Born: 1815-11-06 Somerset County, New Jersey
Died: 1905-03-14 Bloomington, Illinois
Brokaw worked on his father's farm until the age of eighteen, when he was apprenticed as a wheelwright to Darius Gilmore of Mechanicsville, New Jersey. In 1836, he headed west and settled in Bloomington, Illinois. By 1843, Brokaw opened a business making wagons and plows, and produced the first wagon manufactured in McLean County, Illinois. In 1847, Brokaw married Eunice Ellsworth, in Janesville, Wisconsin. A Democrat, Brokaw served on the board of trustees of Bloomington from 1845-46. In 1860, Brokaw was manufacturing plows and owned $40,000 in real property, with a personal estate of $2,000. During his lifetime, he amassed a fortune, stemming from his wagon and plow-making business and his shrewd real estate investments.
E. Duis, The Good Old Times in McLean County, Illinois (Bloomington, IL: Leader, 1874), 348-51; Gravestone, Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Bloomington, McLean County, IL, 17; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Ward 1, Bloomington, McLean County, IL, 125.