Francis Taliaferro Brooke , March 4, 1811-March 3, 1851 (Presiding Judge, February 15, 1824-April 12, 1831)

Brook Closeup
Oil on canvas, 29 x 23 in., copy, 1963, by Robbie L. Nurnberger
Location: courtroom foyer, left

Born August 23, 1763 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.
Died March 3, 1851 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia.

Elected by the General Assembly on January 30, 1811 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of St. George Tucker and began his service on March 4, 1811. Service terminated by death.

Succeeded William Fleming as presiding judge when Fleming died on February 15, 1824. Service terminated by the election of Henry St. George Tucker as president on April 11, 1831, pursuant to an act of the General Assembly.

Read law with his brother, Robert Brooke

Other judicial service:
Judge, General Court, 1804-1811.

Professional career:
Private practice of law in Morgantown, West Virginia (1788-1790), Tappahannock, Virginia (1790-1796), and Fredericksburg, Virginia (1796-1804).
Commonwealth’s attorney, Morgantown, West Virginia.
Virginia state delegate, 1794-1795.
Virginia state senator, 1800-1804 (speaker, December 1802-January 1804).

Military service:
Revolutionary War (Continental Army)

Further reading/Research collections

Elected on January 30, 1811, William R. Shands, “Francis Taliaferro Brooke,” Proceedings of the Thirty-Ninth Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association Proceedings, August 1928, 416; qualified on March 4, 1811, 16 Va., xx; succeeded Fleming as president, Court of Appeals Order Book, February 14-24, 1824, (State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia, accession 31022); replaced as president by Henry St. George Tucker, Supreme Court of Appeals (Richmond Session) Order Book, April 29, 1831, p. 196; death, 48 Va., iii; birth, education, and career, Brent Tarter, “Francis Taliaferro Brooke (1763-1851),” Dictionary of Virginia Biography (1998); portrait, Library of Virginia catalog, Proceedings of the Seventy-Third Annual Meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association, July 1963 (Richmond: Keel-Williams Corporation, Printers, 1963), 111, and Proceedings…August 1964, 131. In 1963, the Virginia State Bar Association Committee on Portraits of Justices located a portrait of Brooke in Richmond that was available for copying and contracted with artist Robbie N. Nurnberger to copy it.

According to the 1831 order book, Henry St. George Tucker replaced Brooke as president pursuant to an act passed April 8, 1831, requiring vacancies in the office of president be filled by “particular election and commission.”