Historic Homes and Institutions & Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of The Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania - Brodhead pages




Under the Editorial Supervision of
of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
of Easton, PA.
of Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA

"Knowledge of kindred and the genealogies of the ancient families deserveth the highest praise. Herein consisteth a part of the knowledge of a man's own self. It is a great spur to virtue to look back on the worth of our line." - Lord Bacon.
"There is no heroic poem in the world but is at the bottom the life of a man."-Sir Walter Scott

Vol. I
New York - Chicago

Pages 229-233

HON. CHARLES BRODHEAD is a representative of a family that has been distinguished in connection with the colonization and improvement of the western hemisphere from the time of early settlement in the state of New York. Later generations of the family became prominent in the development of Pennsylvania, and Hon. Charles Brodhead has borne a most active and prominent part in the work of progress and the upbuilding of the Lehigh valley so that his life record forms an integral chapter in its history, and no enumeration of the men who have contributed to the welfare and advancement of the state in the nineteenth century would be complete without mention of his name and achievements.

Daniel Brodhead, the founder of the family in America, was a captain in the English grenadiers, and came to the new world in the reign of King Charles II with the expedition of Colonel Richard Nicolls, which effected the capture of New York (then called New Amsterdam) from the Dutch, in 1664. The Dutch dependencies on the Hudson river, including Esopus, Schenectady and Fort Orange (now Albany), were also surrendered to the British, and Captain Daniel Brodhead was assigned with his company of grenadiers to maintain peace and order at Esopus, with the title of "Captain-General of the Esopus", as the Dutch inhabitants were then called. He married Ann Tye, but it is not positively known whether she accompanied him on the expedition to America, or whether she subsequently joined him in Esopus. Among their several children were three sons - Daniel, Charles and Richard. The first named, Daniel named for himself, was born in 1661, and died July 24, 1690. Charles, born in 1663, was probably named in honor of the King of England, while Richard (born in 1666, died in 1758), was named for the commander of the expedition; and these names continue in the family to the present.

Captain Brodhead, it appears, made his headquarters at Marbletown, a village near the Hudson, where he dispensed justice with a fair and imparial hand to his Dutch neighbors as well as his English followers. He died July 14, 1667. His widow, who survived him for many years, built in 1697 a residence for herself and children, and it remained in possession of her descendants until 1890. Owing to the long retention of the property in the family a large number of deeds and papers were treasured there, and were recently secured by Lucas Brodhead, of Spring Station, Kentucky, who has had many of them copied and photographed and thus distributed among the members of the family. Among other papers was a pass given by the town authorities of Marbletown, Ulster county, New York, to Daniel Brodhead, a grandson of the founder of the family, who was probably the first Brodhead to visit Pennsylvania. The document reads as follows:

"Ulster in the Province of New York Mattys Jansen, Major Johannes Hardenbergh and Captain John Rutsen, Justices of the Peace for the County of Ulster, assigned,
"To all to whom these presents shall come, or may concern, greeting; Whereas, Daniel Brodhead, son of Captain Charles Brodhead, hath a purpose to Travell out of this Province of New York into the Provinces of New Jersey and Pennsylvania;
"These are to certifie that the said Daniel Brodhead hath been known unto us from the time of his nativity to this day, and during all the sd time has held himselfe as a True and Faithful Subject of our Sovereigne Lord King George and his predecessors, and is of honest and good fame, name, credit and reputation, and we desire he may be greeted accordingly.
"Given under our hands and seals in Kingston, this 12th day of September, in the fifth year of His Majesty's reign Anno Domino, 1718
Mattys Jansen
J. Hardenbergh
John Rutsen."

Daniel Brodhead did not remain in Pennsylvania, but his cousin Daniel Brodhead, son of Richard Brodhead, a brother of Captain Charles Brodhead, mentioned above, moved to Pennsylvania about 1735, settling on what is now Brodhead Creek, near Stroudsburg, in what was then Bucks county, but is now a part of Monroe county. He laid cut a town about a mile square and named it Dansbury, a station of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. From him are descended all the Brodheads of Pennsylvania.

