Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Elwood M. Brooks

ELWOOD M. BROOKS. His responsibilities as county superintendent of schools of Decatur County can be better realized when it is understood that Elwood M. Brooks has under his supervision 100 public schools, a staff of teachers numbering 130, and an enrollment of 2,500 pupils. He is one of the most capable educators in Northwestern Kansas and has been in the work since early manhood.

Mr. Brooks was born at Clayton, Kansas, November 3, 1888. Clayton is still the home of his father, Jake R. Brooks, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1848, a son of John Brooks. John Brooks was born in Pennsylvania in 1816, of Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry, and spent his active career as a farmer in his native state. He finally retired to Kansas and died at Clayton in 1895.

Jake R. Brooks was reared in Pennsylvania and soon after his marriage moved to Southern Illinois and in 1878 pioneered and homesteaded near Clayton, Kansas. He has been one of the successful farmers in that region, has accumulated 960 acres of land, and is now living in comfortable retirement at Clayton, of which he is the present mayor. He is a democrat and a very active supporter of the United Brethren Church.

Jake R. Brooks married Hannah Murray, who was born in Pennsylvania in 1850. A brief record of their children is as follows: Lida, widow of Edward W. Salisbury, living near Clayton in Norton County; George, a successful farmer and stockraiser near Clayton; Susie, wife of N. B. Nelson, a retired lumber dealer living at Norcatur; John, who died at Norcatur in 1899 after a career as a merchant; Maggie, who died at Clayton in 1910, wife of Hugh Baker, a farmer; Lloyd, Frank, William and Carl, all successful farmers near Clayton.

Of this family of ten children Elwood M. Brooks was the ninth, being just older than Carl in the above list. He attended the rural schools of Norton County, took an academic and college course in the Fort Hays Normal School, and in the intervals of teaching attended that institution until 1915. His first work as a teacher was done in 1908. He taught one year in the country districts of Norton County, spent four years as a teacher in the Clayton public schools and in the fall of 1913 became superintendent of public schools of Oberlin. He was busily engaged in those administrative duties four years. In 1916 further honor came to him in appreciation of his scholarship and educational ability when he was elected county superintendent of public instruction. He took office in May, 1917, and was re-elected for a two-year term in the fall of 1918. Mr. Brooks is vice president of the State Sunday School Association, president of the Oberlin Commercial Club, county director of the United States Boys' Working Reserve and chairman of the Decatur County American Red Cross and has been active in all forms of war work. He owns a farm of 160 acres in Norton County. He is a member of the United Brethren Church.

In 1915, at Oberlin, Mr. Brooks married Miss Laura Gierhart, who was a teacher, and a daughter of W. L. and Ella (Knerr) Gierhart, the latter still living at Oberlin. Her father, deceased, was a liveryman and an early settler in this section of Kansas. Mr. and Mrs. Brooks have one child, Max Gierhart, born May 29, 1916.