A cholera epidemic hit Shirley in the summer of 1849 and claimed the lives of thirty-one or thirty-two slaves (records differ) in the course of three terrifying weeks. The deaths were recorded in the 1850 Census of Mortality and in plantation records. Shirley Plantation Collection, container 11, folder 5, J. D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg. William Brooks was the two year old son of Mary Washington. He died 01 JUL 1849.