John J. Broderick


Since 1883 John J. Broderick has lived upon his fine farm of one hundred and twenty acres in Fairview township and has carried forward its improvement and cultivation along modern and progressive lines, the results of his labors being evident today in the value, productiveness and attractive appearance of his homestead. He is a representative of one of the best known pioneer families in his section of the state, his grandfather having entered government land as early as 1845, having remained a continuous resident of Fairview township until his death. Mr. Broderick of this review was born at Dubuque, December 1, 1861, his parents being Hugh and Ellen (Rabbit) Broderick, the former born in County Galway, Ireland, in 1837, and the latter in County Roscommon on the 22d of December 1829. Hugh Broderick's mother died when he was still in his infancy and his father afterward married again. Crossing the Atlantic in 1845 the grandfather of our subject settled in Iowa, taking up government land on the site where the city of Des Moines now stands. He endured all of the hardships incident to life in the wilderness in those early times and was often in danger of his life from the hostile Indians. Hugh Broderick and his brother-in-law, Thomas Cavanaugh, had one especially narrow escape, for they were captured, tied to the stake and about to be scalped before help arrived. In fact the knife had already been inserted at the base of Mr. Cavanaugh's head when an Indian to whom he had given a drink of whiskey a few days before came up and declared him to be a "good paleface" and untied the cord which bound the captives. They were released, given their clothing and sent back to their homes but Mr. Cavanaugh carried a deep scar at the back of his neck during the remainder of his life. He and Mr. Broderick afterward proved up on land to which they had entered a claim and the father of the subject of this review went to Dubuque, where he entered the employ of John T. Hancock as clerk in a general store. He remained in this capacity for eleven years, dying in 1864. His wife survived him until 1908.

John J. Broderick acquired his education in the public schools of Elkport, Iowa, but his advantages along this line were extremely limited as he attended for only six months during his entire life. He grew up amid pioneer conditions, learning farming by practical experience upon his father's homestead, and when he was sixteen years of age he engaged as a farm laborer for Senator Garber at Elkport. He retained this position for five years and six months and in 1883 married and bought the John Walsh homestead of one hundred and twenty acres. He paid for as much of this land as his capital of one hundred dollars would buy and went into debt for the remainder. Upon the property he has continuously resided since that time, engaging in general farming and stock-raising, and he has met with excellent success, his property today being worthy of comparison with the finest farms in the state. His prosperity has come as a natural result of his own industry, firm determination and well directed labor and his career furnishes a splendid example of the value of these qualities in the attainment of an honorable place in the world.

On the 2d of April, 1883, Mr. Broderick was united in marriage to Miss Alice M. Walsh, who was born in this township, May 29, 1862, a daughter of John and Maria (Carter) Walsh, natives of County Galway, Ireland, the former born August 15, 1819, and the latter, August 17th of the same year. The father crossed the Atlantic in 1840 and settled in Ohio, where he married a Miss Ryder, who died in that state. After a residence of four or five years there, John Walsh moved to Iowa and settled on the farm now owned by his son-in-law. he there married again, his second wife being Mrs. Broderick's mother, who had crossed the Atlantic in 1860. Mr. Walsh held various local offices and did especially efficient work for a number of years as the township trustee. Mr. and Mrs. Broderick became the parents of eleven children: Ellen, who was born April 10, 1884, and died January 18, 1893; John P., who was born March 17, 1886, and who married Rose McDonald; Michael, who was born October 15, 1888, and died October 19th of the same year; a son, born October 2, 1889, who died on the day of his birth; Mary E., who was born January 5, 1891, and who married William Finnegan, a farmer of Fairview township; Alice, who was born December 25, 1892, and whose death occurred a few days later; a child, who died in 1895; Hugh J., who was born May 1, 1896 and who resides at home; Katherine Irene, born June 8, 1898; Alice Estrella, born January 30, 1901; and a child, who died in 1903. Mr. and Mrs. Broderick have also an adopted son, Thomas J., who was born December 7, 1904.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Cathy Joynt-Labath

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