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BROCKWAY, Harvey N. (1836-1906)


Posted By: Hancock Co Genealogical Society
Date: 1/28/2024 at 13:33:17

Mustered Out

Captain H. N. Brockway died, Thursday afternoon, June 7th, aged 69 years, 5 months, and 11 days. The funeral was Saturday at 3:00 p.m. at the house. Rev. Jackson preached the sermon and Rev. Quinn opened with prayer. By request his G. A. R. comrades were seated in front. On the casket reposed the American flag and his army saber. The floral offerings were profuse, there being many fine pieces, conspicuous among which was a piece bearing the word “Comrade” wove in purple flowers, a tribute from the post. The funeral was a large one and the procession that followed to the cemetery indicated the esteem in which the decedent was held by those who knew him.

Harvey Nelson Brockway was born at Mottville, Mich., December 26, 1836. In early childhood he move to northern Indiana where he received what might be called a common school education. In 1856 he preceded his father’s family into northern Iowa. Here for several years he was thrown into active pioneer life. In 1862 he enlisted in the 32nd Iowa Regiment as a Private serving three years. For meritorious conduct and bravery in action he was promoted several times, the last as Captain of company “B” which office he held when mustered out and honorably discharged.

Soon after his discharge in 1865 he was married to Sarah Mitchell at Washington, Iowa. The same year he was elected treasurer of Hancock County and at the end of his term was reelected. In 1868 he was elected first Circuit Judge of northern Iowa. At this early day, there were no railroads, often no highways, and no traveling conveniences. The hardships entailed in meeting appointments under such conditions are not easily imagined or described and doubtless with his army service laid the foundations of the pain and suffering which he so nobly fought in later years. At the end of four years he resigned his judgeship, against the earnest wishes of his political friends, preferring home and business to a public and official life.

About this time was formed the business partnership with Mr. J. M. Elder, continuing until dissolved by mutual consent in 1894. This firm, during the course of its existence, handled in one form or another, a large proportion of all the lands lying in Hancock County. Their extensive business was conducted and the proceeds divided without written contract or account and in a spirit of absolute trust and harmony.

With the exception of a short partnership with Mr. J. N. Sprole, the remaining years of his life were spent in the management of his private affairs, particularly in caring for his farms lying in this vicinity.

In 1894 Mr. Brockway connected himself with the United Presbyterian Church of Garner, Iowa, remaining a consistent member thereof until his decease.

He never yielded to suffering or disease until forced to his bed by exhaustion of the whole system. On June 7, 1906, after a confining illness of but a week, he quietly laid down the burden of this earthly existence.

The above record confers much honor on the deceased. It shows him to have been a patriot, a statesman and a Christian. And still in our estimation, it falls far short of conveying to the stranger the fortitude, the heroism, the charity and the manhood of our departed friend, nor do we hope to place him before our readers as we have seen and known him. Sixteen years ago we came to Garner. We were lonesome and blue. We had no friends here and most who came into our office had an ax to grind. One day in the fall when we felt worse than usual, a little active man came into our office with a basket in his hand. “Good morning, I am Brockway,” giving us a good hearty handshake, “I’ve brought you some fruit from my place,” and he presented me with a basket of grapes, apples, plums, etc. The fruit we might have purchased but the heart to heart hand shake and friendly greeting were above money value and made us his friend for life. While he did not advertise it, he did lots in the way of scattering sunshine and making it pleasant for other people. In the way of deserved charity, he was liberal to a fault. While he helped to alleviate others’ suffering, he was the greatest sufferer we ever knew. For years he was afflicted with cancer of the face and underwent several operations. He was seldom without pain and we have seen him attacked so violently with speaking that he was obliged to stop to catch his breath but when the worst was over, he would proceed as if nothing had happened. For years he suffered physical torture with heroism that would have driven most men crazy. He was our ideal hero.

Mr. Brockway was an uncompromising republican and worked diligently for the success of his party. Having studied law, he was admitted to the bar in Concord in 1860. Being the first lawyer in the county, his legal knowledge was of great value in helping to start our county right and in keeping it in good running order. During nearly fifty years residence in the county, he accumulated a fine property which passed to his heirs.

Decedent leaves a wife and three children: Mrs. Stanton Warburton of Tacoma, Washington, Mrs. J. N. Sprole of Garner, and Earl Brockway of St. Paul, all of whom were present at his death. His brother, Sylvester, of Balaton, Minnesota was also present as were Dr. J. Swanson and wife of Minneapolis, Dr. Swanson having been his family physician.

Taps were sounded. His light is extinguished. The loving husband, and the fond parent has gone to his reward where pain ceases and suffering is unknown.

source: Hancock County Democrat, Garner, Iowa, 14 June 1906, page 1, column 2


Hancock Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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