James R. Brockus

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Joan Wyatt
January 18, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923,The American Historical Society Inc.
Chicago and New York Volume 11
Page 243
Bio- James R. Brockus, Williamson, Mingo Co.

James R. Brockus, who is now captain of Company B of the West
Virginia State Police, with headquarters in the court house at
Williamson, Mingo Co., has the rank of lieutenant colonel in the United
States Army Reserves. His service in the United States Army covered a
period of twenty-three years and ten months, and within this long period
he was in forty-one different states of the Union and also in seven
foreign countries. He passed fourteen months in Alaska, four years on
the Mexican border, seven years in the Philippine Islands, besides which
he was with the American troops in China at the time of the Boxer
uprising, and was in France in the period of the World war. In nearly a
quarter of a century of active and efficient service in the United
States army Colonel Buckus was in the best physical health, and his
entire interval of confinement in hospital did not exceed ten days. He
made an admirable record, as shown in the text of his various discharges
from the army, in which he promptly enlisted at the expiration of his
various terms until his final retirement. He rose in turn through the
grades of corporal (second enlistment), sergeant and battalion sergeant
major (Boxer rebellion in China). West Virginia is fortunate in having
gained this seasoned soldier and sterling citizen as a member and
officer of its state police.
Colonel Brockus was born at Erwin, Unicoi County, Tennessee, on the
8th of August, 1875, and is the son of William K. and Sarah (Parks)
Brockus, the father having been a skilled mechanic and having conducted
a shop at Erwin. In the public schools of his native town Colonel
Brockus gained his early education, which was supplemented by a course
in a business college at Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1893 Colonel Brockus enlisted in Company F, Twenty-second United
States Infantry, and after spending three years at ForkKeough,Montana,
he received an honorable discharge. AtNashville, Tennessee, he soon
afterwards re-enlisted, at this time as a member of the Fourteenth
United States Infantry. It was within this period of enlistment that he
was with his command in Alaska for fourteen months. Later he was in
service in the Philippine Islands, whence he went with his command to
China at the time of the Boxer rebellion, his second discharge having
been received while he was atPekin, China. He then returned to the
United States and engaged in the hardware business in his native town.
There he lost all of his investments as the result of a fire, and he
then enlisted in Company D, Eighteenth United States Infantry, with
which he was in service at Fort Bliss, Texas. Later he was in Fort
Logan, and next he was assigned with his command to service in the
Philippines, his second trip to those islands having been made in 1903.
In the Philippines he served with Company D, Fifteenth Infantry, in
Mindinao, but he purchased his discharge and rejoined his old command as
a member of Company D, Eighteenth Infantry. He returned to the United
States on the 15th of November, 1909, and from Camp Whipple Barracks,
Arizona, was sent to service on the Mexican border. In connection with
the nation’s participation in the World war Colonel Brockus was
commissioned second lieutenant at Nogales, Arizona, on July 9, 1917, and
sent to the Officer’s Training School at Fort Benjamin Harrison,
Indiana, where on August 15th he was commissioned captain and assigned
to the Three Hundred and Thirty-first Infantry at Camp Sherman, Ohio. On
December 31, 1917, he was advanced to the rank of major and went with
the Eighty-third division to France, where the division received final
training and equipment for front-line service. After signing of the
armistice Major Brockus was transferred to the One Hundred and
Twenty-eighth Battalion of the Military Police Corps at Laval. He sailed
for home June21,1919, and landed at Newport News, Virginia, on the 3rd
of the following month. His command was mustered out at Camp Taylor,
Kentucky, where he received his final discharge July 24, 1919. He
enlisted again, as a first sergeant, and was sent to Fort George Wright,
where he remained until May 13, 1920, when he was retired with credit
and with the pay of a warrant officer for thirty year’s service. After a
brief visit to his old home in Tennessee Colonel Brockus joined the West
Virginia State Police, August 29, 1920, and was sent to Mingo coal
fields, where he has continued in active service except during the
recent interval when Federal troops were here in connection with mine
troubles. He is now Captain of Company B of the State Police, and during
the recent miners invasion he had command of seventy-two state police,
including two officers and also eighteen volunteers. He was under fire
many times in the Philippines and in the Boxer uprising, but has stated
that he heard more hostile bullets during the mine troubles in West
Virginia that at any other period of his long military experience. A man
and a soldier of fine personality, Colonel Brockus has made many friends
within the period of his residence and official service inWest Virginia.
Colonel Brockus is a member of the American Legion, a thirty-second
degree Mason and a Shrine.