Mrs. Margaret I. Brooks, well-known and successful monument dealer, of Greenfield, this county, widow of the late John H. Brooks, whose well-established business she has been carrying on since his death in 1913, has proved very conclusively that a woman may successfully engage in those particular lines of endeavor in which one is accustomed to find only men engaged. Energetic, enterprising and progressive, there is no member of the Indiana Retail Monument Dealers' Association better known in that body than Mrs. Brooks, for she has held office of secretary-treasurer in that body; and she is equally well known in the larger body of the National Retail monument Dealers' Association, in which she also has served as an officer.
Mrs. Brooks (Margaret I. Miller) was born on a farm tweleve miles from Martinsville, in Morgan county, this state, December 27, 1874, daughter of John C. and Delila C. (Whitaker) Miller, both natives of that county, earnest and diligent members of their community and substantial farming people, who spent all their lives in that county and died within four days of each other, Mrs. Miller's death occurring on February 16, 1913, and that of Mr. Miller on February 20 of the same year, Mr. Miller being sixty-seven years of age at the time of his death and his wife, seventy-four. Mr. Miller was a Democrat and had held several township offices. He was a member of the Methodist church and his wife was a Baptist.
Margaret I. Miller received her elementary education in the district schools in the neighborhood of her home, supplementing the same by a course in the Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute, after which she was engaged for four years as a teacher in her home county, teaching three years in the district school and one year in the graded school, and was thus engaged until the time of her marriage in 1898 to John H. Brooks.
John H. Brooks was born on a farm in the neighboring county of Rush on March 10, 1866, son of William and Mary (Gates) Brooks, both natives of that county and well-to-do farming people, who later moved to Hancock county, where their last days were spent. The Gates family emigrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio and thence to Indiana, being among the early settlers of Rush county. John Gates, father of Mrs. Mary Brooks's father, was born in Pennsylvania, his father having been an officer in the patriot army during the Revolutionary War, and took a prominent part in pioneer days in Rush county. To William Brooks and wife five children were born, of whom John H. Brooks was the youngest. William Brooks was a Republican and he and his wife were earnest members of the Friends church.
John H. Brooks was but a child when his parents moved from Rush county to Hancock county and was reared on the paternal farm in this county, receiving his early education in the district school. He then entered the State Normal School at Terre Haute and was graduated from that institution with the class of 1896. Previous to his graduation he had begun to teach school and for ten years was a teacher in the public schools of this state, principally in the schools of Hancock counry. In June, 1898, Mr. Brooks bought the Joel B. Pusey monument works at Greenfield, a small concern, which he immediately began to enlarge and extend. He moved the plant to the north side of Main Street, east, and later moved it to its present site on West Main Street, where he had brought the concern to a flourishing state when death stopped his labors on March 1, 1913, less than two weeks after the death of Mrs. Brooks's parents. Upon the death of Mr. Brooks his widow continued the business and is still very successfully conducting the same. Mr. Brooks was a Republican, a birthright Quaker and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Improved Order of Red Men.
To John H. and Margaret F. (Miller) Brooks four children were born: Jessie Irene, Robert Miller, Sarah Eleanor and John Homer, all of whom are at school. Mrs. Brooks has a very pleasant house at 214 Wood Street, Greenfield, and there she and her children are quite comfortably situated. She has some farm land, which she rents, and she has proved herself a very competent manager of the business which her husband left. Mrs. Books is a member of the Friends church and a member of the Clio Reading Club, a cultural organization of women of Greenfield, and in the affairs of both takes an earnest interest.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 822-823.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 11, 2001.
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