Brooks, Samuel Houston (1829–1910)

By: Brett J. Derbes

Type: Biography

Published: March 22, 2011

Updated: June 14, 2012

Samuel Houston Brooks, Confederate officer, stockbroker, and politician, was born on January 1, 1829, on a plantation in Fayette, Tennessee, to Samuel Clifford Brooks and Elizabeth C. (Hailey) Brooks of Virginia. His family included two sisters and five brothers: Elizabeth Letitia, Nancy Cannon, John Caperton, William Haley, Reding Lafayette, Montgomery Somerville, and Madison Dekalb. While in Tennessee he worked as a farmer on family lands. Brooks, attracted by the gold rush, moved to California in the early 1850s and served as treasurer of San Joaquin County from 1853 to 1854. He lived in San Francisco, was a registered Lecompton Democrat from 1860 to 1861, and was nominated as state treasurer/controller of California in 1858. Brooks faced opposition for his previous loyalty to the Know-Nothing party. He served as state treasurer/controller from 1860 to November 23, 1861. Brooks was married to Lucy C. Thornton Judge of San Francisco on May 21, 1861, in Marysville, Yuba County, California.

Brooks resigned his official position after losing reelection in California to return to Tennessee to serve as an officer in the Confederate Cavalry under Gen. Benjamin F. Cheatham. His military service lasted from November of 1862 through 1865. He participated in several famous battles and received a wound at Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862. He served in this Tennessee Cavalry unit until after the battle of Chickamauga on September 19–20, 1863. He was then transferred from to the Trans-Mississippi Department under the command of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith. Brooks was placed in command of the Thirty-first Texas Cavalry Regiment. He reenlisted as lieutenant colonel in November 11, 1864, and was elected lieutenant colonel of Col. David Smith Terry's Texas Cavalry Regiment. The unit organized in early 1864 and dismounted in February of 1865. They operated primarily in Texas and the Trans-Mississippi Department.

Brooks surrendered in 1865 near Houston and lived in Navarro County from 1871 to 1873 after the war. He entered the cattle raising business during his years in Texas but returned to California while driving a herd of 3,600 cattle. Upon his return to California he engaged in stock brokering in San Francisco in 1880. He served as city treasurer in San Francisco in 1874 and served as assistant United States treasurer in San Francisco during the Cleveland administration. He was field counselor and witness in a famous duel/political fight known as the Terry-Broderick quarrel. Brooks was assistant treasurer at San Francisco from 1885 to 1890.

His wife Lucy died in 1900 in San Francisco. He was a Democratic candidate for treasurer in 1902 and remained living in San Francisco with relatives. He passed away in Oakland, Alameda County, California, on September 16, 1910, at his home.

Thomas Adkins, Adkins Family Genealogy, History & Heritage (, accessed June 19, 2012. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Clement Anselm Evans, ed., Confederate Military History (Atlanta: Confederate, 1899; extended ed., Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1987–89). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).

  • Military
  • Confederate Military
  • Regimental and Staff Officers
  • Soldiers
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen
Time Periods:
  • Civil War
  • Antebellum Texas
  • Reconstruction
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Brett J. Derbes, “Brooks, Samuel Houston,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 22, 2011
June 14, 2012

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: