Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Joseph Brogden

JOSEPH BROGDEN, one of the pioneers of Crawford county, Iowa, is a native of England, born June 7, 1824. His parents, James and Mary Brogden, both English people, emigrated to America the year after Joseph's birth, being accompanied by James Smith and family, and settling in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Mr Brogden and Mr Smith printed the first calico that was every made in America, for a man by the name of Boot. This work was done by hand. Br Brogden was an expert in the business, having been engaged in it at his old home in England. He continued work at his trade some nine years after coming to America. Then he spent one winter in Rochester, New York, after which he came West to Ohio, locating near Cleveland, and in two years purchased a farm near the center of Warrensville.

There he followed farming the rest of his days, and died in 1850 on the old farm, where his wife had passed away March 16, 1842. They had four children, namely: James and Samuel, deceased; Joseph the subject of this sketch; and Mary, wife of Christopher Ayres, of Ohio.

Joseph Brogden was nine years old when his parents moved to Ohio. When he was seventeen he went to Cleveland, where he learned the blacksmith trade of Wheeler Bartrum, and after completing his trade worked at it for six years in that city.

While there he was married to Miss Hellen Johnston, a native of Vermont. From Cleveland Mr Brogden moved to Aurora, Illinois, and after spending one winter at that place took up his abode at Waukegan, same State, where he formed a partnership with his brother James, a wagon-maker. They did a successful business at this place for two years. The subject of our sketch then concluded to go to California, and got as far as Aurora, when his wife was taken sick; so he gave up the trip and settled down to work at his trade, and remained at that place five years.

His next move was to his farm at Belvedere, Illinois, where he spent one year. In the spring of 1855 he brought his family across the country by wagon to Crawford county, Iowa, and located at Mason's Grove. Here he purchased 140 acres of land and began to make a home, farming and doing what blacksmithing was demanded. He shod the first horse ever shod in the county, and also sharpened the first plow here.

After living at his place two years, he purchased land in various other localities and located on a tract on section 2, Denison township. Here he erected a small house, 12 x 16 feet, with the expectation of making it his permanent home. However, in the fall of 1857 he became dissatisfied, and, taking his little family, he went back to Illinois, leaving some 260 acres of land he had purchased and began to improve.

When he left Council Bluff's he had a draft of $1,100 in his pocket, and when he landed in Illinois he was penniless, owning to the unstable condition of monetary affairs. So he set to work for his old employer, Mr A Woodworth, and in a year saved enough money with which to return to Iowa. Coming back in 1858, he decided that Crawford county was one of the finest counties in the world, and, selecting Denison, for his home, set up the first blacksmith shop in the town.

He spent some two or three years in Denison, carrying on farming in connection with his blacksmith business, after which he moved out to his farm, located on section 2, Denison township, and from that time to the present has been engaged in farming. He has owned and improved a large number of farms in this county. Much of his land, however, he has sold. He has also given good farms to his children, and has the satisfaction of seeing them comfortable settled near him.

He still retains the old home, consisting of 280 acres, and has forty acres in Goodrich township and twenty acres adjoining the corporation of Denison on the southeast. His home farm contains a find frame residence, 18 x 26 feet, with a wing, 14 x 16 feet; also another residence. Its barns, granaries, cattle sheds and other buildings are all in good order and indicate thrift and prosperity.

Mr Brogden lost his first wife October 1, 1869, and his second wife, nee Letitia Morris, died July 31, 1888. The children by his first wife are as follows: Newton H; Martha, deceased; Frances H; Cora, wife of Clarence Case, of Mason's Grove; Charles; Mary, deceased, wife of William Trigg, of Illinois; Edgar.

His second wife bore him two children, Flora and Martha, the latter being deceased. Mr Brogden wedded his present companion, Mrs Maggie (Dean) Hollenbeck, a native of Ohio, September 14, 1890. The first of the year 1891, they moved from the farm into Denison, where he has a pleasant home and is living a retired life.

Politically, Mr Brogden is a Democrat. Financially, he has been very successful, and his accumulations are all the result of his own industry and good management. He is an attendant of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Biographical History of Crawford, Ida and Sac Counties, Iowa. 1893. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, pp 440, 441

Submitted by Norm Prince