Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Samuel W. Brooks (1830-1910)
MSA SC 3520-13639


Born in Dorchester County, Maryland, October 18, 1830.  Married first wife Rachel R.. (d. 1870); second wife Mary Ellen (Miller) Taylor (c. 1831-1894) on October 9, 1871; third wife Mary Anna Chaney (c. 1858-1905) on June 14, 1905.  Children were Florence "Fannie" E. (born c. 1852; m. Hoffman, later Hopkins), Samuel W., Jr. (b. 1856), Etta H. (born c. 1861; m. Baker), Katherine Barber (born c. 1863; m. McInnis), Lemuel Taylor (born c. 1867), Rachel (born c. 1870; m. Bigelow).  Resided in Annapolis.  Died in Annapolis, May 22, 1910.

Samuel W. Brooks was a shoemaker's apprentice and an oysterman on the Chesapeake Bay until he became messenger to Governor Thomas Holliday Hicks in 1858.  He went on to serve in the same position under Governors Augustus W. Bradford, Thomas Swann, Oden Bowie, William Pinkney Whyte, James Black Groome, John Lee Carroll, William T. Hamilton, Robert M. McLane, Henry Lloyd, Elihu E. Jackson, Frank Brown, Lloyd Lowndes, John Walter Smith, Edwin Warfield, and Austin L. Crothers until his death in 1910.  His duties included carrying mail from the post office to the governor, transcribing the governor's daily schedule and documenting significant state events.  Brooks also oversaw renovations made to the State House in 1879 and in 1884.

During the Civil War, Brooks played a crucial role in guarding important state documents and thus ensuring the continuation of the state government during tumultuous times.  When rumors circulated that Confederate troops were advancing on Annapolis, he protected the state's most valuable papers as well as the Great Seal by secretly transporting them by boat down the Severn River in the middle of the night to secure destinations known only to himself and the governor.  Brooks believed that at one point during the war, when the governor and other officials were forced to leave town, he was the only representative of the state government still in Annapolis. 

Having served Maryland's governors for over 50 years, Brooks became a well-known and respected figure in Annapolis.  He enjoyed giving tours of the State House and telling stories about his years working in the state capital.  On June 25, 1884, The Evening Capital reported that, "Mr. Brooks has been the deserving recipient of high commendations from each of the outgoing Executives of the State."

Return to Samuel W. Brooks' Introductory Page

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