Bio: Brockway, Eustace L. (1826 - 1901)

Contact: Janet Schwarze




----Source: 1891 History of Clark Jackson Co., WI, pg. 172-174, Wikipedia,

EUSTACE L. BROCKWAY, a prominent pioneer lumberman of Brockway Township, Jackson County, was born in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania, January 20, 1826, the son of James M. Brockway, who was born in Greenbush, New York, July 15, 1797. In 1816 the latter went to Pennsylvania, where he engaged in farming until 1822, when he went into the mill business. In 1836 he sold the mill, and in 1842 went to Muscatine county, Iowa, where he was engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in his seventy-fifth year. During his later life he was a Republican, and held several offices. He was a member of the Methodist Church. Our subject's mother, Lydia (Goff) Brockway, was born near Ogdensburg, New York, in 1804, and died in Muscatine County, Iowa, at the age of forty-nine. She was a daughter of William P. Goff, a native of New York, and a farmer and surveyor by occupation. Mr. and Mrs. Brockway had eight children, namely: Emira, Eustace L., Adis E., Emmett, Albert J., Edwin, Albina M. and George. The last two are deceased.

The subject of this sketch, the second child, was reared and educated in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. In 1843 he engaged in bridge-building and carpenter work in different parts of Iowa. In 1845 he came to Jackson County, Wisconsin Territory, then called Crawford County, and engaged in the lumber business in 1847- 48 he cut timber for a saw-mill and in May, 1850, built an addition and put in the first circular saw-mill on the Mississippi above Rock Island, Illinois. He has resided in the town of Albion (now Brockway) since 1845,--forty-six years.

As an interesting reminiscence we may relate that Mr. Brockway in 1866, late in the fall, went down the Mississippi, with two fleets of sawed lumber, but failed to sell it until all the steamboats had made their last trips. He purchased a stern-wheeler named the Skipper, of 150 tons burden of 3,000, loaded it with his crew of sixty men and winter's supplies and started up the river, but was compelled to stop at Muscatine, December 8, on account of floating ice and winter storms. Shipping his men and a portion of the winter's supplies by rail by way of Chicago and Milwaukee to the terminus of the road, he came directly home by team, at an expense of $15.

He owned and ran his steamboat on the Mississippi, Des Moines, Chippewa and St. Croix rivers until the autumn of 1868, when it sank in the Chippewa River. During the ensuing winter he built the steamer Chippewa Valley, at Eau Claire, in company with Captain George A. Buffington,--a boat of 185 tons,--and retained an interest in it while it was run, on the Mississippi and its northern tributaries, until the second year of the war, when he sold his interest in it. It was taken South and soon afterward sunk in the Arkansas River above Little Rock. Since his residence in Jackson County, Mr. Brockway has also built and owned four different saw-mills in this part of Wisconsin.

In 1871- 72 he was one of the Representatives in the Legislature from his district, then Jackson and Clark counties. He is now holding the office of County Surveyor. Politically he is a Republican.

Mr. Brockway was married, October 18, 1849, to Miss Sarah Rriggs, who was born in Hamilton County, Ohio, January 28, 1832, the daughter of David and Katherine (Hendricks) Riggs, the former a native of New York, and the latter of Pennsylvania, but both emigrated to Ohio in early life. The father was farmer by occupation, and held several township offices. Mr. and Mrs. Brockway have had seven children, viz: Melvin F., Ada M., Mary E., Albert M., La Fayette J., Fred R., and Judson W., all of whom are living.

The history of the Brockway family is as follows: In the early days in the history of the country seven brothers by the name of Brockway settled in Connecticut. They came from England, and it is thought that most of the men now in the country by that name are descendants of these. Our subject's grandmother Brockway was a direct descendant of Captain Miles Standish, who came over on the Mayflower in 1620. The lineal descent of his mother's father, William Potter Goff, was a general in the English army under Oliver Cromwell, and was one of the judges who, appointed by Parliament for that purpose in 1649, tried, convicted and sentenced to execution king Charles I, for tyranny and treason. Goff fled from England to this country in 1660, to escape the fate of the beheaded king, at the hands of Charles II, who had just gained accession to the throne. Here he had to remain in concealment for several years. A peculiar coincidence in the Brockway family is the fact that E. L. Brockway has five boys and two girls, and he himself one of a family of five boys and two girls, as was also his father.

Mr. Brockway, our subject, is one of the very early settlers here, and was at one time quite wealthy. He is now a very popular man in the county.




