David Thomas Bradford
Allied families include: Allen, Allgood, Barker, Bishop, Bryan, Carlisle, Cornett, English, Higgs, Hudspeth, Kittrell, Klein, Mann, Masden, Mattingly, Mayfield, Murphy, Nenninger, Pace, Perry, Smith, Taylor, Traynor, Tudor, Ward, Welch, White, Wierwille and Worland
David Thomas Bradford
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To my parents,
grandparents, great grandparents,
and so on... ad infinitum.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Illustrations
I. Richard (I) and Frances
II. Richard (II) and Anna
III. Philemon and Mary
IV. John (I) and Judith
V. Elijah and Haney
VI. John (II) and Nancy
VII. George and Mary Ann
VIII. Ollie and Agnes
IX. Buck and Nina, et al
Some 1993 Family Additions
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Map of Virginia (1651)
Map of Charles City County
1650 Pamphlet by Abraham Wood and others
Belle Air Plantation
1710 Charles City County Tax Petition
Loyalty Oath of the Justices of the Peace, Sheriff and Grand Jury of Charles City County
Loyalty Oath of the Militia Officers of Charles City County
Map showing the Bradfords' Charles City County Plantation
Meeting during the Great Revival
George W. Bradford
Mary Ann Drusilla (Carlisle) Bradford
George Lee and Florence Bradford and family
Ann Rosalia "Nan" (Bradford) Bryan
Ella and Charlie Bishop
Charles Harold and George Bishop
Anna Mae and Charles Mattingly
Ernie Bradford, et al
Buck, Mary and Bertram Bradford - 1 -- 2
Ollie and Agnes Bradford
Ollie and Agnes Bradford's children, with spouses
Buck and Nina Bradford and family
1993 Family Addition Photos - 1 -- 2 -- 3 -- 4 -- 5 -- 6 -- 7
Map of Granville County, North Carolina
This book compiles the surviving scattered shreds of information relating to my Bradford ancestors. It is not, however, a complete genealogy of all branches of my Bradford family tree. I leave that to a later work. Nor is this purely a genealogical work, since my goal was not merely to learn the names of my ancestors, but also to learn about them as individuals. I wanted to walk a mile in their shoes, to see life through their eyes. For that reason, I have meshed the information I have learned about my ancestornerahistorical facts to paint a reasonably accurate portrait of their lives. Those ancors played a role in giving me life, the greatest gift of all. My gift in return, limited as it may be, is the immortality that comes with enshrining the memory of them in the following pages.
In all candor, however, I began this project with a second goal. Like many, I have spent nights looking up and wondering who I am, why I am here, where I am going and -- most importantly -- where I am supposed to be going. It occurred to me that, perhaps, I could find the answers to some of those questions by learning where I came from. Thereafter, I began my research in earnest.
Now, after completing my work, I feel as if I know Bradford ancestors who lived and died hundreds of years ago. After you read this book, you too will know, among others, Richard the immigrant, Philemon the land speculator and the unfortunate Elijah. In some ways, the story of my family, despite -- indeed because of -- its distinctly common, unspectacular progression over the last 350 years, like the story of many other families, is really a story about America.
This book focuses primarily on my male Bradford ancestors. It focuses mainly on Bradford ancestors, not because those ancestors are more important than any others (all ancestors are equally important to their descendants), but because time and resources force me to limit the scope of my work (i.e., Richard Bradford is one of my 1,024 great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents). He just got lucky: of all those ancestors, it is his name that I carry. The reason that I primarily focus on my male ancestors is, unfortunately, through necessity. Prior to the 1900s, women rarely showed up in records. They did not generally (if ever) own land, vote, sign wills, serve on juries or serve in the military. As a result, they are, in many instances, almost historically invisible. Nevertheless, I have included the information available to me.
Another matter that I would like to discuss is the "current" information that is set forth about individuals still living (particularly in the last two chapters). The reader may note that the information about some individuals is more thorough for some individuals than for others (e.g., the college degree, hobbies and occupations are included for some, but not all, of those individuals). That variance in coverage does not reflect any favoritism or qualitative selection by the author, but is a reflection of the fact that some people simply provided more information about themselves and their immediate family than did others. I rejected very little information. In addition, I note that some of that information will be obsolete soon (e.g., people will inevitably move, change occupations and/or have more children). Life does not stand still. The overview of the personal information about those individuals, however, was accurate at the time it was recorded in 1993.
This book was not easy to write, and, depending on your point of view, it is either too short or too long. Nevertheless, I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. I hope that future generations continue to track this lineage and take advantage of future discoveries to learn about the Bradfords pre-dating Richard Bradford's journey to America in the early 1650s. Once lost, a family's history may never be retraced.
The next thing most like living a life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.
Since the first chapter, which begins with Richard Bradford's immigration to this country, takes us back to early colonial America, the reader may feel cheated if I do no start this book from the very beginning of American history. I, of course, do not want my readers to feel cheated. Hence, as the first chapter finds Richard arriving in the early days of Virginia, England's first permanent American colony, I will briefly describe American history before that colony's birth.
Well, here goes. Approximately 12,000 to 20,000 years ago, some Asians, probably by way of a glacial land bridge, crossed over the Bering Straits from Siberia to Alaska. Those individuals were the first to see the continent of North America, and their descendants were the first to see Central and South America. The glacial land bridge eventually disappeared and the two halves of the world remained separate for thousands and thousands of years. Meanwhile, the descendants of those who came to the Americas spread out until they covered the entirety of both North and South America.2
It is generally accepted that Bjarni Herjolfsson, a Norseman who cruised off the coast of Canada in the year 986, was the first Old World inhabitant to "discover" (or, as native Americans accurately point out, rediscover) the new world. Herjolfsson, who never set foot on the North American continent, returned to Greenland where he told others of his mysterious sighting. Fourteen years later, Herjolfsson's countryman Leif Ericsson sailed from Greenland and landed on the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Ericsson named that place "Vinland." After about twenty years, and a number of bloody run-ins with the natives, however, Leif and his fellow Vikings abandoned the new land and sailed back to Greenland.
After the Vikings abandoned North America, the people of the old and new worlds remained separate for nearly 500 years until, in 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed west from the Canary Islands and stumbled onto some islands in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus named those islands the West Indies and called their inhabitants "los Indios" ("the Indians") because he, unaware that he had encountered a whole new world from the one he knew, thought he had sailed around the world and landed on islands located somewhere between Japan and India, just west of, as you may have guessed, the East Indies. Columbus rushed back to tell the old world of his discovery.
After Columbus's return to Europe, the race was on. All of Europe wanted to sail west to expand empires, establish trade and map the earth. Spain and Portugal led the way. In the next few years, Spanish explorers sailed west and colonized several Caribbean islands. Finally, in 1513, Spaniard Ponce de Leon discovered Florida. When Ponce de Leon and his men disembarked there, they became the first old world residents to set foot on North America in over 500 years. Hernando de Soto followed in 1539. De Soto, who led an expedition inland for a couple of years, ventured as far north as the Carolinas and as far west as Texas. Thereafter, the Spanish, who established a base in Saint Augustine, controlled Florida until 1819. They also conquered most of South America. For years, Spain and Portugal monopolized the colonization of the new world.3
Jacque Cartier became the first Frenchman to explore the new world when he sailed to Canada in 1530. Thereafter the French acquired a foothold on the new land when Samuel de Champlain laid the foundation for Quebec in 1608. The French vied for control of the North American continent until the Louisiana Purchase in 1802.
Finally, the English. Although English adventurers explored the coast of North America shortly after Columbus's startling discovery (most notably, John Cabot in 1497), England did not try to establish a colony in America until Sir Walter Raleigh made the ill-fated attempts in 1585 and 1587 to plant a colony on Roanoke Island, a small piece of land lying just off the coast of what later became known as North Carolina. Thereafter, the English did not establish a permanent colony in the new world until 1607 when Captain Christopher Newport brought three ships of colonists to North America, landed on tiny Jamestown Island and began a colony in the land Sir Walter Raleigh dubbed "Virginia" in honor of then-reigning "virgin" Queen Mary. It was that colony that my ancestor Richard Bradford moved to approximately forty-six years later, and it is there that the first chapter begins.
To understand just how little the English immigrants knew of the America at the time of Richard Bradford's arrival, it is worthwhile to study the map of Virginia included inside the front cover of this book. That map, made in 1651 (the approximate year of Richard Bradford's immigration), is fascinating. Note that the map stretches all the way from the bottom of North Carolina (Cape Fear is at the far left of the map) and Noua Francia (New France, a.k.a. Canada) on the far right. The Chesapeake Bay dominates the map and "the Sea of China and the Indies" are shown just across the mountains and are described at the top of the map as being a mere "ten dayes march" from the head of the James River. Had Richard seen this map at the time of his journey, he would have seen Charles City (spelled "Charl citty"), the site of his future home, shown on the map just below the "G" in Virginia.
A harbor, even if it is a little harbor, is a good thing, since adventures come into it as well as go out, and the life in it grows strong, ecause it takes something from the world and has something to give in return.
Sarah Orne Jewett
At the outset, I would like to thank those who helped make this book possible. In particular, I owe a debt of gratitude to my great-uncle Omer "Chick" Bradford who originally traced our mutual lineage back to Richard Bradford's American immigration in the early 1650s. His groundbreaking research inspired me to flesh out his findings so that I could learn whatever there was to be learned about those ancestors. Without his inspiration this book would never have become a reality.
In conducting research about the earliest generations of the Bradford family, I was greatly assisted by the prior works of, among others, authors Peter Sandlund, John Bennett Boddie, Elizabeth Lawrence-Dow and Julian Hart Robertson. Their works, along with those of many others, are cited in the footnotes. Similarly, other genealogical researchers who have compiled information about the Bradford family have made my work that much easier. I have tried to credit their work when applicable.
In compiling information about the most recent generations I was helped by virtually everyone mentioned in the final three chapters. Although too numerous to list, I thank each of them. I especially thank those who helped conduct research needed to fill in gaps in my research. In particular, I would like to thank Christina Bradford, Bill Bradford, Sarah Bradford and Dorothy ("Dottie") Cornett. Dottie in particular did quite a bit of work for me. I also thank Wayne Wohlbold, Dorothy Cornett, Jessie Welch, Patricia Peak, Charlene Bradford, Omer Bradford, Bertram Murphy, Laurie Bradford, Bruce Roberts and others for supplying me with photographs. I thank Leah Burroughs for typing changes in some of the innumerable drafts of this book and accompanying me on some of my many fact-finding missions. My high school English teacher, Jim Curry, kindly agreed to conduct the final edit of my work.
I would finally like to thank the many research libraries and librarians who helped me. In particular, I must commend the staff of the New York Public Library, The Virginia State Library and Archives, the Filson Club in Louisville, Kentucky, Heritage Library in Providence Forge, Virginia, and the Richard Thornton Library in Oxford, North Carolina. Our libraries hold information that sometimes, unfortunately, waits hundreds of years to be discovered. I thank those caretakers for protecting our heritage.
I. Richard (I) and Frances
I consider 1653 the approximate year of Richard I's immigration since a record in the Virginia land patent office reports that a man was "headrighted" 600 acres of land in Virginia on December 31, 1653, for transporting "Richd. Bradford" and eleven other men to the Virginia Colony. Based on what I have learned about the system of "headrighting," that record tells us quite a bit about Richard I.
"Headrighting" was developed to encourage the immigration of English citizens into the early American colonies. Under that system, used by the Virginia Colony from 1617 to 1714, a "headright" of fifty acres of land in the American colonies was granted to any person who paid for another person's passage to the colony. Thereafter, the person whose passage had been subsidized would repay the cost of that passage by working for another colonist, generally a planter, for a period of three to seven years. In addition to their passage, the headrighted person's food, clothing and shelter were also paid for by their benefactor during their term of service. Approximately seventy-five percent of English emigrants who arrived into Virginia during this period had their passage paid for through the headright system.4
Hence, another early colonist subsidized Richard I's passage to Virginia. In return, that benefactor was patented fifty acres of land in Virginia by the colony's governor after that benefactor filed a certificate in the county court attesting that he had paid for Richard I's passage to the colony. Since headrights were normally recorded within a year or two of the time of the paid-for immigration, the December 31, 1653, filing date of the headright related to Richard I's passage suggests that Richard I arrived in America sometime between 1651 and 1653.
Richard I's Benefactor
There is some confusion about the name of the man who was headrighted land in return for financing Richard I's immigration to the Virginia Colony. One author reports that benefactor's name as Roger Walter.5 Another source reports that man's name as either Roger Walker or Roger Walters. 6 The confusion apparently arises from the partial illegibility of the original headright record filed in the Virginia Land Patent Office. 7
Most likely, Richard I's alleged benefactor was the Roger Walker who arrived in the Virginia Colony in 1620. That same Roger Walker, twenty-two years old at the time (hence fifty-one at the time of the headright in question), was living with Daniel Gookin (sometimes spelled Gookines), Esquire, in Virginia's Newport News in 1624 according to a muster of Virginia colonists made during that year. That muster, made in the wake of the first great Indian massacre, was the first real census of the Virginia Colony. To my knowledge there were no men named Roger Walter or Roger Walters in the colony in 1653.
Richard I's alleged benefactor, whatever his name, was headrighted 600 acres of land in Northumberland County, Virginia, for paying for the trans-Atlantic passage of Richard I and eleven other men. For those interested in trivia, those eleven men were reportedly named: "Nath. Shepherd, Robt. Tracy, Jon. Parris, Jon. Foulsham, Robt. Paine, Jon. Clerke, Fra. Gagen, Jon. Alexander, Edmd. Cuspe, Wm. Usklye and Jon. Sheeles." 8 My limited investigation has not turned up any other records that mention any of those individuals. Apparently their paths soon parted from Richard I's.
It is only fair to note that the record of the land headrighted to Mr. Walker, while interesting from a historical perspective, is not as helpful as it may first appear since headrights were frequently sold or traded. Hence, it is possible, even likely, that a colonist other than Roger Walker paid for Richard's immigration but later sold or traded that headright to Mr. Walker. Indeed, Richard Bradford I appears to have never lived or worked in Northampton County, the site of the land headrighted to Mr. Walker. Richard I apparently spent the rest of his life in Virginia's Charles City County. Hence, it seems likely that Richard I's true benefactor was a resident of Charles City County. Indeed, I consider colonist Abraham Wood the person most likely to have been Richard's benefactor and colonist Thomas Stegge Sr. the second most likely suspect. As you will soon see, Richard I paid substantial amounts to both of those men in the mid 1650s. Before discussing those men (both of whom are important historical figures), however, I will return to the focus of this chapter: Richard Bradford I.
A Snapshot of Richard I
While Richard I left no memoirs, and there were no photographs or known paintings made of him upon his arrival in America, I believe that I can paint a relatively accurate portrait of that early American immigrant. First, he was almost certainly from what is now called Great Britain. Specifically, I believe that he was born in England, although it is conceivable, although less likely, that he hailed from either Scotland or Wales. 9 He was loyal to the King of England. He belonged to the Anglican Church. He was a young single man, probably no older than his mid-twenties, who left his family and friends behind to come to America in search of opportunity and a better way of life. He was, or at least later became, a skilled woodworker and, hence, was possibly trained in that area before he arrived in America. He was ambitious and hardworking. He probably came from a lower or middle class background, but had a good head for business and politics and, therefore, was upwardly mobile. One of the earliest European settlers in America, he was, undeniably, a true American pioneer.
The Virginia Colony
To best understand Richard I, it is important to know the history of the Virginia Colony and recognize what was happening in England at the time of Richard I's emigration from that land to the fledgling Virginia Colony. While today's American schoolchildren are often left with the mistaken impression that the Mayflower's Pilgrims established the first permanent English settlement in America, the Pilgrims' 1620 landing near Plymouth Rock occurred a full thirteen years after the Virginia Colony was established.
In April 1607, three English ships (the Susan Constant, the Godspeed and the Discovery), crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailed into the Chesapeake Bay and landed at Jamestown Island. The Englishmen on those ships, a hundred men and four boys, established the first permanent English settlement in North America. Prior to selecting Jamestown as a settlement site, however, those settlers investigated further up the James River and set foot on what was to become known as Charles City County -- the site of Richard I's future home. Jamestown and the James River were both named in honor of the man who authorized that expedition, England's King James I. While most of those settlers died within a couple of years, they achieved their purpose: the English were there to stay.10
The Virginia Colony was established by the London Company, an organization formed by London stockholders who hoped to capitalize on America's untapped resources. In 1606, King James I of England granted that company a charter which permitted it to plant a colony on the North American continent between the 34th and the 41st degrees of latitude. At the same time, he granted a similar charter to the Plymouth Company to colonize the land lying between the 38th and 45th degrees of latitude. Although King James I retained the ultimate power to control those new colonies, the companies that established those colonies were granted the power to distribute land, coin money and organize militias. The Calvinist Pilgrims who later began the English colony in Plymouth, Massachusetts, were sponsored by a third entity, the Massachusetts Bay Company. 11
The Virginia and Plymouth colonies did not attract the same breed of settlers, moreover -- and not coincidentally -- the populations of those two colonies did not grow at the same rate. I note that fact because I believe that it helps us understand Richard I a little better. While both colonies attracted pioneers, they certainly seemed to attract different types of pioneers. Whereas the Plymouth Colony became heavily populated by individuals seeking religious autonomy, the Virginia Colony became increasingly populated by Cavaliers: English citizens who were loyal to the King and were looking for profit and adventure, not religious freedom, in the new land.
The Virginia Colony was not an immediate success. That colony's population grew very slowly after its establishment in 1607. Indeed, the London Company's attempt to colonize Virginia surprisingly proved to be a financial disaster. That colony had only 1,200 inhabitants in 1624 when the King -- acting in the wake of the London Company's heavy financial losses -- revoked that company's charter and made Virginia the first royal colony in America.
The Virginia Colony's population remained relatively small until political unrest in England provided a catalyst for expansion. In 1642, the outbreak of the Civil War in England precipitated an exodus of the throne's loyalists to the Virginia Colony. That exodus escalated with the beheading of King Charles in 1649 and ended with the Restoration of the Stuarts to the throne in 1660. Hence, the population of the Virginia Colony, which had reached only 8,000 by 1640, grew to 15,000 by 1650 and swelled to 40,000 by 1666. 12 Conversely, the Plymouth Colony's greatest early expansion came during an exodus of Puritans from England between 1628 and 1640.
Cavalier or Roundhead?
A review of the foregoing historical facts prompts me to speculate that Richard Bradford I was a Cavalier -- loyal to the King of England and a member of the Anglican Church, the official church of England. Indeed, as the reader will later see, Richard I allegedly signed a loyalty oath to the King of England in 1701 and, apparently, belonged to the Anglican Church for the remainder of his life.
At least one researcher, however, disputes that conclusion and has suggested instead that Richard I was a supporter of Cromwell and his Puritan party (men derisively called "Roundheads" by the Cavaliers, who apparently grew their hair longer than did Cromwell's followers) which had seized control of England. That researcher's hypothesis is based upon: (1) the fact that Richard I was from the craftsman class (Richard, as you shall soon see, was a woodworker); and (2) Richard arrived in the colony in around October 1651 and, therefore, may have arrived on the same ship that carried Charles City County resident Thomas Stegge Sr. back from England, after Cromwell and the republicans had appointed Stegge the Parliamentary Commissioner of the Virginia Colony. 13 Perhaps, but I still believe (and, admittedly, prefer to believe) that Richard Bradford I was one of the much-romanticized 17th Century English Cavaliers who swept into the Virginia Colony during that turbulent time.
Whatever his political leanings, Richard I was brave and adventurous. I base that belief on the fact that he left his family and whatever life he knew in his homeland to take a lengthy trip across the ocean to a place he had never seen -- one way. Richard probably never saw his homeland again. Moreover, he probably knew that he would never return to England when he boarded the ship for America. Few of the early American settlers ever saw Europe again.
When he left England, Richard's world was turned upside-down. Civil War had split England apart. Rebels had taken over the country and beheaded the king, leaving England without a monarch for the first time in hundreds of years. Amidst England's disarray, Richard climbed aboard a ship which he knew would take him to a distant colony which had less than 20,000 settlers. We can only imagine what that founding father thought about on the many nights he must have lain awake in the hold of the ship that brought him to his new home.
Richard's Voyage to America
No one knows the name of the ship that carried Richard I to America. Nevertheless, we can recreate what that journey was like. Transit conditions were not ideal in those days, and at least one historian suggests that such a journey probably terrified those unaccustomed to ocean travel. Richard I's trip took at least six to eight weeks, but could have taken longer if the ship encountered storms, contrary winds or navigational errors. Moreover, Richard's trip was no pleasure cruise, but an adventure he probably remembered for the rest of his life. Because space was so precious, the holds of those early ships were jammed with colonists and their belongings along with the livestock and cargo. Not surprisingly, disease was rampant on these early ships, due to the lack of sanitary facilities, the close quarters and the scarcity of fresh water. Indeed, even a hot meal created the possibility of starting a fire. Many died en route. 14
Perhaps Richard made some friends while he was on board the ship that brought him to his new home. If so, maybe they ran into each other again in the new colony. We will never know. If they did, however, we can be fairly sure that they probably did not talk about the "good old days" sailing from England to Virginia. If anything, those early colonists probably reflected back on that journey and said "Thank God that's over!"
