MANNING M. BROCKMAN. Of the well-known and successful citizens of Smith township, Manning M. Brockman is prominent among the leaders. He is a son of John whose father, Edward Brockman, was an agriculturist.
John Brockman was born in 1788, near Kennett Square, Chester Co., Penn. He learned the shoemaker's trade when a lad, and after serving an apprenticeship followed same for some time. In 1809 he was married to Jane Thomas, a native of the same county, who bore him one son, N. R. The mother died in 1811, and was buried in Chester county. In 1818 Mr. Brockman came to Washington county, locating in Claysville, where he followed his trade. On June 13, 1822, he was married to Margaret Martin, who was born January 17, 1798, in Donegal township, this county, daughter of Manning Martin, who was born in 1758, in County Donegal, Ireland, and coming to America settled one mile and a half southwest of Claysville, Donegal township, this county. To the union of John and Margaret (Martin) Brockman the following children were born: Margaret (Mrs. Amos Shreves) and Jane (Mrs. Aaron Lobaugh) (twins, both deceased), and Manning M. (subject of this sketch). N. R., the only son born to John and Jane (Thomas) Brockman, came with his father to East Finley township, Washington county, and followed farming till his death. After his second marriage John Brockman (the father of this family) resided in Claysville until 1837, when he removed to Coon Island, same county, and successfully followed farming for many years, being a very vigorous man up to the last of his life. In politics he was originally an Old-line Whig, then a Democrat, and in the latter portion of his life voted the Republican ticket, being a hearty supporter of each in turn. His wife died April 26, 1849, and he then resided with his children until his death, which event occurred December 2, 1870.
Manning M. Brockman was born September 7, 1827, in Claysville, Donegal township, this county, where he received a common-school education. On April 3, 1843, he began to learn the wagon maker's trade, of John M. Mahanna, at West Alexander, Donegal township. He remained there but a short time and then for three years worked in the shop of J. T. Lucas. In 1846 he became an employee of Busley & Little, extensive wagon makers on Main St., Wheeling, W. Va., and with them remained some time. He then returned to West Alexander, dividing his time between the last mentioned place and Burgettstown, and following his trade. On April 12, 1849, he married Julia P. Canon, who was born September 14, 1825, daughter of Joshua Canon, whose father was the founder of Canonsburg.
Manning M. and Julia P. Brockman were the parents of the following children: Leah M., widow of A. Wiley Montgomery, now living at the home of her father, with her son and daughter, Harry W. and Ella M.; Carrie A., Mrs. Robert E. Hill, of East Liverpool, Ohio; John C., deceased at the age of eighteen years; Calvin M., who died in youth; William H., a telegraph operator at Midway, Penn.; Amanda J., deceased in youth; Ella R., wife of Dr. Gracey, of Jonesborough, Ark.; Cynthia W., deceased wife of A. M. Keys, of Smith township, and Harry E., a telegraph operator, of Burgettstown. After his marriage Mr. Brockman followed his trade in Burgettstown till March 1, 1852, when, in company with some others, he started to California on a gold-hunting expedition, taking the "water route." The distance to Pittsburgh was made partly on foot and partly by conveyance. The Pennsylvania R. R. was at that time completed as far as Turtle Creek, from which place they proceeded by stage to Latrobe, thence by rail to Johnstown. From the latter point they passed over the old "Inclined Plane" to Hollidaysburg, thence going by rail to New York, where they took passage on the vessel "Crescent City" to Aspinwall, at which place the journey across the Isthmus of Panama was begun. The first seventeen miles of this fever- haunted part of the route were traversed by rail, then they went by water, and the last twenty miles were walked by the whole party. After reaching Panama they embarked on the vessel "Panama," and April 7, 1852, landed at San Francisco. Mr. Brockman followed gold-mining in Placer and El Dorado counties for about one year after his arrival, meeting with fair success; but having concluded that gold was more easily and perhaps as quickly obtained by other means than mining, he decided to resume his trade, which he did for two years in the "gold-diggings." On September 16, 1854, he started on the homeward journey, embarking at San Francisco on the vessel "Sierra Nevada," which he left at San Juan, Nicaragua, thence traveling by way of Virgin Bay to the mouth of the San Juan river, in Costa Rica. He then took passage in the ship "Northern Light," which landed him at New York, whence he proceeded to Burgettstown, Penn., and here again he began to work at his trade.
On September 3, 1864, Mr. Brockman enlisted at New Brighton, Penn., in Company C, Twenty-second Pennsylvania Cavalry, and was sent with the regiment to the Shenandoah Valley. At the close of the war he received an honorable discharge, and returning to Burgettstown, resumed his trade. In 1884 he began farming on the place adjoining Burgettstown, where he had located in 1861. Mr. Brockman was first a Whig, and is now a Republican; he is a leader in the political questions of his neighborhood, and has held various township offices. In 1869-70 he served as mercantile appraiser, and in 1879 became the successful one of eleven candidates for the office of county commissioner, which position he held from 1879 to 1881, inclusive; he has served two terms in this position. In 1892 he was again appointed to the office of mercantile appraiser, filling the duties incumbent upon him with judgment and ability. His acquaintance is very extensive throughout the county, few being more widely known or more universally esteemed. On ,January 6, 1892, he was called upon to mourn the death of his wife, who was buried in Burgettstown cemetery.
Text taken from page 1102 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
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