My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

E. G. BROWNBACK, burgess of Trappe, is descended from an old and honored family of Chester and Montgomery counties.

He was born at Trappe, March 3, 1868, and received his education in the public schools, Washington Hall, and a business college of Philadelphia. He is the son of Edward, Jr., and Andora (Goodwin) Brownback, who were natives, he of Birch-Runville, Chester county, and she of Trappe. They were married at Trappe.

E. G. Brownback is a descendant of Gerhard Brownback, of Wurtemberg, Germany, who came to America in 1783, and settled at Germantown, where he married Mary Papin, daughter of David Papin, who was the first recorder of Germantown. David Papin married the daughter of William Rittenhouse, a descendant of the nobility of Prussia. William Rittenhouse wandered from his native home to Holland, and from there came to America in 1783. He built the first paper mill in British America, at Germantown, in 1790, and was the first Mennonite bishop of Pennsylvania. He was the grandfather of David Rittenhouse, the greatest astronomer of his day. Gerhard Brownback settled on a large tract of land in Chester county in 1720. He was the pioneer settler, and also the first hotel-keeper in his log house. He established and built a Reformed church, and went to Europe to bring a preacher for it when it was finished. The church still bears the name “Brownback Chapel.’’ From him are descended all the Brownbacks, who are very numerous in Pennsylvania.

Edward Brownback (grandfather) and his wife, whose maiden name was Geist, lived and died in Chester county. They are buried in the burial ground which adjoins the Brownback church, of which they were members. He reared a family of seven children in Chester county. They were: John, Mark, Benjamin, Edward (father); Harriet, never married; Catherine (Mrs. Peter Emory); one died in infancy.

Edward Brownback ( father) was reared in Chester county, and lived at his father’s home until he was grown. Then he and his brother Mark removed to Montgomery county and rented and managed a large farm, together with stock of all kinds. His brother Mark married, and in 1861 they engaged in the hotel business at Trappe, and continued until 1868, when the partnership was dissolved, and Edward Brownback bought a farm at Trappe. He reared a family on this farm, and died there February 19, 1902, at the age of seventy-eight years and five months. He was an excellent business man and accumulated considerable property. For many years he was director and stockholder in the Spring City National Bank, and was known as a charitable man. In politics he was a Democrat. His wife is still living on the old homestead at Trappe.

William and Sarah (Haws) Goodwin, the maternal grandparents, were both natives of Pennsylvania. For a number of years he managed the Lamb hotel, at Trappe, but was previously a farmer, ant1 attended the Philadelphia market.

He was a Democrat in politics, and a member of the Lutheran church. The family were of German origin. He died at Trappe. The children of William and Sarah Goodwill were: Mary (Mrs. J. Hoyer); Jane, died unmarried; Sarada, died unmarried; Andora (Mrs. Brownback); William (deceased), leaving two children; Addison, a physician, died at Kenton, Delaware.

Edward and Andora (Goodwin) Brownback had the following children: Edwin G.; Stella, died young; Benjamin F., assisting in store, is a bookkeeper by profession, born November 22, 1872, still unmarried.

E. G. Brownback has always lived at Trappe. He received a good education, and before his marriage taught school during the winter months, and assisted at home during the summer. In 1895 he married and bought the mercantile business which he is yet conducting at Trappe. He has a general stock of goods such as is required by his custom. He is a stockholder in the Spring City Bank, and also a director in that institution. He is also a stockholder in the Pennsylvania railroad. He is a capable business man, giving close attention to the management of his store. In politics he is a Democrat, having been postmaster under President Cleveland, and is prominent in his party councils in the borough. In February, 1903, he was elected burgess, and is giving good satisfaction in that position. He is an elder of the Lutheran church, Trappe, and has been superintendent of the Sunday-school for twelve years, worshipping in the old historic neighborhood, where Muhlenberg established the first Lutheran church in this section of the state, in 1743.

Mr. Brownback married Miss Mary V. Beaver, who was born at Trappe, in 1866. She is the daughter of John K. and Mary (Shellenberger) Beaver, she of Bucks county, being a daughter of Michael Shellenberger, of an old family residing in the vicinity of Chalfont. John K. Beaver was born near Falkener Swamp, and was a tailor by trade, going later into a mercantile business. He worked at his trade at Skippack and later went to Trappe, where after a time he formed the firm of Beaver & Shellenberger, which continued twenty years, they keeping a general store and being very successful. At the end of that time Mr. Brownback bought the store, and Mr. Beaver retired. He resides at Trappe, at the age of more than eighty years, enjoying the repose that befits the close of a well-spent life. Mr. Beaver was a Whig and Republican, but never aspired to public office. He served as postmaster a number of years. He and his family are Lutherans in religious faith. His children: Martha (Mrs. Rev. S. M. Hensch) of Frederick, Maryland; Mary, wife of Mr. E. G. Brownback.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Brownback: John H., born September 19, 1897; Oliver S., born March 23, 1899.

* * * *

This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.