Origin of the Surname "Bradford"
Before discussing where I think Richard I may have hailed from, I will first review the history of the surname "Bradford." People have not always used surnames. During the Dark Ages, most Europeans were known only by their given name and, later, occasionally by their given name prefixed to their place of birth (e.g., David of York). Permanent surnames were first used by the English after the Norman Conquest in 1066, but did not become customary for several centuries. Hence, it was not until the end of the fourteenth century that most English citizens began to have permanent surnames. 15
The name Bradford is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "Brad" (broad), which combined with "Ford" (river crossing), seems to indicate a place name. Hence, an early "Bradford" family probably lived near a broad, shallow river crossing for several generations, and, hence, became identified with that particular place. Since medieval England was largely rural, it was common practice to identify individuals of families by adding descriptive phrases to personal names (e.g., "Randulf, atte bradefords"). Indeed, place names, like the family name Bradford, made up the largest of the four classes of surname origin. The other three, in descending order of size, were: relationship (e.g., Williamson, Roberts), occupation (e.g., Miller, Taylor), and nicknames (e.g., Armstrong, Black).
Because of the surname Bradford's evolutionary development, it is virtually impossible to pinpoint the precise date of its formation. Some ancient English records, however, show that some early forms of the name were used as early as 1197. For example, according to the History of Northumberland, there was an "Alexander de Bradeford" in Northumberland County in 1197. Similarly, the Hundred Rolls of 1273 indicate the presence of a "Hugh de Bradford" in Devonshire County and a "John de Bradford" in Wiltshire County. Finally, Kirby's Quest of 1327-1377 shows a "Johanna Bradford" in Somersetshire County, while the 1379 Yorkshire Poll Tax records mention a "Johannes de Bradeford." 16
Another record indicates that the first record of the Bradford family is found in the Domesday Book compiled in about 1086 by order of William the Conqueror, whose brother, Henry of Normandy, was reportedly married to Alice, Heiress of Bradford on the river Aire, which was located approximately one hundred and fifty miles from London. That same record indicates that the Bradfords were the Earls of Lancaster, but because they wore the Red Rose of the Lancasters in the War of the Roses (the losing side), their titles and estates were confiscated by the Crown when the White Rose of York won that war. The Church of England reflects that there were several bishops named Bradford and there are Bradfords buried in London's Westminster Abbey. 17
I do not know which, if any, of the Bradfords discussed above are ancestors of Richard I. Perhaps all. Perhaps none. Bradfords sprang up throughout the British Isles. We may never, however, ascertain the first Bradford in Richard I's line.
I am not sure who Richard I's parents were. Perhaps the final answer will be found after English records pre-dating 1653 are studied more closely. Nevertheless, I have some potential leads. Since I cannot identify the ship that carried Richard I to America, I searched instead for his birth record. While I do not know when he was born, I assumed, conservatively, that he was between fourteen and thirty-five years old -- and most likely between sixteen and twenty-seven -- when he arrived in America in or just prior to 1653. Based on that assumption, I looked for records of any Richard Bradford born in England between 1613 and 1639. Thereafter, I searched the seventeenth century English birth records maintained on computer by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons). The Mormons have the best genealogical computer database in the world. A search of their records produced the following Richard Bradfords (and several Richards with similarly spelled -- hence possibly misspelled -- last names):
Location (Parish, city, county)
St. Nicholas, Abingdon, Berkshire
Long Bennington, Lincoln
St. Peter's Parish, Huddersfield, Yorkshire
Richard and Sara
Broughton Astley, Leicester
Richard and Ellin
William and Joane
St. Giles, Cripplegate, London
St. Dunstan, Stepney, London
George and Ellen
St. John the Baptist, Chester, Cheshire
All but the third entry, which reflects date of birth, reflect christenings. 18
While a later researcher may determine which, if any, of the above records refers to our Richard Bradford, I have marked the most likely of the above possibilities with an asterisk ("*"). I find those records the most likely leads since they each: (1) spell the family's last name as "Bradford" and (2) include birth or christening records that would suggest that the child in question would have been between sixteen and twenty-seven years old in 1653. Richard I was probably in that age range when he immigrated to America.
Finally, a study of where Bradfords are now located in England may be helpful. The surname Bradford is reportedly now most abundant in Dorsetshire, but it is also common in Somersetshire (those two English counties lie adjacent to each other in southeastern England, south of Bristol and approximately one hundred miles west of London). 19 Again, however, I leave it to someone else to solve the mystery of Richard I's origin.
Another Possibility: The Sandlund Theory
One researcher, Peter G. Sandlund, has suggested that Richard Bradford may have hailed from Somerset, England. Sandlund's theory is based on the possibility that Richard was related to an early colonist named Thomas Bradford who moved to the Virginia Colony from Batcombe, Somerset, England. Near that Thomas Bradford's original home, Somerset, is Wiltshire where, as Mr. Sandlund points out, Bradfords have been landowners since the 15th Century. Also in that area is Bradford-on-Avon, which is named for the broad ford in the Avon River located in that vicinity and which, Mr. Sandlund suggests, may be the source of the Bradford name.
The Thomas Bradford that Mr. Sandlund refers to sailed from London on July 31, 1635, on Ye Merchant's Hope (that ship's captain, by the way, was William Barker, the man who you will soon learn was the grandfather of Richard I's future wife) and landed in Virginia in about October of that year. 20 According to that ship's passenger list, Thomas was forty years old at the time. Thomas, a headright for James City merchant Robert Holt, died a bachelor in James City in 1671. He will was filed in England in the Prerogatory Court of Canterbury. 21 The year of Thomas's will, moreover, was the same year that construction allegedly began on Charles City County's Belle Air Plantation -- a home that Sandlund suggests was to become the Bradford family's home for the next fifty-eight years. Hence, Sandlund suggests, a possible inheritance from Thomas Bradford may have given Richard I the financial means to build his manor house.
Sandlund's theory is just that -- a theory. Nevertheless, I find it intriguing enough to set forth here so that future researchers of the Bradford family have all possible leads in finding the English roots of the intrepid Richard Bradford I. Indeed, according to the Somerset Protestation Returns and Subsidy Rolls of 1641-1642, there was a John Bradford living in Batcombe Parish who, if Sandlund is right, may be Richard I's father (particularly when you consider that Richard I named one of his sons John, hence suggesting that John may have been a family name). 22 Again, further research will tell for sure.
Finally, before moving on, I would like to comment on Mr. Sandlund's work as a whole. It is thorough, fairly well documented and, in some respects, remarkable. His was the first, to my knowledge, scholarly, in-depth work into Richard I's family. Unfortunately, I did not come across Mr. Sandlund's writings (which were distributed to family members but were not published) until I had completed ninety per cent of this book and already replowed much of the same ground he had covered. Nevertheless, he uncovered some facts that I had missed and his work led me down some avenues that I had previously not considered. His works, set forth in two manuscripts, are: The Bradford Family of Charles City County, Virginia 1651-1729 (written in January 1978, it details the family while they lived in Charles City County) and The Bradford Family of Charles City County, Virginia: Fifty Years in Northampton County, North Carolina, 1729-1779 (a writing dated April 1979 which primarily focuses on Richard's grandson Thomas Bradford -- the ancestor of Sandlund's wife Anne, but also discusses several other lines of the Bradford family). I will hereafter refer to those two works as Sandlund I and Sandlund II, respectively. 23
Charles City County
While Richard I's point of origin is uncertain, his destination is not. The earliest existing American records that mention him show that he settled in Virginia's Charles City County shortly after his arrival in the Virginia Colony. Specifically, in a record dated February 12, 1655, Abraham Wood of Charles City County acknowledged that Richard Bradford paid him "all debts due and demands from the beginning of the world" through that date. 24 In the following year, on July 21, 1656, Thomas Stegge acknowledged receipt of 1,656 pounds of tobacco "in full payment of Bradford's debts." 25 The debt to Stegge (sometimes spelled Stegg) must have been a major one since it took one man, acting on his own, a full year to produce 1,600 pounds of tobacco in those days.
Richard I's new home, Charles City County, figures prominently in the early history of the Virginia Colony. As noted earlier, it was among the places considered as a possible settlement site by Captain Newport and the first English settlers in 1607. Charles City County, however, was rejected because, strategically, Captain Newport considered Jamestown easier to defend. He was right. Jamestown, however, had other problems. Specifically, it was a swampy area, prone to mosquitoes. The James River's brackish water, moreover, contaminated the settlers' wells. A relatively flat island near the Chesapeake Bay, Jamestown offered little natural shelter from the winter's fury. Finally, the colonists unwittingly built the town on land that was considered sacred by the local Indians. As a result, most of the men who sailed over on those first ships died within the colony's first few years as a result of disease, Indian attacks, lack of food or exposure to the elements. Eventually, the settlers moved inland from the island and began to slowly spread out from Jamestown. 26 Within a few years the colony had grown beyond Jamestown to the extent that, in 1618, the colony's governor split it into four political subdivisions: Jamestown, Charles City, Henrico and Kiccowtan (sometimes spelled Kecoughton, regardless, the latter's name was eventually changed to Elizabeth City). 27
Charles City County grew. By 1625, Charles City, with its population of 236 (not counting native Americans), was the third most populous community in English Virginia. The two larger communities, James City and Elizabeth City, had populations of 475 and 441, respectively. 28
In 1634, ten years after the King of England revoked the London Company's charter and made Virginia a royal colony, that colony, like England, was divided into "shires." Charles City County was one of the original eight shires created at that time by the colony's general assembly. The others were James City, Henrico, Warwick, Elizabeth City, York and Warrosquoyoake. 29 Those first eight counties were the beginning of county government in North America. Things have not changed much: counties are still the principle unit of local government used in the United States today and, as discussed later, Charles City County is much as it was when it was first founded over 350 years ago.
Richard I's Plantation
Richard I was one of Charles City County's earliest landowners. A record dated October 3, 1657, reflects that Howell (sometimes spelled Hoel) Pryse, who later became clerk of Charles City County, assigned one half of his 1,200 acre Charles City County plantation "wch. lyeth at the head of Queens Creeke betweene the old tree runne and the fishing runne" to Richard on September, 3, 1657. 30 Thereafter, Pryce and Richard I jointly owned that plantation for almost five years until, on August 4, 1662, Richard acquired the rest of that plantation and became one of the largest landowners in the Virginia Colony. The final deed, signed by Pryse and witnessed by Edward Hill Junior and Robert Wynne, describes the entire plantation as "1,197 acres and 11 poles of land" (a "pole," for those unfamiliar with the term, equals thirty and a quarter square yards). 31 Richard apparently paid at least 3,500 pounds of tobacco for that tract. 32 Hence it did not take long for Richard Bradford's American gamble to pay off. Within four years of his arrival in the young colony he was able to pay off his debts and acquire his own piece of land. On November 27, 1661, about a year after the Stuarts returned to England's throne, Virginia Governor William Berkeley reaffirmed Richard I's patent to that land.33 That reaffirmation was not unusual, since all patents issued during Cromwell's reign required reaffirmation.34
This may be a good time to clarify (i.e., translate) the location of the Bradfords' Charles City County plantation. Records, as previously noted, describe that approximately 1,200 acre plantation as "lying at the head of Queen's Creek" (a point, easily located on maps, about three quarters of a mile southeast of the Charles City County courthouse), between "the Old Tree Run" (a waterway now called Parrish Hill Creek) and the "Fishing Run" (now called the Glebe Creek). The latter two waterways split off from the head of Queen's Creek and run north by northeasterly about a mile apart from each other in the general direction of Ruthville. A 1,200 acre tract bounded within that area would include virtually all of the land between the point where those three waterways meet and Ruthville, which lies about two miles to the northeast. In other words, if one drives east on Route 5 (better known as the John Tyler Highway) from the Charles City County courthouse, turns left on Route 615 (also called the Glebe Lane) and drives the nearly two miles to Ruthville, one will have driven right down the middle of the nearly two square miles comprising the Bradford plantation lands. Richard I, it seems, had quite a spread.
Payments to Abraham Wood and Thomas Stegge
The previously mentioned records reflecting Richard I's payment of debts and acquisition of land tell us a few things about him. First, they tell us that he paid his debts. While that may not be important to historians, it is noteworthy to Richard's descendants who can take pride in his responsible nature. In addition, those records, particularly the ones reflecting Richard's payments to Abraham Wood and Thomas Stegge, tell us that Richard was in contact with some of the most influential men in the colony.
Abraham Wood, one of the first colonists with whom Richard became involved with, figures prominently in early American history. Although he arrived in the colony as a servant, Wood became "a man of wealth and great influence in the colony." 35 Wood was the first commander of Fort Henry, one of the colony's first forts. Fort Henry, built on the future site of Petersburg, Virginia, was built as an outpost after Indians killed a number of Virginia settlers in a massacre in 1644. From Fort Henry, Wood began to trade with the Indians and eventually became the foremost Indian trader in Virginia. Wood's wealth came through trading, planting and land speculation. Wood also became a major general in the militia and, in 1658, became a voting member of the governor's council, the colony's highest political body.36 Most notably, in September 1671, Wood ordered the first English expedition to investigate the land beyond the Allegheny Mountains. Wood sent those men, Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam, from Fort Henry to find the "ebbing and flowing of the rivers on the other side of the mountains in order to reach the South Seas." Those men, who reached the Ohio Valley, were probably the first Englishmen to set foot in Kentucky. 37
Thomas Stegge, who acknowledged receipt of 1,656 pounds of tobacco from Richard in 1656, was a key figure in early American history. Stegge, like Wood, was involved in Virginia's colonial government. Stegge represented Charles City County in Virginia's General Assembly and, later, served as a justice of the Charles City County court.38 Stegge's father (Thomas Stegge Sr.), moreover, was considered one of the colony's leading merchants and political figures in the 1600s. 39 Indeed, in 1651 Stegge Sr. went to England where he was, as previously noted, appointed the Parliamentary Commissioner for Virginia by Oliver Cromwell. Stegge Sr., however, fell ill on his passage home (hence drafting his will en route) and died within the year. 40 Upon his death, Stegge Sr.'s land, which included a grant of 1,000 acres lying between Queen's Creek and Old Man's Creek (now called Gunn's Run), was inherited by Stegge Jr. 41
In 1653, Thomas Stegge Jr. increased the land holdings he inherited from his father and patented 698 acres in Charles City County's Westover Parish, at the head of Queen's Creek located between Seller Run (now called Courthouse Creek) and Fishing Run (now called Glebe Creek). 42 Hence Stegge was a next-door neighbor of Richard's, at least until Stegge sold the above 1,000 and 698 acre tracts to Daniel Clarke (sometimes spelled Clark) in a record dated January 28, 1662. 43
Richard I's Actual Benefactor
As stated earlier, it is possible that either Stegge or Wood paid for Richard's transportation to the colony but sold or traded the right to the headrighted land to Roger Walker. If so, I think that Wood is the more likely suspect since he was actively involved in transporting people into the colony. 44 Indeed, Wood co-authored pamphlets (like the one shown at the right) extolling the colony's land which were used to recruit new colonists to Virginia. Those pamphlets, moreover, were being distributed in England at precisely the same time that Richard I came to Virginia. Perhaps Richard I read one of those pamphlets and, thereafter, arranged for his headrighted transportation to Virginia through one of Wood's agents.
Since Stegge was a merchant, Richard I's debt to him was probably related to the sale of goods. Nevertheless, it is possible that Stegge was Richard's benefactor. Unfortunately, however, neither the record mentioning Stegge nor the one mentioning Wood specify how Richard I incurred his debts to those men.
Regardless of how or why Richard I's underlying debts were incurred, one conclusion is inescapable: Richard was rubbing shoulders with colonial leaders Wood and Stegge shortly after his arrival in the colony.
The earliest records mentioning Richard Bradford I, which state that he paid for his debts in tobacco, suggest that he was involved with trading in and/or planting tobacco soon after his arrival in Virginia.
Richard I's early involvement with tobacco is not surprising. Life in early Virginia had centered in great part on the tobacco market since the successful experiments of Virginia colonist John Rolfe. Rolfe, who is also famous for marrying Indian princess Pocahontas, was the first to discover that a popular strain of West Indian tobacco flourished in the rich Virginia soil. Thereafter, in 1614, Rolfe began the colony's tobacco trade by shipping four hogsheads ("hogsheads" were large wooden barrels that were used for shipping and storage) of tobacco to a London merchant. After that, tobacco soon became the first truly successful commodity to emanate from the Virginia Colony. England soon demanded more and more of the American-grown tobacco. That strong demand for tobacco was a critical factor in the young colony's success. Tobacco soon became the colony's leading cash crop and principal unit of exchange. Many early colonists, like Richard, paid their debts with tobacco. In those days, growing tobacco was just like growing money.
Tobacco seemed to be an ideal crop. It had a high cash value, yielded many plants per acre, kept well when cured properly and had a relatively low shipping weight. Not surprisingly, tobacco farming was an attractive alternative for incoming colonists like Richard. Tobacco also increased the value of the colony's most abundant resource -- land. Hence, it was tobacco that often brought the young and ambitious to Virginia. The dream of acquiring a plot of land in the colony and growing wealthy from the production of tobacco made the prospect of working a couple of years to pay for your ocean passage a reasonable price to pay. 45 Richard, like most of the young men streaming into the colony, undoubtedly had that on his mind as his ship neared the American coast in the early 1650s.
Three Years of Indentured Servitude
Richard I's first three years in the colony were probably much like those of any other indentured servant. He may have spent that time working on a plantation in Charles City County or, equally likely, as a carpenter or carpenter's apprentice.
Richard may have spent his years of indentured servitude working in Charles City County's tobacco fields -- learning the ropes and biding his time until he was able to strike out on his own. If so, his work was largely seasonal. In the spring, seed beds were prepared, fields were plowed and seedlings were transplanted. In summer, the maturing plants required weeding, worming and topping. In the fall, harvest time, the plants were cut and individually stripped of their leaves, which were then cured and packed for shipping. Most farm work was done by hand with crude farm tools. 46
One author has written that the work on a colonial tobacco plantation was "arduous and unending" and that few tools or labor saving devices made the job any easier. 47 If his indentured servanthood, like most, was spent on a plantation, Richard would have done more than just tend to tobacco crops. Most early Virginia plantations also had livestock (hogs, cattle and chicken), food crops (wheat and corn) and fruit trees. If Richard I came to America a stranger to farm work, he had a first rate chance to learn all the ins and outs of farming during his period of indentured servanthood.
Whether or not he ever labored on a farm, Richard, as you shall soon discover, eventually became known as a skilled woodworker in Charles City County. It is unknown whether he acquired his woodworking skills in England or during his indentured servanthood. If Richard I's first years in the colony, therefore, were not spent on a farm, then they were spent perfecting carpentry skills that made him a sought-after artisan who helped build America's earliest English colony.
I will add an editorial comment about Richard I's temporary status as an indentured servant. While it may not seem glamorous to claim descent from an indentured servant, we must place that position in context. No negative connotation was applied to those who came to the colonies as indentured servants in the 1600s, and we would be foolish to apply one now. Indeed, as stated earlier, a full seventy-five per cent of the English emigrants who came to the Virginia Colony at that time had their passage paid for through headrighting. Most of those "servants" were under the age of twenty-five (which supports my hypothesis that Richard I was a young man when he arrived). 48 Many of the indentured servants, like Richard, went on to own their own land. Richard's headrighted transportation to the colony and his temporary indentured servitude was looked on, in his day, the same way that we would look at a student working his or her way through college today. It was a temporary position that paved the way to success in those days. It was, therefore, "the thing to do" for a young person with ambition and guts in the mid 1600s.
The Bradford Plantation
As noted earlier, in 1657, following the period of his indenture, Richard I was assigned the first half of a 1,197 acre Charles City County plantation by Howell Pryse. Richard acquired the entirety of that plantation in a deed dated August 4, 1662. While it is unclear how much Richard paid for that land, it is recorded that he paid Pryse 3,500 pounds of tobacco "being in parte" for the land Richard I had "lately bought" from Pryse. 49 That plantation stayed in the Bradford family for the next sixty-five years.
