Jacob Broom (October 17, 1752–April 25, 1810) was the son of a blacksmith named James Broom who was also a successful farmer and had numerous real estate holdings as well as investments in both gold and silver. By all accounts, Jacob’s mother was a Quaker named Esther Willis.
Broom attended school in Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware at Wilmington’s Old Academy during his primary years. After he completed school, Broom tried his hand at farming, surveying and then finally becoming a businessman within the local community. He married his wife, Rachel Pierce in 1773 and they went on to expand their family with the addition of eight children.
Jacob Broom moved into politics as a natural progression from the various positions he held locally including tax assessor, and the City President of “Street Regulators” which was a group designed to oversee the care of sewage, water and street systems within the community. He was also a Justice of the Peace in New Castle County. At the age of 24, Broom became the Vice-Mayor of Wilmington, a position he was re-elected to six more times after his initial election. In addition, Broom served as Mayor a total of four times and never lost any election that he campaigned in.
Broom never actively fought in the Revolution, because he had such clearly determined pacifist roots. He was, however, a Patriot and made great contributions towards the independence cause by helping out in different ways (aside from fighting). He used his talents as a surveyor to prepare detailed maps for use by the Continental Army in the Battle of Brandywine.
Jacob Broom was chosen and sent by his community to the legislature as a representative of New Castle Country from 1784 to 1788. After that point, he was chosen to represent the state of Delaware at the Annapolis Convention. Broom was always an ardent support of the concept of central government and he took the opportunity to express that to George Washington in 1783 upon Washington’s visit to Wilmington.
Broom was in favor of 9 year terms for all Senate members and equal representation of each state. He was also in favor of state legislatures paying their representatives in Congress. Jacob Broom attended the Convention sessions and while he did speak out on issues that he viewed as important, he did not participate in any speeches.
Following the Convention, Broom returned to his home town and continued to serve in local government. He was Wilmington’s first postmaster in 1790 and continued in that position until 1792. He also sat as chair on the Board of Directors for Delaware Bank in Wilmington.
Broom continued to dabble in business endeavors including running a cotton mill, and a machine shop that manufactured mill machinery as well as making the necessary repairs to it. He eventually sold his operations to Dupont which became the center of their operations in later years.
Jacob broom died in 1810, aged 58 years, on a business trip to Philadelphia.