This letter was written by Iveson Lewis Brookes (1793-1865) one of five sons of Jonathan and Annie (Lewis) Brookes of Rockingham, North Carolina.
“At some point, Brookes’s parents moved to Caswell County, N.C. Brookes began his studies at the University of North Carolina in 1816 and received an A.B. degree in 1819. While in school, he preached in local Baptist churches, particularly at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church near Chapel Hill. After graduation, Brookes taught briefly at Greensboro Academy in Greensboro, N.C., and then, employed by the Itinerant Board of the Baptist Church, left North Carolina for a domestic mission tour through South Carolina.
In 1821, Brookes became rector of Eatonton Academy in Eatonton, Ga. On 22 September 1822, he married Lucine Walker. In 1831, their son, Walker I. Brookes, inherited plantation land and slaves in Jasper and Jones counties, Ga., from his mother’s family. Brookes managed this property as guardian for his son until 1846. Sometime in early 1830s, presumably following the death of his first wife, Brookes took a second wife, Sarah J. Myers, widow of James Myers. Sarah brought to the marriage plantation property in Edgefield County, S.C. About 1831, Brookes seems to have moved to Woodville, located just outside Hamburg in Aiken County, S.C., where he lived when not visiting one or the other of his plantations.
In 1842, Brookes was named principal of the Penfield Female Academy in Penfield, Ga. By 1845, however, he was back in Woodville, contemplating opening an academy there. These plans never came to fruition, and Brookes spent the rest of his life managing various properties and preaching in various churches. His plantation holdings must have been considerable; an 1861 list includes the names of 66 slaves who appear to have been employed on one of his properties.
Brookes was active in local and national Baptist affairs and vocal in defending the institution of slavery. In 1850, he published “A Defense of the South Against the Reproaches and Incroachments of the North: In Which Slavery is shown to be an Institution of God” (available in the Southern Pamphlets Collection, Rare Book Collection), a pamphlet that justifies slavery on biblical grounds.” [Source: University of North Carolina where his papers are archived.]
Brookes wrote the letter to Rev. Elliott Estes (1795-1849) and his wife Elvira Ann Hagood (1797-1862). We learn from the letter that Iveson Brookes has been teaching 13 year-old Harriet Sarah Estes (1835-1860) who later (in 1851) married his son, William Brookes (1826-1886).
Addressed to Rev. E. Estes, Irvington Post Office, Barnwell District, South Carolina
Woodville near Hamburg, South Carolina
July 19th 1848
Dear bro. Estes,
Our first term will end on Friday the 4rd of August and should you & sister Estes find it convenient, we would be much gratified to have you be with us. Having none but my own children & your daughter, I do not expect to have a public examination but would be pleased to give you an opportunity to judge of Harriet’s progress.
I suppose it will give you great satisfaction to know that she professes to be an earnest seeker of religion. She has been quite serious for several months & I have been very favorably impressed with her exercises. Mr. Brantley conversed with her & I thought rather prematurely encouraged her two be baptized. I have cautioned her against making a hasty profession & when so young. I fear that too many young persons are induced by the persuasion of ministers & others to become church members before they have properly understood the great matters of Christian obligation. It has been a point with me to take special pains to present to the minds of my pupils religious instructions and I have reason to trust that such endeavors have not been in vain. At Penfield, some ten or twelve of my pupils made hopeful professions of faith in Christ.
I perhaps ought to have suggested to you earlier that it is my wish to be more at liberty than I have been to attend meetings abroad or those protracted thro’ the week in the vicinity and prefer not to take Miss Harriet after this term. We are all well. Present my kind regards to sister Estes & hoping to see you both shortly. I remain as ever, yours truly, — Iveson L. Brookes
[Followed by essay on Sir Isaac Newton]