I do not know where Richard I first lived when he came to the colony, but that home, wherever it was, was probably not made of brick. There were relatively few brick homes in the colony in those days. Instead, Richard's first home was probably a "frame house." Richard, a skilled carpenter, may have built it himself. The average colonial frame house was a story and a half high, with a chimney at either end and a roof of wooden shingles. Virginia frame homes in that period had plain dirt floors or, sometimes, wooden plank flooring (carpenter, Richard certainly had wooden floors in his home). The home had windows. The upper rooms were used for storage or sleeping. In most frame houses, a wooden ladder led to the upper floor. Both the upper and the lower rooms were generally split into two rooms each. Early frame homes were generally not considered pleasure palaces. The frame houses in those days were usually cramped, poorly lit and underheated. Moreover, there was little privacy since few colonial homes had individual rooms for each member of the family. These homes were generally sparsely furnished and usually contained little more than beds, chairs, cooking utensils and supplies. 50
The manor house that Richard I eventually erected on the family's Charles City County Plantation, however, was nicer than most for two reasons: (1) he was one of the area's largest landowners and, hence, relatively well-to-do, and (2) he was a skilled woodworker. If you have ever been to a carpenter's home, you would realize that their home, particularly one they built themselves, is usually a showcase for their talent. Indeed, some believe that the Charles City County home that Richard built still stands. If they are right, the home they point to, the manor house on Charles City County's Belle Air Plantation, now a National and State Historic Landmark, was just that. Plantation Homes of the James River describes that home as follows:
The 1-1/2 story house was built of wood. The huge, hand-hewn, heart-pine timbers were skillfully carved and left partially exposed inside the house to serve as decorative woodwork as well as structural framework. A beautiful hand-carved balustrade highlights the home's original Jacobean staircase, one of the finest of its kind in America. White plaster walls complement the rich, warm colors of the woodwork and the heart pine mantels and floors. 51
The above book includes photographs of that home from both the exterior and interior and also includes a photo of the staircase which, if indeed 300 years old, was undoubtedly hand-carved by woodworker Richard I. Unfortunately, you may be disappointed to learn that Plantation Homes does not credit Richard I as the builder of that home, and instead states that "it is not known for sure who built the original main portion of [that] manor," and suggests that Thomas Stegge Jr. probably built it. You may be further disappointed (if not annoyed) to learn that Plantation Homes does not mention the Bradfords as that home's owners and, instead, states that the home was owned by Richard I's neighbor Daniel Clarke. 52 I do not, however, blame that book's author, a genial gentleman who cordially lent me the use of some his photographs for use in this book, for that book's historical inaccuracies. His researcher used information provided by that land's current owners or set forth in prior publications. Each of those sources supported his book's conclusions. Each of those sources, however, is wrong. I will elaborate later. But first, however, I would like to introduce you to someone special -- Richard I's wife.
Marriage to Frances Taylor
Oh yes, Richard got married. While the exact date of his marriage is not known, it is certain that he was married by 1661 -- less than ten years after his arrival and mere four years after he acquired his own farmland. Interestingly enough, we know that Richard I married before 1661 because a Charles City County court record from that year which mentions some ulcers on his wife's legs. In that record, John Seaward (apparently an indentured servant working for Richard I) testified that "Mr. Thomas Culmer comeing to the house of Richd Bradford where the dept" (Seaward) dwelled "was desired to cure certeine ulcers on the legs of the sd Bradford's wife, wch he promised and undertooke to perfecting of the sd cure, the sd Culmer was to have 1,000 lb" tobacco if successful but "in case of neglect or no cure to have or require nothing, whc cure is yet performed." The record of Seaward's deposition, dated August 3, 1661, is recorded in the Charles City County Order Book. 53
While we will never know if Thomas Culmer managed to collect his 1,000 pounds of tobacco for curing the "certeine ulcers" on my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandmother's legs, I certainly hope so. If not, I trust that Richard I branded him a charlatan and a quack and ran him out of Charles City County as promptly as possible.
Seriously, however, this is as good a time as any to reflect upon the type of medical treatment received in those days. Doctors were few and far between. Most problems were taken care of in the home without any professional assistance. Moreover, medicines were not as developed as they are today and home remedies were prevalent. At that time, remedies still included treatments like bloodletting and the application of leeches, practices that had existed since the Dark Ages. 54
Richard I's In-Laws
Richard I's wife, my ancestor and the owner of the ulcerated legs, was named Frances Taylor. She, unlike Richard, was born in the colony. Indeed, she was a third-generation colonist on both her mother's and father's sides.
Frances Taylor Bradford was the daughter of Sarah Barker and Richard Taylor of Merchant's Hope Plantation which is located in Prince George County at Flowerdew (sometimes spelled Flowerdieu, Flower Dew or Flower de) Hundred, an area right across the James River from present-day Charles City County. Frances's paternal grandfather was Richard Taylor Sr., who arrived in Virginia in 1608 on the Mary Margaret and, thereafter, settled on the Neck of Land in Charles City (now Jones Island in Virginia's Chesterfield County) sometime before the muster taken on January 24, 1624. Fifty years old at the time of that muster, Taylor Sr. was in Virginia early enough to be considered an "Ancient Planter." Individuals in that group, by definition, arrived in the Virginia Colony no later than 1616 and stayed for a minimum of eight years (note that they also had to have survived the great Indian massacre of 1622). Those who thus qualified as "Ancient Planters" were awarded special land dividends when the London Company's charter was revoked in 1624. 55 Hence any descendants of Richard I are, by definition, also descendants of Richard Taylor Sr. who was living in America as early as 1608 -- when the Virginia Colony was only a year old and a full twelve years before the Mayflower ever set sail for Plymouth. Richard Taylor Sr.'s will dated July 15, 1672, left 1,000 acres to Richard Taylor Jr. That land, 1,000 acres on the portion of Charles City County that was then located south of the James River (in the future Prince George County) was described as "on the Blackwater, behind Merchants Hope, at a place called Saw Tree." 56
Frances's mother, Sarah Barker, was the daughter of Frances Ward and William Barker "the mariner." William Barker, who was in the Virginia Colony as early as 1625, was a large landowner who received several grants of land for transporting settlers to Virginia. 57 Most of that land was in a place across the James River from Richard I at a place William Barker named Merchants Hope after his ship of the same name. Barker, who was captain and master of the ships America and Ye Merchants Hope, was a powerful man who represented Charles City County in Virginia's House of Burgesses in 1645. Much has been written about the Taylors and the Barkers. For more information about the descendants of those families, I would suggest pages 146-169 of John Bennett Boddie's Virginia Historical Genealogies and pages 566-570 of Virginia Lee Hutcheson Davis's Tidewater Virginia Families. 58
Although I will not spend much time discussing Richard I's in-laws, I would like to share an interesting excerpt from a book that discusses both William Barker and Flowerdew Hundred, Frances Taylor Bradford's birthplace. That book, which describes Flowerdew Hundred, explains that it was connected by ferry to the Swinyards (now called Glen Cove), an estate across the James River at point where that river was two miles wide. That book states:
The old place (Flowerdew Hundred) was destined to have its most thrilling crossing in 1864 when General U.S. Grant with his army, 130,000 strong, were to cross over the James River -- some ferried from Willcox Wharf to Windmill Point -- and the rest on a pontoon bridge a little lower down at Wyanoke. Picture a livelier scene if you can. Also picture a line of Federal gun boats up and down the river for fifty miles with orders to bombard practically every house along its banks.
That perfectly delightful book, Tidewater, by Paul Wilstach, says of Flower de Hundred: 'It changed owners often in its first years and in 1636 it passed into the hands of William Barker, mariner, a picturesque old sea dog, who sailed in the ship called Ye Merchants Hope and was of the group to found the parish whose old brick church, a few miles inland and built as early as 1657, still bear his ship's name.'59
Although I have not yet visited the Merchant's Hope Church in Virginia's Prince George County, I have found a description of it in a book entitled Old Virginia Houses Along the James. That book, which states that Merchant's Hope Church stands in the northern part of Prince George County near the James River, describes that church as follows:
The church measures sixty by thirty feet, has walls twenty-two inches thick, built of bricks laid in Flemish bond, with glazed headers accenting the full red of the old bricks. The entrance is in the west, with a small window above the door to light the gallery. The windows are arched; there are two in the east end, three, and the chancel door, in the south wall, and four in the north wall. Modillions decorate the edges of the roof. The flagstones in the aisles are originals.
That book also confirms that the Merchant's Hope Church was erected in 1657. That is the date cut onto one of the church's great rafters.60 Merchant's Hope Church is also described in Virginia's Colonial Churches: An Architectural Guide, which features a photograph of that building in its frontispiece. 61
The above facts suggest an interesting possibility: Richard I may have helped build Merchant's Hope Church and, in doing so, may have met his future wife Frances Taylor. That possibility is not very far-fetched. We know that Richard I was a carpenter, that he arrived in the colony in 1653 and was living in Charles City County when Merchant's Hope Church was built in 1657, that he did not come to America with a wife (since the headright records do not mention her), that he was married by 1661, that he married Francis Taylor, and that Francis Taylor was the granddaughter of William Barker who was among the men who founded Merchant's Hope Church. When you add those facts up, it is reasonable to believe that Richard, a carpenter in Charles City County at the time, was involved in building a church in his county (Prince George County did not split off from Charles City County until 1710). He may even be the one who cut the date onto that church's rafter. Hence, when you go to that church, you may see Richard's handiwork and his mark. Furthermore, consider the fact that Frances Taylor, although living in the same county as Richard I, lived in Flowerdew Hundred across the James River from Richard. It is certainly conceivable that it was a job, like the work on Merchant's Hope Church, that took him across the river and gave him the opportunity to meet Frances. At the very least, there is a strong possibility that Richard visited that church with Frances. They may even have married there. Hence, a visit to that church will likely place you in a building that Richard and his wife visited.
Another interesting section of Old Virginia Houses Along the James is its discussion of the site of Frances Taylor Bradford's home, Flowerdew Hundred. Apparently, Sir George Yeardley and his wife, the former Temperance Flowerdew, sailed for Virginia with Sir Thomas Gates in 1619. When they and the rest of the thirty-nine Berkeley colonists came ashore on December 4, 1619, they immediately held a service of thanksgiving for their safe passage. That first thanksgiving in America -- three years before the Plymouth Pilgrims' arrival and more famous thanksgiving -- has been annually observed at Berkeley Hundred, the plantation built on the site of their landing, since that time (those interested in seeing the annual re-enactment of that first American Thanksgiving, held the first Sunday of each November, should contact the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival, Box 5132, Richmond, Virginia 23220, (804) 747-1537. Yeardley, who was granted 1,000 acres on the James River along Flowerdew Creek, reportedly named the place Flowerdew, in honor of his wife's family. He built the first windmill in America in 1621 at a place now called Windmill Point. Abraham Peirsey bought Flowerdew from Yeardley, and his daughter, Mrs. Stephens, inherited the estate. In 1635 she entered a patent for "Floer deue Hundred." That was the first deed for land recorded in America. 62 Flowerdew Hundred was one of only seven settlements to survive the devastating Indian massacre of 1622. Plantation Homes of the James River mentions William Barker as the 1639 purchaser of Flowerdew Hundred and the man who developed it into a "profitable and important administrative and mercantile center." That book also includes several photographs of the area, including a picture of the reconstructed eighteenth century-style windmill that still grinds grain at Windmill Point. 63 Flowerdew Hundred's history, however, long pre-dates the 17th Century. Flowerdew Hundred was a settlement for Indian hunters about 12,000 years ago. Archaeologists have, from more than sixty-five sites their, uncovered thousands of artifacts dating from 9000 B.C. through the Civil War. A museum on the plantation's grounds, located off State 10 on Route 369 east of Hopewell, is open daily except Mondays from April 1 through November 30. 64 The latter artifacts are historically significant because, just as Flowerdew Hundred's history began long before the first colonists came, it continued long after they passed on. For example, just a couple of miles inland from Flowerdew Hundred lies the point where the Appomatox River meets the James River. On the west side of the mouth of the Appomattox lies two plantations with historical roots relating to both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars: Appomattox Manor and Weston Manor. The former was built on a plantation first established by Francis Eppes in 1635. Appomattox Manor was built there by Eppes's grandson and, among others, Thomas Jefferson's daughter Mary (who married Eppes's great-grandson) lived there. British troops led by Benedict Arnold marched through that property during the Revolutionary War. Later, during the Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant made that plantation his headquarters and Abraham Lincoln used the manor home's drawing room as an office when he came to confer with Grant. The plantation remained in the Eppes family until, in 1979, the U.S. Park Service purchased it. The manor home, Grant's headquarters cabin, and the grounds are now open to the public daily. Just to the west, Weston Manor, which was probably once part of the Eppes estate, had a cannonball fired from a Union gunboat lodged in the dining room ceiling and General Philip Sheridan and other Union officers scratched their names on one of the building's windowpanes as evidence of their occupation. 65
We know little about Richard I's wife other than that she had "certeine ulcers" on her legs in 1661. It is believed that Richard I had at least three sons: Richard (who I will refer to as Richard II), John and Ralph. To the best of my knowledge, there were no other children, however, it is important to remember that in that day about one-quarter of all children died before reaching their fifth birthday, and only two-thirds survived to adulthood. Hence, Richard I may have fathered other children who, unlike the three we know of, did not live to maturity.
Richard I's wife Frances was certainly the mother of Richard's son Ralph, for reasons explained in the next chapter. She may not, however, have given birth to Richard I's other children. It is possible that she was Richard I's second wife, and that a previous wife gave birth to Richard II and John. In those days people often remarried, particularly since it was not infrequent for spouses to die from causes, natural or otherwise, during their twenties or thirties.
Nothing is known of the Bradford family's home life, but we can assume that a great deal of it was spent running the family's plantation. If the plantation was like most, it was a self-sufficient operation. That is to say, the Bradford family probably grew their own wheat and corn, which was milled to make bread and other staples. They probably grew their own vegetables and fruits and raised their own cattle, pigs and chicken. Hence, they had plenty of bacon, ham, eggs, milk, pork and steaks. With the ample nearby supply of fresh water, they wanted for nothing.
The Anglican Church
Probably the only time that the Bradford family left the plantation together was to go to church on Sundays. There was no real downtown area in Charles City County then (or now, for that matter). Going to church services was one of the few opportunities to speak to friends and neighbors and catch up on all the news and local gossip. Richard I and his family belonged to the Anglican Church and attended services in Charles City County's Westover Parish.
The Anglican Church was a church of bishops, with the King of England serving as the head of the church. There was no bishop in Virginia, however, so the colony was considered to be under the guidance of the Bishop of London. The Anglican Church was the official church of England and its colonies at the time, and virtually everyone in the Virginia Colony was a member (for example, two-thirds of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were member of the Anglican Church). 66
Roads were in poor condition in those days, and it may have taken the Bradfords all morning to travel the few miles to church. They, like several others in the parish, may have traveled to church by boat. Much of colonial Virginia's travel was via the colony's extensive natural waterways. Moreover, the church was conveniently located on the banks of the nearby James River.
Regardless of how the Bradfords got to church, after services were over they almost certainly stayed and visited with friends and neighbors before heading back to their farm. Everyone did. Indeed, one visitor to colonial Virginia during that time period wrote that he was surprised when, immediately following church services, virtually every man in the congregation pulled out a pipe which was promptly filled with tobacco and lit.
I can almost picture Richard I, pipe in hand, wearing traditional colonial garb, looking like Sir Walter Raleigh and standing outside of the small church with the other menfolk discussing the latest news from England, tobacco prices, local gossip and the weather. Similarly, Frances, almost certainly glad to be away from the plantation for the day, probably took those opportunities to learn about the latest fashions in London, catch up on local gossip and enjoy the welcome opportunity to speak with other women in the community. She probably also enjoyed the chance to visit her parents and siblings who lived across the James River and had to take a ferry or boat to get to the church at Westover. The boys probably played (as long as they did not get their clothes dirty) and made new friends. Since there was no school, this was probably their only opportunity to meet children their own age. If old enough, the Bradford boys may have spotted and courted the young ladies in the parish. Perhaps it was at church that Richard met Frances. Regardless, the Bradford family's Sunday leisure time did not last very long. All to soon, it was back to the plantation. If they were caught up on their chores, however, the family may have taken the opportunity to have dinner with neighbors. Sunday was the one day of the week that many Virginia colonists had neighbors over for dinner. Hence, there were days that the family went from church to a neighbor's home for a meal, a visit and a discussion before the fireplace. Similarly, there were days that they rushed home from church to prepare for Sunday dinner guests. Sundays were generally the highlight of the colonial week.
We should discuss the Westover Parish. That parish was originally established in close proximity to the Jamestown settlement in 1613. Following a merger with three other parishes in 1724 (one of those was Weyanoke, which was also very close to where Richard I and his family lived), the boundaries of Westover Parish became coterminous with those of Charles City County.
The actual Westover church building in which Richard I and his family probably attended services was built between 1630 and 1637 on the Westover plantation in Charles City County. While that church building no longer stands, some headstones from the 1700s are still there. The oldest, no longer legible, said "Here lyeth the body of Captaine Wm. Perry who lived neere Westover in this Collony who departed this life the 6th day of August Anno Domini 1637." Also buried there is Ralph Davis (died July, 1751), William Willabe (died June 1723 at the age of thirty), Reverend Charles Anderson (minister of Westover Parish for twenty-six years who died April 7, 1718, at the age of forty-nine), Prudentis & Eruditi Gheodorici Bland (tombstone in Latin, April 23, 1671, date shown), lieutenant colonel Walter Aston (died April 6, 1656, at the age of forty-nine), Walter Aston Jr. who died January 29, 1666, at the age of twenty-seven), William Byrd I (died December 4, 1701, at the age of fifty-two), Mary Byrd (William Byrd I's wife, died November 9, 1699 at the age of forty-seven), William Byrd II (died in August, 1744), Evelyn Byrd (daughter of William Byrd I, was twenty-nine when she died in 1737), Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison (relative of Benjamin Harrison and daughter of Lewis Burwell, who died in 1734 at fifty-seven years of age), and Benjamin Harrison III of Berkeley (a grandfather to the Declaration of Independence signer of the same name, he died in 1710). 67 The only tombstone that withstood the ravages of time at the church at Weyanoke Parish, the second most likely place where Richard I attended church services, was that of William Harris who died in March 1687/8 at the age of thirty-five. Even that tombstone, however, is no longer at Weyanoke. Harris's headstone was subsequently moved from Weyanoke to Norfolk, where it was placed in the walls of St. Paul's Church. 68 The Weyanoke Parish, like the Bradford plantation, included the head of Queen's Creek as one of its bordering landmarks. 69 Indeed, the Bradfords lived at the top of the Weyanoke peninsula, the portion of Charles City County that forms a large bend in the James River (the Indian name Weyanoke means "the place where the river goes around the land.") 70
In 1730 (about the time that the last of the Bradfords left Charles City County for good), the "new" Westover Parish church building was built in Charles City County about a mile and a half down the James River from the old one. That new parish meeting place was used until 1803, thereafter it was abandoned for thirty years, sometimes being used as a barn during that period. In 1833 it was revived, only to be taken over by Union troops who used it as a stable during the Civil War. The building, however, again began serving as a church in 1867. People have attended church services there since that time.
Today, the "new" Westover Parish church is a picturesque little building where you are welcome to show up for services any Sunday you are in Charles City County. A brochure distributed at that church states that down through the centuries it was used as a house of worship by farmers, plantation owners, slaves and presidents, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler and Theodore Roosevelt. Incredibly, the ancestors of some of Richard I's contemporaries (the Hill, Carter and other families of colonial Charles City County) still worship at Westover Parish. 71 The Westover Church is worth visiting.
The Charles City County record books show that Richard I was involved in his share of lawsuits. The records of those disputes offer us small, but interesting, glimpses into Richard's day. The first such suit involved a member of Virginia's celebrated Randolph clan.
The facts of Randolph dispute are as follows: in late 1656 or early 1657, Richard I was involved in a dispute surrounding a debt he owed for grain that was ground for him at a local mill. In that dispute, Henry Randolph, the agent of the deceased owner of the mill, Captain Richard Bond, sought 800 pounds of tobacco from Richard I in return for work allegedly performed at the mill. Richard, however, testified that the late William Middleton, from whom Richard had a receipt, had undertaken to pay 500 of the 800 pounds of tobacco "and cask" ("casks," like the "hogsheads" described earlier, were large wooden barrels used by the colonists to store and ship tobacco). Based on Richard's testimony, the court's verdict was "that the said Bradford be acquitted, paying only the said 300 pounds of tobacco" which was by contract to be paid "in wares." Henry Randolph, the court decided, was left to seek the remainder of his remedy from Mr. Middleton's estate. 72 Richard's first day in court, therefore, was a success.
Henry Randolph, the man who brought (and lost) that early lawsuit against Richard I, belonged to a well-known family. Like the families of several other early colonists Richard dealt with, Randolph's family played an important role in our country's early history. Randolph, born in England in 1623, immigrated into Virginia in 1642, became clerk of the court in nearby Henrico County in 1656 and served as a clerk to the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1660 until his death in 1673. Although Henry had no children, he is credited with convincing his nephew William Randolph to likewise emigrate from England to the Virginia Colony. 73 Thereafter, William became the patriarch of one of Virginia's most illustrious families. Indeed, some refer to him and his wife Mary Isham Randolph as "the Adam and Eve of Virginia society" because of their illustrious offspring. Included among their descendants are, among others, Peyton Randolph (the first president of the Continental Congress) and Edmund Randolph (who served as Governor of Virginia and was appointed by George Washington to serve as America's first Attorney General). Also included among their descendants are Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall and Robert E. Lee. 74
Richard's run-in with Henry Randolph was not his only day in court. Indeed, records reflect that Richard was in court quite a bit (don't worry, none of the records mention criminal charges).
