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Emsley Brookshire History

Submitted by: Carl Brookshire
      Meshack and Jane (Brookshire) Lewallen requested a certificate of transfer from the Back Creek Monthly Meeting (NC) to the White Water MM (IN). The transfer letter was issued 27 February 1822. Shortly there-after, the Lewallen family made the journey to Henry Co., Indiana, where they entered 80 acres in section 20 of Henry Twp., 13 July 1822. They also presented the White Water MM their letter of transfer and were received into that fellowship, 14 September 1822. Thus, Jane Lewallen was the first of the Brookshire family to settle in Henry Co.
     There is little doubt the Lewallens reported to the folks back home about the fertile soil and future prospects of this newly established state and encouraged other family members to come to this land of opportunity. As a result, Thomas and Sarah (Brookshire) Newby followed them to Indiana in 1826.
     Tom Newby had been accused of an "indiscretion" in North Carolina and had been disowned from the Quaker fellowship. Sarah, however, requested a letter of transfer for herself and children to the Indiana White Water MM, 30 August 1826. The family left Randolph Co., North Carolina and was in Henry Co., Indiana, in less than three months and, 13 November 1826, entered 85 acres (section 19) adjacent to the Lewallens.
     The Newby’s brought with them the niece and nephew of Jane and Sarah, Emsley and Anna Brookshire. Emsley had been born in Randolph Co. (NC), 8 December 1813 and his sister, Anna, 15 May 1823. Circumstances in NC limited the children‘s future, thus it was decided 12 year old Emsley and 3 year old Anna should accompany the Newby’s to this land of opportunity. They did not arrive penniless for a "trust" in the amount of 500 pounds sterling had been established for Emsley and a similar, but much smaller, set up for Anna. The children were placed in the care of the Lewallens where they remained until Emsley reached a mature age.
     Emsley proved himself industrious and entered 40 acres in Henry Twp., (section 17) 22 January 1833, about a mile north of the Newby’s and Lewallen’s. Anna accompanied Emsley to his new log cabin and remained with him until her marriage to Henry Bailey, 22 January 1842.
     Emsley and Elizabeth Shelley were united in marriage, 18 September 1834. Elizabeth, daughter of Eli and Abigail (Parkins) Shelley, was born in Tennessee, 9 November 1817. Within two years, the 40 acres in section 17 was sold and the Brookshire’s purchased 80 acres one mile further north which became known as the "Brookshire Settlement."
     Emsley had 11 children, 10 by Elizabeth and one by his second wife. The children were:
1. William, born 6 Aug 1835, married Elizabeth Miller 10 May 1866. Will died 1 Feb 1913. Will served in the Civil War.
2. Eli, born 23 Jan 1837, married Edith Draper 18 Dec 1866 and died 28 Sep 1910. Eli served in the Civil War.
3. John Wesley, born Dec 1838, died 2 Aug 1849, and buried in the Brookshire Cemetery.
4. Sarah Ann, born 8 Dec 1840, married Joshua Newby 20 Mar 1862, and moved to CA. Sarah died 2 Aug 1917 and was buried at San Jose, CA.
5. Mary Jane, born Dec 1842, married James Lynas 27 Aug 1863, and died 7 Apr 1868. Mary Jane was buried in the Brookshire Cemetery
6. Thomas Jefferson was born 26 Nov 1844, and married Clementine Akers 9 Oct 1866. The purchased land in Grant Co., 7 June 1870, and moved to Grant Co., abt Jan 1872. T. J. died 1 Nov 1922 and was buried in Park Cemetery, Fairmount, IN. T. J. served in the 9th Indiana Cavalry during the Civil War.
7. Abigail was born 24 Jun 1847 and married Thomas DeSelms 10 Oct 1866. Abigail died 14 Apr 1889.
8. Orange Scott was born May 1850 and married Georgiana Irvin, 11 Mar 1875. Georgiana died 30 march 1886 and buried in the Brookshire Cemetery. Orange then married Mary Elizabeth Hutson, 25 Oct 1888. Orange died 6 September 1898 and, supposedly, was buried in the Brookshire Cemetery without a grave marker.
9. Luther Lee, born 28 Feb 1852, Grant Co., and married Louisiana Stinson, 25 Jul 1871. Luther died 5 Feb 1904 and buried was buried in Park Cem., Fairmount, IN
10. Emsley Henry was born 24 Jan 1854 and died 31 Oct 1878. He was buried in the Brookshire Cemetery.
     Elizabeth Brookshire died 31 May 1858 and was buried in the Brookshire Cem. Emsley then married Julia Hockett nee Thorp, 11 Jun 1859, at Marion, IN. Emsley and Julia had one daughter:
11. Rebecca Belle, born 7 Jun 1860, and married Terrell Wilson, 27 Jun 1883. Belle taught in the Brookshire School and, after her marriage and the death of Emsley, the Wilson’s moved to California. Julia moved to CA with Belle and Terrell and died there, 4 March 1918.
