Jacob Broom (1752-1810) was a farmer, surveyor, businessman, public official, and philanthropist. He prepared military maps for General George Washington prior to the Battle of Brandywine (1777) and held numerous local political positions throughout his life. Broom was member of the Delaware legislature (1784-86, 1788); and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention where he signed the federal Constitution (1787). He is probably one of the least known signers of the Constitution.

In this letter, Jacob expresses fatherly pride and reminds his son James to remember what he had been taught and “be a Christian”:


This is the text of Jacob Broom’s letter:

Wilmington Feb. 24,1794

Dear James,

I recd.[received] your favor of the 27th ulti [last] & am well pleased at the sentiments expressed – whilst you go on, having your own approbation you have nothing to fear – I flatter myself you will be what I wish but don’t be so much flattered as to relax of your application – don’t forget to be a Christian, I have said much to you on this head [topic of discourse] & I hope an indelible impression is made –

Tell Mr. Harrison that I shall attend to his request, very soon – I am & have been very much engaged for some time past; being about to establish a Cotton Manufactory at this place – it is an arduous undertaking for an individual; but I hope to accomplish it – I have bought a valuable plantation on B. Wine and have secured a Mill seat [site] where I intend building (the ensuing summer) a Cotton Mill to spin part of the stuff [note: Broom built the first cotton mill at Brandywine in 1795 near Wilmington, DE] –

Your mamma, sisters & brothers are well & so is J.S. Littler – they join with me in love to you –

I expected sir now to receive another letter from you –

I have sold my Mercht.[Merchant] Mill & Plantations in Kent for 25,000 I am improving my other seat there – all this is nothing without economy, industry & the blessing of Heaven – I am building another Mill there –

I am, in haste yours affectionately

Jaco Broom

P.S. when will be your vacation? Your sister Nancy wishes to see you as soon as that shall take place –