A captain Edloe had a "non-suite" against Richard I and Howell Pryce (who still jointly owned the Bradford plantation with Richard I) in 1657 over some matter that most likely related to Richard's plantation, particularly since Edloe was an adjoining landowner. 75 Presumably, that matter was a nonsuit because Richard did not show up in court to contest it. Similarly, Richard won a nonsuit against John Fitchett in 1663. 76 Years later, on February 17, 1678/79 in the court of Westover (located in Charles City County), Richard was involved in a dispute with William Irby (an early surgeon) who had sued him "for a cure and other physic." Richard denied liability, however, and successfully argued that Irby had nothing to complain about since Irby "was paid a hog and 19 pounds of Bacon." The court agreed with Richard and the case was dismissed. 77
At least one of Richard's court victories was overturned on appeal by the Governor's Council. Specifically, at a proceeding of that body which was held on March 4, 1674/75, that body, which was then comprised of Colonol Bacon, Thomas Ballard and Joseph Bridges, ruled as follows:
Judgement is Granted Mr. Richard Linney Affigne of Thomas Dolby Againft Mr. Richard Bradford for payment of One Thoufand pounds of Live porke with Cofts, and It is ordered that ye Order of Cha. Citty County Court that paft Againft the Said Bradford concerning this debt be made void. 78
Between 1685 and 1695, Richard was involved in a whirlwind of lawsuits. Richard, for example, sued Cornelius Lofton in 1688 for "seizing and carrying away" a horse from Richard's home twelve months before. Lofton lost and was ordered to pay Richard 400 pounds of tobacco in addition to returning the horse (Lofton was lucky: many of history's horse thieves were shot). 79 Richard lost a suit against Richard Kennon and Jonathon Worsham, administrators of the estate of Nathaniel Hill, and was therefore required to pay them "1/0/5" pounds sterling. Richard had at least three lawsuits against Jonathon Hunt: Richard won 875 pounds of tobacco in the first suit; the second suit, brought by Hunt, was dismissed; and in the last, a suit brought by Hunt, Richard lost when he failed to show up and, accordingly, was required to pay Hunt 2,127 pounds of tobacco. In 1685, Richard won 900 pounds of tobacco from Nicholas Whiskin in a case in which Richard employed an attorney, Hugh Owen. Richard also won a case against James Joyeaux, a merchant, who did not appear in court. Richard did well in 1692. In that year he won: a hefty 1,300 pounds of tobacco and ten shillings from Henry Willis; 647 pounds of tobacco from Thomas Taylor; and 1,057 pounds of tobacco from William Glenn. Richard's case with Willis was in and out of court for a long time. While those records may reflect not one but several disputes between those two men, at least one of those records involved money which Willis sought for some wheat he allegedly "hoed in" for Richard. Richard was awarded "14/16" pounds sterling from Joseph Dudly for some "pipe staves, sasafrax roots, standard timber and fathom wax" which Richard had sold to him. Richard lost a case to James Morris the "Ordinary Keeper." Richard had a case against Roger Archer which was dismissed for unknown reasons. Finally, in one of my favorites, Richard complained that he was short-changed by William Shivers. That record states:
Whereas Richard Bradford obtained a judgement agst William Shivers for 664 lbs tobacco and 21/8 sterling, he come in court and swears that the tobacco he received toward that judgement weighed only 457 lbs and no more.
Richard, it seems, was nobody's fool. 80
Litigation With Servants
Richard not only had lawsuits with his neighbors, but he also became enmeshed in a couple of lawsuits with his servants. Those records are fascinating since they affirmatively establish that Richard was successful enough to retain his own servants. Surprisingly, at least one of those servants was an American Indian. We know that since one such paid Indian servant, Roger, ran away. Upon his return, Richard sought recovery of the cost incurred in returning Roger. The lawsuit arising from Roger's running away states:
Roger, an Indian, being convicted of runaway from service of Rich'd Bradford, his Master, for 6 months, and 10 shill. being spent in his recovery, he is therefore to serve said master 1 month for the 10 shillings, and for his time of absence as law directs. 81
The last record is quite interesting. First, it highlights that Richard had first-hand experience with the Indians. Next, it shows that Indians, unlike slaves, worked for a fee just like the English immigrants (there is, incidentally, no evidence that either Richard I or any of his sons ever owned any slaves).
Another lawsuit involved a dispute between Richard and his servant Jonathon Seed. That servant alleged that Richard owed him some new clothes. The local court initially agreed that if Richard "did not give his servant Jno. Seed sufficient clothing by Saturday night, said Seed is to be set free." That, however, was not the end of Richard's dispute with Mr. Seed. Later, in June 1692, a dispute involving Seed, Richard and Thomas Taylor was postponed to the next court hearing day upon the request of Taylor's attorney, Edward Chilton, since Taylor was on a journey to Maryland and could not, therefore, attend court. While I do not know what happened in the Seed matter or what Taylor's involvement in it was, that same record states that Captain James Bisse testified that Taylor "hath promised to pay Seed (if he appears to have been set free before) for his time of overservice." I wish I knew the whole story surrounding the Seed episode. 82 While it sounds interesting, we will probably never know exactly what happened.
Richard I's appearances in court, however, were not limited to his appearances as a party to a dispute. He also served on juries. For example, on January 9, 1662, Richard served on a twelve-man jury (women did not serve on juries in those days) which had to determine whether any foul play was involved in the death of an indentured servant who was found dead, still bearing the marks of the whip (or, as the jury called them, "sad stripes") where he was lashed by his master's wife. The jury's ruling, signed by Richard, reads as follows:
Wee whose names are hereunto subscribed being upon the Jury concerning the death of John Prise doe find to the best o'r knowledge that the s'd John Prise did come to his untimely End by the reason of his runningway from his M'r Rice Hoe and soe was starved for want of victualls w'ch Runningaway we doe apprehend was by the meanes of the sad stripes that appeared upon his Body given him by his Mrs Susannah Hoe upon the 2'd of January but wee doe not finde any mortall wound upon him. 83
Richard's involvement in the inquest into the death of Mr. Prise not only tells us that Richard met his civic obligations (by serving on the jury), but also tells us how fortunate Richard was not to end up like John Prise during his own period of servitude. In Richard's day, like ours, there were both good people and bad ones. Although most headrighted indentured servants were treated well, a few, like the unfortunate Mr. Prise, were beaten or otherwise mistreated by their masters. One can only wonder about the nature of a beating so severe or demeaning that a person would risk starving to death rather than return to possibly face more of the same.
Richard served on a jury in 1694 which determined whether William Thompson was guilty of taking a mare worth six pounds sterling from Martha and William Sutten. I do not know the outcome of that case. 84
Other Court Records
Besides occasionally serving as a member of the jury, Richard I also served as the executor of various estates. For example, Richard served as the executor for James Phelps's estate in 1662 and John Robinson's estate in 1665. 85 Richard also appraised an estate for Sarah Gatley's deceased husband in 1677. 86 In around 1688 he was authorized to inventory the estate of Thomas Gouldsbey (sometimes spelled Goldsbey). 87 In 1690 Richard valued the estate of Thomas Thring. 88
Richard was also appointed to help the county in other capacities. For example, in early 1693 he was appointed to join Thomas Hamlin in surveying the highways for Charles City County's "north Wynoake" precinct. In 1695 he was appointed as one of the guardians of Mary Hamlin, the daughter of Charles Hamlin (a job which required he and the other two guardians to post a total of 30,000 pounds of tobacco as guardian bonds). 89
Scene of the Crime
One interesting court record records that at least one crime occurred at Richard's home. Apparently sheriff Robert Lunsden spoke harshly of George Freeman at Richard Bradford's house. That record states:
In action of trespass brought by George Freeman agst Robert Lunsdon, sheriff bring deft. to court. Plt. appears with Bartholemew Fowler, his attorney and deft. by John Everitt and James Cock, his attorneys. Plt. complains that deft. said false and scandalous words about him at the house of Mr. Richard Bradford. As there were manifest uncertainys, the case is dismissed. 90
Unfortunately, I do not know what scandalous things were said or what "manifest uncertainys" precipitated that case's dismissal.
Richard as a Witness
Richard I appeared in the Charles City County court not only as a juror and a party, but, in a very interesting case, as a witness. That case, like the inquiry into the death of John Prise, involved an indentured servant found dead in the woods -- except this time it was Richard who made that grisly discovery. The court record is self-explanatory. That record states:
We whose names are underwritten sworne to enquire conc'ning the death of Edw'd Brureton serv't to Mr. Daniell Clarke of the parish of Weynoke found dead in the woods by Richd Bradford Joyner and Charles Beale seaman on the 18th day of 9ber 1665, after view of the sd body on the 19th of the Instant November and strict enquiry made do find the sd Edw'd Brureton to have been a sickly man, and disseased w'th the scurvey, sat downe to reste himselfe and fell asleepe and by the sd disease and the extremity of the cold happening on the 17th of 9 ber aforesd dyed in the night and by this and no other meanes came to his end, w'ch wee deliver as our verdict. Wittnes our hands this 19th of 9 ber 1665. 91
That record of the inquest into the death of Edward Brureton is interesting for several reasons. First, it illustrates the tenuous nature of life in colonial America. It also illustrates how sheltered our existence seems in comparison. As proof, you need only reflect back upon the last time that you came across a dead body in the woods. Such an event would be of national interest today, whereas it happened all too often in seventeenth century America.
Richard Bradford, Joyner
By far, the most interesting fact we can glean from the record of the inquest into Edward Brureton's death, at least as far as Richard's ancestors is concerned, is that it identifies Richard I's profession. That record, you see, identified the two witnesses as Charles Beale "seaman" and Richard Bradford "Joyner." I first misunderstood that record to mean Richard Bradford Junior, therefore Richard II, because I was unfamiliar with the now obscure term "joyner" which is also sometime spelled "joiner." I now know better.
The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines a "joiner" as "a carpenter, especially one who constructs doors, window sashes, paneling, and other permanent woodwork." 92 Another source states that a "joiner or joyner" was "an expert craftsman who did woodwork for the interior of houses, ships, etc., by joining pieces of timber by 'mortise' and 'tenons,' and by panels fitted in grooves, all without nails." 93 A "mortise" was a deep notch or groove made in a piece of wood and a "tenon" was a projection formed on the end of a timber, made to fit snugly into a corresponding mortise. Hence, with the relatively primitive tools available in his day, Richard was an artisan who could piece things together without nails. One need spend only a few hours woodworking to appreciate the patience and craftsmanship involved in such a profession. Many of Richard's lawsuits were probably related to debts people owed him for his work.
Joiners were well-paid in colonial America. One author wrote that the colonial carpenter's "relative affluence stemmed from a high demand for new houses, commercial buildings, wooden ships and wharves, and a chronic shortage of skilled labor. The carpenter who brought his trade and tools from England was a man with considerable bargaining power." The colonial building industry was often modeled on the European guild system, hence, master carpenters opened up shops and sold directly to consumers. As their business grew, some master carpenters hired journeymen and apprentices to help carry out the work. Colonial apprentices were "indentured," a legal process by which the guardianship of young men was passed from parents to master craftsmen, generally ending when the apprentice reached twenty-one. Many notable Americans served as apprentices in such a manner. Benjamin Franklin, for example, began his career as an apprentice in a print shop. Perhaps John Seaward, the man who was living with Richard I's family in 1661 when he was sent to the courthouse to report on Mr. Culmer's agreement to cure the "certeine ulcers" on Richard I's wife's legs, was a joyner's apprentice to master Joyner Richard I. 94
Few writings, unfortunately, describe the life of the colonial joiners. Before moving ahead, however, I will share a recent description of the typical colonial artisan (joiners were considered artisans):
The successful colonial artisan was an independent, self-employed worker who owned his own tools and furnished his own materials. Work was performed in the home or on the job. On occasion two craftsmen joined together to create a small shop. The artisan was also a small business entrepreneur, for he usually had a sizeable investment in equipment and tools, managed his own work schedule, and kept his own account book. Most artisans owned sufficient property to qualify as voters in local and provincial elections. 95
William Bradford of Plymouth
Before moving ahead, I will spend a moment reflecting on a troubling discussion I had recently with a fellow (though distantly related) descendant of Richard I's. She informed me that she had encountered fellow descendants of Richard I who were disappointed to discover that their descent was from Richard Bradford, a Virginia carpenter, rather than from William Bradford, Pilgrim and First Governor of the Massachusetts Colony. That conversation troubled me because -- well, first let me share some information about Governor William Bradford.
William Bradford was born in March of 1590 in Austerfield, Yorkshire, England, to William Bradford, a prosperous yeoman, and his wife Alice Hanson Bradford. In his youth, William joined a group of Separatists in Scrooby, England. The Separatists, a small subset of the Puritans in England and the most extreme Christian sect in England at the time, desired something then considered tantamount to treason -- a complete separation from the national Anglican church. In 1608, Bradford and the rest of the Separatists fled England and moved to Holland. In 1620, William and several other Separatists left Delftshaven, Holland, and traveled to Plymouth, England, from which point they took the Mayflower to New Plymouth, Massachusetts. Thereafter, William served as the Plymouth colony's governor for all but five years between 1621 and 1657. He also wrote Of Plimmoth Plantation which presents an account of the first twenty-seven years of the Plymouth Colony and the events in England and Holland leading to its settlement. William Bradford died in 1657. 96
Now I will explain why I find it so troubling that some of Richard I's descendants reportedly consider themselves descendants of William Bradford rather than Richard I. Governor Bradford was, undoubtedly, a great man. Nevertheless, I find Richard no less deserving of respect. He was a man who boldly came to a new land with no guarantees, but still managed to make his mark on colonial America. His descendants should be proud to carry his name. If anything, I wonder if that Virginia pioneer would be proud of us. Would he be pleased with what we have done with this country, his name and his heritage since he passed on? He boldly rose to meet the challenges of his day. We should do the same.
While I do not know whether Richard I and William Bradford were related, I feel confident that they were closely related since Richard I moved to Virginia rather than Plymouth in 1653 -- even though William Bradford was governor of the Plymouth Colony at the time. Hence, any relation was probably distant. Nevertheless, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony was a great American and a great Bradford and descendants of Richard I owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing so much honor and notoriety to the Bradford name.
Involvement With the Hill Family
A record in the Charles City County Order Book in 1688 is of interest. As that record shows, the father of Richard I's wife Frances, Richard Taylor, was survived by an infant son named John when he died in 1672 or 1673. In October 1674, Colonel Edward Hill, guardian of that approximately six-year old brother of Frances, became administrator of the estate of Sarah and Katherine Taylor, the sisters of John and Frances. Hill presented the records from his administration of the estates of those sisters to court in 1688, when John came of lawful age. At that time, Richard I (as husband of Frances) and Captain John Hamlin (as husband of Frances's sister Elizabeth), each presented their wife's claim to a part of the sisters' estates. Thereafter, Richard, Hamlin and (then-adult John Taylor agreed to acquit Sarah (who was then named Sarah Taylor Lucy after marrying Robert Lucy in 1678) of all claims due them under the will of Richard Taylor and James Ward. Sarah, however, agreed to give Captain Hamlin and Richard Bradford each a "ring of 10 shillings price." 97 While I do not know what happened to the ring that Richard I received from Sarah, I wish I had it today.
This last record not only provides valuable insight into the names of several relatives of Richard Bradford I and his wife Frances Taylor Bradford, but it also shows that Richard and his family had direct contact and involvement with Colonel Edward Hill, a member of one of the early colony's most powerful and influential families. (That was not, however, either the first or last contact between the Bradfords and Edward Hill Jr. Years before, in 1662, Edward Hill Jr. witnessed the final deed of the 1197 acre plantation from Hoel Pryse to Richard Bradford I. Later, as the next chapter explains, Edward Hill was appointed to jointly investigate charges leveled against Richard Bradford II by Sylvanus Stokes the elder).
It was in 1638 that Colonel Hill's father, Edward Hill Sr., received his first grant of land in Charles City County. By 1660, Edward Hill Sr. had increased his holdings to 2,467 acres, 416 of which were at a place called "Shirley Hundred" in western Charles City County. Edward Hill Sr. also became commander of the combined militias of Charles City and Henrico Counties (and, as such, the leader of the ill-fated expedition against nearby Indians at Bloody Run described later in this book), represented Charles City County in the colony's House of Burgesses as early as 1639 and was selected to become the speaker of that body in 1644, 1654 and 1659.
After Edward Hill Senior's death in 1663, his son (and future guardian of John Taylor's estate), the twenty-six year old Edward Hill Jr., took control of his family's estate. The younger Hill was a formidable businessman who greatly increased his family's wealth and power before he died in 1700. His only significant setback came in 1676 when Nathaniel Bacon's rebels plundered his home at Shirley Hundred. Thereafter, the estate at Shirley Hundred was passed down through the Hill family until, upon the death of Edward Hill IV, it was inherited by Elizabeth Hill who later married John Carter Jr., son of the powerful and wealthy John "King" Carter, ancestor to six United States Presidents, who was once considered the wealthiest man in colonial Virginia.
John Carter Jr. and Elizabeth Hill have many famous descendants. One of their sons, Charles Carter, inherited the family's estate and fathered twenty-three children, some of whom intermarried with other prominent Virginia families, including the Byrds, Randolphs, Lees, Burwells, Braxtons, Nelsons and Fitzhughs, among others. One of Elizabeth and John's daughters, Ann, married "Light Horse" Harry Lee and gave birth to the future Commander in Chief of the Confederate Army, General Robert E. Lee. General Lee, who visited Shirley often in his youth, is said to have loved it. Moreover, as we know, General Lee's love of Virginia prompted him to follow it into the war between the states and, hence, to decline the opportunity to lead the Union forces. 98
The plantations at Shirley Hundred and Upper Shirley still stand and are still inhabited by the descendants of the Hill and Carter families. Those ancestors still attend services at Westover Church. A tour of that family's plantations can provide a rare glimpse into life in colonial Virginia. Perhaps the Bradfords should re-introduce themselves sometime.
Native Americans and the Colonial Militia
Richard I almost certainly served in the colonial militia for some period of time. Nearly every male Virginia colonist did in that day. The militia was important since the early colonists always lived in fear of attack by either native Americans or the Spanish (who were still vying for control of North America). In the 1650s the Virginia Colony often "fairly buzzed with wild predictions of imminent disaster." 99
The colonists were long concerned about the Indians. The area around the James River that the colonists settled was inhabited by a large group of Indians ruled by a leader named Powhatan. It was that leader who was about to have Jamestown leader Captain John Smith killed in 1609, when his favorite daughter, Pocahontas, convinced him to spare Smith's life. Hence, although the Virginia colonists had some trouble with the native Americans after Captain Newport's landing in 1607, peace came with the marriage of Pocahontas to colonist John Rolfe in 1614.
The peace that came with Rolfe's marriage to Pocahontas, however, ended when Powhatan died in 1618 and his successor, Opechancanough, planned a secret attack to wipe out the English settlers. Many colonists in Richard I's day undoubtedly still remembered stories about that colony-wide attack on March 22, 1622, when the colony's neighboring Indians used a surprise raid to massacre 350 men, women and children -- almost one-third of the colony's settlers. After that, in 1624, the Virginia legislature established the colony's first standing militia, a collection of men loosely organized for the purpose of protecting their own localities. Every white male in the colony between the ages of sixteen and sixty automatically became a member of the militia.
In April 1644, a second massacre, again by the Powhatan Indians led by Opechencanough, wiped out more Virginia colonists than were killed in 1622. After that second disaster, war between the colonists and the Indians raged until Opechencanough was taken into custody and killed.
Despite the second Indian attack, the militia was not formally organized until 1652 (the year before Richard I's arrival). In that year, the Virginia militia in each of Virginia's eight counties were organized into regiments, except for the regiments of adjoining Charles City and Henrico counties which combined into one unit. Each regiment was led by a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major and several captains. While we do not know whether Richard I was an officer in the colonial militia, his son Richard II (as you will see in the next chapter), certainly was.
As stated earlier, Charles City County, as it existed then, spread out on both the north and south sides of the James River. It and Henrico County were the farthest west of the Virginia Colony's counties, and, hence, the closest to the frontier, the unknown and the Indians. Because of their common concerns, the militias of those two counties, around the time that Richard I moved to Charles City County, joined together to form a common defense. The leaders of that combined militia decided that in the event a "warre should breake forth" fifty men on each side of the James River should be prepared "to be in readinesse at an howers warning with their armes and 12 shott of powder and ball a man."
Every member of the Virginia militia was required by law to have a gun in good working order and an ample supply of musket balls and gun powder. If Indians struck, the members of the militia were to join together and rush towards the sound of any gunfire. Those groups, which traveled by foot, were called "trainbands." In addition, there was a group of mounted soldiers, or "dragoons", created to support the trainbands. In 1661, the rest of the Virginia Colony adopted the use of trainbands and dragoons which were similarly to be "always ready in armes" and prepared to march "to the rescue of such distressed places or persons as he their commander shall direct."
