Frederick Brooks was born on July 21, 1844, in London, England, the son of William Brooks and Louise Langly.
Frederick immigrated to the United States with his family, and by 1850 he was living with a large number of Brooks and Langlys in Shelby, Macomb County. He eventually settled in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, where he was living when the war broke out.
He stood 5’7” with a light complexion, grey eyes and light hair and was a 16-year-old mechanic residing in Detroit, when he enlisted with the consent of his parents in Company G on May 8, 1861. (He may have been related to John Brooks who also came Wayne County but who enlisted in Company F.)
In August of 1862 Frederick was reported as a company washer-man, and from September through November of 1862 he was a company cook. On about June 20, 1863, Fred claimed later, he contracted rheumatism; he also suffered from hemorrhaging of the left lung and an injury to his right groin.
In July of 1863 Frederick was sent to the hospital (probably Patterson Park in Baltimore, Maryland), where he remained through November, and was transferred to the 71st Company, 2nd Battalion, Veterans Reserve Corps (VRC) on December 15, 1863, reportedly due to “hemorrhage of the lungs.” He may have been transferred to the VRC as early as September of 1863.
Why he was transferred to the VRC remains a mystery, although apparently he suffered from some debilitating disease or perhaps the effects of being wounded, but the record is unclear on this point.
In any event, he was eventually discharged from the 71st company, 2nd Battalion, VRC, at Patterson Park hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, on June 9, 1864.
Fred never returned to Michigan and settled in Memphis, Tennessee soon after he left the army. For some years he worked on the railroad and also spent time as a steam boat captain.
He may have been working as a miller and living with the Arthur family in McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee in 1870.
Fred was residing in Tennessee when he married his first wife, Mary J. Shelby (d. 1877), in Winchester, Tennessee, on September 20, 1870. They had at least three children: Louisa Shelby (1871-1872), Fred Shelby (b. 1873), William Edward (b. 1874) and John (b. 1879).
Fred married his second wife, Eliza Harsh, on June 19, 1878, in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, and they had at least one child, a son Frank J. (b. 1879). He and Eliza were divorced in Memphis, in November of 1900 (he was the defendant).
By 1880 Fred was working as a traveling agent for an oil works and living with his wife and children in Chelsea, Shelby County, Tennessee. By 1892 Fred was residing at 174 Fourth Street in Memphis. He was living with Eliza and his son Frank in Memphis 3rd Ward, Shelby County, Tennessee in 1900.
He married a third time to Laura Aycock, in August of 1907, in Memphis and that they left Tennessee in 1908. Fred claimed that in 1908 they moved to Texas, then Oklahoma, finally settling in Kansas. He noted that by 1908 he was living in Paoli, Garvin County, Oklahoma. By 1910 Fred was living alone and working as a commercial traveler in Memphis 3rd Ward.
Fred was back in Kansas, apparently living in Crawford County in the fall of 1913 when he sued Laura for divorce on the grounds of desertion and abandonment, and was granted a divorce from her on October 16, 1913.
Fred and Laura were divorced in October of 1913, in Crawford County, Kansas.
By April of 1915 Fred was residing in Frontenac, Crawford County, Kansas.
In 1880 he applied for and received pension no. 881557, drawing $25.00 per month by 1914, $30.00 per month by 1919 and $50.00 per month by 1923. He was a Protestant.
Fred was admitted to the National Military Northwestern branch National Military Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Knoxville, Tennessee on October 28, 1917. He listed his nearest relative as a son, F. S. Brooks living 6237 Woodlawn Ave., in Chicago (this was probably Fred Shelby Brooks). He was admitted to the Danville Branch, National Military Home on December 4, 1919, transferred to the Mountain Branch, National Military Home on December 22, 1919, and living with his son Fred in Chicago in January of 1920. Fred was readmitted to the Danville Branch from the Mountain Branch Home on February 12, 1920 and discharged on May 4, 1920. He was subsequently admitted to the National Military Northwestern branch National Military Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 4, 1920 and discharged on August 16, 1921 and readmitted on October 1. Fred eventually moved in with his son Fred S., at his home at 2324 West. Street in Morgan Park, Illinois, near Chicago.
Frederick became seriously ill in late August of 1923. He was listed as a widower and retired coal dealer when he died of chronic nephritis and myocarditis at his son’s home in Morgan Park, while he was on leave from the National Military Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 2, 1923. Fred was reportedly buried in Mt. Hope cemetery in Chicago.