Richard P. Brokaw Biography


This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1898. Pages 358-359 Scan and OCR by Joy Fisher, 1997.


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RICHARD P. BROKAW is the oldest settler in Bristol and one of Day County's leading citizens. Mr. Brokaw was born July 3, 1843, in Seneca county, New York. His parents, Joseph and Sarah (Patterson) Brokaw, were both natives of New York. His father was a butcher by trade and died in his native state. Richard was educated in the district schools of the Empire State and afterwards became a butcher. In July 1862, he enlisted at Geneva, New York, in Company E, One Hundred and Forty-eighth New York Infantry, and went to the war. He served three years in the commissary department and issued rations during that time to from six to eight thousand men. He was connected with the Army of the James during the entire time of his enlistment. At the close of the war he went to Illinois and resumed work as a butcher, going into business at Joliet. A short time after he went to Michigan and took up fruit farming, which he continued for four years. He then went to South Dakota and settled upon a farm between Elk point and Vermillion. He spent eight years there and subsequently worked upon a nearby railroad for two years. In the spring of 1881 he removed to Day county and on June 6th of that year became a resident of Bristol. He helped to lay out the embryo town, bought the first lot, and the following spring put up the first house ever built there. Since that time he has been engaged in the hotel business at Bristol, and is one of the most genial, popular and widely known bonifaces in the northwestern part of the state Politically Mr. Brokaw is a Republican, but has never sought nor held office of any kind.


He is a member of the G. A. R., and the last six years has been quartermaster of the local post. In April, 1866, he married Miss Annie M. Hyde, a resident of Illinois and a daughter of Elias Hyde. Mr. and Mrs. Brokaw are the parents of three children, Lawrence W., William L. and Abbie, deceased. They also have an adopted child, May.