Because the unexplained sound of gunfire in the wilderness would cause colonists like Richard I to drop whatever they were doing and come running, false alarms caused a great deal of inconvenience and unnecessary terror in the colony. For that reason, a person who unnecessarily fired a musket risked a potential penalty of five thousand pounds of tobacco and a year in jail. Understandably, there were not many false alarms after that law was enacted. Similarly, few members of the militia were absent when they were called upon. A militia member who did not come when he was summoned was similarly fined if his absence was not excused.
A military incident from Richard I's day provides an interesting glimpse of life in that day. In 1656, a couple of years after Richard I arrived in Charles City County, there were reports that "many western and inland Indians are drawne from the maountaynes, and lately sett downe neer the falls of the James River," an area quite close to the settlements near Henrico County. The Virginia government promptly authorized Colonel Edward Hill, patriarch of one of the area's most prominent families, to raise one hundred men from his Charles City/Henrico regiment, a group that may well have included Richard I, to remove those natives. Colonel Hill marched those men up the river along with a group of friendly Indians. That confrontation, however, was reportedly mismanaged by Hill. The colonists, unaccustomed to war, retreated while their Indian allies were killed by the inland Indians at a place called "Bloody Run." Score one for the inland Indians.
Although the Indians that Hill and his troops searched for eventually left, never to invade the colonists, the area around Charles City County was swept by rumors of "suddaine Invasione" for the remainder of the summer of 1656. Similarly, in 1664 several "horrid murthers" and other Indian violence rocked the Virginia Colony. In retribution, members of the Charles City/Henrico regiment marched out, relying on "secrecy from discovery and speedy endeavors" for the "surprissal" of the enemy. 100 The outcome of that military operation is unknown.
Richard I's Final Resting Place
We may never know the date Richard I died or exactly where he was buried. I believe that he died at a ripe old age sometime between 1710 and 1720. As to his final resting place, I suspect that he was buried in the burial ground of the original Westover Parish church, somewhere near William Byrd and the others (where, as discussed earlier, one can still see several headstones from that period on a small tree-covered area overlooking the James River). It is also conceivable that Richard I and his wife were buried in whatever burial grounds existed at the nearby Weyanoke parish. It is also possible, but less likely, that Richard I and his wife were buried on their Charles City County plantation. I consider the last possibility unlikely because most colonists who died during that period were buried in church ground. 101
Regardless of the location of Richard I's final resting place, no one knows the whereabouts of his headstone. Local residents suggest that some of the older headstones in Charles City County were destroyed or stolen by Union soldiers during the Civil War. While researching in Virginia, I was told more than once that "the Yankees stole everything."
While there is no way to verify the rumor of "Yankee headstone thieves," many of the Charles City County court records were destroyed by northern soldiers during the Civil War. As a result, Charles City and other counties are often referred to as "burned counties" by historians and genealogists. In 1862, many of the records in Charles City County were taken out of the courthouse and burned, scattered to the fields or taken north by soldiers who served under Union General George McClellan who was advancing up the Virginia peninsula on his drive to nearby Richmond. Fortunately, some records have been returned. Many records mentioning Richard Bradford I, for example, recently were returned to Virginia by a Union soldier's descendant who found them in an attic in Oregon in 1975. Similarly, a handwritten note on page 313 of the Charles City County record book for 1764 says "This sheet was picked up by John H. Jack, 1st Sergeant of Comp. E 8th Ohio Regt. in Charles City Court-house yard as the reg't passed said court house on the grand withdrawal of McLellands army before Richmond on the 16th or 17th of Augt 1862." Therefore, most of what I have learned about Richard I and his family was gleaned from the fragments of the records retrieved by Union soldiers and local citizens. Many records, however, were never recovered. I have often wondered what information about Richard I and his family were lost forever during the ravages of America's most tragic war -- a war which happened over two hundred years after he came to Virginia.
A Full Life
Richard I lived a full life. Born in England, he traveled to a strange new land, established a large bustling plantation, married, reared three sons and contended with hostile Indians. He also witnessed the birth of a new society: not as a casual observer, but as an active participant. The Virginia that Richard lived in was very much a frontier throughout his life. According to United States census figures, the population of Virginia, although tripling, grew from only about 20,000 at the time of Richard's immigration to about 60,000 at his death (contrast that with Virginia's current population of over six million). Richard I also lived a very long life. I believe that he was certainly alive as late as 1710, for reasons I will explain in the next chapter. That would have made him seventy-seven at that time, assuming that he was twenty when he came to America in 1653. One author suggests that Richard I died in 1716. 102 Moreover, Richard established the roots of the Bradford family in America. Long dead, Richard's blood still runs in the thousands -- if not millions (I will explain that estimate at the end of the book) of his descendants who have fanned out across this country since his otherwise quiet arrival in America in the early 1650s. By any measure, Richard I was a success.
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Petition signed by Charles City County residents in 1710 seeking to increase the size of the county to relieve the tax burden. The first signer is Richard Bradford I and the latter signer Richard Bradford Jr. (at bottom right) is Richard II. (Petition courtesy of the Virginia State Archives.)
II. Richard (II) and Anna
As mentioned in the first chapter, Richard I had at least three children: Richard II, John and Ralph. This chapter is primarily written about the oldest of those sons, Richard II. First, however, I will spend a few moments discussing his brothers.
Richard II's brother John Bradford married a woman named Rebecca Pace. Rebecca was the great granddaughter of Richard Pace, the man widely attributed with warning the residents of Jamestown of the impending Indian attack in 1622. Pace was forewarned of the Indians' plot by a friendly Indian, Chanco, a Christian convert Pace treated like a son. But for that warning, some believe that all of Virginia's colonists would have died in the ensuing surprise attack. The surprise attack was carried out early on Good Friday, March 22, 1622. Chanco, who was told to kill Pace in that morning assault, struggled with his conscience all night before the attack. Fortunately for Jamestown (not to mention Pace), Chanco declined to kill Pace and instead warned him of the impending attack. Pace rowed across the James River's backwaters to Jamestown from his mainland home to warn Jamestown residents of the ensuing attack. Jamestown was saved. 103 Rebecca Pace Bradford is mentioned in the will of her father, John Pace. That will, dated March 13, 1736, was probated in Bertie County, North Carolina, in February 1738.
After becoming an adult, John moved off the family's plantation and moved out of Charles City County altogether. By 1719, John and Rebecca were living in Prince George County, Virginia. Indeed, in that year John, in the earliest record of any Bradford in North Carolina, witnessed the recording of land purchased by his father-in-law Richard Pace. 104 John Bradford's plantation, which was in the portion of Prince George County that was later broken off and renamed Brunswick County in 1732, abutted Virginia's border with North Carolina. 105
John and Rebecca Bradford had at least six children: Richard, John Jr. (discussed below), Nathaniel (whose sons John and Nathaniel eventually moved to Wilkes County, Georgia), Frances, Rebecca and Sarah. John Bradford Sr. died in Brunswick County, Virginia and his will, dated November 3, 1732, was probated on November 6, 1735. He left his heirs land in both Brunswick County, Virginia, and Northampton County, North Carolina. After his death, his wife, Rebecca Pace Bradford, married William Aycock and moved to Wilkes County, Georgia. 106
One of John and Rebecca's sons, John Bradford Jr. (1730-1787), who is often referred to as "Colonel John Bradford of Halifax," is a distinguished early American. John Bradford Jr. served in many positions of authority in colonial North Carolina and became a Colonel in the North Carolina Militia of Halifax County in the Revolutionary War. In that capacity, Colonel John Bradford was actively involved in battle. Included among his military exploits, Colonel Bradford led his regiment in the left wing of the battle line in Patterson's Brigade during the battle of Wright's Mill. Moreover, on April 4, 1776, Colonel Bradford served as Halifax County's representative to North Carolina's provisional congress and, as such, was a signer of the famous Halifax Resolves, a pre-cursor to the Declaration of Independence which declared North Carolina's independence from Great Britain.
Despite the historical prominence of Colonel John Bradford's career, he was by no means the most famous of John Bradford's descendants. To the contrary, Colonel Bradford's grandson, John Branch, had an incredibly illustrious career. Branch, a lawyer, became the Governor of North Carolina (1817-1820), served a six-year term as a United States Senator, acted as Secretary of the Navy for President Andrew Jackson and was finally appointed Governor of the territory of Florida by President John Tyler in 1843. Branch died in North Carolina on January 4, 1863. A drawing of Branch (set forth here) is set forth in The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. 107
Also of interest, several sons of Henry Bradford (1761-1838, one of Colonel John Bradford's sons) moved to a place in Leon County, Florida. That place, just north of Tallahassee, was named Bradfordsville after those Bradfords. 108
For more information about this branch of the family (no pun intended), which migrated south to Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Texas, among other places, I would suggest Sandlund II, Julian Hart Robertson's The Cox and Bradford Families and two books by John Bennett Boddie: Virginia Historical Genealogies and Southside Virginia Families. 109
Unlike John Bradford, very little is known about Richard II's other brother, Ralph Bradford, other than that he was the son of Richard Bradford I and Frances Taylor Bradford and that he once lived in Prince George County, Virginia (the portion of Charles City County south of the James River until Charles City County was split into Charles City and Prince George Counties in 1703).
The only information that we have about Ralph comes from the only existing record that mentions him: a deed of land. Specifically, on July 14, 1716, Ralph Bradford "of Prince George County" deeded (for ten pounds) 400 acres in Westover Parish "which was given by will by James Ward (deceased) to Frances, Ralph's mother" with the other part of the deeded land having come from Ralph's father Richard. This record was witnessed by Ralph's brother John Bradford, William Wynn and one of Richard II's sons, Richard Bradford III. 110 No one knows what became of Ralph. Presumably, however, he never married and died without issue.
Richard II: Early Years
Finally, I get to the focus of this chapter: Richard Bradford II, the eldest of Richard I's sons. Richard II was lucky to be the eldest since the ancient law of primogeniture, which was still in effect in Virginia at the time, provided that the oldest son inherited the entirety of the family's lands. As a result, Richard II eventually inherited the entirety of his father's estate, including the 1,197 acre plantation in Charles City County. Richard II lived on that plantation until his death in 1725.
Little is known about Richard II's days as a youth in Charles City County. Most likely, most of his time was spent working on the family's plantation, tending the crops, caring for the livestock or clearing further parts of the still-wooded areas of the estate. Although Virginia was the only home he ever knew, perhaps his father told him stories of England and the life he left there. Virginia had no compulsory education laws when Richard I arrived in the colony and formal schooling was practically nonexistent when Richard II and his brothers grew up. Most likely, Richard II and his brothers learned to read and write from their parents. Nevertheless, I am sure that he had a childhood we can be jealous of. Probably born sometime around 1660 (incidentally, almost exactly 300 years before I was), he lived in the cradle of American society at a very exciting time.
Although Bacon's Rebellion (1676-1677) is a well-known historical event, the details of that conflict merit elaboration here.
While most of the Virginia Colony's neighboring Indians lived in peace with the English settlers, there were a rash of Indian attacks on the colony's outlying settlers during late 1675 and early 1676: cornfields were burned, herds were slaughtered and abandoned homes and barns were burned to the ground. As a result, the Virginia Colony's outlying settlers began to demand more protection from their government. The colony's governor, Sir William Berkeley, however, refused to alter his policies. Moreover, his treatment of the protesting colonists was undiplomatic, even surly. For example, the following is a report of a meeting between Berkeley and the Bradfords and/or some of their Charles City County neighbors:
When petitions came from the frontiersmen, asking leave to go out against the Indians, he returned a brusk and angry refusal. A delegation from Charles City County met with a typical reception from the irritable old man. As they stood humbly before him, presenting their request for a commission, they spoke of themselves as the Governor's subjects. Upon this Berkeley blurted out that they were all 'fools and loggerheads.' They were subjects of the King, and so was he. He would grant them no commission, and bade them be gone, and a pox take them. Later he issued a proclamation forbidding under heavy penalties all such petitions.111
The colonists became more and more concerned. Governor Berkeley remained staunchly unmoving. Something had to give. It did.
In late March 1676, false rumors that "Several formidable Bodies of Indians" were moving down the James River towards them invoked terror in the residents of Charles City and Henrico Counties. The frightened residents wanted to meet the enemy (reportedly a group of Doeg Indians) and stop the "approaching calamity" to protect their homes and families. Those frightened colonists even offered to take the unusual measure of paying for their own expenses in such an endeavor. Governor Berkeley, however, denied them permission to take military action. The citizenry, understandably, felt that their government could not, or would not, protect them from their enemies, real or imagined. It was that refusal by Governor Berkeley that ignited Bacon's Rebellion. 112
After Governor Berkeley refused to give the go-ahead for an attack on the Indians, an enraged Henrico County planter, Nathaniel Bacon Jr. (a man with no military rank or prior notoriety) and a group of neighboring militiamen marched out into the wilderness without the Governor's permission to meet the alleged Indian threat. Although Bacon and his followers did not find the rumored group of Indians upriver, they wandered around until they did find some Indians -- any Indians. Eventually, after a number of misadventures, Bacon and his followers killed a number of both Susquehannock and Occaneechee Indians, even though some of them were actually considered friendly Indians. To the frightened, fired-up colonists, however, that did not seem to matter.
Upon Bacon's "triumphant" return, Governor Berkeley promptly had him arrested for acting without governmental authority. Berkeley, however, agreed to pardon Bacon after the rebel leader apologized for his actions. Bacon was considered a hero by most colonists since he had killed Indians -- even if they were the wrong ones. To the terrified colonists, Bacon seemed to at least be doing something, while Governor Berkeley was becoming increasingly unpopular for his perceived failure to act decisively in response to the perceived Indian threat.
On June 23, 1676, soon after Bacon's release, Bacon and 500 militiamen captured Jamestown, then the colony's capital, and demanded permission to march against the Indians. Bacon's followers were members of the frontier militia, largely from Charles City, Henrico and New Kent counties. Those men were not "fringe" elements of the militia, but, rather, parts of whole military units, complete with officers.
Under duress, the colonial government appointed Bacon the head of the colonial militia and gave him permission to march against the Indians. After Bacon and his followers left town, however, Governor Berkeley proclaiming Bacon a rebel and began raising an army to capture him. Meanwhile, Bacon and his men marched for weeks, encountered few Indians and accomplished nothing. Finally, Bacon heard that Governor Berkeley had revoked his authority to march against the Indians. Thereafter, an enraged Bacon, followed by 300 of his men, marched "in great fury" towards Jamestown where those men had a brief battle with Governor Berkeley's men. The governor's troops, however, were understandably unenthusiastic about fighting fellow Virginians who only wanted to defend the colony from reportedly hostile Indians. Berkeley's forces abandoned Jamestown. After capturing Jamestown, Bacon promptly burned it to the ground. Bacon's burning of Jamestown, however, was the turning point of Bacon's Rebellion. The burning of the capital shocked most Virginians and helped turn the tide of public opinion against Bacon.
Bacon's Rebellion, moreover, took a new direction. Bacon soon recruited a large number of slaves and servants who began to loot and vandalize the property of other Virginians, including, as discussed in the previous chapter, Colonel Edward Hill's. During their rampage, Bacon and his men seized what is now perhaps the oldest brick home in America and used it as a fortress for three months. (That home near Surry, Virginia, now called "Bacon's Castle," is open to the public.) The rebellion became increasingly unpopular. Suddenly, on October 26, Bacon died from what contemporary writers called the "Bloody Flux" and "Lousey Disease." Modern authors, however, suggest that Bacon died of either malaria or dysentery. Regardless of the illness that did Bacon in, without him the rebels all defected, surrendered or were captured by February 1677. While most of the rebels were pardoned, several were clapped in irons and twenty-three were hanged.
I spend a great deal of time on Bacon's Rebellion because Richard II, who lived in Charles City County and belonged to the colonial militia during that period, was almost certainly involved in that conflict. The same is also probably true of his father Richard I and, perhaps, his brothers. Regardless, all of the Bradfords heard the rumors of a potential Indian attack prior to that rebellion and were frightened accordingly. As a result, as residents of one of the colony's outlying areas, the Bradfords almost certainly shared Bacon's fear of Indian attack. Similarly, they must have shared Bacon's desire that their government either protect them or authorize them to protect themselves. It is equally possible that the Bradfords -- at least initially -- supported Bacon and that some of them may have marched into Jamestown with Bacon on that angry June day in 1676 when Bacon first demanded permission to meet the alleged Indian threat. Many of their neighbors did. In fact, so many Charles City County residents followed Bacon to Jamestown on that day that, in their absence, some Indians penetrated to the very heart of Charles City County.
It is similarly possible that a young Richard II, and/or one or more of his brothers, followed Bacon against Richard I's wishes. Regardless, as owners of a large plantation, the Bradfords parted ways with Bacon when he and his followers turned from attacking Indians to attacking fellow Virginians, particularly since Bacon and his men began to loot the larger plantations. Hence, it is most likely that the Bradfords initially supported, then later disapproved of, the rebellion. Indeed, that scenario is highly likely: some estimate that thousands of Virginians changed sides -- sometimes more than once -- during Bacon's Rebellion.
Unfortunately, we will never know what role the Bradfords played in America's first rebellion. We can be confident, however, that their hearts and minds were once occupied by that conflict of 1676 and 1677 -- a conflict, 100 years before the American Revolution, which put the English government on notice that the colonial settlers were an outspoken lot who were not afraid to take matters into their own hands. It was a taste of things to come in 1776.
Richard II probably never lived anywhere other than the family's Charles City County plantation, which he took control of upon his father's death. Coincidentally, Richard II, like his father, got married and fathered three sons. While the date of that marriage is not recorded, one author believes that it took place in about 1690. 113 The first name of Richard's wife was Anna and at least one source suggests that her last name was Parish. 114 Although I cannot verify that Anna Bradford's maiden name was Parish, that would make sense. I will explain.
A man named John Parish was headrighted 390 acres in the "Wyanoke Parish" section of Charles City County on November 20, 1682. Those 390 acres were described in that deed as "beginning in the forke of the Old Tree Run, to Richard Bradford, to Fishing Run." 115 Hence, the Parish family and the Bradford family were adjoining property owners. Now you know why it makes so much sense that Anna's last name was likely Parish: Richard II seems to have married the girl next door!
Another source, however, indicates that Richard II's wife was Anna (or Anne) Roles. Ms. Roles was allegedly born in London, Middlesex, England, in 1665. As is the case with the Parish possibility, however, I can neither confirm nor deny that Ms. Roles was Richard II's wife.116
Not to be outdone, one researcher has suggested no less than three additional possible surnames of Richard II's wife. The first of those is Major, since a John Major witnessed her will and, hence, may have been a close relative (the Major family lived in King and Queen County near the mouth of the Mattapony River). That possibility is intriguing, particularly since Richard Bradford (although I am unsure if it was Richard I or Richard II), owned land in that county by 1699. 117 Another possibility is Wynne, since a William Wynne appeared in several records relating to the Charles City County Bradfords. Finally, that researcher suggests that Anna's last name may have been Comboo, the same last name of a neighbor who once sold land in Charles City County to Richard Bradford. 118
Regardless of Anna Bradford's maiden name, her and Richard II's sons were named Richard Bradford (III), Thomas Bradford and Philemon Bradford. There may have been others. Each, like their parents, belonged to the Anglican Church and worked on the plantation. During Richard II's life, however, Charles City County became less of a frontier. Between 1682 and the century's end in 1699, that county's population doubled to 3,899. 119
Trade With London
Virginia remained an English colony throughout Richard II's life. Hence, much of the colonists' trade during that period was with England. No doubt, Richard II, like his father before him, shipped tobacco for sale in England after the ships, filled with new colonists, arrived every autumn with freshly-emptied holds waiting to be filled with hogsheads of tobacco. This tobacco was probably carried from the plantation to those ships by way of boat up the James River. The Bradfords, like most planters in that area, probably had a loading dock on their plantation on one of the many waterways leading to the James River. The James River, in turn, leads to the Chesapeake Bay which, in turn, empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Back then, even for local travel, the waterways were used as much as the roads. The Bradford family's loading dock was probably on Queen's Creek, a navigable tributary that bordered their property and fed directly into the James River.
In addition to selling their tobacco to buyers in London, the Bradfords purchased many of their wares and goods from merchants living in that distant city. There is proof to that effect. There is a record in the Will and Deed Book of Charles City County for 1692-1694 which states that "On 2 Feb. in 4th year of reign of William & Mary," a notary public of London named Porten Paul notarized a record for "Henry Dennis of London, Merchant" who had appointed Captain Christopher Morgan, "Master of the ship Perry and Lanyne now bound for James River in Virginia, his attorney, to receive of Richard Bradford, planter, in James River, all things owed" to Dennis. That record was recorded upon the oaths of two witnesses who testified on April 2, 1694, and February 3, 1696, respectively. 120 Notably, however, I am not sure if the Richard Bradford referred to in that record was Richard I or Richard II.
