Captain John Brooks, Jr.

Post-Revolutionary Home To Be Shown By Museum TO BE MOVED TO M ACRES PARK-Thli It the Captain John Brooks, St., house, 1M Pembroke street, which will become * part of the Museum of Art, Science and Industry as an example of a Revolutionary war home. It was built In 1787. Old furniture will be exhibited in the house, which recently hts been painted as * donation by David H. MacKeniie, Inc., with paint given by E. t. DuPont deNemours. House will be located away from lie modern museum in a wooded area. manded the “Intrepid,” the “Patriot,” and the “Mary Ann.” In 1817 he married Mary Hawley and went into business with Isaac Sherman on Water street. During the years John Brooks, Jr., served on many committee for civic improvement. In 1851 he was elected mayor of Bridgeport for a one-year term and in 1854 again was elected mayor The captain took a great interest in Bridgeport and it was through his efforts in petitioning Congres that the harbor channel wa deepened, a temporary light provided, and later the present lighthouse was erected. He was influential in having the breakwater constructed and in building the lighthouse on Penfield reef. Willed Its Reservation Miss Mabel Frances Wilder, who died July 13, 1955, stated in her will that this house, which had belonged to her great, great- grandfather, be preserved as a representative home of Revolutionary times, and that it be known as the Captain John Brooks, Sr. collection. It is hoped that the house will be moved to 90 Acres park next year where it will be restored and will serve as an exhibit in a beautiful, secluded wooded area. The first floor will be used to exhibit furniture left by Miss Wilder and now on loan to the Society lor Preservation of New England Antiquities in Boston, and other decorative art. The second floor will be used for offices and meeting rooms. Labor for painting the house was donated by David H. MacKenzie, Inc. and the paint was given by E. I. Dupont de Nemours and Co., Inc. of Wilmington, Del. Fate of the historic Captain John Brooks, Sr. house, 199 Pembroke street, seems nearly settled according to Earle W. Newton, director of the Museum of Art, Science and Industry. Negotiations are being worked out under which title can be transferred to the museum upon settlement of the Mabel Frances Wilder estate, part of which will come to the institution preserving the house, making it possible to move the building to 90 Acres park. Captain John Brooks. Sr., 1763-1861) native of Stratford, who served under General Hooker in the Revolutionary war, built the house in 1787 when he married Mary Coe. This area of Pembroke street was then known as the Point. Captain Brooks kept meticulous accounts of the cost involved in building the house. The old records indicate part of the expense of construction included a “barrell of cider” for “grog of men.” Four hundred and two bushel of shells went into the pastering of the walls. Oyster shells, ground fine, formed the basis of most plaster along the coastline in those days. Captain John Brooks was one of a long line by the same name. He is referred to as “senior” here for clarity. At the age of 17 he served ‘in the War of Independence and later in the War of 1812. The holder for his sword is still over the front door of the house. Son Served As Mayor Captain Brooks had three sons: John. Jr. who like his father followed the sea; Charles, who moved to Nonvalk, and Birdseye, who after a period of years spent in New Haven, returned to his father’s house. Captain John Brooks Jr., (1795- 1SS1) was a man of great local stature. He lived in a house at the corner of Main and Gilbert streets during his later life. He was a student at -the Stratford academy. At the age of 15 he went to New York to live with John Vanderbilt and when he was 16 years old he started to work for a grocer. However, the sea was in his veins and at the age of 18 he was given command of the sloop “Arab” which ran between Bridgeport and New York. During the next few years he com- 

PORTRAIT GOES WITH THE HOUSE–Mrs. William S. Simpson examines  late 18th century painting ia the old grita room of the Brooks’ bouse. This room on the second floor was used to store grain to insure dryness. FORMER BEDROOM BECOMES OFFICE–Museum director, Earle W. Newton will use the bedroom of Captain John Brooks, Sr., as his office.


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