Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Deborah Brooke Pleasants (1770-1835)
MSA SC 3520-15920

Biography:

Born September 4, 1770 in Sandy Spring, Montgomery County, Maryland. Daughter of Basil Brooke (ca .1742- August 22, 1794) and Elizabeth Brooke (c. 1741- August 17, 1794). Three Siblings: James Brooke (b. 1766), Gerard Brooke (1768-1821), and Basil Brooke Jr. (b. 1772).1 Married James Brooke Pleasants in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1790. One possible daughter: Hannah Pleasants (born c. 1793). Died February 21, 1835.

Deborah Brooke Pleasants was the daughter of Basil Brooke and Elizabeth Brooke, and the granddaughter of James Brooke, who was a wealthy owner of tens of thousands of acres throughout Montgomery County during the 1700s. Deborah married James Brooke Pleasants, her first cousin, in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1790.2

In December of 1794, Deborah and her husband were involved in the process of dividing up 2,000 acres of land that had been passed down from the estate of James Brooke to his many heirs.3 After several months of deliberation over the division of James Brooke's estate, it was determined that Deborah and James Pleasants were entitled to 185.25 acres of the 2,000 acre tract.4

By 1801, Deborah's brother Gerard Brooke had taken trusteeship of Deborah's inherited property, and had purchased a lot in Brookeville, Maryland for Deborah to live on.5 She remained in downtown Brookeville until at least 1815, when Gerard relinquished control of her property and sold the Brookeville lot that she lived on.6 Deborah likely remained in the Sandy Spring region of Montgomery County until her death on February 21, 1835.7

Kyle Bacon, DAR Research Fellow, 2012

Notes:

  1. Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting: Births, Deaths, and Membership: birth date and parents of Deborah Pleasants, pp. 3-4 [MSA SC 2978, SCM 667-3]. 
  2. BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT (Marriage Licenses), August 7, 1790 Marriage license for James Pleasants and Deborah Brooke, p. 93 [MSA C376-1, 02/14/14/011]; Deborah's husband, James Brooke Pleasants, was a relative of James Pleasants Jr., who was an important political figure in Virginia. He served in the Virginia House of Delegates (1797-1802), U.S. House of Representatives (1811-1819) and U.S. Senate (1819-1822). He was also Governor of Virginia from 1822 to 1825. In 1816, then-Congressman Pleasants paid a visit to Brookeville, sending a letter to Thomas Jefferson while he was there. Although it is likely he was there to visit his relatives, the letter he wrote Jefferson was about infrastructure and internal improvements, topics that many prominent Brookeville residents were deeply involved in. On James Pleasants Jr., see the Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress, http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=P000386.
  3. MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) December 1, 1794, Deed, Several Brooke family members determining division of the estate of James Brooke, Liber F-6, pp. 79-84 [MSA CE 148-6].
  4. MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) January 11, 1795, Deed, Brooke family members to Deborah and James Pleasants, 185.25 acres of land from the estate of James Brooke, Liber F-6, pp. 110-112 [MSA CE 148-6].
  5. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS (Mary Farquhar Green Collection) Account book of Gerard Brooke, 1802-1821 [MSA SC 566-1-98, 00/09/06/06]. Transactions involving Deborah Pleasants cease in 1815.
  6. Ibid.; MONTGOMERY COUNTY COURT (Land Records) May 25, 1815, Gerard Brooke to Benjamin Blowers, Lot 16 in Brookeville. Liber S-19, p. 206 [MSA CE 148-19].
  7. Sandy Spring Monthly Meeting: Births, Deaths, and Membership: Death of Deborah Pleasants on February 21, 1835, pp. 9-10 [MSA SC 2978, SCM 667-3].

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