From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Magowan, John Wesley [Brooks]

(born: 1842  -  died: 1895) 

John W. Brooks was a slave born on the Magowan Farm in Montgomery County, KY. In 1864, Brooks and seven other African Americans left the Magowan Farm and headed to Louisville, KY to join up with the 109th Regiment, Company A of the United States Colored Infantry.

After the Civil War, Sergeant Brooks returned to Montgomery County and took the last name Magowan. He married Amanda Trimble, supporting his wife and children through his trade as a carpenter.

John W. Magowan was one of the more prosperous African Americans in Montgomery County. The family lived in Smithville, and four of the children attended Berea Academy. John and Amanda's sons, Noah and John D. Magowan, were the first African Americans to establish a newspaper in Mt. Sterling, KY: The Reporter. Another son, James E. Magowan, was a successful businessman and community leader in Mt. Sterling.

John Wesley Magowan died of consumption [tuberculosis] on February 3, 1895.

This entry was submitted by Holly Hawkins of the Montgomery County Historical Society and comes from her work included in the Civil War display at the Montgomery County Historical Society Museum in 2011.

See the death notice for John Wesley Magowan in the Mt. Sterling Advocate, 2/5/1895, p. 1, col. 3. There are several Magowan families listed in the U.S. Federal Census noted as Black and living in Montgomery County, KY.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Montgomery County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Mt. Sterling, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Smithville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Reporter (newspaper)
NKAA Entry: Magowan, James E.
NKAA Source: The Mt. Sterling advocate (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Magowan Brothers and the Reporter (Mt. Sterling, KY)
NKAA Entry: Magowan, James E.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Magowan, John Wesley [Brooks],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-11-15 18:16:55