History of Washington County, Iowa from the First White Settlements to
Colonel S. W. Brookhart, the senior partner of the old firm of S. W. & J. L. Brookhart and prominent as a representative of the Washington bar, was born in Scotland county, Missouri, February 2, 1869, his parents being Abram C. and Cynthia (Wildman) Brookhart, who were natives of Ohio and Indiana, respectively. The former was a son of Abram Brookhart, whose birth occurred in the Buckeye state. He came of German-Swiss ancestry and devoted his life to agricultural pursuits. the maternal grandfather, James Wildman, was also a farmer and for a short time served as a soldier of the Civil war in response to the first call. Abram C. Brookhart also made farming his life work and, on leaving his native state, removed westward, living for a time in Missouri and afterward one season in Minnesota prior to coming to Iowa in 1879. On reaching this state he settled in Jefferson county for five years, whence he removed to Van Buren county, where he lived for twenty-two years. In 1906 he arrived in Washington county and purchased a farm on ninety acres in Washington township, where he now resides. For a little more than three years he was a soldier of the Seventh Missouri Cavalry, serving among others under General Steele. Unto him and his wife were born ten children, six sons and four daughters: Smith W., Newton D.; James L.; Odes E.; Della E.; George W.; Myrtle, the wife of George Poole; May, now Mrs. James Quinn; Thompson L.; and Lillian.
In taking up the present history of Colonel S. W. Brookhart we present to our readers the record of one who occupies a prominent place in the public regard by reason of his ability in his chosen profession and his loyalty to the interests which best conserve the general welfare. He lived in Missouri until nine years of age and afterward spent one summer in Minnesota, coming thence to Iowa with his parents, the remainder of his minority being passed on the home farm in this state. His early education, acquired in the country schools, was supplemented by study in the Bloomfield high school and by a scientific course in the Southern Iowa Normal. He was graduated from the last two and made a wide study of modern languages out of school. This together with broad literary knowledge to serve as a foundation upon which to rear the superstructure of professional learning, he took up the study of law, reading for a year at Bloomfield and later at Keosauqua. In October, 1892, he was admitted to the bar upon successfully passing an examination before the supreme court and the same year began practice in Washington, where he was since continued. In 1898 he admitted his brother J. L. Brookhart to a partnership and the firm is connected with much of the important litigation tried in the courts of the district. Colonel Brookhart is very thorough, careful and painstaking in the preparation of cases. His knowledge of the law is accurate and comprehensive and his trial of a case is characterized by a strong and forceful logic, while he never loses sight of the common sense that appeals to all men. Aside from his profession he is a director in the Farmers & Merchants Bank and is the owner of considerable stock in the George H. Paul Land Company.
Pleasantly situated in his home life Colonel Brookhart was married on the 22d of June, 1897, to Miss Jennie Hearne, a daughter of Samuel Hearne. They have four sons and one daughter, Charles Edward, John Roberts, Samuel Colar, Smith W., and Florence Hearne. Mrs. Brookhart is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
Colonel Brookhart belongs to the Knights of Pythias fraternity and in politics is a progressive republican, interested in the success and growth of right principles. He was elected to serve as county attorney for six years save for a period of six months when he resigned and enlisted in the Spanish-American war, becoming second lieutenant of Company D., Fiftieth Iowa Regiment. After the war he reorganized that company as captain and continued in command for three or four years. He was afterward appointed by Governor Cummins as colonel and general inspector of small arms practice for the state and later was reappointed to the same position by Governor Carroll and is still at the head of this department. He was one of the promoters and is a director in the Washington Commercial Club and is a factor in many of the movements as well as business interests which have had to do with shaping the policy and molding the destiny of the county in recent years. In all he does he is actuated by a desire for the public good and his labors have been effective in attaining desired results. He is, however, preeminently a lawyer with deep interest in the science of jurisprudence, familiar with the law and with precedent and standing as a strong conservator of the liberties and rights of the people through the medium of his profession. At the same time he is not blind to the faults and technicalities of the law and one can not be found who is more alert for reform and progress. His chief diversion is military affairs and he takes great interest in the improvement of rifle practice in the Iowa National Guard by the most scientific and practical instruction. He has developed a state rifle team that now holds a place in the first division of the national rifle matches and is looking to greater advancement in the future.