Joseph Broleman was born 24 September 1852 to Johannes Stefan Broelemann and Elisabeth Sprenger in Lippstadt, Westfalen, Soest, Germany. His passport was issued on 8 October 1870 from Lippstadt to New York; however, Joseph stowed away on a ship sailing to the United States.

On 8 March 1874, Joseph married Catherine Schaffer in Lincoln County, Missouri. This couple had seven children. They lived at 514 Elm, 4518 Scott, and 4318 Pine all in St. Louis, plus a farm they owned in Tamaroa Precinct 1 in Perry County, Illinois.

On 17 May 1895, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Joseph Broleman joined the Paper Carriers’ Union and was elected and installed on a Board of Directors.

On Wednesday, 12 August 1896, Joseph was admitted as a citizen of the United States in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. On 21 August 1896, the Office of the Board of Election Commissioners notified him that he had been selected to serve as Republican Judge of Election and Registration for the 5th Precinct of the 28th Ward in the City of St. Louis.

Joseph’s first wife, Catherine, died on 9 May 1910 after thirty-five years of marriage. About fourteen months after her death, at the age of fifty-eight, he arranged with Fred and Louisa Voelker to marry their twenty-year-old daughter, Anna. They were married on 8 July 1911 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, after which they moved to St. Louis, where she bore two sons within four and a half years of their marriage.

Joseph signed his last will and testament on 21 July 1933. Joseph’s death certificate lists bronchial asthma, carcinoma of the nose, and senility, but immediate cause of death was arterial sclerosis and chronic myocarditis. He died on 20 February 1938 while living at 5046 Maple Avenue in Kirkwood, Missouri.

Joseph Broleman was a Globe-Democrat newspaper carrier for twenty-five years and made several fortunes as a real estate land dealer. In an obituary he was called a “Globe Democrat Pioneer Carrier.” The February 1938 obituary reads: “Since the merger of the Globe and the Missouri Democrat newspapers a Broleman has been on the list of carriers. A son, Hugo, took over the route after his father retired. Mr. Broleman was the oldest carrier on the records of the Globe-Democrat.” Born in Germany, Mr. Broleman came to St. Louis at the age of eighteen and started a paper route four years later. He numbered among his early customers Eugene Field, Capt. James B. Eads, and other outstanding figures of the day. The last route he carried and which is now operated by his son, Hugo, lies in the vicinity of the St. Louis Cathedral.”

The interment was private. Joseph was survived by his widow, four sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Written by Judy Broleman
June 2020
© 2020, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 04-Feb-2021 12:48