The ship mentioned in the above record, the Perry and Lane, was named after a London firm of that same name owned by Micajah Perry and Thomas Lane. From the late 1600's until well into the next century, Perry and Lane reportedly handled more of the Virginia tobacco business than any other. Indeed, Virginia planter William Byrd I conducted a great deal of business with Perry and Lane. Copies of Byrd's letters to that firm are included in The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds of Westover, Virginia, 1684-1776. Those letters show that Byrd was selling tobacco to that firm and, in return, receiving goods (such as hats, thread, linens, ironworks and nails). 121 Richard Bradford apparently conducted a similar trade with London merchants.
As an aside, Captain Christopher Morgan's ship, Perry and Lane, was among a fleet of ships carrying tobacco and other goods from Virginia that were damaged in a sea storm after docking in Margate Roads, England, in January 1709. While I am not sure whether the Bradfords had any goods aboard that ship at the time, Richard I's neighbor William Byrd II certainly did. As Byrd's diary entry of May 6, 1709, states:
In the afternoon Colonel Ludwell returned and brought us the bad news that Captain Morgan had lost his ship in Margate Roads by a storm as likewise had several others. My loss was very great in this ship where I had seven hogsheads of skins and 60 hogsheads of heavy tobacco. The Lord gives and the Lord has taken away.... However I ate a good supper of mutton and asparagus. Then we went to dance away our sorrows. 122
I wonder if the Bradfords similarly danced away their sorrows. In his May 21, 1709, diary entry, Byrd confirmed that the ship mentioned in the above record was indeed the Perry and Lane. On that day, Byrd wrote that he received a letter from Micajah Perry of London who, Byrd reported: "gave me the comfort that skins and 350 hogsheads of tobacco were saved out of the Perry and Lane and some tobacco out of the other ships that were lost in the storm that happened January last in England." 123 Finally, on May 20, 1709, Byrd wrote that he received a missive from England which told "the sad story of the misfortune of our fleet by the storm, but there are some hopes that the Perry and Lane is not lost as we had been informed, though she was in great danger." 124
Perhaps Byrd's dance of sorrow made the difference. Regardless, Virginia tobacco exporters like the Byrds and the Bradfords must have been relieved that many goods were saved from the storm, particularly since there was no insurance to cover shipping losses in those days (a need later filled by Lloyd's of London). Hopefully the Bradfords did not lose anything in the 1709 Margate Roads storm. Plainly, as the story of that storm illustrates, the family's fortunes were on the line each time that the family's goods, imported or exported, crossed the sometimes treacherous Atlantic Ocean.
The record of the Bradford family's trade with London also shows that the ties of the Bradfords and, indeed, the colony as a whole, to England were still strong at that time and, moreover, suggests that the Bradfords may have corresponded with the relatives and friends who Richard I left behind. If contact could be made to negotiate trade with merchants in London, letters to family and friends in Europe were likewise sent. I wonder what adventures and tales of the colony were passed on in that correspondence. Note, however, the time lags involved: Byrd did learn of a January storm until May. Hence, regardless of a message's urgency, one had to expect a four month lag between the time a letter was written and the date is was received across the ocean.
Another important aspect of the 1694 record of Richard Bradford's debt to the London merchant was that it described him as Richard Bradford planter. Hence, we know that, at least by that time, the Bradfords were involved in planting tobacco. That was an important transition for the family. While the move from a trade, such as that of joyner, to planting was a sign of financial success and greater social status, it cast the dye for generations to come. Thereafter the Bradfords derived their livelihood from the land for hundreds of years: first as planters, next as small farmers, finally, at least for some, as tenant farmers. Eventually, that line of work proved a dead-end for many in the Bradford family -- but I am getting 150 years ahead of myself.
The information that Richard was a planter also gives us insight into the daily lives of the Bradfords. Life on a colonial Virginia plantation was a busy one and anyone who wishes to get a flavor of that life can travel to Charles City County where some of the large plantations are still open to the public.
Richard I and/or Richard II were involved in some very high profile matters in the politics of the Virginia Colony in the early 1700s. Because records of those events generally only refer to "Richard Bradford" with no clarifying reference to either Senior or Junior, we can only speculate as to which of those ancestors were involved in any given event. As we discuss each of those events, however, I will share with you my best guess as to which Richard Bradford was involved. Since I will set forth the reasons for my conclusions, however, you are free to draw your own conclusions from the facts presented. Regardless of the result, one conclusion is unmistakable: the Bradfords were a potent political force in early Virginia.
The Taylor/Minge Dispute
The first of the records reflecting Bradford political involvement involves a stormy meeting of the Governor's Council in Williamsburg, the town where the colonial government's seat was moved to from Jamestown in the spring of 1699.
The meeting in question was the Governor's Council's first meeting of the winter term on February 23, 1700. It was at that time that a Richard Bradford sailed up the cold James River from Charles City County with neighbors and friends and threw his hat into the ring in regard to a brewing local dispute.
The local dispute that brought Richard to Williamsburg, like many local disputes today, turned ugly. Some background may be helpful. In 1698, Governor Francis Nicholson and the men on the Council were given a complaint by John Taylor (brother of Richard I's wife, Frances) which stated that, although Taylor had received a commission appointing him as the new clerk for the Charles City County court from the colonial secretary, incumbent clerk James Minge refused to vacate that position. The Charles City County justices, of which Richard Bradford was one, split on the issue of how to resolve the Minge/Taylor dispute. Thereafter, Minge filed charges in the provincial General Court against Taylor and Judge Charles Goodrich, who jointly responded that they "were very much scandalized by the said Minge."
Before Attorney-General Bartholemew Fowler could rule on what had now become the Minge/Taylor/Goodrich dispute, colonist John Wickett joined the fray and filed a petition requesting that Fowler prosecute Minge for taking illegal fees. Enter Richard Bradford, a justice of the peace for Charles City County (and obviously a supporter of his relative John Taylor), who appeared and complained that Minge was neglecting his office and that Taylor ought to be reinstated as county clerk of Charles City County. Fowler, facing a hornet's nest of controversy, suspended both Taylor and Minge until all of the pending matters related to their dispute were resolved. Fowler eventually acquitted Taylor and returned Taylor to his position as county clerk.
The Minge/Taylor/Goodrich/Wickett/Bradford dispute is recorded for posterity in the record of a February 23, 1698, Governor's Council meeting held in James City before Governor Francis Nicholson. The members of the Governor's Council present at that meeting were William Byrd, Edward Hill, Edmund Henings, John Lightfoot and Matthew Page. 125
Richard Bradford, however, was not alone in crossing swords with James Minge. Minge had other enemies. A long-time adversary of Edward Hill in the colonial House of Burgesses, Minge was a prominent member of the rebel forces during Bacon's Rebellion. One of the few things that protected Minge from execution or other punishment after that rebellion was that he and others begged forgiveness and countered that Colonel Edward Hill used the time after the rebellion to unlawfully arrest his enemies as "suspected rebels" as an excuse to settle old scores and steal their possessions. Thereafter, adding insult to injury, Hill allegedly extorted money from them to get him to use his influence with the governor to attain their freedom. That, however, was not the end of their complaints against Hill. They also accused Hill of other bad deeds, such as running an inn where he allegedly got his patrons drunk, charged them exorbitant prices and then had them arrested for failure to pay their debts. 126
Whatever the truth of the Hill/Minge post-rebellion accusations, Minge was pardoned for his role in Bacon's Rebellion. Thereafter, Minge returned to public service, only to run head-to-head with Richard Bradford and a host of others in 1700. For reasons that I will explain shortly, I believe that it was Richard II, not Richard I, who complained about the remiss Mr. Minge in 1700.
Loyalty Oaths to the King
The next highly public matter to include the Bradfords occurred in 1701-1702 and involved loyalty oaths to the King of England. Some background may be helpful.
Since Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded in 1587, her descendants who served as English monarchs were, by law, Protestant. On February 6, 1685, however, James II took the throne of England as a Catholic. The Protestant church leaders and politicians of England disapproved of that and, accordingly, offered the throne to William of Orange and his wife Mary, the oldest daughter of James II. We know that couple as "William and Mary." In return for the promise of the throne, William agreed to leave Holland and invade England. 127
While William and his forces marched to London as requested, King James's forces disintegrated in the face of tremendous popular support for William and Mary. On Christmas Day, 1688, James II fled to France with his wife and son. Thereafter, James's daughter and her husband were crowned King William III and Queen Mary II of England. William and Mary College in Williamsburg, created during their reign, was named after them.
William and Mary's authority to rule England remained unchallenged until September 5, 1701, when exiled King James II died and King Louis XIV of France promptly -- and in complete disregard of his treaty with England -- declared James II's son, James Francis Edward, to be the King of England. King William III's loyal subjects rushed to reassure him of their loyalty (Queen Mary had died in 1694).
Among the loyalty oaths sent to England in the wake of King Louis XIV's proclamation were two from Charles City County: one signed by the county's militia officers, and one signed by the county's justices of the peace, sheriff and members of the Grand Jury. Both of those oaths read as follows:
Wee Your Majesties most Dutyfull subjects, being highly sensible of the great and manifold Blessings wee enjoy under Your Majesties most happy and glorious Reign, & having lately been informed of the French King's unjust, and unparaleled breach of Faith by Proclaiming the pretended Prince of Wales, King of great Brittain, & the Territorys thereunto belonging, do beg leave upon this Occasion to renew our assurance of Fidelity, to Your Majesties sacred Person & Government, & that wee will & shall at all times, (to the utmost of our Powers) defend & maintain Your Majesties Rightfull & Lawfull Titles, to all your Realms, more especially these, to which wee belong.
The Charles City County loyalty oaths were sent to the Council of Trade and Plantations in England by Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Francis Nicholson. Since then, those petitions have remained in the Public Record Office in London, where they remain available for public inspection. In addition, an excellent book by Elizabeth Lawrence-Dow, lengthily entitled Autographs of 65 Gentlemen Justices, Militia Officers and Members of the Grand Jury for Charles City/Prince George and Surry Counties Who Signed an Oath of Loyalty to Protestant King William III of England in March 1701/02, includes copies of those oaths. That book also discusses historical information about the signatories from Charles City County. Specifically, that book includes Charles City Countians Richard Bradford (both I and II), John Baxter, William Byrd, John Cocke, James Gunn, Robert Harwood, John Hunt, Daniel Llewellin, Micajah Lowe, Robert New, John Wickett and Thomas Woodham. Also included in Ms. Lawrence-Dow's book is a discussion of the signatories from Prince George County, a group that includes John Taylor, the brother of Richard I's wife, Frances Taylor Bradford. Taylor, incidentally, was the man who had recently wrestled with James Minge for the Charles City County clerk's position.
Author Elizabeth Lawrence-Dow states in her book that Richard I signed one of the oaths as a justice of the peace and that Richard II signed the other as a captain of the militia. 128 For reasons that I will discuss shortly, however, I am not quite so sure. I think those oaths were both signed by the same person -- Richard II.
The 1710 Tax Petition
The next highly public appearance by one of the Bradfords involved a complaint over taxes. On August 25, 1702, Virginia's General Assembly passed an act which divided Charles City County into two parts as of April 23, 1703. After that date, the portion of the county north of the James River (where the Bradfords lived) retained the name Charles City County, while the portion of the county south of the James River became Prince George County.
As a result of the county's partitioning in 1703, Charles City County lost two-thirds of its area and the number of "tithables" (taxable persons) therein dropped from 1,327 to a low of 553 by 1710.
Charles City County's shrinking population and tax base caused those who still resided in the county to pay much higher taxes. Hence, in 1710 several of the county's residents, including both Richard I and Richard II, went to Williamsburg, petition in hand, to protest the increase in their tax burden. As a remedy, those petitioners requested that part of adjoining James City County be added to Charles City County to increase the number of tithables sharing the cost of running Charles City County.
The tax petition of 1710 was signed by Richard I, Richard II and thirty-three of their Charles City County neighbors. That petition, addressed to the colony's Lieutenant Governor, Governor's Council and House of Burgesses, stated (in full Shakespearean glory):
The Inhabitants of the Said County Humbly shew,
That this County of Charles Citty by being lately Divided into two Countys And that part which is now Charles Citty County being but one third part of what it was before it was Divided is Reduced into soe small a Quantitie of Tithables that the taxes are soe great that the poor Inhabitants of the Said County are not able to Subsist which Causeth many to Remove out the Said County into other Countys where there are more Tithables to bare the burthen, p'pole which they finde is a great Ease to them which causeth many to Remove dayley: and the Said County being bounded on every Side with the Several Countys adjacent Countys to add to this And forasmuch as that part of James Citty County which lieth above the Chickahomony River & bounds on the Lower Side of this County being soe very convenient to this County of Charles Citty and soe very inconvenient to James Citty County to the great grief of the people there Inhabiting and &c: The Inhabitants of Charles Citty County therefore Humbly praye that Your Hon'rs and the Worshipfull the Burgessess of this present Gen'll Assembly Will be pleas'd to take the Same into your Serious Consideration and agree that a law maye be made for the ading and Joyning of that part of Jamess Citty County which lieth above Chickahomony River as affore Said unto Charles Citty County and that the Said River maye be for the future the bounds Dividing James Citty and Charles Citty County which will be very much to the Sattisfaction of the Inhabitants of that part of James Citty County and to also the Inhabitants in Gen'll of Charles Citty County and a greate ease to both: &c:
And they in duty bound shall ever praye. 129
The Burgesses, who eventually agreed with the petitioners, redrew the county lines in 1720. Of course, that was not until after the Bradfords had belonged to a greatly reduced taxpaying population in the county for the seventeen years following the county's original split in 1703.
Now we must determine whether it was Richard Bradford I or his son Richard Bradford II who participated in the various political and historical events just outlined.
First I will discuss the easy one: the 1710 tax petition. It is obvious that both Richard I and Richard II signed that document since its signers included "Rich'd Bradford" and "Rich'd Bradford Jun'r." Richard Bradford Senior (Richard I), moreover, was the first person to sign that petition and his prominent signature at the top of that document suggests that he may have been the drafter and/or driving force behind it. Notably, the two Richard Bradfords who signed that petition must have been Richard I and Richard II (not Richard II and Richard III). I say that because the petition's "Rich'd Bradford Jun'r" signature is very different from the signature of Richard Bradford III that appears on later Charles City County records. Specifically, Richard III's signature appears on the 1724 county record of the administration of Richard II's estate. That signature by Richard III looks very different from either of the Richard Bradford signatures on the 1710 tax petition.
The 1701/02 loyalty oaths are a little trickier. As noted earlier, one author believes that Richard Bradford I signed one of those oaths (as justice of the peace) and that Richard II signed the other (as an officer of the militia). With all due respect, however, I must disagree. Those two signatures look virtually identical. Hence, I believe that they were signed by the same Richard Bradford.
Having determined that only one Richard Bradford signed the two loyalty oaths, however, we must determine which Richard Bradford signed those oaths to the King. While it is unclear, I believe that it was Richard II who signed those documents. I base that conclusion on several grounds: (1) when the signatures on the loyalty oaths are compared to the signatures on the 1710 tax petition, it is obvious that the signatures on the loyalty oaths more closely resemble Richard II's than they do Richard I's; (2) Richard I was probably in his seventies (or eighties) which suggests that perhaps the younger, and presumably more vigorous Richard II was more likely to take the lead in local public duties; and (3) various documents identify Richard II as "Captain" Richard Bradford, hence clearly identifying Richard II as the signer of the militia officers' loyalty oath. Therefore, if both loyalty oaths were signed by the same Richard Bradford, that person must have been Richard Bradford II. I could, however, be wrong. Richard I, a local large landowner who was still alive in 1701 and 1702 could have signed one or both of those oaths.
The Richard Bradford who signed the loyalty oaths is the same man who complained about James Minge in 1700 since, in both instances, the signer was the Richard Bradford who was appointed justice of the peace for Charles City County in 1699. For that reason, I think that it was Richard II who sailed down to Williamsburg on a cold February day in 1700 to complain to the colonial government about James Minge's neglect of office.
While it would be nice to know for sure which Richard Bradford gained such notoriety through his involvement in colonial politics at the turn of the century, the important thing to their descendants is the knowledge that, regardless, the Bradford family was very much a part of colonial Virginia society in our country's earliest days.
As shown above, Richard Bradford I and/or Richard Bradford II became politically active and powerful in Charles City County. Richard Bradford (I will soon explain which Richard) was listed as a justice of the peace for Charles City County in 1699, 1702 and 1714. 130 In addition, Richard Bradford (again, I will shortly show which one) was appointed the Charles City County sheriff by the colony's governor in 1705, 1706, 1710 and 1716. 131 In colonial Virginia, where the colony's government was largely handled at the county level, those were powerful positions in the community and one could only be appointed to them by the governor himself. Hence, the Bradfords had sufficient clout that one of them was repeatedly placed in those positions by the colony's most powerful person: the colonial governor who the King of England had appointed to rule the colony on his behalf. Notably, the years listed above (1699, 1702, 1705, 1706, 1710, 1714 and 1716) are miscellaneous years in which Richard Bradford was either appointed to a public position or listed as serving in one. Since the positions of sheriff and justice of the peace lasted for several years each, it is clear that for most or all of the period of 1699 through approximately 1720, there was a Richard Bradford serving as a top local official in Charles City County, Virginia. Before exploring the question of which Richard Bradford that was, however, I will first discuss the responsibilities of the positions of colonial sheriff and justice of the peace.
Justice of the Peace
As a justice of the peace, Richard Bradford appeared at the county's courtroom on appointed "court days" to transact the county's business. The justices of the peace sat as judges, made local law, oversaw roads, bridges, ferries and taverns. They also directed the county's other officers. As a judge, Richard ruled on civil lawsuits (which included the recovery of debts, character defamation actions, fights, etc.), criminal matters (such as claims of fraud, theft, assault, etc.) and, surprisingly often, moral offenses (with fornication, adultery and the begetting of an illegitimate child the most common). In addition, the justices of the peace in Richard's day took depositions, issued warrants and disposed of the county's disputes. 132
As a side note, and to give the reader a flavor of that time, I will describe the type of laws that Richard and the other members of the colonial county court were required to enforce. For example, a woman found guilty of giving birth to a child out of wedlock, pursuant to a statute passed in Virginia in 1723, had to pay the local church a fine of either 500 pounds of tobacco or fifty shilling. If she refused, she received "on her bare back at the Publick Whipping Post Twenty Five Lashes well laid on." Similarly, any convict who was imported into the colony and who committed any crime in the colony was to be "ordered by a Justice of the Peace to be whipped naked." Any convict or servant who used or created a counterfeit pass in an attempt to leave the colony was to stand at the pillory "for the Space of two houres and receive thirty Lashes well laid on at the Common Whipping Post." 133 Crime, it would appear, did not pay in colonial Virginia.
By the way, Richard Bradford's service as a justice of the peace in colonial Virginia qualifies his female descendants to become members of The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Although, to my knowledge, none of the descendants have done so, they can consider this an invitation to do so. 134 Indeed, based on the information set forth in this book, Richard I's descendants can gain entry into a host of similar organizations.
As a sheriff, on the other hand, Richard was responsible for policing the county, collecting taxes and overseeing the elections of the local representatives to the House of Burgesses (the colony's elected body of representatives who worked in tandem with the Governor's Council to run the colony).
As both sheriff and justice of the peace, Richard, by statute, was paid a certain amount, in either tobacco or shillings, for each act he performed in his professional capacity. For example, as a result of a statute passed in 1723, the sheriff was paid for carrying out the punishments ordered by the colonial court. That statute provides a fascinating look into colonial America. For example, the sheriff received twenty pounds of tobacco for "ducking any person" (a punishment in which the guilty person was tied in a chair at the end of a long wooden lever and then plunged into water). Similarly, the sheriff was paid ten pounds of tobacco for placing an offender "into the stocks" (a wooden framework with holes that secured the offender's feet and, sometimes, hands). Finally, the sheriff was paid twenty pounds of tobacco for "pillorying" any person. A "pillory" was a wooden contraption, similar to the stocks except that it secured the head and hands of the convicted person, rather than their feet. 135 I am not sure, however, if those were the going rates when Richard Bradford was sheriff.
One of the colonial sheriff's most important duties was to oversee the county's elections of representatives to the Virginia House of Burgesses. Those elections, by the way, were unlike none you would see today. Author Daniel J. Boorstin describes those colonial county elections in his book The Americans: The Colonial Experience. 136
Boorstin's book describes the scene on election day as follows: the voters came in to the voting place, where the candidates, sheriff and clerks sat at a table. The voters came to the table one at a time to announce their vote aloud and have it publicly recorded and tallied. As a result, candidates who were in danger of losing still had time to send out supporters to round up more votes. Men openly bet on the outcome of the elections and the odds continued to change as results were announced. The candidates' supporters would sometimes hoot or cheer as individual votes were announced, depending on who received the vote. A vote, moreover, was something that the candidate was expected to acknowledge and show gratitude for. It was, therefore, protocol for a candidate to rise, bow, and thank each person who voted for him. According to Boorstin, the process of thanking people was considered so important that candidates who could not be present at the polling place were expected to have a friend stand in for them to pass on the candidate's thanks (George Washington, for example, had an influential friend stand in for him at the polls in 1758 when his militia duties kept him away). Richard must have loved overseeing those elections.
