While a well known and successful manufacturer of Racine, John H. Broecker is perhaps equally well known in musical circles and also through his connection with the public interests of the community. He was born in Germany, April 7, 1850. a son of John and Elizabeth Broecker, who came to Racine in 1854. The father was a cabinetmaker and became a contractor with the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company, retaining that connection for many years but both he and his wife are now deceased.
John H. Broecker attended the parochial and public schools of Racine and for fifteen years was employed by the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company in its woodworking department. In 1878 he began traveling for C. Altringer, whom he thus represented upon the road until 1899, or for a period of twenty-one years. He was most popular with his patrons and regarded as one of the most valued representatives of the house. On severing that connection in order to engage in business on his own account he began the manufacture of paper boxes and for two months continued the business in the Secor building, but at the end of that time removed to the corner of Villa and Fourteenth streets. Here he has since continued in business. The Broecker Paper Box Company was incorporated about 1910, being a reorganization of the Racine Paper Box Company. Its officers are: J. H. Broecker, president; M. U. Broecker, vice president; and C. A. Broecker, secretary and treasurer. The company employs twenty-five workmen, most of whom are skilled operators. The plant was rebuilt in 1911 of mill construction. The product is sold to manufacturers of this district and Mr. Broecker enjoys the distinction of being the only man who has made a success of the paper box manufacturing business in Racine.
In musical circles Mr. Broecker has also been prominent and active. In 1868 he organized one of the first bands in Racine, and since that time he has figured largely in connection with the development of musical interests in the city. He is proficient as a pipe organ player and as such has been connected with the St. Joseph’s, St. Mary’s and Holy Name Catholic churches.
On the 22nd of October, 1878, Mr. Broecker was united in marriage to Miss Mary Altringer, the only child of C. and Mary (Hoscheit) Altringer. Her father came to Racine in 1847 and engaged in business here as a fanning mill manufacturer. To Mr. and Mrs. Broecker have been born eight children : Christopher A., who is in business with his father and who was married on the 18th of April, 1912, to Miss Josephine Mohrbacher, of this County ; Henry J., also in business with his father; Mamie, at home ; Joseph, who is connected with the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company ; Herman, of Racine, who married Mary Koenig and has one child, Dolores; Rose, at home ; John, who is associated with his father in business and Frances, at home.
The family is member of the Holy Name Catholic church, and in politics Mr. Broecker maintains an independent course. For five years he served as alderman from the third ward and was chairman of the finance committee and also of the judiciary committee and exercised his official prerogatives to further the best interests of his city in every way. He is a self-made man and deserves much credit for what he has accomplished. He began his education in one of the little log schoolhouses where methods of instruction are very primitive, but he early recognized the fact that the lack of early advantages is no bar to progress. He has learned many valuable lessons in the school of experience and has continuously worked his way upward, reaching out along constantly broadening lines for the benefit of others as well as for the attainment of individual success.