DR. ROBERT F. BROOKS was born on a farm about one mile from Oxford, Ohio, on the 8th day of May, 1839. He was
the sixth born in a family of ten children. His father, Kennedy Brooks, was born in Ireland of Scotch-Irish ancestry.
His mother was Elizabeth H. (Butler) Brooks, born at Rutland, Vermont, and was a relative of General Benjamin F.
Butler, the great Union general, lawyer and statesman. Robert F. Brooks was raised on a farm and first attended
district school at his home, afterward attending Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, at which he graduated with the
highest honors of his class, the class numbering forty one. He then studied medicine, under the guidance of Dr.
Goodrich, at Oxford, Ohio, where he did much toward assisting his preceptor in his large practice, and later attending
the medical department of Michigan University at Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he graduated as a physician. He then
took up post graduate work in the medical and surgical departments of Columbia College and in Bellevue Hospital,
New York city.
He served four yearns, during and after the Civil war, as assistant surgeon of the United States battleship Florida.
In 1868 he came to Carthage, Missouri, and located in the practice of his profession, to which he gave his unremitting
attention up to a short time before his death. He had a large practice as both a physician and surgeon. not only
in Carthage and the surrounding country but also in the other cities and towns of the county, where he was probably
called oftener in critical cases than any other physician, and was recognized as the leading surgeon of the county.
For many years he was the surgeon for a number of the railroads entering Jasper county. He was devoted to his profession,
was a great student of books, and with a remarkable memory he was able to read and remember facts and principles.
Dr. Brooks never married. He always maintained a pleasant home in Carthage, which was presided over by his sister,
Miss Lizzie Brooks, for whom he had great affection. His youngest brother, Peter Brooks, had studied medicine under
him and became a highly successful physician in his native state of Ohio. When Peter's health had so failed that
his life was despaired of he came to the home of his brother and sister in Carthage, where he was kindly nursed
and watched over until his death, which occurred in October, 1888. Six months later, April 19, 1899, Miss Lizzie
Brooks died, and in less than five months Robert F. died.
Dr. Brooks was a lover of music and was a good singer and performer on the guitar. He took great interest and satisfaction
in the cultivation of flowers, and was a man of fine taste, public spirited and very liberal toward and considerate
of the poor. He died at his home in Carthage September 6, 1899, after several months' illness, in which he fully
realized that his sickness was fatal, and in which he made careful adjustment and disposition of his earthly affairs.
He was a religious man, having been brought up in the Presbyterian church. By his carefully drawn will he disposed
of his property in his characteristic way, with a view to doing the most good possible to suffering humanity. As
he had devoted his life to relieving the sufferings of his fellow men, not only in a professional way but also
in numerous other ways, so he desired that his property after death should be devoted to the same great purpose.
His will provides that his sisters, Arpasia B. Brooks, Lucretia B. Miller and Annie M. Brooks, shall each receive
five hundred dollars annually from his estate during each of their lives, and after the death of his sisters his
executor shall sell all his property and estate, paying the money received therefor to the city of Carthage in
trust to be used in either erecting or equipping and maintaining a public hospital. Hs library of medical books
is willed to the city, to be kept and used in such hospital. The devise is a valuable and very generous gift. Besides
valuable business propert in Carthage Dr. Brooks owned a large tract of valuable mining property near Joplin. This
final act of Dr. Brooks is the fitting consummation of a life spent in generous, worthy acts and loving ministrations
The Biographical History of Jasper County, Missouri
By Hon. Malcolm G. McGregor
The Lewis Publishing Co.
Jasper County, MO
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