The events leading up the colonial elections were similarly fascinating. It was politically incorrect for a candidate to openly solicit votes or even vote for himself. A candidate, however, was expected to indirectly persuade voters by "treating them to large quantities of rum punch, ginger cakes and barbecued beef or pork." As Boorstin explains, such largesse was not bribery but merely showed voters that the candidate possessed the requisite liberality and substance to adequately represent them. Although the law prohibited a candidate from bribing voters with "money, meat, drinks" or other inducements, "a general reputation for hospitality" was considered the best defense against any suspicion of bribery at election time. 137 I think that I now know where the phrase "pork barrel" politics came from.
Once again, it may have been either Richard I or Richard II who served in the positions of sheriff and justice of the peace. Nevertheless, I believe it was Richard II who received those political appointments. I say that because Richard II, a Captain of the colonial militia, was obviously a community leader. It is conceivable, however, that the appointed political positions before 1710 were held by Richard I and that the latter ones were held by his son Richard II. Regardless, at least one of them wielded great power in Charles City County during the early 1700s.
The Stokes Complaint
Richard II apparently stepped on some toes in carrying out his duties as sheriff and justice of the peace. While I have found only one such complaint, that one complaint is quite intriguing. That complaint, lodged by Sylvanus Stokes "the elder" was lodged with the Governor's Council at a meeting held "at her Majesty's Royal College of William & Mary, June 17th 1703." As that record states:
The petition of Silvanus Stokes the elder of the County of Charles City complaining of great abuses offered him by Capt. Richd Bradford of the sd. County, particularly by breaking open the door of his house and going into bed to his wife. Referred to the Hon'ble Collo. Wm. Byrd and Mr. Benja. Harrison, her Majesty's Council at Law to inquire into the matter of the said Complt. and if they find justification, that Mr. Harrison to prosecute the sd. Bradford hereupon. 138
I wish I knew more about that dispute. That case, however, disappeared without a trace. Hence, I surmise that Benjamin Harrison and Colonel William Byrd found Stokes's complaint meritless since Richard was not prosecuted for any wrongdoing and there was no further record of that dispute. Richard's reputation was, moreover, apparently unsullied by the Stokes complaint. Indeed, Richard continued to serve as justice of the peace and eventually became sheriff. In addition, Richard's reputation with both Byrd and Harrison, the two colonial leaders who were asked to investigate him, apparently remained untainted. Richard II and his family continued to have business, personal and political involvement with both Byrd and Harrison after that date. I am less sure, however, that he ever reconciled with Sylvanus Stokes the elder.
By the time of Richard II's death in 1724, the land in Bradford hands grew beyond the 1,197 acres Richard I acquired soon after he arrived in the colony. For example, in 1702 Richard I acquired an additional 200 acres by escheat from John Robinson "by inquisition" under John Lightfoot, Esquire. 139 Hence, when a rent roll of the Charles City County was made in 1704 (the county's earliest surviving rent roll), Richard Bradford was listed as owning 1,397 acres in the county -- over two square miles of land. Those holdings made him one of the county's largest landowners. Indeed, of the ninety-four landowners listed on the 1704 Charles City County rent roll, only seven had more acreage in Charles City County than Richard: Louis Burwell, who owned the Carter's Grove Plantation (with 8,000 acres); Benjamin Harrison, owner of Berkeley Plantation (6,350 acres); William Hunt (3,130 acres); Edward Hill, owner of the Shirley Plantation (2,100 acres); Thomas Tanner (2,000 acres); Thomas Parker (1,667 acres); and John Hunt (1,500 acres). 140
The Bradford family also owned land outside of Charles City County. For example, Richard owned land in nearby King and Queen County (named after William and Mary). Hence, there is a record from that county dated June 6, 1699, which indicates that John Carleton of that county was headrighted land in that county "next to Richard Bradford's." 141
Richard II also acquired a sizable estate in Surry County, Virginia (across the James River from Charles City County) prior to his death. Indeed, one of the expenses noted in the record of the administration of his estate was a payment to three appraisers of Richard II's Surry County estate. The actual size of that estate, however, is unknown. A burned county, Surry County's records were destroyed in the Civil War.
William Byrd II
A final record of interest comes from one of the diaries of William Byrd II. The surviving portions of those diaries, originally transcribed in secret code by Byrd, have been translated and published. Byrd's diaries are famous because they are one of the only contemporary records of their type. Historians who study his diaries consider them an invaluable window into colonial Virginia society. Byrd is also known for writing both the Secret History of the Line and History of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and North Carolina, Run in the Year of Our Lord 1728, both of which are based upon the diaries he kept while on an expedition to map the boundary between those two bordering states.
The Byrd family was one of the most powerful ones in all of Virginia. That family got their start in Virginia when merchant Thomas Stegge Jr. (discussed in the previous chapter), invited his eighteen-year old nephew, William Byrd I, a London goldsmith, to join the business that Stegge had established at the falls of the James River, the future site of Richmond. Upon Stegge's death in 1671, he left a great deal of land to Byrd. In 1688, Byrd bought 1,200 acres in "West Hundred" in Charles City County which he later named "Westover." 142
When William Byrd I died in 1704, his son William Byrd II acquired his extensive land holdings. Thereafter, William II laid out the cities of Petersburg and Richmond and, like his father, rose to a position on the Governor's Council (it was his father that the Bradfords addressed in regard to the Sylvanus Stokes complaint and the Taylor/Minge dispute).
William Byrd II was still serving on the Governor's Council when Captain Richard Bradford came to his home to visit him on March 5, 1712. As Byrd's diary states, he was visited that evening by Frank Lightfoot, Tom Randolph, Captain Hunt and Captain Bradford who visited and shared some roast beef with him. That diary entry, in its entirety, said:
I rose about 7 o'clock but read nothing. However I said my prayers and danced my dance before I went out of my chamber, I drank chocolate for breakfast. We were very merry again this morning but poor Colonel Hill had the headache very much. Nothing happened very remarkable. Colonel Eppes came about 11 o'clock from the [illegible] and let me know there was some difficulty in persuading the people to range by turns as they had promised. About one o'clock we went to dinner and I ate some boiled beef for dinner. We took a walk to the ship and about 3 o'clock took leave of the company and went home in the coach but our horses balked at all of the hills on the way and my wife was out of humor because we came away. We got home about 5 o'clock and found all pretty well, thank God. Captain Hunt had been there and left some spice and some fruit for a present. Frank Lightfoot, Tom Randolph, and Captain Hunt came to visit me and stayed and ate some roast beef and Captain Bradford came with them. The two first tarried all night. I neglected to say my prayers but had good health, good thoughts and good humor, thank God Almighty. 143
William Byrd III inherited his family's vast holdings upon William Byrd II's death in 1744. William Byrd II, like William Byrd I, was buried in the graveyard at the old Westover Parish church. A gambler and a big spender, however, William Byrd III lost the family fortune before committing suicide on New Year's Day 1777.
Although the Byrds, like the Bradfords, long ago left Charles City County, William Byrd II built a mansion at Westover which still stands today, long after its construction in 1730. The three portions of the diaries of William Byrd II that have come to light span only a few years: February 6, 1709, through September 29, 1712 (a portion of the diaries that was found in the Huntington Library in 1939 and published two years later); December 13, 1717, through May 19, 1721, a period Byrd spent largely in London (that diary, published in 1958, was found in the Virginia Historical Society's Library); and August 10, 1739, through August 31, 1741 (which was published in 1942 after it was found in the University of North Carolina Library). Hence, it is possible that he had even greater contact with the Bradford family -- particularly with community leader Richard Bradford II. Perhaps someday the remainder of Byrd's diaries will surface publicly and we will know for sure.
I cannot too highly recommend a reading of Byrd's diaries. They are witty, interesting and, occasionally, racy. One thing is for sure: Byrd meant for his diaries to remain secret. Nevertheless, the cat is now out of the bag. Those who are interested can find the following in or through most good reference libraries: The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, 1709-1712 (which mentions Captain Bradford); The London Diary, 1717-1721, and other Writings (which also includes Byrd's History of the Dividing Line, his A Journey to the Land of Eden and, finally, A Progress to the Mines); Another Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover, 1739-1741: With Letters and Literary Exercises, 1696-1726; and The Correspondence of the Three William Byrds of Westover, Virginia, 1684-1776 (discussed earlier). 144
Byrd's diaries reveal that his daily life ran the gamut from frequent sparring matches with his wife (e.g., "My wife and I quarreled about her pulling her [eye]brows. She threatened she would not to [the Governor's Ball in] Williamsburg if she might not pull them; I refused, however, and got the better of her and maintained my authority...."), to typical British understatement (e.g., "I went to the capitol and in the court the Secretary was struck with a fit of apoplexy and died immediately and fell upon me. This made a great consternation."), to humorous if not earth-shattering commentaries on both historical and everyday matters (e.g., the day after Byrd fought with his wife over the eyebrow incident, Byrd, after being "shaved with a very dull razor," attended the Governor's Ball at which "the President [of the Governor's Council] had the worst clothes of anybody there.")
Before moving on, I must share my favorite Byrd writing. That writing, a letter to an unworthy (in Byrd's mind) suitor who Byrd called "Erranti" (no doubt a facetious reference to that supposed "knight errant") who was winning the heart of Byrd's sixteen year old daughter Evelyn. That biting but eloquent letter reads as follows:
I am informed upon very good evidence that you have for some time taken the trouble to follow Amasia [disguised name for Evelyn] with your addresses; that now at last you have played the wise part of a knight errant and pursued her into the country with a pompous equipage that does her and your self much honor. What success these worthy steps have met in the girl, I know not; but they shall never meet with any in the father. I fear your circumstances are not flourishing enough to maintain a wife in such splendor that has nothing, and just such a fortune as that my daughter will prove if she venture to marry without my consent. You are deluded if you believe any part of my estate is settled upon her, or that she has anything independent of my pleasure. I confess you have not deserved it from me but I will however stand your friend so far as to assure you beforehand that her portion will be extremely small if she bestows herself upon so clandestine a lover. I have made my will since I heard of your good intention towards me, and have bequeathed my daughter a splendid shilling if she marries any man that tempts her into disobedience..." 145
Little wonder that Byrd's daughter Evelyn never married. Evelyn, however, has not been forgotten. Charles City County's 2,500 acre still-functioning Evelynton Plantation was named after her.
Richard II was undoubtedly involved with William Byrd II through the militia, particularly since Byrd, who was began as a colonel in the militia, was appointed commander of the Charles City/Henrico County regiment in April, 1710. Hence, Richard II, a Captain of that regiment at the time, served directly under Byrd.
Since Richard Bradford II (and any other Charles City County Bradfords in the militia, including one held at the time) served under Byrd, he attended the annual "musters" of the Charles City County militia, including one held in September, 1710. The "muster" was when the county's troops came together to be trained and reviewed. Mustering was also a time for recruiting new troops. Generally, the colony's governor reviewed the troops at least once during the annual muster. On that day, the troops wore their full military regalia and put on the best show possible. During the September 1710 muster, Richard II probably held his musket (with his musket balls and gunpowder nearby, of course), wore a sword in his scabbard, may have kept a pistol in his belt and wore whatever body armor (and chain mail) he owned while the governor, during what Byrd's diary describes as a driving rain, reviewed him and the rest of the Charles City County militia. Richard, along with the rest of the officers, was probably on horseback while the other soldiers stood in formation. Soaked to the bone, Richard probably never forgot the 1710 muster in the rain.
While it is not clear what else happened during a muster, Byrd recorded in his diary that, during the next year's muster, the men competed for prizes in games meant to sharpen their military skills. There was a footrace (with the winner getting a pistol), then the men "played at cudgels" (a "cudgel" was a short thick wooden club, although your guess is as good as mine as to how they "played at" them, regardless, the winner received a sword). Finally, Byrd records that there was a wrestling competition and that the winner won a musket. Alas, according to Byrd, Richard II did not win any of those awards. As a senior officer, however, Richard probably did not join in those events. Nevertheless, and with unabashed and unbridled family pride, I suggest that Richard II, that loyal defender of the colony, could have won all three if he had so desired.
Seriously, however, there were some tense moments during the time that Richard II served in the militia under regiment leader Byrd. On August 15, 1711, for example, Byrd recorded that he received a message from the colony's governor that the colony was in danger from approaching enemy warships, fourteen French men-of-wars to be exact, and that Byrd and his men should prepare for immediate action. The word went out to Captain Richard Bradford and the rest of Byrd's men.
Approximately a week later, on the morning of August 23, after what were probably several anxious days at the Bradford plantation, Richard and all of the other officers in his regiment (except two who had the fever) met at Byrd's house where they "discoursed of several matters relating to the militia" including a discussion in which they agreed where they would place beacons (large bonfires to highlight the approaching ships) along the James River. Richard and the men dined with Byrd who, incidentally, ate pigeon. Later that day, Byrd was informed by a messenger from the governor that "two French men-of-war and several privateers" had all but arrived and that Byrd should send twenty-five gunners from each county to man the battery at Jamestown. The colony's annihilation seemed to be at hand.
After Byrd sent out the order to man the battery at Jamestown, he reported that his wife was frightened "and would hardly go to bed, but was persuaded at last" while Byrd himself "could not sleep for thinking of our condition." I would wager that the story was much the same at the Bradford home that night.
A letter to Byrd on August 26 warned that fifteen French men-of-wars were "within the Cape" and that other ships had landed thousands of men on the colony's eastern shore. That correspondence no doubt caused extreme alarm in Charles City County. The governor's next transmission warned that seven ships were coming up the James River.
No doubt panicked by the impending confrontation, the entire county militia, including Richard II and any of his sons and nephews in the county militia, were marched to the lower part of the county. With the whole colony on the alert, the men marched to Williamsburg while beacons along the river lit up the night. Anticlimactically, the approaching ships proved to be English. On August 28 the alarm was ended and everyone returned home. 146
The episode of the non-invasion of August 1711 gives us a little further insight into life in Richard II's day. First, it illustrates the early Virginia colonists' constant fear of an attack by the French. At least one author describes that fear as "obsessive" and added that those fears lasted until the fall of French Canada and the Treaty of Paris. It is important to remember that in 1711 America was not America as we now know it: it was a land that was claimed, at least in part, by the European powers of England, France and Spain, not to mention the lands estimated two million native Americans inhabitants. America was "home" to a lot of competing forces.
The 1711 false alarm also highlights the limitations in Richard's day. With no radar or high-powered telescopes, the colonists could not tell who was coming when they first spotted sails on the horizon. With their motherland thousands of miles and months away, the colonists were on their own and had to take care of themselves. With no radio, television or newspapers, they often had to rely on word of mouth for local and foreign news. One can only wonder how often rumors of impending doom from enemies, real or imagined, rocked the colonists in those early days.
Finally, the scare of 1711 reminds us that, though long dead, Richard II and his contemporaries were once very much alive. They laughed, wept, dreamed and fell in love. Like the Byrds, they had nights in which they worried until dawn. Nevertheless, with the same spirit that brought Richard I bravely across the ocean, they awoke to meet the challenges and promises of each new day. Just like the rest of us.
In addition to the fear of the French and the Indians, the colonists in Richard II's day also contended with pirates. The problem became so bad that in late 1718 the colony passed a statute "to encourage the Apprehending or destroying of Pirates."
That statute, passed in 1718, described the offending pirates as hailing from North Carolina, "more especially," that act explains, it was aimed at the pirate crew commanded by "Edward Tach, commonly called Capt. Tach, alias black beard" who "seemed resolved to continue" on his "Piratical Course." Finding it "absolutely Necessary" to "break that knot of Robbers and all other such Notorious Offenders," that law established rewards for their capture. For example, the killer of Edward Teach, alias "Blackbeard the Pirate," was to receive one hundred pounds. All other commanders pirate warranted a reward of twenty pounds, inferior officers merited fifteen pounds, while "every Pirate man, taken or killed on land or on board" would net the vigilante ten pounds. 147
While I strongly doubt that Richard or his family collected any bounty in connection with the end of that notorious pirate's reign of terror (Blackbeard was killed by a Virginia expedition later that year), they were certainly among the colonists who worried if the goods and supplies they periodically expected from England were going to make it safely past Blackbeard the Pirate and the other high seas offenders on the "Piratical Course."
Sea Captain Bradford?
One author has suggested that, in 1700, Richard II was master of the ship Francis, a vessel presumably named after Richard II's mother, Frances Taylor Bradford. That author describes the Francis as a twenty ton sloop which was reportedly built in Maryland in 1695. A "sloop" is a type of single-masted sailing vessel. While I cannot substantiate that legend, there was some sailing background in the family's history. Richard II's great-grandfather William Barker, for example, was captain of the ships America and Ye Merchants Hope.
That same author goes on to speculate that Richard II was either a trader or, possibly, a tobacco exporter. That author suggests two facts to support the conclusion that Richard II was a merchant: (1) the large number of neighbors who had accounts with him at his death according to the 1724 administrator's report of his estate (admittedly, that record does indicate a large number of outstanding accounts); and (2) one of Richard II's sons, Richard III, reportedly became a merchant in Carolina County, Virginia and Granville County, North Carolina. Again, I can neither confirm or dispel that writer's conclusions. 148
Regardless of Richard II's profession: planter, merchant, joyner (like his father), ship's captain -- or some combination thereof -- the size of his estate at his death indicates that he was financially comfortable and had the time and stature in the community to be active in both local politics and the colonial militia.
Richard and Anna Pass On
Richard II died in early to mid-1724. His son Richard III was the administrator of his estate. While the value of that estate is not recorded, Richard III recorded expenses of 270.13.1 pounds sterling in the accounting of the administrator's expenses that he recorded in a document dated June 16, 1724, which was filed in the Charles City County Order Book on August 3, 1725. Included in that amount was a payment of six pounds sterling for Richard II's funeral and sermon. 149
Richard II's wife, Anna Bradford, died at about the same time he did. On July 23, 1724, Richard III was also appointed the administrator of her estate. 150 Their graves, like those of Richard I and his wife Frances, have not yet been located. Most likely, all of the Bradfords who died in Charles City County are buried near each other in one of the Charles City County locations discussed at the end of the last chapter.
The close proximity of the deaths of Richard Bradford II and his wife Anna suggests that, perhaps, like many couples in their day, they died of the same contagious illness. In both cases, there is no recorded will, so it is impossible to know the exact extent of the estate they left behind. It is safe, however, to assume that it was relatively large, based on a review of the administrator's statements filed in the Charles City County court by Richard Bradford III.
In conclusion, Richard II, like his father, was active in the affairs of colonial Virginia, served for years in the militia, and had dealings with some of the most influential families in early America. Like his father, he ruled over a large plantation in Charles City County and lived to a ripe old age. Whereas his father was an immigrant and pioneer, however, Richard II was a military and political leader.
During Richard II's life, many things happened. The English throne changed hand several times (Charles II's reign ended in 1685, James II's ended in 1688, William III's ended with his death in 1702, and Queen Anne's ended with her death in 1714, when she was succeeded by George I). Several new colonies were started, including South Carolina in 1669, North Carolina in 1693 and Delaware in 1703. There were some modest changes in technology: the first minute hands began to appear on watches in 1670, London began to light its streets in 1684 and, in 1721, the first rifles began to appear in the colonies, replacing the old musket and ball. England, moreover, merged with Scotland to form Great Britain in 1707. Virginia, however, remained a colony of that distant power throughout Richard's life. Richard II, an immigrant's son, died 150 years before America declared its independence from Great Britain.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
-- Theodore Roosevelt
Portion of U.S. Geological Survey Map (7.5 minute series, Charles City County quadrangle, each mile is 5 ¼ inches long) in the direct locale of the Bradford plantation. The dark east-west line is the John Tyler Highway. Greenway (on left) was President Tyler's birthplace. The courthouse is located where it says Charles City. The manor house on Belle Air Plantation is indicated and important waterways are highlighted.
III. Philemon and Mary
Philemon Bradford, named after a biblical character, was the youngest of Richard Bradford II's three sons. Born in Virginia, that third generation colonist eventually moved to the young and growing colony of North Carolina, the home of Philemon's family and descendants for at least the next hundred years. Philemon, like his father and grandfather, lived and died a royal subject. Philemon died six years before the American Revolution began.