Brockway was born on January 20, 1826 in Brockwayville, Pennsylvania, October 18, 1849, he married Sarah Riggs. They would have seven children. Brockway died on December 4, 1901 in Brockway, Wisconsin. He was buried in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

Brockway's lineage traces to Myles Standish on his father's side and to William Goffe on his mother's side.  Brockway was a member of the Assembly during the 1872 session.  Additionally, he was County Surveyor of Jackson County, Wisconsin. He was a Republican  Wikipedia


Source----Eau Claire Leader Telegram December 3, 1976

Black River pioneer lives on in memory--By Pearl Porath


— December 4 will mark the 75th anniversary of the death of an area man who battled the Black River for 45 years, made several fortunes and died a pauper.

Eustace L. Brockway was also the person after whom the Tow n of Brockway was named. The region has come a long way since the 1800s. Populated by more than 1,000 persons, it is now home for the state’s only operating taconite plant and has a total valuation of $12,5 million.

Brockway helped start it all. Born in Jefferson County in 1826, he worked as a bridge builder in Iowa before moving to the Jackson County area in 1945. Here he set up a lumber business.

Bridge built

With headquarters a half mile below the upper falls of the Black River , Brockway built a number of sawmills, operated a ferry boat and, in 1865, constructed a toll bridge spanning the lower falls.

The bridge was an immediate success, with accounts noting days when more than 100 wagon teams crossed the structure. Eustace L. Brockway The bridge was extended in 1867, but the following year work began on a new municipal bridge, located near the present Black River crossing Brockway’s bridge, like countless ferryboats of the period, faded into uselessness. It was destroyed in the flood of 1878.

Mills flourished

But the lumber business flourished. Brockway’s mills provided millions of feet of board logs and rough-cut lumber to railroad connections and steamboat docks at La Crosse. And Brockway himself was often on the river. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 250 pounds, many of his physical feats became legend among his coworkers. Brockway’s best business years were in the 1860s and early 1870s, when he employed a large work force in the mill, more on the river and another crew in the woods during winter. He also operated a general store, a boarding house and a steamboat. The sternwheeler, called “ The Skipper,’’ ran the Mississippi, Des Moines. Chippewa and St. Croix Rivers from 1866 until 1868, when it sank in the Chippewa River. Brockway later built another steamer, “ The Chippewa Valley,’’ a 185-ton boat that sank in the Arkansas River near Little Rock.

Died poor

But with the coming of the railroad era and the passing of the lumber rafting business, Brockway’s holdings declined in value. When he died in December 1901 at the age of 75, he was a poor man.

It was an ironic end for a man who had been close to a famous American president. Brockway dealt with the operator of a large supply house at Galena, Ill., in the days before the Civil War. The man’s name was Ulysses S. Grant, and the pair became fast friends, sharing enthusiasm and pride for saddle horses. G ran t even gave an elaborate etched saddle to Mrs. Brockway, herself a skilled equestrienne. According to newspaper reports, the gift was the envy of many riders in the area.

Writing about Brockway in 1828, a Black River Falls postmaster, John Levis, said, “ How strange runs the destiny of man. Brockway might have made a better president than U.S. Grant had fate called him to the high station. However, his lifework was set for him along other lines.


Source----Jackson County Banner August 26, 1858


STATE OF WISCONSIN, County of Jackson, S3. John A. Packnril & Co., Plaintiffs, against E. L. Brockway & Co., Defendants. In Jackson County Circuit Court. By virtue of an execution, to me directed, issued from the said Circuit Court, in the above entitled action, I have levied upon and will expose for sale, at public auction, at the post office in the village of Black River Falls, in said county, on the 19th day of August, A. D. 1858, at 10 o'clock in the forenoon of said day, the following described real property, to wit : All the right, title and interest of E L. Brockway in and to lot No. one, [1] section No. seventeen, [17,] town No. twenty, [20,] range four [4 j west. Also, lot No. ton, [10,] section No. twenty-two, [22,] town twenty-one [21] north, range four [4] west. Also, south-east 1/4 of south-east 1/4 of section No. twenty-two, [22,j town No. twenty-one, [21.] Also, lot No. two, |2,] section No. twenty-one, [21,] town No. twenty-one, [21.] Also, all the right, title and interest George Farnam had in and to lots No. 3, 4 and 5, in the mill block in the village of Black River Falls on the 8th day of March, A.- D. 1858, and all the appurtenance thereunto pertaining.  

