Joseph Boorem


Joseph Boorem was the eldest child of John Boorem and Elizabeth Nauman. As the eldest son, his personal history is forever linked with the early history of the Boorem family in Paradise Valley. He was born on the old Boorem family homestead in Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton Co., Pa. on 18 March 1819, and was likely baptized at the Dryland Church in Hecktown, where his grandfather and grandmother (John and Catherine Boorem) worshiped and are buried. Joseph, Eleanor, Jacob and Sarah Boorem were all born in Nazareth, while the remainder of John and Elizabeth's children were born in Paradise Valley. Joseph makes his first appearance in U.S. census returns in 1820 for Lower Nazareth Township. His father John is listed as the head of the household, which also includes mother Elizabeth and his grandmother, the widowed Catherine Boorem.

In the mid-1820s the Boorem family moved from Nazareth to the community of Paradise Valley in the wilderness of northern Northampton County. Family tradition claims that Joseph's father John Boorem traveled back and forth between Nazareth and Paradise Valley for a number of years, following his given trade of stone mason 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.

Circa 1847 Joseph Boorem married Elizabeth Dornblazer, and their first of their eight children was born the following year. Elizabeth was the daughter of George Dornblazer, one of the earliest settlers in the valley. Census returns indicate that after their marriage Joseph and Elizabeth lived with George Dornblazer on his farm located just off Keokee Chapel Road, close to the John Boorem farm in Paradise Valley.

The early settlers of the valley worshiped at the first Paradise Valley Evangelical church (today just an overgrown graveyard), but in 1838 a new Evangelical church was formed. At first its members met at the homes of parishioners, but in 1852 George Dornblazer donated some of his farmland for the construction of a new sanctuary. Joseph Boorem played a major role in the new church, serving on the building committee, and as the church's first trustee. Over 150 years later, descendants of John Boorem still attend this church.

Paradise Valley became an official township in 1848, and Joseph Boorem and his brother Jacob were included in the township's first assessment taken in 1849. The assessment also included George and Christian Nauman, brothers of John Boorem's widow Elizabeth. Their father was Michael Nauman, who, like John Boorem, arrived in Paradise Valley in the 1820s. The Boorems and the Naumans had been neighbors in Nazareth and the families would remain close in Paradise Valley as well. By the time of the assessment, both John Boorem and Michael Nauman had died.

Joseph Boorem eventually took over his father-in-law's farm, and he and wife Elizabeth raised their eight children there. Their children were Emanuel, Sarah Ann, Thomas, Angeline, Mary Elizabeth, Lydia, Rose and Catherine. Son Thomas died when he was only 10 years old, and daughters Mary Elizabeth and Catherine both died before the 2nd birthday. The rest of their children survived into adulthood and raised families.

Joseph Boorem died in 18 November 1893 at age seventy four. His widow Elizabeth in her later years lived with her son-in-law and daughter Edward and Rose Bellis in Paradise Valley. Elizabeth died in 1916 and was buried with her husband at the Keokee Chapel cemetery, in the shadow of the church Joseph Boorem had helped establish.

In his 74 years Joseph Boorem watched the family move from his grandfather's original place of settlement into the unsettled wilderness of Paradise Valley. There his family grew and prospered, with several members (including Joseph) playing key roles in the area's early development. After his father's premature death in 1844, Joseph became the patriarch of the Boorem family, and in his final years, was no doubt able to sit back and take pride in all he and his family had accomplished.

Below: grave marker of Joseph Boorem, Keokee Chapel Cemetery, Paradise Valley, Monroe Co., Pa.

View other Boorem family burials at Keokee Chapel Cemetery
Return to the John Boorem II 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