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The Brookes and the Buckleys

This account would not be complete without more than passing reference to the Hopewell ironmasters of the nineteenth century, the Brookes and the Buckleys, under whom the furnace enjoyed so much growth and prosperity. Members of these two closely related families owned and operated the furnace continuously from 1800 to 1883, and the property remained in the hands of the Brookes until 1935 when it was transferred to the Federal Government.

The chain of title began, as mentioned earlier, with the equal partnership of the two brothers, Matthew and Thomas Brooke, and their brother-in-law, Daniel Buckley, all ironmasters experienced in the early iron business. Following Matthew Brooke's death in 1821, it continued in the hands of the remaining partners, who in 1824 effected a settlement with the children of the deceased partner for the one-third share of the undivided estate. In 1827 and 1830, respectively, Daniel Buckley and Thomas Brooke willed their individual one-half shares to their respective children. Two sons of Daniel Buckley later assigned their interest to a third son, Matthew Brooke Buckley. The sons of Thomas Brooke, Clement and Charles, elected to continue as partners. In 1852, Clement Brooke bought out his brother through court action, thereby obtaining one-half interest in the property. In 1861, Clement, in turn, willed this one-half interest to his daughter, Maria T. Clingan, wife of Dr. Charles M. Clingan, the manager. A few years earlier (in 1856) Edward S. Buckley, son of Matthew Brooke Buckley, had succeeded to his father's share.

All of these successive owners of Hopewell were practical iron men, active both at Hopewell and at other ironworks. The degree of their actual control and direction of affairs at Hopewell is reflected through the years by the changing firm name: "Thomas Brooke & Co.," "Buckley & Brooke," "Daniel Buckley & Co.," "Clement Brooke & Co.," and "Clingan and Buckley." But one of them, Clement Brooke, stands out far above the others, second only to Mark Bird among Hopewell ironmasters. Clement Brooke was more intimately connected with Hopewell, over a longer period of time, and left a more lasting impression on it, than any other. His name appears more often in the furnace records than even Mark Bird's.


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Last Modified: Mon, Dec 2 2002 10:00:00 am PDT

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