Biography of Hon. E. Frank Brockway
Louisa County, IA Biographies





HON. E. FRANK BROCKWAY.
No compendium such as this volume defines in its essential limitations will serve to offer a fitting memorial to the life and record of Hon. E. Frank Brockway, a man whose sterling worth in many relations of life made him a valued citizen, whose memory is enshrined in the hearts of many who knew him, while his name is honored by all who know aught of his active career.

He was born in Brockwayville, Harrison county, Pennsylvania, in 1832, his parents being James M. and Lydia (Goff) Brockway. They were also natives of the Keystone state and there they were married and spent the early years of their domestic life. Prior to his marriage James M. Brockway had been engaged in the lumber business in Pennsylvania and had also operated a sawmill, but after locating in Iowa he followed farming only. In 1840 he built a raft with a cabin on it, a sort of a crude house boat, and placing all of his household goods within, together with his wife and eight children, started down the Ohio river for Iowa. When they reached the Mississippi they came north to Muscatine, where they landed, having been en route six weeks. Mr. Brockway filed upon some government land in Orono township, Muscatine county, in the cultivation of which he engaged until his death in 1874. Of the eight children born unto Mr. and Mrs. Brockway only two survive: Emmet, who is living in Marshalltown, Iowa; and Albina, who is the widow of James R. Letts, of Grand View township. Those deceased are: Lafayette, Elmira, Judson, E. Frank, Emmet and George. The mother of these children only survived about sixteen years after they located in Iowa, her demise occuring in 1856.

E. Frank Brockway was the fourth child born unto his parents. He was a lad of eight years when the family settled in Muscatine county, in whose district schools he acquired the greater portion of his preliminary education, this being later supplemented by a collegiate course. Having decided to become an agriculturist after leaving college he engaged in farming and stock raising, which vocation continued to occupy his attention during the remainder of his life. He commenced his agricultural career on a farm which he had entered from the government in Orono township, Muscatine county. This he operated until 1866, when he sold and moved to Washington county, Iowa, where he acquired by purchase from time to time six hundred and forty acres of fine land. He operated this until 1902, then sold and came to Louisa county, where he bought eight hundred and sixty acres, which he cultivated until the time of his demise. This property is located on sections 20 and 21 of Grand View township and is one of the most attractive places in the county. The land is all in a high state of cultivation, the buildings substantially constructed and modern, while the grounds are tastefully arranged and carefully kept up. Possessing intelligence, good business ability and keen judgment, Mr. Brockway directed his affairs with the sagacity which invariably brings success in any undertaking, and at the time of his demise owned one of the most valuable farms in this section of the state.

For his wife and helpmate he chose Miss Rowena B. Letts, their union being solemnized on the nth of September, 1860. Mrs. Brockway is a native of Peru, La Salle county, Illinois, and a daughter of N. M. and Elizabeth (Grove) Letts, natives of Licking county, Ohio. Mr. Letts and Miss Grove were married in Ottawa, Illinois, where they first met, and soon thereafter located on a farm in the vicinity of Peru, where the mother passed away on the 17th of February, 1851. Two children were born of this union, a son and a daughter: Rowena B., now Mrs. Brockway; and David G., who is deceased. Two years after the demise of his first wife Mr. Letts was again married, his choice this time being Miss Jane Holdernian, who was born in Ohio. Six children were born of this marriage, one of whom died in infancy, the others being as follows: Willis H., who passed away at the age of forty eight years; James H., who is residing in Louisa county; Hilton M., who was fifty four at the time of his demise; Emma, the wife of J. W. Waters, of Santa Cruz, California; and Noah R., who is living in Letts.

Immediately following their marriage, which occurred in Louisa county, Iowa, Mr. Brockway and his bride settled on his farm in Muscatine county. They became the parents of three children: Elizabeth B., a graduate of the Eastern Iowa Normal School, now residing with her mother; Alice R., who is a graduate of the Iowa State University, still at home; and Tames M. As both Mr. and Mrs. Brockway were college bred and realized the value and advantage of education they gave their children excellent opportunities in that direction.

The political allegiance of Mr. Brockway was always given to the republican party. He studied closely the questions and issues of the day and his support as the result of intelligent understanding of the essential features of every question. He took an active and prominent part in all public affairs and, while residing in Washington county, filled the office of supervisor and was also representative in the state legislature for two years. Being possessed of more than average executive ability, he was elected president of the state fair association, which position he filled for several years, and was also a member of the agricultural board. A strong advocate of prohibition, he ever gave his indorsement and support to every movement which would in any way tend to advance the cause of temperance. His religious affiliation, as is that of his wife and family, was with the Methodist Episcopal church. He passed away on the loth of April, 1908, at which time Louisa county suffered the loss of one of her most capable agriculturists, competent business men and public spirited and progressive citizens.

From:
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1912


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