1828 Horatio Gates Brooks was born 10/30/1828 in Portsmouth, NH, to Oliver Brooks and Susan Horne. His ancestors include Puritan ministers (Wise, Wheelwright, Thompson) in early Boston, on his mother’s side, and Maine pioneers (Fogg, Remick, Libbey) in the 1630’s on his father’s side.
1830 Julia Anne Haggett was born 4/27/1830 in Lincoln, MO, to Ebenezer Haggett (1796-1864) and Sarah Benner (1801-1885), both buried in No. Edgecomb, ME, and married there in 1819. Her Haggett grandparents were likewise married there, in 1793.
1838 The Brooks family moved 10 miles from Portsmouth, NH, to Dover, NH.
1839 David Rodman W. Patterson was born 7/26/1839 in Sheridan, NY (adjoining Dunkirk) to David Patterson, a Scot who served with the British Navy to Perry at Buffalo in 1813, and Eva Kern, born 7/8/1802 in Ireland.
1841 The Boston & Maine RR comes to Dover, NH. The whole town turns out to welcome the first train. HGB is 13. “He gave early evidence of a strong prediction (sic) for the locomotive” (from his obituary).
1844 HGB leaves home at 16 to learn the machinists’ trade. He is apprenticed to cousins Seth and Isaac Adams, who run a machine shop on Broadway, South Boston.
1846 HGB goes to work at the Boston & Maine RR machine shop in Andover, Ma. He attracts the attention of Charles Minot, Superintendent of Works.
1848 HGB becomes a fireman on B&M Railroad.
1849 HGB is promoted to Engineer at B&M RR in May. Perhaps he leads a train into Dover and whistled up his friends and family five years after leaving home.
1850 HGB is hired by Minot, now Superintendent of the Erie RR, as a locomotive engineer, at age 22.
1850 On Nov. 28th, Erie engineer HGB brings the first locomotive to Dunkirk, NY., by ship. Workers start building the RR east towards NYC.
1850 Edward Nichols is born 9/13/1850 in Columbus OH.
1851 Julia and Horatio are married 3/6/1851 at her father’s house in North Edgecomb, Maine. They will have four daughters: Ella, Lizzie, Hattie, and Jessie. Later that month, they move to Dunkirk N.Y.
1851 On May 14th, the Erie RR line was completed in Dunkirk. President Filmore and cabinet arrive by train on the 15th for a week-long celebration.
1852 Ella Frances Brooks is born 3/27/1852 in Dunkirk, N.Y.
1852 Charles Minot is forced out of the Erie 5/1/1854 because he would not accept new work rules. He joins LS&MS RR. On June 17th HGB leads a strike against new work rules. The strike was settled temporarily.
1854 Brooks’ second daughter, Lizzie is born to Julia and Horatio Brooks in Dunkirk on 10/13/1854.
1856 “Our Lizzie” dies on 2/9/1856 in Dunkirk. She is buried now in the family plot in Forest Hill Cemetery, Fredonia, NY (one mile from Dunkirk).
1856 In September, HGB leads a committee of engineers to NY to place a bill of grievances before the Erie board. He and all signators are fired. Erie advertises for 150 engineers. HGB introduces a strike of engineers which partially cripples the Erie. Labor troubles continue for 2 1/2 years. Much minor sabotage is done—oil in water causes the boiler to foam, unable to “get up steam.”
1856 HGB is hired as Master Mechanic on the Ohio & Mississippi RR. He and Julia and Ella move to Cochran, outside Aurora, in the fall.
1856 David R.W. Patterson finishes three terms at the Fredonia Academy, with his older brother John K. Patterson, and goes to work on the family farm.
1857 A third daughter, Hattie, is born to Julia and Horatio in Cochran, Indiana.
1857 Economic depression sets in throughout the country.
1859 A fourth daughter, Jessie Morrison Brooks, is born on 1/214/1859, to Julia and Horatio in Cochran.
1859 By May the Erie RR is going bankrupt. Minot’s enemies at the Erie resign. In August, Minot is reinstated at the Erie and later he rehires HGB as Master Mechanic. Brooks is now known as a leader as well as a first-class mechanic.
1860 In March Horatio and Julia with their three daughters return to Dunkirk, probably to the home at 115 Beagle Street near the Erie maintenance shops.
1861 The American Civil War begins.
1862 HGB is appointed General Manager, Western Division of the Erie RR on 11/1/ 1862.
1865 HGB is appointed Superintendent of all Motive Power for the Erie RR on 2/28/1865. At that time, the Dunkirk roundhouse and shops had the capacity for 25 locomotives plus a machine shop capable of building engines.
1867 On October 8th, Gould and Fisk enter Erie RR board of directors.
1868 On July 1st, Gould elects himself president of Erie RR.
1868 The Erie railroad’s Dunkirk shops, under HGB, produce a locomotive named the “George G. Bernard” after a corrupt judge in Boss Tweed’s pocket who helped Gould get control of the Erie. HGB proved to Gould he could build a locomotive, but so could the 98 locomotive companies incorporated prior to 1869 which had already failed. Railroads were notoriously bad payers and took advantage of the over capacity in the locomotive industry.