The line of descent from the founder of the family came through Richard Brodhead and his wife Magdalena Jensen. He was born in 1666, and died in 1758, while his wife died in 1707. Their only son Daniel, who established the family in Pennsylvania, was born April 20, 1693. In 1726 he was a merchant in Albany, New York; a licensed Indian trader in 1730; and in 1737 or 1738 he removed to Pennsylvania, where he built the town of Dansbury, and established a mill, and also a Moravian church. He was commissioned justice of the peace, September 25, 1747, and died in Bethlehem, July 22, 1755. His wife was Hester Wyngart, and their children were: Thomas Garton, who was born in 1723, and died at sea; Garrett Lucas, born in 1724; Richard B.; in 1726; Ann Garton, in 1727; Charles, September 7, 1729; Garrett, January 21, 1733; Daniel, October 17, 1736; John ----; and Luke, in 1741. One of the sons, Daniel by name, was colonel of the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment in the continental army during the war of the Revolution, and at its close, while colonel commanding the western department with headquarters at Pittsburg, by special act of General Washington, and in the reorganization of the Pennsylvania troops, about 1782, was made colonel of the First Pennsylvania Regiment in the continental establishment. He held several state office, and when the new organization was formed in 1789 became the first surveyor-general of Pennsylvania, which office he held for many years and until his death at Milford, Pike county, in 1809.

His brother, Garrett Brodhead, the great-grandfather of Hon. Charles Brodhead, was also an officer in the Revolutionary war. He was born January 21, 1733, and became a lieutenant, doing frontier service during the struggle for national independence. He was married March 15, 1759, to Jane Davis, and their children were: John, born March 3, 1766; Daniel, Richard, George, Elizabeth, born in 1755; Rachel, adn Samuel, born in 1779.

Richard Brodhead, born in 1771, married Jane Drake, and there were the randparents of Hon. Charles Brodhead. Their children were: Sarah, born in 1791; Garrett, in December, 1793; William, in 1795; Jane, in 1797; Albert Gallatin, in 1799; Anna Maria, February 14, 1801; Charles, August 4, 1805; Rachel, Eliza, Elizabeth, and Richard.

Albert Gallatin Brodhead, born in 1799, became a merchant of Conyngham, Pennsylvania, and in 1839 removed to Delaware, Pike count, where he puchased the old Brodhead homestead. He was quite prominent, and influential in public affairs, and several times served in the state legislature. He married Ellen Middaugh.