E. L. SHELDON, Sheriff Jackson Co. Dated Sheriff's Office, Juno 29, 1858. 6w39.

The above sale is hereby adjourned until the 10th day of September next at 10 o'clock, A.M. B. L. SHELDON, Sheriff Jackson County. Dated Sheriff's Office, Aug. 19, 1858.

Source----Jackson County Banner August 26, 1858

we had the pleasure lost week of visiting the school at Lower Tails, kept by Miss BROCKWAY, and although our time was limited, several classes were put through in a style that evinces the usual result of thorough application on the part of teacher and scholar. We were astonished to listen to the spelling of a class in three syllables, which commenced learning their letters at the beginning of the term. Such progress speaks for itself. The declamatory exercises were well gone through with, and altogether a pleasing impression was left upon our mind respecting this school.

1860 Federal Census Town Of Albion, Jackson, Wisconsin, United States, pg. 19

Erastus L Brockway, white male
Age 34
Race White
Birthplace Pennsylvania
Page 19

Household Members

Erastus L Brockway M 34 Pennsylvania
Sarah Brockway F 28 Ohio
Melvina Brockway M 9 Wisconsin
Ada Brockway F 7 Wisconsin
Emma Brockway F 5 Wisconsin
Albert Brockway M 3 Ohio
Thomas Overturf M 23 Pennsylvania
Ann Olson F 26 Norway

1870 Federal Census, Albion, Jackson, Wisconsin, United States, pg. 17

Eustus S Brockway
Event Type Census
Event Year 1870
Event Place 
Gender Male
Age 44
Race White
Birth Year (Estimated) 1825-1826
Birthplace Pennsylvania

Household Members

Eustus S Brockway M 44 Pennsylvania
Sarah A Brockway F 38 Ohio
Melvin Brockway M 19 Wisconsin
Ada Brockway F 16 Wisconsin
Emma Brockway F 15 Wisconsin
Albert Brockway M 13 Wisconsin
Lafayette Brockway M 9 Wisconsin
Fred Brockway M 6 Wisconsin
Judson Brockway M 5 Wisconsin
Carie Larson F 28 Norway
Carie Matson F 16 Norway
James Stacy M 20 Pennsylvania
Purt Hartwell M 19 Wisconsin
Ole Johnson M 30 Norway
Ole Erickson M 25 Norway
John Cousin M 24 Norway
Chist Galousin M 33 Norway
James Merrill M 25 Wisconsin
William Ross M 24 Canada
Timothy Robins M 24 Canada
Wayne Stedman M 20 Wisconsin
Albert Lane M 20 Wisconsin


1900 Federal Census, Brockway town, Jackson, Wisconsin, United States

E. Brockway, white married 74 yr. old widowed male
Birthplace Pennsylvania
Father's Birthplace New York
Mother's Birthplace New York

Household Members

E. Brockway Head M 74 (Jan 1826) Farmer, Pennsylvania
S J Brockway Son M , married, Mill Wright, 39 (Mar 1861) Wisconsin
Bessie Brockway Wife F, married, 31 (Jan 1869) Wisconsin
Judson W Brockway Son, single, M 38 (Apr 1862) Wisconsin

Wisconsin Birth Records


Bio: Brockway, Fred Riggs (Birth-1864)


Fred Riggs Brockway
Gender Male
Birth Date 05 Feb 1864
Birthplace Albion, Jackson, Wisconsin
Father's Name Eustace L. Brockway


Wisconsin Marriage Records

BioM: Smith, Harriett (1892)


Name Albert J. Brockway
Spouse's Name Harriette Smith
Event Date 01 Dec 1892
Event Place Jackson, Wisconsin
Father's Name Eustace Lafayette Brockway
Mother's Name Sarah Ann Riggs
Spouse's Father's Name Uriah T. Smith
Spouse's Mother's Name Amand P. Hale


BioM: Bockway, Ada M. (1872)

Charles J. Cooper
Spouse's Name Ada M. Brockway
Event Date 21 Oct 1872
Event Place Black River Falls, Jackson, Wisconsin
Father's Name Frank Cooper
Spouse's Father's Name E. L. Brockway

Wisconsin Death Records


Obit: Brockway, Melvin (1852 - 1893)


Melvin Brockway
Event Type Death
Event Date 1893
Event Place La Crosse County, Wisconsin
Gender Male
Age 41
Marital Status Unknown
Race White
Occupation Mill Operator
Birth Year (Estimated) 1852
Burial Place Black River Falls, Jackson, Wis.
Father's Name E. L. Brockway
Mother's Name Mrs. E. L. Brockway



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