1869 On September 24th, “Black Friday,” the gold market crash breaks Gould’s “corner” and bankrupts Gould and Fisk. They seek to recoup their losses through the Erie RR, and so move to dispose of the Dunkirk Works. HGB works on how to save his plant.
1869 On November 11th, HGB leases the Erie’s Dunkirk works, and contracts to deliver locomotives to Erie RR, and offers Gould an interest in the business. The Brooks Locomotive Works Company was formed to do this. The company was Capitalized at $350,000 with a Board including HGB, Marshall L. Hinman, William O. Chapin, John H. Bacon, and M.R. Simons, the latter from the Erie board representing Gould’s interests.
1869 On December 1st and 16 the Brooks Locomotive Company delivers its first two engines to the Erie RR, less that one month after incorporation. At that time there were 14 substantial firms producing locomotives in the US. In the decade 1860-1869 they produced 4825 locomotives including the two from Brooks.
1870 The BLC delivers 32 engines to the Erie RR. All are 6′ gauge. American Standard 4-4-0, 17″ dia.x22″ stroke cylinders, 60″ dia. drive wheels, 33 tons.
1871 On October 17th, the eldest daughter Ella is married at home to David R.W. Patterson of Sheridan, NY, by Rev. P.B. Haughwout. (She is 19 1/2, he is 32). They will have 2 daughters, Marion and Jessie.
1871 The BLC delivers 45 engines, 39 American 4-4-0’s and 6 Moguls 2-6-0’s, to three railroads, the Erie, the LS&MS, and the N&NL. It employed 400 men from Dunkirk’s population of 7000.
1872 In September, Marion Brooks Patterson is born to David and Ella Patterson of Dunkirk. She is Julia and Horatio’s first grandchild.
1872 The BLC delivers 72 engines to 13 railroads including 11 new customers.
1873 The BLC delivers 69 engines of 5 designs to 14 railroads, including 11 new customers.
1874 Deep economic depression sets in. Only four engines are delivered all year. Many are laid off. HGB was said to guarantee the grocery bills of all his laid-off workers.
1874 A July 1 advertisement appears in the Dunkirk Weekly Journal by D.R.W. Patterson and C.E. Jackson, agents for Lafayette Coal Co.
1874 On Dec. 19th, HGB’s second granddaughter, Jessie Brooks Patterson, born on 12/19/1874 in Dunkirk.
1875 Victor M. Tyler is born 7/5/1875 to Morris F. Tyler (1848-1908) and Della T. Audubon (1849-1926) in New Haven, CT.
1875 Partial recovery from the depression occurs. The BLC delivered 23 engines to 8 railroads, including 5 new customers. The company is still not covering costs.
1876 The BLC delivers 48 engines to 18 railroads including 12 new customers.
1877 The death of David Patterson, Scotch grandfather of Jessie Brooks Patterson, occurs in Dunkirk on 1/17/1877, on his farm, at age 83. He spent 4 years in the British Navy and arrived Dunkirk in 1813, probably as result of the British surrender to Perry on Lake Erie that same year.
1877 The BLC delivers 17 engines to 10 railroads including 3 new customers.
1878 The BLC delivers 30 engines to 14 railroads including 5 new customers.
1879 The BLC delivers 43 engines to 22 railroads including 11 new customers.
1880 The BLC delivers 2100 engines to 24 railroads. Real profits are finally in the offing. Roughly speaking, an engine sells for $10,000 and brings a $1000 profit.
1880 On March 2nd, HGB is elected mayor of Dunkirk.
1881 The BLC delivers 146 engines to 23 railroads.
1882 The BLC delivers 202 engines.
1883 On Sept. 5th, Hattie M. Brooks, third daughter of Julia and Horatio, marries Frederick H. Stevens of Buffalo, formerly of Fredonia, in Dunkirk at her parents’ home, probably the new Central Avenue home.
1883 The BLC buys the Dunkirk facilities from the Erie and puts up more buildings.
1883 The BLC delivers 149 engines.
1884 On Sept. 11th, Jessie Brooks, fourth daughter of Julia and Horatio, marries Edward Nichols, at her parents’ home at 513 Central Ave., Dunkirk, officiated by Rev. Brown (a glowing report appears in the newspaper).
1884 The BLC delivers 73 engines. The economic depression of 1885 is starting.
1885 The death of Mrs. Edward Nichols, age 26, occurs on 7/20/1885, stage 26, ten days after giving birth to a baby son, Jesse Brooks Nichols. She died at her parents’ home on Central Ave. Burial occurred in the family plot at Forest Hill.
1885 The BLC delivers only 23 engines.
1886 The marriage on 11/4/1886 of Ella Brooks Patterson to Alfred Solano of California occurs, at her parents’ home in Dunkirk, by Rev. E.P. Adams. (Question is when was she divorced from Patterson). She is 34.
