John Boorem II



The second generation John Boorem, eldest son of John and Catherine Boorem, was born in Nazareth Township in 1798. He was only 12 years old when his father died in 1810, and no doubt many of the family responsibilities soon fell on his young shoulders. Although in those days it was common for a widow to remarry, Catherine never took a second husband, despite having children to support. Apparently she was able to maintain the Boorem homestead with the help of John and Jacob. By the time of the 1820 census John is listed as the head of the household, and after he and his family moved to the wilderness of what would become Monroe County, the land became known as the Jacob Boorem homestead. Jacob remained on the family farm until his death in 1856. Since Jacob died without issue, at his passing the Boorem name died out in the family's original place of settlement.

Young John Boorem worked hard to secure a good education for himself, an education that enabled him to read and write at an early age. Family tradition claims that John Boorem learned to read by the light of the fireplace. He later taught school in Monroe County and was appointed Director of Schools in Price Township in 1844. This tradition of literacy remained strong in the Boorem family. Census returns from 1850 onwards demonstrate that members of the Boorem family attended school and could read and write.

Circa 1818 John married Elizabeth Nauman, daughter of Michael and Mary Stricker Nauman. The Naumans were neighbors of the Boorems in Nazareth Township, and the two families would also be counted among the early settlers of Paradise Valley in what would eventually become Monroe County, formed from portions of Northampton County in 1836. Local histories indicate that Michael Nauman and his family arrived in Paradise Valley with the first wave of settlers in the early 1820s. He applied for and received a grant of government land in Northampton County in 1822, and the family moved north into the wilderness shortly thereafter. The area eventually became known as Paradise Valley because of the area's spectacular beauty and abundant resources.

While Michael Nauman and his family settled permanently in Paradise Valley in 1822, it appears that John Boorem traveled back and forth between Nazareth and Paradise Valley for a number of years, beginning probably in the mid-1820s. Family tradition claims that John followed his given trade of stonemason in Nazareth in the summer, while returning to Paradise Valley in the winter to teach school. In fact, in 1844 John Boorem is listed as Director of Schools for ParadiseValley.

It is likely that his first four children were born in Nazareth Township, while beginning in 1827 the baptism records of John and Elizabeth's children begin appearing in Paradise Valley. Nevertheless, John Boorem's apparent absence in census returns from 1830 and 1840, may be an indication that he was still returning to Nazareth during this time. What all this means is, although we can't count the Boorem family among the very first settlers of Paradise Valley, they were certainly among the second wave that arrived in the mid 1820s.

Follow this link for an early description of Paradise Township, Monroe Co., Pa.

Beginning in 1827 the baptism records of the children of John and Elizabeth Boorem begin appearing in the records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Paradise Valley. Again, this is important because it establishes the family in Paradise Valley prior to 1830. The church, the very first in the valley, was founded a year earlier in 1826, and people traveled from miles around to attend. Six of John and Elizabeth's children were baptized at the church, beginning with Eleanor in 1827. The church remained an active, vital part of the community until 1856. Today all that remains of this early church is its overgrown graveyard and a few barely legible stones (some in German) precariously protected by a low stone fence. A dedication stone at the entrance to the cemetery notes the founding of the church in 1826.

Below: The walled cemetery of the old Evangelical Lutheran Church in Paradise Valley.

In 1838 a new Evangelical church was founded in Paradise Valley. At first its members met at the homes of parishioners. A sanctuary was erected in 1852 on land donated to the church by George Dornblazer, an important figure in the settlement of the valley, whose homestead adjoined the Boorem family farm. This new church became the Boorem family church and today is known as Keokee Chapel church. Over 150 years later, descendants of John Boorem still attend this church.

John and Elizabeth Boorem raised a total of ten children to maturity in Paradise Valley. Joseph (1819-1893) married Elizabeth Dornblazer, daughter of the aforementioned George Dornblazer, who lived with his daughter and son-in-law in his later years. After his marriage to Elizabeth Joseph Boorem acquired a portion of his father-in-law's farm and lived in Paradise Valley for the remainder of his life, leaving a family. Eleanor Boorem (b.1821) died as a young child and there is no tradition concerning her other than her baptism record from 1827. Jacob Boorem (1823-1901) never married, grew up in Paradise Valley, then moved to Iowa before returning to Paradise Valley shortly before his death. Sarah (1825-1880) married Samuel Robbins of Scranton, Pa., where she died leaving two sons. Mary (1828-1902) married Henry Masters a veteran of the Civil War. They moved to Wayne County Pennsylvania and raised a total of six children. Susan Boorem (1830-1859?) married Ruben Miller and had three children, Sarah Ann, Jacob and Jeremiah. Susan died circa 1859. John (1832-1916) married first Sarah Jane and secondly Emma Bond. He settled in nearby Mountainhome where he died leaving a family of nine children. Francis (1835-1927) married Elizabeth Koerner and they raised a total of six children to maturity. For many years, "Squire Boorem" as he was called, served as school director and Justice of the Peace for Paradise Township. Elizabeth (1838-1882) was the wife of Theodore Polhamus of Scranton. They had a total of five children. Samuel (1842-1913) married Ellen Smith. He was a railroad conductor in Scranton for over 30 years, where he died, having survived his only child, Stewart. Lydia (1845-1935?) was the youngest of the Boorem children and the last of them to pass away. She married first Sanford Robbins and had two children by him. She later married Joseph Hedden and had two additional children by her second husband.

Family tradition maintains that John Boorem died in Paradise Valley in 1844 at 46 years of age. Apparently he was chopping down trees near his farm when a tree he was chopping suddenly fell trapping him beneath. He was alone at the time and it was several hours before the accident was discovered, and by then it was too late. He was likely buried at the Evangelical church cemetery in Paradise Valley, although no stone has been discovered that marks his final resting place. Once again the head of the Boorem family had been taken prematurely by death, and like her mother-in-law before her, the widow Elizabeth Boorem faced the task of maintaining the family farm and raising her underage children.

Elizabeth Boorem survived her husband by many years. She remained in Paradise Valley until at least 1870, however by 1880 Elizabeth (age 81) had moved to from Paradise Valley to Scranton and was living with the family of her daughter Elizabeth Polhamus, which included Elizabeth's widowed daughter Lydia Robbins. The 1880 census also indicates that son Samuel Boorem was living in Scranton working as a conductor. That puts Elizabeth and at least three of her children in Scranton in 1880. She probably died before the next census was taken in 1890, and was likely buried with her husband John Boorem at the Evangelical church. In 1923 a marker was erected in the Keokee Chapel cemetery (the 2nd Evangelical church) that reads as follows:

"In memory of John Boorem
His wife Elizabeth
And son Jacob"

Below: view of the Boorem plot in Keokee Chapel Cemetery, Paradise Valley., Pa.


Documents and photographs

1870s map of Paradise Township showing the location of the Boorem & Nauman homesteads
Additional photographs of the Paradise Evangelical Lutheran Church Cemetery
Additional photographs of Keokee Chapel Cemetery

Continue with essays on the children of John Boorem and Elizabeth Nauman.

  • Joseph Boorem
  • Jacob Boorem
  • Sarah Boorem
  • Mary Boorem
  • John Boorem III
  • Francis Boorem
  • Samuel Boorem
  • Lydia Boorem

  • Return to the John Boorem I page
    Return to the main page at the Boorem Family Web Site

    Text and photographs copyright © 2014 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved