An upcoming post is going to mention the Honorable Albert Gallatin Brodhead, oldest brother of my second great grandfather Andrew Jackson Brodhead, so I thought I would take this moment to post a bio about Albert. It was published in 1905 in Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, PA* (see end of this post for full citation and a link to view the book online). This fabulous 500-plus-page book is rich with biographical information and portraits of many prominent individuals in Lehigh Valley history. If you have prominent ancestors who lived in that area, it would be worth checking the book’s index to see if your ancestor’s name appears there. Albert was the son of Garret Brodhead (1793-1872) and Cornelia Dingman (1797-1885), and had two other brothers besides my second great grandfather: Daniel Dingman Brodhead and Abram Coolbaugh Brodhead. In his younger years, Albert worked for the venerable Asa Packer. whose daughter Lucy Evelyn was married to Albert’s cousin Dr. Garret B. Linderman, son of Rachel Brodhead (Garret’s sister) and Dr. John J. Linderman.
According to p. 674 of a different book The History of the Counties of Lehigh & Carbon, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by Alfred Mathews & Austin N. Hungerford (published in Philadelphia, Pa., 1884), which is also rich in information, Albert settled in Mauch Chunk first, and his parents and brothers followed thereafter: Hon. A. G. Brodhead came here in 1841, and has ever since been identified with railroad enterprises. He was made superintendent of the Beaver Meadow Railroad in 1850, and has filled the position with ability ever since, the name of his office changing with the ownership of the road, and now being superintendent of the Beaver Meadow Division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He has been prominently identified with the movements which brought the gas- and water-works into existence, and with other local enterprises, and in 1869 was elected to the State Senate. His father, Garret Brodhead, came to Mauch Chunk some years after his own settlement and died here, and his brothers, Andrew, Abram, and Daniel, also became residents in the valley.
If you read the below bio on Albert, you will discover a man of great accomplishment and fine character. It greatly impressed me that—in addition to family members—700 guests showed up from all over the country to help Albert and his wife Sally celebrate their golden anniversary on July 3, 1888. A few years after that, his death came unexpectedly at the hands of a bout of flu from which he failed to recover. Even on his deathbed, he was thinking of others and making provisions to ensure his family would be properly cared for. Until I read this bio, I’d never realized that he died on the same month and day (18 Jan.) as both his parents (Garret, 18 Jan 1872; Cornelia, 18 Jan 1885). Quite an alignment of stars, I must say. But somehow that seems fitting—Albert, with all his accomplishments and having been the first-born child, may well have been the apple of their eye. And, in his final moments, the significance of that month and day may well have crossed his mind. The description of Albert’s funeral, included in this bio, is poignant and shows just how beloved a figure he was in the Mauch Chunk community. He and his parents are buried in the Upper Mauch Chunk Cemetery.
Note: Paragraph 1 of page 261 mentions an uncle ‘A. G. Gallatin’. This must be a reference to his uncle Albert Gallatin Brodhead, younger brother of Albert’s father Garret, and the person after whom young Albert was named.
*Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of the Lehigh Valley, PA, Volume II, by John Woolf Jordan Edgar Moore Green, and George Taylor Ettinger (Lehigh Valley, PA: Lewis Publishing Co., 1905) is available on Google eBooks. Click the link.