Bill and Emily Brook Family Information

A History of Bill Brook and Emily Coleman Brook


HISTORY from Emily's writings


HISTORY from Michaelson's book


Brook Ancestry

My grandmother, Grace Booth, was born in Yorktown, Illinois, in June 1874.

My grandfather, John Van Brook, was born in Ellison Township, Illinois on Sept 21, 1867. My father was born on a farm in Harrisville Township, VanBuren County, Iowa on July 25, 1903. He had 2 brothers, Glenn and Asael, and three sisters, Maude, Rachel and Marianne. Grandfather decided that he wanted his family to be in the area that had a good education system. He said that his children probably would never go to college, but he wanted his grandchildren to have that chance. The family moved to Michigan when Dad was about 8 years old. Grandfather and the boys loaded their cattle and machinery on a train, and left for Michigan, stopping at night to water the cattle and feed them, or let them graze. Grandmother and the girls took a later train that traveled straight through to Michigan. They bought a farm on Upton Road. This was "way out in the country" on a small dirt road. Grass grew between the wheel tracks.

The children walked to an elementary school on the north west corner of Upton and Stoll Roads. The school later became a Grange Hall, which was replaced by a Seventh Day Adventist church.

Later they bought acreage in Gratiot County, which grandfather didn't own for very long. Finally they purchased a home in East Lansing area, (which is now Brookfield subdivision), when the children were ready to go to high school from the country school.

In 1922-23, my dad and Uncle Asael, took their Model T Ford to California. They had an Aunt Beulah who lived there. After working there for about a year, the men decided to return to Michigan.

My grandfather, Frederick William Grundy, was born with the surname of Carpentier, and was adopted by the Grundy family as a child. His wife, Amelia Dragoo was born in Colfax Twp., Oceana Co., Michigan on June 16, 1868. She was the first white baby born in Colfax Township. My grandfather was a foreman in a lumber camp. Being in that occupation necessitated many moves for the family. My grandmother Grundy served as cook in the camp, which meant making meals for 25-30 men besides her own family.

My mother was born in Green Lake Twp, Grand Traverse Co., into a family of 11 children. Anna (Loree), Hugh, Bill (who settled in Canada), John, mom (Mildred Blanche) and her twin sister, Maude, who were born on Nov. 6, 1903, Hannibal Jeanne, (a nurse who was married only a short time to Nub Mead) and Patricia (Kirchner). Leah, Robert and Thomas died in infancy. My mother told of the time when her mom got tired of constant moving and trying to fix up old houses for the family, so when one day my grandfather decided to move, he drove up to the house and told grandma to start packing. She said NO, if you want to move just go ahead by yourself! This ended the constant moving. In later years, they settled on a farm south east of Perry. They made a move to a house 2 miles south of the town of Perry where they lived out their lifetime.

My parents were married in Perry on March 6, 1923. They moved into the big old farm house on Upton Road. It was heated by wood stoves in the various rooms. There were stoves in the kitchen, dining room, living room and the bedroom. The upstairs bedrooms were heated thru openings in the ceiling of the downstairs, and protected by decorative grates. What a place to lay and listen to the adults talk downstairs. The stove in the kitchen was used for cooking and baking also. There was no running water or bathroom or electri-city when I was small. Water was pumped with a gasoline engine from the well into a holding tank in the kitchen. Dad had to watch to be sure that this tank did not overflow. One day, he was thinking about something else and the water overflowed and ran onto the kitchen and the dining room floors. After that, Dad devised an overflow so the water would run outdoors if there was an overflow. Water for bathing or washing dishes had to be heated on the wood range in the kitchen, where baths were taken in a round tub set on the floor in the kitchen.


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