A small somewhat scattered village named Brookstown in the northeast section of Madison County came into existence in the early 1800's, flourished for a number of years, and then disappeared. It was located about three miles due west of Doylesville, and about three miles north-northwest of Union City. For about a hundred years it was a thriving community with many persons who were members of pioneer families. It was a farming center with a blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse and a Church of Christ. A couple of miles to the south on the East Fork of Otter Creek was Pace's Chapel, an early Methodist church.

Some of the landowners at the village in the 1870's were Sam Baldwin, Sr., Stephen Powell, T. Irving, J. Powell, J. Tipton, and J. Huguely. One building on the 1876 Beers map of Madison County is labeled "Baxter and Sewell," causing us to think that perhaps there might have been a store there at some time long ago.

Those landowners near the village included Matthew Shearer, Andrew McCord, David McCord, Ed. Baxter, A. and W. Lanter, A. Parrish, D. Tipton and Miss Z. Tribble. Dr. R. French lived across the road from Pace's Chapel. A number of prominent Richmond and Madison County citizens are descendants of these early families of this little village.

The first school in Brookstown was established May 12, 1833, when Cassius M. Clay deeded four acres of land to John Summers, Matthew Shearer and John Hawkins as trustees for the school. A one-room frame building was built and children in grades one through eight were taught by a succession of many teachers.

In December 1897, John F. Thomas deeded one acre to the trustees of School District 47 for $100, of which $65 was derived from the sale of the old school to Ed Davis whose home was located close by. The new schoolhouse was built about 500 yards south of where the old schoolhouse stood.

The person who taught in this community the longest was Mrs. Mildred H. Berry who started teaching in the old schoolhouse and taught many years (although not consecutively) up to the 1930's. Other teachers include Miss Ethelene Wilson who was there for a long time in the early 1900’s; Miss Cora and Verna Dunbar, Vivian Whitaker, and Lizzie Eads, Mrs. Virgil Weddle, Miss Georgia Bush, a Miss Tutor, a Mr. Adams, and possibly three or four others. Mrs. Wm. Boyd Powell was the last teacher in 1941.

After it had been vacant and unused for a time, the Brookstown schoolhouse was sold by the Madison County Board of Education to Richard and Mary Wells on September 14, 1944, bringing an end to the 89-year tradition of education in that place.

Another focal point of community life was the Brookstown Church of Christ with its rather large congregation. This church, which was similar in doctrine to the Church of Christ on Baker Court in Richmond, was apparently established in 1813 when John Winn, Sr., deeded one and one-half acres on Otter Creek to "The Church of Christ at the Union (City) meeting house" for the purpose of erecting a church building. The lot was at that time bounded by land owned by Colby B. Quisenberry, John Miller and possibly another person. However, deeds made by owners of the adjoining land in 1875 and 1913 appear to include the church lot.

Sometime around 1908 or 1910, a new minister arrived who was opposed to instrumental music in the church services. The congregation, which had purchased a new organ not long before that, became so divided in opinions that a split occurred. The minister and the anti-music members stayed on at the Brookstown church, and most of the pro-music persons changed their membership to the church at Union City. As the community declined, so did the size of the congregation and the activities of the church. Finally, sometime around 1920 when a Rev. Shoulders, an elderly man from Winchester, was pastor, all services were permanently discontinued. The building was largely destroyed by fire in the 1940's. Hay stored in part of the building was burned, and quite possibly, also destroyed was the old organ, long unused for many years.

There are a few homes in the area today, but no cluster of buildings, no community centers such as a school or churches to indicate that there was once at that place a thriving village called Brookstown.


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “Brookstown,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed August 19, 2018,