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Herman Brockman
Born 14 December 1823


Herman Brockman, who has the distinction of being the oldest man in Jones county, is now living in the little town of Martelle, Greenfield township, where his wants are ministered to by his daughters Catherine and Josephine. He was born in Prussia, December 14, 1823, and is the son of Anton and Elizabeth Berg. The parents are both dead as are his three sisters and three brothers, viz: Anton, Frank, Mrs. Elizabeth Droll, Mrs. Dina Droll, Mrs. Josephine Voss and Theodore.
In his Prussian home Herman Brockman learned the tailor's trade, which he followed there and in the many cities he visited when he started to make a place for himself in the world. At the age of twenty-seven he went to Paris, France, and three years later sailed for America. On the 22d of May 1854, he arrived in Iowa City, which remained his home for nine years. He next went to Solon, Iowa, and one year later moved to Lisbon, where he made his home for two years. He moved next to Chicago, but after two years' residence returned to Iowa, locating in Lisbon, where he lived until 1883, when, on August 19, he came to Martelle, which has since been his home and the home of his daughters Catherine and Mrs. Josephine Cech. The latter, besides caring for her aged father with a devotion that excites the deepest admiration of all who know of her, conducts the Hotel Brockman, the principal hostelry of Martelle. Hospitable in their reception of guests, they are kind and charitable to a fault, and no case of need comes to their attention but receives alleviation from their hands.
In Brokal, Germany, November 21, 1851, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Brockman and Miss Francisca Berghana. For almost sixteen years Mrs. Brockman fulfilled the duties of a devoted wife and mother, and on the 22d of July 1867, at Lisbon, was released from the cares of this world. She left several children, the care and rearing of whom fell in large part upon the eldest daughter Catherine. She was born in Neiheim, Germany, October 22, 1852, and is now residing in Martelle, where she assists in the conduct of the Hotel Brockman. Frank was born in Iowa City, November 19, 1854, and died September 4, 1855. Herman, Jr., and Lena were twins, born September 18, 1856. Lena died five days after birth, but Herman grew to manhood and is living in Martelle. On the 29th of November 1893, he wedded Miss Augusta M. Zachary, whose parents settled in Linn county, Iowa, about forty-four years ago. They lived to be about eighty-one years of age and at their death were buried in Oak Shade cemetery, Marion, Iowa. Mrs. Herman Brockman, Jr., has also passed away, her death having occurred April 4, 1906, in Anamosa, and is buried in Marion. Mrs. Brockman was a faithful wife, mother and neighbor, loved by all who knew her, and was always ready to help where she was needed. She left two daughters, Mary Magdalene, born March I5, 1900, and Catherine Regina, born August 15, 1902,who live with their father in Martelle. Frank, the second of Mr. Brockman's children of that name, was born April 18, 1858, and died May 30, 1861. Lena, the second of that name, was born July 18, 1859, and died February 11,1862. Anna was born October 15, 18 60, and died March 26, 1862. Louisa was born February 11, 1862, and lives in Tama, Iowa. She was twice married. Her first husband, Charles O'Neal, died in 1891, leaving her with five children: Herman, Edmund, Josephine, Charley and Freddie. In 1901 she married John Hackett and they have two children: Irene and Frances. Josephine, the eighth of Mr. Brockman's family, was born in Chicago, December 6, 1865, and November 12, 1887, married John Cech. Two daughters were born of this union: Mrs. Isadore McDonnell, of Martelle, who has a daughter, Margaret, aged seven, and a son, Leo, aged five; and Mrs. Frances Thompson, of Martelle, who has three children: Wilhelmina, aged five; Gretta, three and a half years old; and Harold, two years old. Mary M., the youngest of this large family, was born at Lisbon, Iowa, April 26, 1867. She was married, September 19, 1891, to Michael Walsh, and they live in North Yakima, Washington.
All the members of this family have been reared in the Catholic faith and are all living useful lives, but Catherine and Mrs. Cech have especially endeared themselves to the citizens of Martelle. They have devoted their lives to caring for others, for their father, for their brother Herman and his orphaned daughters, and for all, in fact, who are in need. Four-generation gather around their fireside, and the happiness of the youngest seems to repay these noble women for all their toil. As she looks back over the long stretch of years, many incidents stand forth in Miss Catherine Brockman's mind as momentous or awe-inspiring. One of these was the day when, still a young girl, she and her brother Herman viewed the remains of Abraham Lincoln, the martyred president and the freeman's friend, as they lay in state in Chicago. Many are the changes that have transpired since she came to Iowa. They have left their impress upon her character and made her one of the noblest women of Martelle, whose life though lived silently and unostentatiously, has not been without its compensations.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 646.

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Last updated on Tuesday, 30-Jul-2013 17:05:35 MST