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Kentucky sunsetSpirit of '76
Brandywine Farm
Corydon, Kentucky
1792 - 1992

In 1783 Captain Isaiah Marks received a 4,000 acre land grant for his three years of service on the Virginia Continental Line during the Revolutionary War. When Capt. Marks began his decline as a result of wounds suffered at the Battle of Brandywine, one of the key military engagements of the American Revolution fought 11 September 1777, he willed a 1,000 acre tract of land to each of his brothers John Marks II and Thomas Marks in what is present-day Henderson and Union Counties in Kentucky. The largest part of the tract was near the Ohio River, between Morganfield, Kentucky and Shawneetown, Illinois, so the families of John II and Thomas travelled down the Ohio River from their Virginia homes.

Thomas Marks settled on 1,000 acres of the Union County tract and left his daughter, Deborah Marks Crook, 500 acres in his will. Deborah did not wish to live in the river bottom area of Union County so she purchased 150 acres of land on Dec. 6, 1825 from her cousin Martin Overfield. Martin was a son-in-law of John Marks II who had received the 1,000 acre tract in Henderson County, so Deborah's new land was also part of the original land grant. John Marks II and his brother Thomas had also served in the Virginia Continental Line during the Revolutionary War.

Charles and Deborah Marks Crook built their three room log cabin in the "Wildwood" on this land grant. The logs for the cabin were hand hewn and this cabin became home to Charles and Deborah and their thirteen children. The cabin stood until 1935 when it was destroyed by a wind-driven grass fire that spread rapidly across the area. Their source of water was an open well that was dug by hand and lined with sandstones from a stone quarry on the land owned by Deborah's cousin, Rachel Marks Baker. The stones for the cabin's foundation came from the same quarry.

When Charles and Deborah travelled from Virginia to the new land they brought with them Pumpkin harvestseeds for crops, vegetable gardens, and flower gardens - one being the Yucca flower, commonly known as the Ghost Flower. After many years of cropping and pasturing the land at the site of the original cabin, these flowers have survived. Many of the grandchildren, as well as great, and great-great-grandchildren are enjoying the beautiful blooms of these flowers in their own yards.

The Crooks also brought with them their cast iron lard kettle, which is now in the posession of their great-grandson Alexander Crook. He also has his Grandfather John's dinner bell, which was a wedding present from Charles and Deborah. Alexander has lived his entire lifetime of seventy-eight years in the home place built by his parents, Ferman and Eliza Willet Crook, in April 1910. Alexander and his wife Marie Hammond Crook have made their home in this house for 53 years, which they remodeled in 1966. Today Alexander and Marie have grandchildren and great-grandchildren living on their property, making the eighth generation to live on the land since Captain Isaiah Marks was given the land grant in 1783.

Although only two tracts of 22.8 acres each remain of the original 1,000 acre grant, the Crook family feels it has a great heritage to carry forward. They are proud to be descendants of young Captain Isaiah Marks who served his country with devotion, fought for independence, and sacrificed so much - even his life - to give his heirs and their countrymen the freedom of independence he so treasured. They intend to preserve this small piece of land and large piece of history called Brandywine Farm.

Seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky In 1992, in commemoration of Kentucky's Bicentennial, the Kentucky Historical Farms Program was commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Heritage Council. Under the criteria of the program, Brandywine Farm was one of thirty-three Bicentennial Farms designated in the Commonwealth, a Bicentennial Farm being one that has been owned by the same family for 200 years.

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