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Sallie Faulkner Brooks

(1833-1865)

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At a Glance

Sallie Faulkner Brooks of Halifax County, VA attended the Burwell School in the late 1840s and married Charles Bruce Easley, of Halifax County, VA sometime in the early 1850's. Charles Bruce Easley was the brother of Mary Bailey Easley , another Burwell student from Halifax County, VA. Sallie Faulkner Brooks younger sister, Harriet L. Brooks , also a Burwell student.

Story

Sallie Faulkner Brooks was born c. 1833 in Halifax County, VA, the second daughter of prosperous planter James Faulkner Brooks and Sarah Atkinson. The family are listed in the United States Census of 1850 [1] in the Southern District of Halifax County, VA, page 147: Sallie Faulkner Brooks, 17, was listed in the United States Census of 1850 [1] with her parents, James Faulkner Brooks,47, and her mother, Sarah Atkinson, 45. Her siblings were, Susan W. Brooks, 20, Martha A. Brooks, 16, twin brothers John Venable Brooks and Samuel H. Brooks, 12, Harriet L. Brooks , 9, and Mary A. Brooks, 6. Sallie Faulkner Brooks and Harriet L. Brooks  are known to have attended the Burwell School.

Sallie married Charles Bruce Easley, of Halifax County, VA sometime in the early 1850's. Charles Bruce Easley was the brother of Mary Bailey Easley , another Burwell student from Halifax County, VA.

Charles Bruce Easley was actually counted twice in the United States Census of 1850 [1]. He is listed as living with his family in Halifax County, VA, including mother Harriet C. Easley, 49, a widow, sisters Frances Easley, 20, Mary Bailey Easley , 14 (a Burwell student) and brother William Henry Easley, 16. Charles was 18 at that time. He also appeared in the United States Census of 1850 [1] for Hillsborough, NC, page 13, as a student living with three other students (Malcolm Alston, William Alston, and Thomas Johnston) in the household of Dennis Heartt, an  "Editor."  As there were several other young men living in the household, including two Freeland brothers who stated their profession as  "printer,"  Mr. Heartt's family appears to have provided room and board to students and other young single men in Hillsborough, NC.

Sallie and Charles Bruce Easley appeared in the United States Census of 1860 [2] in the Southern District of Halifax County, VA, page 130, on the same page as that of the Carrington family, whose daughter Bettie Morton Carrington  attended the Burwell School. Perhaps Sallie and Charles Bruce Easley lived near the Carringtons. Charles, 31 and Sallie 29, had three children: Thomas Easley, 6, Alice Elizabeth Easley, 3, and Sallie A. Easley, six months old. The couple were well-off; Charles listed himself as a farmer with real estate valued at $19,700 and a personal estate of $19,865. On pages 84 and 85 of the 1860 Slave Schedules, Charles is listed as having 25 slaves.

Sallie's mother,Sarah Atkinson, died between the 1860 and 1870 census. In the United States Census of 1870 [3], Sallie's widowed father, James Faulkner Brooks lived with his son Samuel H. Brooks and his daughter Mary A. Brooks in Mt. Carmel, VA. An African American family -- last name Easley: Harry, Parthenia, and a daughter with her 10-month old son, Henry, also lived on the property. James' real estate was valued at about $4,200, greatly less than the $25,000 value for his real estate in 1850. James' personal estate was estimated at $5,329 in 1870.

In the United States Census of 1870 [3], Charles Bruce Easley, 38, is listed as a farmer in a household with one domestic servant, Selah Easley, as well as a farm laborer, James Owen, and James' young son. Sallie and the daughters are not listed with Charles.

In the United States Census of 1880 [4] for Black Walnut, VA, VA, page 39, Charles reappeared as a farmer, 50, and married to Minnie, 29. Also listed in their household are three daughters who are from his marriage to Sallie Faulkner Brooks: Alice Elizabeth Easley, 22, Sallie A. Easley, 20, who was 6 months old in 1860; and Mary B. Easley, 17, who was born several years after the 1860 census and may have been named for Sallie's sister-in-law, Mary Baker Easley Craddock. Also in the household are Eliza Easley, 1, and Charles Bruce Easley, [Jr.], 4 months, the children of Charles' and his second wife, Minnie.

No dates for Sallie's death were found, but it likely she died some time after her daughter Mary B. Easley's birth about 1864. Perhaps this explains Charles separation from his family in 1870.

This is borne out by an exploration of the United States Census of 1870 [3]. Two of the three children of Charles Bruce Easley and Sallie Falukner Brooks are listed as living with families in Halifax County, VA. Alice Elizabeth Easley, 12, appeared in the household of Sallie's sister-in-law, Frances Easley, in 1870. Mary B. Easley, 6, was in the household of John Venable Brooks and his wife Mary Owen , a former Burwell student, in Hyco Township, VA. John Venable Brooks, 30, was most likely Sallie Faulkner Brooks' younger brother. Sallie A. Easley was not located anywhere in any 1870 census -- although she reappears in 1880 in her father's household.

The Easley's first child, Thomas Easley, does not appear in any census after that of 1860. A web-posted genealogy on Ancestry.com (posted by a subscriber rather than based on historical records) states that Thomas Easley died on February 14, 1860 and his mother in 1865.

Sadly, it appears that Sallie lost her first child, Thomas Easley, and died very soon after her daughter Mary B. Easley's birth, c. 1865. She was in her mid-30's. By 1880, Charles Bruce Easley had remarried, brought his daughters into his household, and had two more children with his second wife Minnie. At some point in time, Sallie's grave and that of her son Thomas Easley were moved, but the location is unknown.

Their home, called Charlie's Hope in Halifax County, VA, was mentioned in the WPA survey of old houses in Halifax County, VA in the 1930's. The Research Committee visited the site, found for us by Halifax resident Chip Pottage, in 2008. Sitting along a rough dirt road, the old house was empty, derelict, and engulfed in vegetation. About 1/4 mile away, in the woods, Mr. Pottage had found an abandoned family cemetery by looking for cedar trees and periwinkle vine, traditionally planted in old graveyards. Just under a huge old cedar we found two graved-sized depressions about 1 foot deep, covered all around by periwinkle. Presumably these were the original, now empty, graves of Sallie Faulkner Brooks and her son Thomas Easley [3]. p. 13, 147 [1]. p. 130 [2]. p. 39 [4].

Biographical Data

Important Dates

Cemetery at Charlie's Hope
Sallie Faulkner Brooks was born c. 1833. She died on April 26, 1865. A 1865 grave on knoll, now completely wooded, near Charlie's Hope in Halifax County, VA, was moved some years after death to unknown location. An empty hole of the grave remains as well as that of Sallie Faulkner Brooks' son, Thomas Easley [5].

Places of Residence

Schools Attended

Relatives

References

  1. United States Census of 1850.
  2. United States Census of 1860.
  3. United States Census of 1870.
  4. United States Census of 1880.
  5. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  6. The Hillsborough Recorder was published from 1820 to 1879 by Dennis Heartt. It was a weekly newspaper.