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Ashby Brooks McDowell Park

Obituary of John McMillan Brooks, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Capt. John McMillan Brooks, Confederate veteran, founder of the military department of the University of Tennessee and former mayor of Knoxville, Tenn., died at his home in that city on December 12, 1921, after an illness of about a year, aged eighty-one years. In his death Knoxville lost one of the city's most prominent and beloved citizens, a man who has served the city with untiring energy, not only when a public official, but also in his private life.

John McMillan Brooks was born in Knox County, Tenn., October 28, 1840, son of Joseph A. and Margaret McMillan Brooks, of Scotch-Irish descent. In 1859 he entered the University of Tennessee, and he had the distinction of establishing the military department of the University. He oraganized the first two military companies of the institution and was its first commandant and instrctor of military tactics. At the opening of the in 1861 members of these companies entered both armies, some enrolling for the Union, others the Confederate. Captain Brooks cast his fortunes with the South, and was assigned to duty in Company I, 2d Tennessee Cavalry, under Colonel Henry M. Ashby. The greater part of the time he was with the Army of Tennessee, but he also saw service in Kentucky, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Captain Brooks was in the battles of Chickamauga, Fishing Creek, Murfreesboro, Shiloh, Perryville, and Richmond, Ky. At Chickamauga he was dangerously wounded and nearly died; but after twelve months in the hospital he recovered and rejoined his company. He then served for some time on Colonel Scott's staff and did scout duty for Gen. Joe Wheeler. He surrendered near Charlotte, N. C., in the spring of 1865.

Returning to Knoxville after the war, Captain Brooks was in business there and in Bristol for many years. In 1889 he took charge of the Middlesboro (Ky.) Town Company, a real estate organization promoted with English capital, and he was for six years president of the company. He founded the city of Middlesboro, and was its first mayor.

Captain Brooks took an active part in Tennessee politics. He was one of the leading reorganizers of the Democratic party in East Tennessee after the war.

He was twice married, his first wife being Miss Sophia Park, daughter of Dr. James Park, forty years pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Knoxville. The second marriage was to Miss Amelia Irvine McDowell, daughter of Joseph McDowell. Three sons survive him. Captain Brooks was a member of the Presbyterian Church, a thirty-second degree Mason, a Shriner, member of the Royal Arcanum, Confederate Veterans, and Sons of the American Revolution.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, March, 1922.

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