Raymond Brooks


Raymond Brooks was born on the 12th of March, 1880 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the second child of Jonathan Williams Brooks Jr. [32] and Mary Susan Raymond Or Brooks [26]. At 6 ft 4 1/2 inches, with blue eyes, he was a tall man for the time.

In the 1900 census, Raymond is listed at his parent's address, with the notation 'Student - at school'. At 20, he was a Civil Engineering student at Princeton University, NJ, a member of the class of 1904. Upon graduation he gained membership in the American Institute of Mining Engineers, such being published in their Jan-Feb 1905 journal. His position at the time was that of Asst. Supt., Chimney Rock [Mine], Park Coal Company, Bozeman, Montana

About 1905 he seems to have acquired a Kodak Folding Brownie, Model 3 and began documenting his travels, family and mining interests. In this archive there are over 25 images of his 1905 visit to Yellowstone Park. In the 1906 issue of AIME, he is listed as [Care of] Doane Mine, Rambler, Wyoming. This was a slightly shady operation [Doane Rambler Copper Mine - look up Penn-Wyoming Company for the story] and Raymond seems to have left rather quickly, as in May 1906 he was in the Bullfrog area, listing his address as Box 54, Rhyolite, Nevada for his 1907 membership.

In 1908 and 1909 AIME membership lists he was listed as being at 4912 Woodland Ave., Chicago, Illinois. However, at some point in 1908 he had returned to Nevada and taken up residency in Goldfield as the Superintendent, Refinery Ore Mill [1910 census] of the Silver Pick & Lone star Mining Co., with a rented home at 405 E. Elliott St. His mail was sent to P.O. Box 863, Goldfield, Nevada. Raymond was now married to Marguerite Wiswell [Winwell] and had his sister-in-law, Jean Ferguson, living with them.

The February 27, 1909 Goldfield Nevada Chronicle noted: "Raymond Brooks, a mining engineer, probably will return today in company with his bride of a short time. She was Miss Margaret Winwell of Chicago.". This is at odds with the 1929 Princeton University biograph above, newspaper 'scribblings' weren't particularly accurate then! Marguerite Wiswell was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1897 and died in 1925.

During the years covered by this group of negatives, he photographed Wonder and Fairview, Nevada [1907] and other mining locations. From 15th March, 1916 to 1st August, 1916 he was in The Pas [Paskoyac], Manitoba, Canada. In 1922 mineable copper was discovered in the region by Phillip Sherlett.

On 26th April, 1920 A passport was issued for Ramond and his wife Marguerite to travel to the Belgian Congo working for an English mining company. He then was living at 73 W. 11th St., New York City. By this time he was a noted mining engineer, seeming to specialize in copper. He was partly responsible for the finding of the Nchanga Copper Mines. "Mufulira's mining history began in June 1925 when two prospectors named Moir and Bell were sent by Mr. Raymond Brooks, who was then in charge of all the prospecting for two major companies."

Raymond returned from the Congo in 1928 and set up as a Consulting Mining Engineer, maintaining a branch office in South Africa. By 1930 Raymond had established a home residence in Brookdale, Connecticut, for there is a legal filing in a newspaper of nearby Norwalk, from his 2nd Wife, Laura R. [1899?- ????], against his private secretary, Helen Delaney [Pynchon] for altering and cashing a check. She'd raised a $79 check to $45,000, erased the name of the payee and inserted her own. Perhaps this was to try and help her husband, George M. Pynchon and his failing securities company. Raymond was the New York section AIME Vice-Chair in the early 1930's and was the Institute's representative to the NY Museum of Science and Industry in 1932-1933. During the 1930's he continued visiting many American mining sites, including Helena, Montana's Basin Montana Tunnel Company.

In the 1940's Raymond continued his mining efforts, being the President and Manager of the Silver Burro Exploration Co. [AKA Nevada Keystone Syndicate], a holding company for Silver Burro, Keystone Mine, Central Mining Company and the Old Central Mine. On 12th December, 1942 there's a newspaper notice that he entered "U.S. Service". Here he served as the Chief of the Base Metals section of the Metals and Minerals Division of the Board of Economic Warfare in Washington, D.C. After the war in July 1945, he headed for Johannesburg, South Africa on a two-year mining mission "for New York interests".

For now, there his tale ends ...

Thanks to Kathleen Burgar and Annie Carlile for additional census and marriage data.

23rd October, 2012