1886 The BLC delivers 87 engines.
1887 The death on April 20, 1887 of Horatio Gates Brooks, “Father of Dunkirk,” and “our chiefest man, our first citizen,” occurs, of a stroke, at 58 1/2 years. The funeral is lead by Rev. Brown, with burial in Forest Hill, Fredonia. Eight hundred workers from BLC march in a funeral procession. Lengthy obituaries and editorials are written in Buffalo, Dunkirk, and Fredonia papers. There are many distinguished honorary pall bearers.
1887 HGB’s son-in-law Edward H. Nichols, a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, succeeds HGB as president of BLW, and moves to Dunkirk.
1887 The BLC delivers 145 engines.
1888 The BLC delivers 165 engines.
1889 The BLC delivers 119 engines.
1890 The BLC delivers 194 engines.
1891 Jessie Brooks Patterson is sent from California at age 17 to attend the Audubon School at Audubon Park, Broadway and 155th Street, NY.
1891 The BLC delivers 223 locomotives.
1892 The death of Edward Nichols, President of the Brooks Locomotive Company, occurs on 1/7/1892, at the age of 42, at Dunkirk, NY. Lengthy obituaries and tributes appear.
1892 M.L Hinman is elected president of the BLC to succeed Nichols.
1892 The BLC delivers 194 locomotives.
1893 The BLC delivers 197 locomotives. Economic depression is settling in.
1894 The BLC delivers 94 locomotives.
1895 The BLC delivers 121 locomotives.
1896 On Nov. 5th, Julia A. Brooks dies at the home of her daughter Mrs. F. H. Stevens, 295 Summer Street, in Buffalo, NY. She is survived by her daughters Mrs. Alfred Solano and Mrs. Stevens. Warm tributes appear in the papers. She is buried at Forest Hill with HGB. The Brooks Locomotive Works closes in her honor.
1896 The BLC delivers 104 locomotives.
1897 The BLC delivers 157 locomotives.
1898 The BLC delivers 225 engines.
1898 Frederick H. Stevens, HGB’s son-in-law, is elected president of BLC.
1898 In May, the Brooks Memorial Hospital and Brooks Memorial Free Library were endowed by daughters Ella and Hattie, and the Brooks family mansion on Central Avenue is given to Dunkirk to be the first hospital.
1899 On Feb. 14th, Jessie Brooks Patterson (1874-1953) and Victor M. Tyler (1875-1959) of New Haven, CT are married in Los Angeles, Ca., on Valentine’s Day. Present were her mother, Ella, her step-father, Alfred Solano, the groom’s parents, Morris F. and Delia A. Tyler, and the bride’s sister and brother-in-law Marion and Walter Jarvis Barlow.
1899 A letter from Hinman to Stevens dated Feb. 20, 1899, reveals a profit of $800 to $1000 per locomotive; about 2511 acres of BLC are outstanding at book value of $8860 a share, and so a total book value of the company is $2,160,000. The letter also says, “I was very well pleased with the appearance of Victor M. Tyler. He looks as though he had some brains, which if placed in the proper channel would be of service.” The letter appears to deal with management succession. Does Stevens want to be relieved? He is apparently “going South March 3rd.”
1899 The BLC delivers 294 locomotives.
1900 The BLC delivers 317 locomotives.
1900 In the decade 1890-1899, BLC delivered 1802 locomotives, third to Baldwin and Schenectady in the US. Brooks had 11% of the US market that decade.
1901 The BLC delivers 378 locomotives, including its 4000th.
1901 Morris Tyler is born to JBT and VMT in New Haven on 5/28/1901.
1901 The death in Buffalo of Eva Kern Patterson occurs on 1/9/1901, at age 99. She was the Irish grandmother of JBT.
1901 In June the BLC is merged with 7 other engine makers: Cooke, Dickson, Manchester, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, Richmond and Schenectady to form the American Locomotive Company, in order to better compete with Baldwin. Owners of these companies take about 70% of ALCO’s capitalization of $25 million in preferred stock.
1902 The BLC completes its orders with the delivery of 14 locomotives in February, bringing the number to 4111 since the start-up in 1869. Manufacturing continues until 1927 under the name of ALCO Brooks Works.
1908 The death on 5/31/1908 of David Rodman W. Patterson occurs in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he was “manufacturing explosives. He is survived by his wife and two young children and by this daughters Mrs. Walter Barlow and Mrs. Victor Tyler, a brother, John K. Patterson, and three sisters.”
1927 Dunkirk builds its last locomotive.
1932 Jan. 21st, Ella Frances Brooks Patterson Solano dies in Palm Springs, Ca., at the age of 80. She had been a resident of California for 35 years.
HGB – Horatio Gates Brooks
B&M RR – Boston and Maine Railroad
LS&MS RR -Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad
N&NL RR –