Hon. Charles Brodhead, only child of Albert G. and Ellen Brodhead, was born at Conyngham, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, August 4, 1824, and was reared until the age of fourteen in Delaware, Pike county, acquireing his education in the local schools. In 1838-39 he was a student in an academic school at Stroudsburg, conducted by Ira Burrell Newman. In the sprin of 1840 he went with Mr. Newman to a newly established school at Dingman's High Falls, Pike county, and in November, 1840, entered the freshman class of Lafayette College, at Easton, Pennsylvania, then under the direction of the Rev. Dr. George Junkman. After his graduation from college in 1844, he entered the law office of his uncle, Richard Brodhead, then a member of congress and afterward United States senator from Pennsylvania. During his student days Charles Brodhead attended the law school established at Philadelphia by David Hoffman, and was admitted to the bar at Easton, during the November term of court of 1846.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Brodhead became sheriff's attorney, and acted in that capacity for three years, but soon gave up the practice of law and engaged in the real estate business in Bethlehem. About that time the Lehigh Valley Railroad, in connection with the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and the Northern Pennsylvania Railroad were being built into Bethlehem. Both had their lines located on the south side of the Lehigh river at Bethlehem, and Mr. Brodhead in 1854 purchased one hundred acres of the Moravian farm land on that side of the river, and laid out what is now to a great extent South Bethlehem. He is one of the largest landowners in that borough, and also owns considerable realty in Bethlehem, where among his other possessions he has the well known Sun Inn, built in 1758. In laying out South Bethlehem he made an effort, with the co-operation of Jefferson Davis, then secretary of war, and the Hon. Richard Brodhead, United States senator from Pennsylvnaia, to have a government foundry established in that place. Though his efforts then proved futile, the seed was sown, and to-day, extensive works for the manufacture of war material for the government, are in successful operation on the ground reserved by Mr. Brodhead for the government foundry in 1856, and which he subsequently sold to the Bethlehem Steel Company. It was mainly due to the efforts of Mr. Brodhead, and his active co-operation in the projects of Augustus Wolle, that the Bethlehem Iron Company's works were located at South Bethlehem. The facts, briefly, are these: Mr. Wolle was and continued to be all his life one of the most active and progressive men ever in business in the Bethlehems, and his particular talent was along the line of an executive officer. He had leased what was known as the Gangawara ore bed, in Saucon township, and secured a charter for an organization called the Saucona Iron Company, for the development of the Gangawara and other veins of hematit ores. He urged Mr. Brodhead to join him in this porject, but the latter suggested that they unite forces and put up works in South Bethlehem, as the extra cost of ore transportation would be quite balanced by the less cost of transportation of coal if stopped at Bethlehem. The result was that Mr. Wolle, being himself a large landowner in Sough Bethlehem, agreed upon that place as the site for the new works. Mr. Brodhead then drew a supplement to Mr. Woll's Saucona charter, which was subsequently passed by the Pennsylvania legislature, authorizing the company to make and manufacture iron ores and iron into any shape or condition, and changing the name of the company to The Bethlehem Rolling Mill and Iron Company. Mr. Wolle was the first and largest subscriber to the stock and was followed by others, and thus the Bethlehem mills became an accomplished fact.

Mr. Brodhead was first to suggest the construction of the new steel bridge which, starting in Bethlehem in Northampton county, crosses the canal and railroad of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, the Monocacy creek, a section of Lehigh county, the Lehigh river, many tracks of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and terminates its eleven hundre feet of length in South Bethlehem. The Broad street bridge, which connects Bethlehem with West Bethlehem was also one of Mr. Brodhead's conceptions, the idea having first come to him when he was having his engineers locate what was popularly known as "Charley Brodhead's Huckleberry Railroad", now the Lehigh & Lackawanna Railroad, leading from Bethlehem to the great slate quarries in and about Chapman, Wind Gap, Pen Argyl, and Bangor, with a branch leading through the famous wind gap of the Blue Mountains and extending to Saylor's lake, in Monroe county. The objective point of the road is Stroudsburg, on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, a connection whith which will make the line a favorite for summer tourists from Philadelphia to the resorts at Delaware, Water Ga, Stroudsburg, the Pocono mountians, bushkill, Dingman's, High Falls, and Milford, on the upper Delaware. This road was projected by Mr. Brodhead, and pushed throught by him with untiring perseverance and pertinacity, he acting for many years as president of the company. It is now one of the leased lines of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

Mr. Brodhead has not only contribute din large and important measures to the material development and substantial building of the state, but has also left the impress of his individuality for good upon public life, thought and action. In 1873 he was elected a member of the constitutional convention of Pennsylvania, and was the originator of several valuable provisions in that instument, notably the one providing for free telegraph lines, and prohibiting the consolidation of parallel or competing lines, by reason of which the people of this state alone were thus protected from the thraldom of a monster monopoly. He also secured the enactment of the section which prohibits all officers and employes of railroad companies from being interested, directly or indirectly, in the furnishing of supplies and material for the corporations with which they are connected, or being interested in transportation lines or contracts for transportation. These provisions have been highly beneficial to stockholders, who before were often plundered by unscrupulous officers and employes. Mr. Brodhead likewise introduced and secured the adoption of that section of the state constitution which extended the terms of county treasurers to three years and prohibited their re-election, which has had a very salutary effect upon municipal financiering. He is a member of the board of trustees of Lehigh University and has ever manifested a warm interest in educational affairs.

