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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

William Booth Broomall

 William Booth Broomall

Photograph from
One Hundred Years, The Delaware County Nation Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914

William Booth Broomall

(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

William Booth Broomall, son of Hon. John M. and Elizabeth (Booth) Broomall, was born January 30, 1843, in the building at the northeast corner of Third and Market streets, and a notable incident in his life is that twenty-three years later he married there, October 17, 1866, Anna M. Hinkson. He was educated in the old brick school house in Upper Chichester, and the old Chester Academy, on Second street, from these matriculating in 1857 into Haverford College, from which he graduated an A. B. in July, 1861, at the age of eighteen, with the reputation of one of the best all-round scholars sent forth by that institution of learning. His father, at this time, had removed to Media, and his son entered his parent's office as a student-at-law. The son, then nineteen, in August, 1862, enlisted in Company D, 124th Infantry, Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, which company, recruited in Delaware county, was known as "Gideon's Band," and with it young Broomall saw active service in the Antietam campaign. When honorably discharged in May, 1863, he resumed his interrupted legal reading, and was called to the bar of Delaware county, February 22, 1864. Locating in Chester, he soon built up a large and lucrative practice, being for many years the acknowledged leader of the local bar. In 1872, he was elected by Council to fill the vacancy in that body occasioned by the resignation of William A. Todd, a representative from the old South ward, and was elected by the people in 1882 from the same district, but resigned the following year to accept the solicitorship of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Prior to that, Mr. Broomall had been elected a member of the School Board, in 1868, to fill the unexpired term of Samuel Eccles, Jr., from which he resigned in 1872, when elected to City Council. In 1891, he was the leading counsel in the noted Pfitzenmeyer murder case, one of the most dramatic trials in the criminal annals of the Commonwealth. After the passage of the Act of 1907, creating the office of additional law judge for Delaware county, Governor Stuart appointed Mr. Broomall to that position, and he was elected at the fall election of that year for the full term of ten years. Judge Broomall, in addition to his legal eminence, is an author of recognized authority. His address on "William Lewis," the great Philadelphia lawyer of the eighteenth century, delivered before the Delaware County Historical Society, November 4, 1897; his "Personal Recollections of Hon. William Ward," before the same society, June 26, 1907; "Legal Reminiscences," an address made to the Delaware Bar Association, January 10, 1910; and "A Retrospect," an address made at the banquet tendered him by the Bar of Delaware County, February 21, 1914, on the fiftieth anniversary of his admission to the bar, are masterly contributions to the local lore of the county, which posterity will ever hold in grateful remembrance. "Broomall Night," compiled by Josiah Smith, Esq., which delightfully tells the story of the latter occurrence, will hold permanent place in collections of Pennsylvania history.

Judge Broomall was one of the organizers of the Penn Club, of Chester, and has been its presiding officer eighteen years, ever since its institution; he is a member of the Swedish Colonial Society, and president of the Delaware County Historical Society.





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2002 John A. Bullock III.

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