     Emsley grew to manhood under the influence of the Society of Friends and, as a consequence, embarked on a religious career early in life. His character and leadership qualities were manifested in his teens by organizing a group of neighbors for religious services in their homes. This assemblage was called the "Brookshire Class" and it was from this group the Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church was organized. Emsley was charter member and trustee of Sugar Grove. In addition, Emsley was an "exhorter" in the church and filled a need due to the lack of a regular minister.      Emsley’s convictions and youthful zeal made him a prime candidate for the abolition of human bondage movement, a position from which he never deviated, and during the 1830s, became more zealous in his abolitionist views. Many church denominations were struggling to resolve this thorny issue and were finding a compromise impossible for neither the slave owners nor abolitionists would move from their stance. By 1840, Emsley was convinced the M.E. Church was not doing its best to root out the evil of human bondage. Hence, he withdrew from the Methodist Church and was without a church affiliation for the next three years. However, he continued preaching whenever and wherever an opportunity presented itself.
     Many denominations were experiencing an exodus of members over the slavery issue but the Methodists were leaders in the action. In an attempt to unify action against slavery, a group (led primarily by Methodists) called for a convention at Utica, NY., 31 May 1843. It is believed Emsley attended, along with 200 ministers and 6000 members, and participated in the establishment of the Wesleyan Connection, which was to be "free from both episcopacy and slavery."
     Emsley had been meeting with like minded people in his neighborhood but after the Utica Convention, set about to organize the Duck Creek Wesleyan Methodist Church in September 1843. A church building was later constructed on land supplied by Emsley Brookshire as was the cemetery and schoolhouse.
     During the turbulent years of the ‘30s, Emsley’s Uncle William Brookshire died in testate in Clarke Co., AL., October 1842. His estate consisted primarily of 18 slaves, which was divided among his brothers and sisters. Emsley, and others, wanted their share of slaves "in body." The courts ordered the strong and healthy adult slaves to be sold and the children reserved for the abolitionists of the family. Consequently, Emsley (and possibly Tom Newby) journeyed to Cincinnati (4 December 1844) where passage was obtained on the El Dorado for the trip down the Mississippi and across to Mobile, AL., and thence, up the Tombigbee River to Fort Jackson. Three children had been set aside and were being held for Emsley’s arrival were kept. The return trip was made and Emsley arrived back home, 8 January 1845. Emsley expressed his emotions by stating, ".... and have sit down with wife and children, and feel very thankful when I look upon them, that we are not slaves." One child, named Ishum, was reared in the Brookshire home, took the family name, served in the Civil War and was buried in the VA Cemetery, Marion, IN.
     Emsley’s education, while lacking a formal one, was obtained by constant study. He met the approved standard of his denomination in 1847 and was ordained an elder. Originally, the Indiana Conference was referred to as the Miami Conference and was divided into two districts: Westfield and Newport. The Newport district was comprised of the eastern half of the conference and it was in this district that Emsley served. Although Emsley served throughout the Newport district, the Marion Circuit was the area of his predominate work. The Marion Circuit consisted of Grant, Blackford, Howard, and Wabash Counties. In addition to his travels, Emsley served as conference president in 1859.
     During the 1860’s, Emsley served as Conference Missionary and, as such, traveled throughout the conference. In the late ’60s, he served Tennessee, then, in 1870; he was appointed missionary to North Carolina. His work took him to the area of his early childhood and, while there, visited with relatives.
     In 1882, Emsley suffered a stoke causing his labors to diminish rapidly. He held preaching services but not to the extent of former days. His strength continued to weaken and, 23 May 1890, he passed through the veil and was buried in the Brookshire Cemetery.
     The Brookshire Cemetery is located on the North side of a curve in the road, almost 2 miles north of the Sugar Grove Methodist Church. The church he established was across the road and the Brookshire School was adjacent to the east of the cemetery.

Submitted by: Carl Brookshire

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