuable for their eggs than for their meat because they laid eggs year-round.

      From this small beginning a mammoth industry has evolved.  There are now approximate 240 million laying eggs in the United States producing approximately 66 billion eggs a year (meaning that the average hen lays an egg 275 days out of year.)