26 July 2010

Meet the Signers - Jacob Broom of Delaware

Another signer from humble roots that would start a political dynasty was Jacob Broom. Broom was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1752 to James Broom and Esther Willis. James was blacksmith, who also did well trading in real estate, silver, and gold. Esther was a Quaker.

With his skills as a mathematician and as a penman, Jacob became a surveyor. Among his many projects, Broom drew the map used by General Washington at the Battle of Brandywine. As the son of a Quaker, Broom took little part in the revolution, but played an active role in the development of the state of Delaware. A few of his many roles include Burgess and Chief Burgess of Wilmington, Assessor, state legislator, and the first postmaster of Wilmington.

Broom owned a machine shop, built the state’s first cotton mill, mined iron ore, played a role in the building of the Brandywine Canal, and chaired the first Board of Directors of The Bank of Delaware. He was a also a land developer. [sidebar – the DuPont family purchased their lands from him].

On 14 December 1773 Broom married Rachel, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Pierce. Jacob and Rachel would have eight children. Two of their boys would grow up to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. One of their grandsons would run for president in 1852 as the Native American (aka Know Nothing) party candidate.

Broom died 25 Apr 1810 in Philadelphia at the age of 58. He is buried in the Christ Church Cemetery.

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