top of page

The Brooks Family, Old Parish to Highland Cemetery

Charles Archibald Brooks (1843-1899)

Catherine Madora Webster Brooks (1847-1919)

Elizabeth Amelia “Minnie” Brooks (1867-1876)

Frank Archibald Brooks (1885-1888)

Charles E. Brooks (1870-1893)


Charles A. Brooks and Catherine Madora Webster Brooks were born and married in Nova Scotia, Canada. They moved to South Dedham where Charles was a blacksmith.


They had twelve children, born between 1867 and 1887: Elizabeth “Minnie” Amelia, Lillian, Charles E., Herbert, C. Webster, Jennie, Harriet, William, Minnie Elizabeth (born in 1880, four years after the first Minnie passed away), Sarah, Frank, and Nina.


Elizabeth Amelia “Minnie” Brooks, their firstborn child, was born on April 24, 1867. She died from diphtheria on November 15, 1876, at nine years of age. She was interred in Old Parish Cemetery. Frank Brooks was born on January 2, 1885 and died on May 25, 1888 due to an accidental drowning. He was three years old and was interred in Old Parish.


Charles E. Brooks was born on November 23, 1870 in South Dedham. He was the third child born to Charles A. and Madora Brooks. The younger Charles worked in the tanning industry as a “Morocco dresser,” a person who tanned and softened goat skin leather. Charles died on April 27, 1893 at the age of 23 of chronic Bright’s disease, a disease of the kidneys. His service was held in the Baptist Church on April 30. Firefighters of Hose Co., No. 1, of which Brooks was a member, attended as a group. According to the newspaper, his “remains were placed in the tomb at the Old Cemetery.”


At the time of Charles E. Brooks’ death, his parents purchased a lot at Highland Cemetery. His remains and those of Minnie and Frank, who had been interred in Old Parish, were interred at Highland lot 36.


Charles A. Brooks passed away on March 6, 1899 after which his widow, Madora Webster Brooks ran a boardinghouse in the family home at 152 Railroad Avenue, the corner of Railroad and Market Streets. Catherine Madora Webster Brooks died in 1919.

Site of Madora Brooks 1919 home as it appears in 2019.


A cyanotype picture postcard of “the six Brooks sisters” was found in the postcard collection of Robert N. Donahue. Cyanotype is a photographic process that produces blue prints and was sometimes used to create postcards at the turn of the twentieth century. As the text surrounding the photo notes, the sisters pictured were Lillian, Jennie, Harriet, Minnie, Sarah, and Nina. Lillian, who signs her name “Aunt Lil,” wrote and mailed the card on March 18, 1907.

The six Brooks sisters from the collection of Robert N. Donahue


bottom of page