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Charles W. Brooks

  (Redirected from C. Wayland Brooks)

Charles Wayland Brooks (March 8, 1897 – January 14, 1957) was a Republican U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1940 to 1949.[1]

Charles W. Brooks
United States Senator
from Illinois
In office
November 22, 1940 – January 3, 1949
Preceded byJames M. Slattery
Succeeded byPaul Douglas
Personal details
Charles Wayland Brooks

(1897-03-08)March 8, 1897
West Bureau, Illinois
DiedJanuary 14, 1957(1957-01-14) (aged 59)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Gertrude Ackerly
(1920–1943, divorced)
Mary E. Thomas Peavey
(1946–1957, his death)
Military service
Branch/serviceU.S. Marine Corps
Years of service1917–1919
RankFirst lieutenant
Battles/warsWorld War I

Early LifeEdit

Born in West Bureau, Illinois, Brooks served in the Marines during World War I as a first lieutenant from 1917 to 1919; while in combat he was wounded several times.

Political CareerEdit

Brooks ran for Governor of Illinois in 1936 but was defeated by incumbent Democrat Henry Horner. He was elected by a very narrow margin in 1940 to fill the senate vacancy caused by the death of J. Hamilton Lewis.[2] Brooks was reelected in 1942,[3] but was defeated in 1948 by Democrat Paul Douglas.

Buchenwald Concentration CampEdit

On 11 April 1945, US forces liberated the Buchenwald Concentration Camp which was established in 1937 and caused the death of a least 56,545 people. General Eisenhower left rotting corpses unburied so a visiting group of US legislators could truly understand the horror of the atrocities. This group was visiting Buchenwald to inspect the camp and learn firsthand about the enormity of the Nazi Final Solution and treatment of other prisoners.

The legislators who visited included Alben W. Barkley, Ed Izac, John M. Vorys, Dewey Short, C. Wayland Brooks, and Kenneth S. Wheery along with General Omar N. Bradley and journalists Joseph Pulitzer, Norman Chandler, William I. Nichols and Julius Ochs Adler.[4][5]


Brooks returned to Chicago and died at age 59 at Passavant Hospital in early 1957, after a massive heart attack.[6]


Brooks married Gertrude Ackerly in August 1920 and they had a son, Russell (b. 1924). She divorced him in April 1943 in Reno, Nevada, citing cruelty.[7][8] He married Mary Elizabeth Thomas Peavey, a widow and daughter of U.S. Senate colleague John W. Thomas of Idaho. They wed in May 1946,[9] and remained married to his death. Mary Brooks later became a member of the Idaho Senate.[10] and for eight years was Director of the United States Mint during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Her son, John Peavey (b. 1933), is a former Democratic politician in Idaho, formerly a Republican.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Brooks sworn in as new Illinois senator". Daily Kentucky New Era. Hopkinsville. (NEA photo). November 23, 1940. p. 6.
  3. ^ "Illinois returns Senator Brooks". Toledo Blade. Ohio. INS. November 4, 1942. p. 1.
  4. ^ "American Congressmen and reporters visit Buchenwald, April 24, 1945". Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  5. ^ "American congressmen view the open ovens in the Buchenwald crematorium. - Collections Search - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum". Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  6. ^ "Ex-Illinois senator dies in hospital". Sarasota Journal. Florida. Associated Press. January 14, 1957. p. 9.
  7. ^ "Wife divorces Senator". Pittsburgh Press. April 10, 1943. p. 1.
  8. ^ "Milestones". Time. April 1943. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "Illinois senator to wed May 8". St. Petersburg Times. Florida. INS. April 28, 1946. p. 10.
  10. ^ Connor, Harriet J. (January 3, 1969). "State Senator is chairman". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. p. 8.

External linksEdit

U.S. Senate
Preceded by
James M. Slattery
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Illinois
Served alongside: Scott W. Lucas
Succeeded by
Paul Douglas