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.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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