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Sarah Brooks Woolford

Dunnock Johnson Family ~ Dorchester & Washington DC

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Sarah's Story

Sarah is my great-great grandmother. My grandmother Edna was nine when Sarah died. My grandmother, who lived with me as Sarah had lived with her, conveyed to me a sense of how unusual Sarah's life had been. This is Sarah's story. J-L

Sarah Brooks Woolford, daughter of William Woolford and Sallie Brooks, was born June 1814, and died December 12, 1893 in Washington, DC. A long life today and a very long life for someone born during the War of 1812-1814. Her paternal grandfather Stevens Woolford was a Captain in the American War for Independence. Her father William Woolford served in the War of 1812 (48th Regiment). Sallie Brooks, is a granddaughter of Roger Woolford, brother to Stevens. So Sarah's parents are cousins.

Sarah's life is marked by loss. She marries John Brohawn on August 29, 1831, he dies in 1839. She marries Samuel Dunnock on April 10, 1843 and he dies two years later. Finally, she marries Barzillai Slacum on April 1, 1851 and he leaves her a widow in 1859.

John Brohawn, was born in 1796, died May 29, 1839, and is buried at Bethlehem Church on Taylors Island. He was the son of John Brohawn, who served as ensign in Capt. William Pattison's company in the American Revolution. John's first wife was Susan Matilda Robinson (m. December 15, 1821) and no children from this marriage are known.

With John, Sarah had six children.
- John Brohawn, b. November 23, 1832 m. Olivia A. Lyell, two daughters
- Sarah E. J. Brohawn, b. October 04, 1834, d. March 30, 1858.
- William Joseph Brohawn, b. January 15, 1836, d. October 03, 1843.
- Samuel Brohawn, b. June 03, 1838.
- Emily Brohawn, b. Abt. 1838.
- Susan Brohawn, b. Abt. 1839

Samuel Dunnock
Sarah then married Samuel Dunnock. She was his fourth wife. Samuel Dunnock was born 1787, and died December 25, 1845 in Dorchester County, Maryland. He (and several wives) are buried in Dunnock graveyard at Wilbur Meekins farm, Meekins Neck Road, Dorchester.

Samuel married Elizabeth Meekins on February 14, 1811, then Susan Wallace on March 08, 1823. He married Margaret Griffith on February 13, 1827. He married Sarah on April 10, 1843.

Children of Samuel Dunnock and Elizabeth Meekins are:
- Thomas James Dunnock, b. 1812, d. 1824.
- John Richard Dunnock, b. 1816, d. 1859.
- Isaac Dunnock, d. April 03, 1844.
- Elizabeth Dunnock.

Children of Samuel Dunnock and Susan Wallace are:
- Samuel Ross Dunnock, b. February 19, 1824, d. February 15, 1866, FL.
- Susan Emily Dunnock, b. July 01, 1825, d. 1895, TX.

Susan Emily Dunnock marries Joseph Brooks Woolford, Sarah's brother so Sarah is both her step-mother and her sister-in-law. A son, John Dunnock Woolford is mayor of Houston in 1901.

Children of Samuel Dunnock and Margaret Griffith are:
- John Thomas Dunnock, b. November 02, 1829, d. May 01, 1846.
- Mary Dunnock, b. February 17, 1832, d. date unknown.
- Sophia Caroline Dunnock, b. May 31, 1835, d. date unknown.

Children of Samuel Dunnock and Sarah B. Woolford are:
- William Henry Dunnock, b. February 28, 1844
- Eliza Jane Dunnock, b. November 23, 1845

Thus, with her second marriage, Sarah would have some responsibility for her five living fatherless Brohawn children, the six living children of Samuel's earlier marriages and her own two children with Samuel. After Samuel's death, she marries for a last time.

Barzillai Slacum has been twice married (to Mary Todd Griffith b. 11 Feb 1802 - d. 14 Sep 1828 and Julia Ann Kirwan b. 9 Feb 1810 - d. 3 Jun 1849). He and Sarah have no children and he dies in 1859. The children from his second marriage are:
- Angeline Slacum b 26 Apr 1830 -- d 31 Jan 1904
- Robert Hart Slacum b. 2 Dec 1831
- William Kirwan Slacum b. 8 Nov 1833 - d. 27 Apr 1919
- Mary Amanda Slacum 1 Apr 1836 - d. 21 Oct 1836
- George Slacum b. 6 Oct 1837 - d. 6 Nov 1837
- Juliette Slacum b. 6 Oct 1837 - d. 29 Jan 1891
- Mary Louisa Slacum b. 22 May 1840 - d. 15 Mar 1882
- James Edwin Slacum b. 17 Jul 1842 - d. 12 Dec 1876

Her Later Life
Sarah lives with her children Eliza Jane and William in the 1860 Census and her son John Brohawn with wife Olivia and family are nearby.

In the Census of 1870, she lives with John and family in Somerset. By now Eliza Jane and William have each married and have their own families.

By 1880, she is in Washington, DC living with Eliza Jane and Cornelius at 319 11th Street. There she sees the birth of several of their children at 319.

She is one of two of the eight children of William and Sally who "go out into the world" - she leaves Church Creek - first to nearby Taylor's Island, then Somerset, and then to Washington, DC. Her brother Joseph, with his wife Susan Dunnock goes far, to Texas where their son will become Mayor of Houston in 1901.

Sarah's Washington home at 319 is a few blocks from the Capitol - in the middle of a fast-growing city with electricity, gas lights, and multistory buildings. This is in contrast to her Antebellum life in Dorchester. In Washington, she lives in a large home but it is on a city lot, in the middle of a row, very different from the thousands acres of family lands in Dorchester.

Although far from most of her family, there are some nearby. Her cousin Emily Woolford is married to John B. Smoot, Mayor of nearby Alexandria, Virginia. When John dies in December, 1887, Robert Emory Pattison, the Governor of Pennsylvania attends the funeral out of respect for his Aunt Emily. The mother of the Governor is one of Emily's sisters and a cousin to Sarah. It is likely that Sarah also made her way across the Potomac to Alexandria to comfort Emily.

Her son-in-law Cornelius is one of nine siblings from Dorchester who now live in Washington and his mother Mary Levin MacNamara Johnson lives not too far from 319. One imagines the two had tea and spoke of the old days in Dorchester, from time-to-time.

When Sarah dies, she is returned to Dorchester, to Church Creek and her family at Old Trinity. Here is the tombstone of her father, moved from Deep Point, the graves of five of her eight siblings, her grandparents, and countless other family.

She outlived her three husbands and their first six wives. In an age of widespread and untreatable disease and the very great risks of childbirth, she bore eight children and died in old age of heart disease, not infection or trauma.

An amazing story, Sarah's story.