Mr. Brodhead was married, June 1, 1858, to Miss Camilla M. SHIMER, a daughter of General Conrad SHIMER, an extensive farmer, prominent in military and political affairs in Northampton county. The children of Charles and Camilla Brodhead are as follows: Charles, who was born July 26, 1859, and died May 18, 1860; Kate Ellen, who was born May 15, 1861; and is the wife of Warren E. Wilbur; and Albert, born September 26, 1867.

J. DAVIS BRODHEAD, district attorney and a most capable lawyer of South Bethlehem, was born in Easton, Pennsylvania, January 12, 1859.
He traces his ancestry back to Daniel Brodhead, the progenitor of the family in the new world. His history appears elsewhere in this work.

Hon. Richard Brodhead, the father of J. Davis Brodhead, was for many years one of the most eminent men of this state. He was born in Pike county, Pennsylvania, in 1810, and in his youth went to Easton, where he prepared for the legal profession, studying law with James M. PORTER as his preceptor. Admitted to the bar, he devoted his attention exclusively to his profession until the demands of public affairs increased to such an extent as to require his entire time. In 1843 he was elected upon the Democratic ticket to represent in congress the eighth district, then known as "the Old Tenth Legion", and filled that responsible position until 1849; thus serving as a member of the twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth and thirtieth congresses. He was elected a member of the United States senate from Pennsylvania to succeed Daniel STURGEON, a Democrat, and served from the 1st of December, 1851, until 1857. Dur that time he was a member of various important committees, and also gained distinction as the author of the bill creating the United States court of claims. He was one of the youngest members of congress, but he possessed a statesmanlike grasp of affairs, and his labors aided usefully in shaping the governmental affairs during the twelve years in which he took part in the deliberations of the two law-making bodies of the nation. It is to be remarked that a fellow-member of the house of representatives was Jefferson Davis, who became president of the Confederate States of America, and whose niece became the wife of Mr. Brodhead. This lady, whom he married in 1850, was Miss Mary Bradford, born near Vicksburg, Mississippi, a daughter of David Bradford, a wealthy planter. Of this marriage were born two children - J. Davis, and Richard, the last named having been an attorney in Easton, and now located in New York City.

J. David Brodhead received his education in Georgetown (D. C.) College, the Moravian school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in Seaton Hall, New Jersey, and in Yale College, where he took a classical course covering two years. He spent the years 1879 to 1881 in travel through the United States, principally in the south. He prepared for the profession of the law under Judge John B. STORM, of Stasburg, ex-member of congress, and was admitted to the bar in 1880, the year in which he attained his majority. He at once entered upon practice in South Bethlehem, in which he has since been actively engaged. He served as district attorney from 1889 to 1893; and was borough solicitor for the long period of nineteen years. Aside from his profession he has had varied business interests in Bethlehem, and vicinity. He was one of the original incorporators of the Easton Transit Company, has served as president of the Bethlehem Consolidated Water Company from 1901 to the present time (1904), and is a director in several other corporations contributing to the commercial and industrial activity of the village and county. He is a stanch Democrat in politics, and active in political affairs. In 1892 he sat as a delegate in the Democratic nation convention which nominated Grover Cleveland for his second presidential term, and gave to that distinguished statesman a hearty and effective support. He was alternate-at-large to the Democrat national convention of 1904.

Mr. Brodhead married, in 1883, Miss Cecile HARVIER, a daughter of Calix and Cecile HARVIER, the ceremony being performed in New York, of which city the bride was a native. Two daughters have been born of this union, Ethel and Leonie, both in Bethlehem. The family home is situated on Fountain Hill, South Bethlehem.

This page was last updated on:
May 22, 2002