The biographical sketch that follows is taken from History of Kentucky, Judge Charles Kerr, Editor, Volume IV, 1922, pages 345-6.
In David Franklin Brooks is found an illuminative illustration of the kind of material that has brought Jefferson County into the limelight as a center of scientific farming. Having amassed a sufficient competence to allow him to retire from the active labors of life, he is occupying a part of the Minor estate, at Okolona, and has surrounded himself with those comforts and conveniences which contribute to the satisfaction of a refined mind. His career has been one in which he has made the most of his opportunities, and in which the gaining of personal success has gone hand in hand with contributions to the welfare and advancement of the several communities in which he has made his home.
Mr. Brooks was born near Brooks Station, Bullitt County, Kentucky, September 13, 1847, this railway point being so named in honor of his uncle, Walter B. M. Brooks, a former member of the State Legislature, who had donated the land upon which the station was erected. Mr. Brooks' father, Solomon Neal Brooks, who was born in the same community, was named after Solomon Neal, a pioneer merchant of Louisville who was noted for his promotion of Methodism. Solomon N. Brooks was born March 18, 1818, a son of Joseph A. Brooks and his wife, who before her marriage was a Miss Miles. Joseph A. Brooks was at one time the owner of the Old Deposit Salt Works, and about the year 1836 showed his progressiveness by having wooden pipes laid underground through which the raw material was run to furnaces near his home, some four miles distant, and there boiled in iron kettles set in a row over the furnaces. He continued to be thus engaged for a number of years and through this method supplied salt not only to his own community, but to West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Tennessee, the finished product being conveyed on pack-horses. This enterprise was passed on by Joseph A. Brooks to his son, Solomon N., who operated it until it became unprofitable, owing to the establishment of other ventures of a similar nature. Joseph A. Brooks passed away before he was sixty years of age, but before his demise had accumulated a property of about 5,000 acres, a large part of which was given to his children. His death was undoubtedly hastened by the sad deaths of two of his sons who were college students, from the shock of which he did not recover. His widow survived him some years. One son, Dr. Joseph Brooks, removed to Mississippi, where he died during the period of the war between the states. Another son, William, with his wife and child, died of cholera, in 1854. A daughter married John Howard of Louisville, but left no descendants.
Solomon N. Brooks remained on his father's farm and at the salt works, and at the elder man's death inherited some 1,100 acres of land, to which he subsequently added through ability and good management, becoming one of the extensive farmers of his community. He died in 1890, at the age of seventy-two years. Mr. Brooks' wife was Elizabeth Field, a daughter of Abram Field of Shepardsville, one of the old merchants of that community during the time that the old iron works were located in that vicinity. She was reared in that community and was only sixteen years of age at the time of her marriage. She survived her husband for fifteen years, dying May 1, 1905, at the age of seventy-eight years. Of their children, six lived to maturity. Abram Field Brooks, who died one year after his father's demise, lived on a part of the old Brooks farm. Elizabeth, the widow of T. J. Johnson, a farmer near Louisville, now resides with a daughter in Bullitt County; David Franklin is the next in order of birth. Richard died in middle life in Bullitt County. Joetta married Henry D. Robb, a retired farmer of Okolona, Jefferson County. Solomon N. Brooks, Jr., lives on his father's old farm and is a leading citizen of his community.
David Franklin Brooks was given a good practical education in his youth, and at his father's death inherited a part of the old home place. In addition to carrying on general farming, for about twelve years he operated a distillery at Mount Washington, about twelve miles from his home and manufactured the popular "Sugar Valley" brand, but this business was always made secondary to his agricultural activities. About 1905 he disposed of his farm and moved to his present place, where he has about 300 acres of the Minor estate and is engaged in general farming. He has a well-cultivated and highly-improved property, in the management and operation of which he follows the most modern methods.
In 1883 Mr. Brooks was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Minor, who was born in 1856, on the present site of Evergreen Cemetery, Louisville, a daughter of Edmund G. Minor. To this union there have been born five children: Minor Caldwell, who is engaged in operating the home farm for his parents; Edmund G., who is identified with the Standard Oil Company, at Seattle, Washington; his twin, Neil S., who assists his brother Minor C. in the operation of the home farm; David Franklin, Jr., who is operating a fruit ranch at Seattle, Washington, where he is also interested in a salmon canning venture, married Emily Campbell, of Stillwater, Minnesota, and has one child, David Franklin, III.; and Mary Field, who is unmarried and resides with her parents.
Mr. Brooks is a democrat in his political views, but has not sought public office or favors at the hands of his party. He has always been a stanch supporter of progressive civic measures and has shown his friendship for movements which have made for higher morals and better citizenship. In the transaction of his business dealings he has evidenced high ideals of commercial ethics. Mr. Brooks is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, while Mrs. Brooks adheres to the faith of the Baptist denomination.
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