Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BROOKS, Peter Chardon, merchant, born in North Yarmouth, Maine, 6 January, 1767; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 1 January, 1849. His father, the Rev. Edward Brooks, moved to Medford, Massachusetts, his native town, in 1769, and here the boyhood of young Brooks was passed in farm work. After his father's death, in 1781, he was apprenticed to a trade in Boston, walking to the City, seven miles distant, every day. In 1789 he engaged in the business of marine insurance, and accumulated a large fortune. He kept with his own hand very accurate accounts, a rare thing in those days, and made it a rule never to borrow money, never to engage in speculation of any kind, and never to take more than the legal rate of interest. He retired from business in 1803, and, until 1806, devoted himself to the settlement of all the risks in which he was interested. He then accepted the presidency of the New England insurance company, the first chartered company of the kind in the state, and filled the office for several years. In his retirement at Medford he took special pleasure in the cultivation of trees, planting many thousands of them about his farm. He was at different times a member of both branches of the legislature, of the first Boston City council, and of the constitutional convention of 1820. While in the legislature he took a prominent part in suppressing lotteries, which at that time were flourishing in the state. Mr. Brooks gave liberally, and without parade, to many benevolent objects, and, besides this, his pri-rate donations for many years exceeded his domestic expenses. He had for sons-in-law, Edward Everett, Charles Francis Adams, and Rev. N. Lo Frothingham, who delivered his funeral sermon on 7 January, 1849. A biography of Mr. Brooks, by Mr. Everett, may be found in Hunt's "Lives of American Merchants" (New York, 1856).
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