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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.

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JOSEPH J. BROPHY was born at Port Kennedy, Montgomery county, March 19, 1866. In 1870 he went with his father’s family to Conshohocken, where he resided until 1872, when the family removed to Swedeland, where he grew to manhood, having the advantages afforded by public schools until he was thirteen years of age, when he went into the Albin Print Works as an employe. At that establishment it was his duty to keep the cloth smooth as it came from the rolls. After a year spent in the Print Works, he secured employment in the Joseph Lees Woolen Mills, in the vicinity of his home, as bobbin-boy. After rendering service for six months in that capacity, he was given a better job in the picker house. A few months later he entered the establishment of James Hall, a carpet weaver of West Conshohocken, with whom he remained three years, finding employment at the end of that time in John Wood’s Rolling Mill in Conshohocken. At the end of a year he hired with William B. Rambo in his line of work, where he remained another year. He then spent two years in the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, gaining knowledge of a locomotive which has been exceedingly valuable to him many times in his railroading.

Mr. Brophy then took a western trip, going to Chicago to visit relatives. After his return he worked for the Reading Railway Company a short time at Ninth and Master streets, Philadelphia, handling coal. Engaging with Forepaugh, he took a trip through Ohio and part of Indiana, and this gave him all he wanted of circus life. He came home to enter the employ of the Reading Railway Company as repairsman, in 1887, this being the real start of his life as a railroad man. Mr. Brophy has always stood by the company in its labor troubles, and at the time of the strike of the Knights of Labor in 1887, he was made a brakeman, which duty he performed for a year and a half, and then was promoted to conductor one year on day shifts. He was then a fireman for seven years, and on October 15, 1895, was examined for engineer and received a certificate as such. He has been an engineer ever since, six years a regular engineer.

Mr. Brophy has been a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for fifteen years. In religious faith he is a Catholic, being a member of St. Augustine’s church, Bridgeport.

Mr. Brophy married, October 21, 1888, Miss Catharine Coleman, daughter of John and Mary (McNallis) Coleman. She was born March 10, 1870, in Phoenixville. After his marriage he lived for a time in Swedeland, and then went to Downingtown, remaining there seven years. He then returned to Bridgeport and has resided there ever since.

William Brophy (father) was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, on the province of Ulster, where he lived fourteen years, and then, with his mother’s family, removed to England, his father having died a few years previously. In England Mr. Brophy was reared and there married Mary Ann Mooney, who was born in Queens County, Ireland. Two years after his marriage, Mr. Brophy and his wife left Liverpool in a sailing vessel and after a voyage of thirteen weeks landed at Castle Garden, New York. This was in 1857, and during the panic of that year he was glad to accept work with John Kennedy at Port Kennedy, for eighty cents a day. He remained with Mr. Kennedy twenty years. At Port Kennedy, his children were born and he spent there the best years of his life. He is above the age of seventy years and his wife nearly seventy-five years of age, and resides at Swedeland. Their children: Martin J., married (first wife) Annie Waters, and (second wife) Mrs. Cennus; Thomas and Margaret (twins), of whom Thomas married Estella Brightenstine, and Margaret married John McCaully; Joseph J., subject of this sketch.

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Brophy have had five children, as follows: John M., born September 13, 1889; Mary, born January 29, 1891; Margaret, born April 11, 1892; William, born April 11, 1895; and Joseph, born October 12, 1898.

Mrs. Brophy’s father was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, her mother in County Donegal. They came to the United States at different times and located in the coal regions of Pennsylvania, where they were married. Their children: Catharine, now Mrs. Brophy; Margaret, deceased, wife of John Nalley; Annie, who married Harvey Ott; Grace, unmarried; and Cecilia, who married Matthew Morris.

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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

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