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January 3, 2008

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Gary Ashwill

I forgot to add: I can't (yet) find a West Indian connection--Irvin Brooks (Sr.) was in the U.S. as a baby, and is always listed as born in Florida, as is pretty much everybody else who seems to be related to him or lived under the same roof. His wife Elizabeth was supposed to have been born in Florida according to multiple census records, with her parents born in South Carolina.

However, the Brooks family lived in neighborhoods in Key West that, especially after the Civil War, were full of people from Cuba and the Bahamas.

Gary Ashwill

Very interesting! I went ahead and posted Irvin's WW2 draft card. It might take me a day or two to dig up the article he wrote, but I should be able to post that soon, too.

Using the information you gave here, I was able to confirm that the census entries I'd found in 1880 and 1900 did in fact refer to your family, and I was able to trace Irvin's father (also named Irvin Brooks, also a sailor) all the way back to the 1850 census in Key West, when he was four months old.

E.C. Heath

To add to my comment. My father also told me that Uncle Irvin did indeed hurt his leg. After that he played in the outfield until the end of his career.

E.C. Heath

I did contact my mother to get more information. She said that "Chester" and "Irvin" are in fact the same person. Whether Chester was a given name or a childhood nickname is unknown to me. My father said that he and my mother spent many years visting with Uncle Irvin and his wife in New York. He was the brother of my great-grandmother Nellie Brooks. Yes, he was also in the Navy. I never had the opptunity to meet him myself. I was born in 1964 and we were most likely overseas at the time of his death. I would love to have a copy of the article that he wrote. I have a few items that I have collected from the Negro League players and would love to include that with them.My grandmother is deceased now so this is about all that I know. But I do know that her family came somewhere from the West Indian area before settling in Key West Florida. They then moved as a family to the New York.

Gary Ashwill

Wow, this is great to hear! It may simply be that your relative has been given the wrong name (Chester Brooks) all these years. (It would be interesting to know where the "Chester" name came from.)

I'd be very interested to hear whatever else you know about Irvin Brooks. If you want to, email me. I don't know a lot more than what I've already written here, but I can send you the article written by Irvin Brooks from the 1924 Baltimore Afro-American newspaper.

Chester Brooks, by the way, was recently nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame, though he did not make the short list of 39. See the full list of nominees here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baseball_Hall_of_Fame_balloting,_2006

E C Heath

I was so excited to see the listing about Irvin Brooks. I am the granddaughter of Camille Brooks Nealy who was from Key West, Florida. I have a relative named Irvin Brooks. I know very little about him but he was born in Key West, Florida and died in New York. He was a negro leauge player and my mother does posses a picture of him in uniform. I have searched for information about him for a long time.

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