Breakup of the Bradford Plantation
Shortly after Richard II died in 1724, his sons sold their portions of the 1,197 acre Bradford plantation in Charles City County and moved on. Philemon, for example, sold 100 of those acres to Captain Samuel Harwood of Weyanoke on June 2, 1725. 151 Later, on May 28, 1726, Philemon sold (for thirty pounds) and deeded to a planter named James Bell of Prince George County, the final 370 of the 470 acres of land "bequeathed to him by will" adjoining the 100 acres he had previously sold to Harwood "being part of a greater tract purchased from Howell Pryse by Richard Bradford, dec'd, grandfather of said Philemon." That land, which Philemon sold "with all houses" thereon, was described as being bounded by Queens Creek, Old Tree Run and Fishing Run. 152
Similarly, Philemon's brother Thomas sold off his portion of the family's estate. As a Charles City County record dated December 3, 1728, states, Thomas Bradford "of Westover Parish, Charles City County" deeded to William Riddlehurst of that same county for fifty pounds "the land with houses where said Bradford lives, which was given to him by his father Capt. Richard Bradford by his will, 200 acres." That land is described as being "bounded by line between Thomas Bradford and Philemon Bradford.153
Finally, Philemon's oldest brother, Richard III, who is described in the deed as being "of Westover Parish, Charles City County" deeded to Benjamin Harrison, who is described as living in that same county, for 200 pounds, "all land where said Bradford now lives, in Westover Parish, 200 acres; bounded by land formerly belonging to Richard Bradford (father of said Richard) and Fishing Run." That deed is dated October 23, 1729. Harrison, thereafter, sold that land to Richard Lightfoot, Esq., for 500 pounds on June 12, 1730.154 In addition, Richard sold Harrison another 100 acre tract, also in Charles City County, bounded by William Parrish, that "said Bradford purchased of Richard Combo" by deed dated February 3, 1724 (Richard III originally bought that tract for five shillings). 155 That record also records that Richard's wife, Rachel, relinquished her dower rights to that land.
Combined, the sale of the above portions of the family's 1,197 acre plantation equal 870 acres. I am not sure what happened to the plantation's other 327 acres. Perhaps five acres of it were the five acres which were included in the estate of George Hunt of Charles City County and on September 1, 1726, were described as having been purchased from "Captain Rich'd Bradford (dec'd)." That five acre lot was further described as having a grist and corn mill located on it.156 That mill may have been on the land when Richard II originally sold it. If so, we can assume that the family milled their own grain. Regardless, that leaves at least 320 acres unaccounted for. Perhaps the acreage I cannot account for was given to some other son or daughter of Richard II that history has forgotten, was sold prior to Richard II's death or, perhaps, was kept for a while as a smaller plantation by Philemon or one of his brothers. We may never know.
Regardless of exactly how it happened, the Bradford family estate was broken up shortly after Richard II's death and the Bradfords began to drift away from the home of their forefathers. Thus began a wave of migration that even today sends the descendants of Richard I throughout the corners of the country he helped found.
The Bradford Plantation Today: The Belle Air Dispute
Before moving on, I will briefly discuss what happened to the land that was once the Bradford plantation in Charles City County.
Incidentally, I do not know what, if anything, was the name of the Bradford family's once-bustling plantation. Many of those early plantations had names, some of which are still used (e.g., Westover, Shirley, Sherwood Forest, Carter's Grove, etc.) Whatever it was called then, the most visible portion of the Bradford's former plantation lands is now called "Belle Air Plantation."157 The current owners of Belle Air, however, reportedly deny that that plantation -- or its manor house which they report was built at the time that the Bradfords owned that land -- ever belonged to the Bradford family. I will elaborate on that historical dispute.
The most recent published material that I have found about that plantation is in Bruce Roberts's Plantation Homes of the James River. That book, as noted previously, describes that plantation and its manor house. That home, as Roberts notes, lies close to Charles City and just west of Sherwood Forest. In addition to the description of that manor house which I set forth in the first chapter, that book includes the following excerpts:
Belle Air Plantation ... is the site of one of the oldest existing dwellings in English America. The main part of the structure was probably built in 1650 by Thomas Stegge II .... Belle Air was abandoned in the early twentieth century, and it was not until the estate was purchased for its farmland in 1947 that the value of the house was recognized. In the 1950's the new owners began the process of repairing and restoring the historic structure.
[P]urchased ... in 1947 ... the deserted frame house ...[had an] eighteenth-century addition and three hundred years of repairs had given the exterior an early Georgian appearance, masking the original seventeenth-century features. Although previous research had failed to reveal any information about the home before 1800, the new owners undertook more extensive research and learned that the main part of the house dated to the middle 1600s.
Judging from the overall quality of the construction, the ornamental carving on the framework, and the beautiful Jacobean staircase, architectural historians were able to determine that the home was built by one of the wealthier settlers of early Virginia. However, it is not known who built the original main portion of the manor, which has been added on to through the centuries. Two prosperous men owned the property in the last half of the 1600's. In 1653, Colonel Thomas Stegge II inherited his father's merchant business, ships, and the seventeen-hundred acre plantation on the James River ... [on which Stegge] completed a home ... by 1655. Lieutenant Daniel Clarke purchased the property in 1662, and documents dated 1665 refer to Clarke's plantation home, which perhaps was the manor built by Stegge. Clarke's descendants named the plantation Belle Air in the late eighteenth century.
Hamlin Willcox purchased the plantation in 1800, and although the house was deserted in the 1920's, Belle Air remained in the Willcox family until 1945. In the 1950's the current owner, Mrs. Walter O. Major, and her late husband carefully repaired the plantation manor, which is one of the few surviving examples of the modest frame homes built during the first century of America's history.
....[That] three-hundred year-old National and State Historic Landmark [and its] smokehouse, well house, old kitchen, and grounds [may be toured by appointment or] during Historic Garden Week.158
In Sandlund I, however, researcher Peter Sandlund refutes the claim that the current "Belle Air Plantation" was ever owned by Daniel Clarke. Sandlund, instead, claims that Belle Air was owned and perhaps built by Richard Bradford I and, thereafter, remained in the Bradford family until 1729. Sandlund asserts that the manor house on Belle Air was on the portion of the Bradford's estate that Richard Bradford III sold to Benjamin Harrison in 1729. 159 Other researchers, moreover, dispute that the manor house on Belle Air was built as early as currently advertised. Hence, as you can see, there are a number of bona fide historical disputes surrounding Belle Air Plantation. I will parce through those disputes so that we can get to the truth.
Resolving the Belle Air Disputes
To resolve the disputes surrounding Belle Air Plantation, two questions must be answered: (1) who owned that plantation's lands in the 17th and early 18th Centuries; and (2) when, and by whom, was that plantation's manor house built. I think I can answer both of those questions.
Answering the first question was not so easy. But, in a nutshell, Sandlund is right: the lands underlying the current Belle Air Plantation was owned by the Bradfords, not the Clarke family. The Bradfords lived there between the 1650s and the late 1720s. Confusion as to the land's ownership, however, is understandable since many of Charles City County's courthouse records were destroyed in the Civil War. A complete title search, therefore, is impossible. But there is a key to the answer to the dispute: the original descriptions of the Clarke and Bradford plantations.
The Bradfords' 1,197 acre plantation lands, which Richard Bradford I acquired from Howell Pryce in deeds dated 1657 and 1662 and which stayed intact in the family's hands until the late 1720s, were consistently described as the land lying "at the head of Queen's Creek between the Fishing Run and Old Tree Run."160 The land that Thomas Stegge Jr. sold to Clarke in 1662 was nearby (indeed, you may recall that it was neighbor Clarke's servant that Richard I found dead in the woods). The 1,698 acres that Clarke received from Thomas Stegge Jr. in 1662, however, included 1,000 acres that was consistently described as "being a neck of land lying between Old Man's Run and Queens Creek," and 698 acres which was described as lying "at the head of Queen's Creek, between Seller Run and Fishing Run." 161 That latter tract, which adjoined the Bradford family's lands, made Clarke Richard I's neighbor. The fact that Richard I and Clarke were adjoining landowners is confirmed in the record of the May 20, 1678, headright of 1,036 acres of Charles City County land to John Turner which describes Turner's land as lying on the north side of the James River, between Sellar Run and Fishing Run, adjoining Lt. Col. Clarke, Major Edloe (who Richard had a lawsuit against in 1657), Mr. Bradford, to a place called the Arrow Reads, by Chickahominy Path to Major Edlow's, over Collenses Run to Mr. Rowland's Place. 162
The secret to finding the difference between the Bradford and the Clarke lands, therefore is as simple (or as difficult) as locating the landmarks bordering those lands: Queens Creek, Fishing Run, Old Tree Run and Seller Run. Of those landmarks, only Queens Creek has retained its name since the 17th Century. That waterway, which feeds into the James River at a point less than a mile from the Charles City County Courthouse, runs for a short distance before branching off to form Parrish Hill Creek and Glebe Creek. Those latter two waterways thereafter run towards the northeast, about a mile apart from each other, in the general direction of Ruthville, with Glebe Creek to the west of Parrish Hill Creek. Less than a mile upstream from where Glebe Creek empties into Queens Creek, Glebe Creek meets with Courthouse Creek very close to, unsurprisingly, the Charles City County Courthouse. Finding which of the above waterways are the renamed waterways of the earlier records was not a simple task. Sandlund I, however, provides the answer. Sandlund consulted with historians at William & Mary University to compile a gazetteer of Charles City County waterways. According to that gazetteer, Old Tree Run (also sometimes called Pease Hill Run) is now called Parrish Hill Creek, Fishing Run is now called Glebe Creek, Seller Run (also sometimes called Cedar Run) is now the Courthouse Creek and Old Mans Creek is now called Gunns Run.163 After contacting William & Mary, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the research department of Colonial Williamsburg, I have found no one who disputes that gazetteer's conclusions. 164 Hence, the Bradford family's plantation ran from the head of Queens Creek and was located between Glebe Creek and Parrish Hill Creek while the Clarke lands were to the west between Courthouse Creek and Glebe Creek. The "Belle Air Plantation" lies between, indeed, smack-dab between Glebe Creek and Parrish Hill Creek. Hence, as Sandlund concludes, the current Belle Air Plantation is located on former Bradford lands not -- as that land's owners have erroneously claimed for the last fifty years -- Daniel Clarke's former lands.
Having identified the Belle Air Plantation's lands as the Bradfords' leaves one question: did the Bradford family build and live in that plantation's still-standing manor house? Indeed, that manor house is located precisely where you would expect to find the Bradfords' manor house: just off the then-main road (the John Tyler Highway) and smack-dab in the middle of the land between Fishing Run and Old Tree Run. Hence, if that building dates back to the mid 1650s, as advertised, then it must have been the home of the Bradfords who lived on that land from 1657 through the 1720s. Indeed, the description of that home's ornate carvings and crafted woodwork is exactly what you would expect from Richard Bradford I, "joyner." Nevertheless, as much as I wish that I could say that Richard I built that home and that his family lived there, I cannot. Although a historian from Colonial Williamsburg did opine nearly fifty years ago that he believed the manor house on "Belle Air" to date back to the 17th Century, more recent historians have used modern methods to place that house's construction to the 18th Century and no earlier than the late 1720s. Hence, although on former Bradford lands, that home was apparently built after they moved -- perhaps, like in many other instances, on the same site as the former owner's home. Foremost and first of the historians to conclude that Belle Air was no older than the 18th Century was Cary Carson who, in a 1969 thesis entitled Settlement Patterns and Vernacular Architecture in Seventeenth Century Tidewater Virginia, carefully explained his conclusions.165 Colonial historians and Virginia architectural experts have told me that most respected experts in the field agree with Carson and, therefore, have concluded that the current Belle Air Plantation was built -- at the earliest -- in the late 1720s. Bacon's Castle (so named because Nathaniel Bacon's troops holed up there during Bacon's Rebellion) in nearby Surry County, I am told, is the only existing plantation home that is generally acknowledged as dating back to the 17th Century.
One final note: I think that the initial confusion about the land's ownership is understandable. Many of Charles City County's land records were destroyed in the Civil War and a portion of those records that described the Bradford family's purchases and sales of those lands was not returned to Virginia until 1975, after, as mentioned previously, the descendant of a Union soldier found it in an attic in Oregon. Now that those records have come to light, however, further confusion is not so easily understood. Indeed, any future representations that the current Belle Air Plantation was owned by Clarke, not Richard I, seem to smack less and less of innocent confusion and more and more of the knowing promotion of revisionist history. The ancestors of Richard I, however, should act to correct any further misapprehensions about that plantation. We owe that to Richard I. We owe that to ourselves.
All disputes aside, the Belle Air Plantation, is worth seeing. That plantation, which lies just off Route 5 and east of Charles City, is open to the public each spring during Virginia's Historic Garden Week and at other times for group tours by appointment (although they may not be able to fit you in if you announce in advance that you are a descendant of Richard Bradford's who is looking to set the record straight).166
The Remainder of the Bradford Lands: The Glebe
Regardless of its name, the Bradford lands continued to trade hands after the plantation's break-up in 1724. For example, on June 12, 1730, Benjamin Harrison and his wife Ann sold to Richard Lightfoot, Esquire, the portion of the Bradford plantation that Harrison had bought from Richard III less than a year before. 167 William Riddlehurst, the tailor (spelled "taylor") who bought 200 of the plantation's acres from Thomas Bradford, sold one half of that tract to James Bell "Gentleman" on April 28, 1730. 168 In the late 1700s, that land, which adjoined Fishing Run, was further deeded to the Munford family and later, at the turn of the century, to the Mountcastle family. Eventually, the 370 acres that Philemon sold to James Bell in 1726 apparently became known as the Glebe.
The Glebe still exists. In early colonial days, the British Crown ordered that the colonies provide suitable quarters for the ministers of the Anglican Church. The portion of the land that was provided to each minister for that purpose was called a "glebe." In Charles City County, there was no glebe prior to 1732 when a committee of Charles City County leaders (Colonel William Byrd II, John Stith, Samuel Harwood and John Carter) bought from Phillip Lightfoot the 370 acres of the Bradford plantation that was sold by Philemon Bradford to James Bell in 1726. Thereafter, the Glebe remained a rectory for nearly one hundred years. Upon the death of Reverend Seawell Chap, the last minister to occupy the house erected there, the Glebe was sold to Mr. Patrick Herndon who renamed it Cromwell Grove. The tract of land that Philemon parted with in 1726 remained a 370 acre tract for nearly 200 years until 1907 when it was sold to E.G. Wooten as a 352 acre tract. It was sometime between 1916 and 1934 that the Glebe was further reduced to ninety-seven acres. In 1957, the Glebe was owned by Mrs. John Ruffin. Today, the Glebe is located on a road named simply "Glebe Road" which runs from present Route 60 to the Charles City County courthouse, just off of Route 5 (which is better known as the John Tyler Highway). The Glebe is near Providence Forge and is not far from the town of Ruthville.169
In conducting a vexing -- and probably record-breaking -- title search of the Bradford plantation, I came across a map of the Glebe, then 352 acres large, made for then-owner Mrs. M.E. Bell in about 1900. From that map one can see that the Glebe land was bounded on the west by the Fishing Run, one of the boundaries consistently noted in records describing the Bradford plantation. That waterway, as noted earlier, and no doubt because of it close proximity to the Glebe, was eventually renamed Glebe Creek.
Near the back of the house now on the Glebe (which, by the way, is one of the very oldest houses in Virginia) was the location of a tulip poplar which reportedly measured an incredible fifty-seven feet in circumference. By some reports, that tree was once the oldest tree east of the Rockies. Indeed, while I have been unable to find any waterway still called "Old Tree Run," the name of one of the waterways bordering the Bradford plantation, on maps of present-day Charles City County, I would wager that, though since renamed, that waterway was originally named after the old, huge tulip poplar tree that once rose up from the Bradford estate and towered over colonial Virginia.
Two newspaper excerpts about that tree are of interest. The first, reportedly printed in Cally Ryland's "By the Way" column of the Richmond News Leader said:
How many people in Virginia know that on the Glebe farm in Charles City County there is a tulip poplar tree which measures thirty feet in circumference -- or but little less than some of the far-famed redwood trees of California?
Lightening has struck this tree three times within the past score of years, yet so colossal is it and such firm hold have it roots taken in the ground that it has defied even the elements and stands, as it no doubt stood before the early colonists came to Virginia, strong in its pride and its dignity.170
While that undated article, printed some time before 1936, told of the majesty of that great tree, once a silent symbol of the Bradford's claim to Charles City County land, another article tells of that great tree's fall. Miss Emily Blayton, the niece and neighbor of then-Glebe owner Mr. Bradley McKenney, wrote:
Mother Nature sometimes feels called upon to remind her children that they are but transients upon the earth, and that all things must eventually pass away.
This fact was symbolized early yesterday morning at the 'Glebe' home of Mr. Bradley McKenney in Charles City County, when the majestic old poplar tree, the largest one in the East, seemed suddenly to disintegrate, and so great a portion of it crumpled to the ground that workmen had to clear away seventeen wagon loads of debris.
For over two hundred years the old tree, which measured fifty-seven feet in circumference a foot above ground level, has stood guard over the red brick colonial house. It was, perhaps, but a sapling when the land about it was granted by the Crown, and bricks were made to build a "glebe" or rectory for the rector of Westover Parish.
As the tree grew and developed it saw many changes come about. The "Glebe" was no longer the home of the ministers -- wealthy planters bought and sold it, their wives gave gay parties; [slave children] played in the shade with their little masters and mistresses; happy brides came down the steps to join their waiting grooms; illness, death, and wars brought their gloom, but the poplar still serenely reached upward, and its leaves sang soft lullabies to the bees and birds. In more recent years, tourists have come to view the monarch, and listen to the quaint legends that have grown up with the ivy that twines about its trunk.
It seems strange, yet somehow fitting, that after weathering so many storms, winds and changes, the old tree should have chosen to fall in the quiet of early dawn when not a leaf was stirring. Was not nature adding to her stern reminder a touch of comfort by suggesting that even in death there may be dignity and serenity?171
The reader does not need my assistance to conjure up the many analogies and thoughts that spring from hearing of that old tree. The old tree's stump reportedly still leafed each spring as recently as 1957 -- twenty years after it came crashing to the ground. 172 Alas, all traces of that ancient tree are now gone.
Also of interest, a man plowing the Glebe in the early 1900s unearthed a sundial engraved with the date 1630. The ploughman gave it to then-Glebe owner Bradley McKenney who cleaned it up and kept it on display at the glebe. A subsequent owner of the Glebe, however, took that ancient relic with them when they moved from the Glebe. One author pondered whether that sundial was there during the Glebe's heyday. My curiosity, however, extends back even further. I wonder if the Bradford family once owned, and eventually abandoned, the blackened brass sundial that was unearthed on a portion of their former plantation lands two hundred years after they moved on. I also wonder what other treasures are buried there.173
A final point of interest, before we return to Philemon and his brothers, is a discussion of Benjamin Harrison IV, who bought 200 acres of the Bradford plantation from Richard Bradford III in 1729. Harrison, a wealthy and influential member of the colony, had just married Anne Carter, daughter of "King" Carter, when he bought the Bradford lands. Three years before, in 1726, Harrison began to build a brick home, near the James River, which came to be called "Berkeley." Harrison's father, Benjamin Harrison III, had acquired that land from the estate of Giles Bland who was hanged by Governor William Berkeley in 1676 for participating in Bacon's Rebellion (it was, by the way, Benjamin Harrison III who, along with William Byrd II, ruled upon Sylvanus Stokes's complaint against Richard Bradford II in 1703). Benjamin Harrison IV, who was killed by a bolt of lightning in 1744, was buried on the grounds of the old Westover Church. His tomb can still be seen there. As explained earlier, I believe that Richard I and/or Richard II, their grave markers long gone, may be buried there also.
Benjamin Harrison IV's son, Benjamin V, served as a member of the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. That Harrison's son, Benjamin VI, inherited Berkeley, but it was Benjamin V's third son, William Henry Harrison, who became the ninth President of the United States. Notably, that President Harrison's Vice President, John Tyler (who became President when Harrison died in office), was also from Charles City County -- making Charles City County the only county in America to be the birthplace of both the sitting President and Vice President.
But that was not the last of the Harrisons. President William Henry Harrison's grandson, Benjamin Harrison of Ohio, became the twenty-third President of the United States. The second President Harrison is said to have visited Berkeley often during his presidency and, reportedly, each of the Presidents from Washington through Buchanan were entertained at Berkeley. Berkeley saw a lot of action. Besides presidential visits, it was plundered by the British and used as a camp for Benedict Arnold in the Revolutionary War and, similarly, it was used as a camp by General McClellan who seized it during the Civil War. The Harrisons sold Berkeley shortly before the Civil War and, like Richard Bradford I's descendants before them, moved from their ancestral Charles City County home.174
Charles City County Today
Anyone who wants to see the site of the original Bradford lands can visit Charles City County and get the flavor of what life was like for those early pioneers.
The vicinity is still largely rural and there is no downtown area. The town's name is misleading since Charles City was never really a "city." Indeed, according to U.S. Census figures there were only handful of people living in Charles City in 1990, with only 6,282 living in Charles City County as a whole.
The land surrounding the old Bradford plantation is largely either large, flat, beautifully tailored farmland or dense woods. The small courthouse -- one of the country's oldest (it was built in 1730) and the location of many of the records mentioned herein -- lies just off the John Tyler Highway, not far from the James River.
The John Tyler Highway, a picturesque tree-lined road, named after the United States President who was born and lived much of his life along it, is one of our country's oldest. That historic road, once an Indian trail, runs the fifty miles from colonial Williamsburg to Richmond. It also passes through nearby Jamestown. Along that road, which once passed through the Bradford plantation, one can still see what must be the greatest concentration of plantations surviving our country's early history. Among the plantations along that road are Sherwood Forest (so named by President Tyler after Henry Clay called him Robin Hood and now run by President Tyler's family); Shirley (where the Carter family still lives); Westover (the old Byrd estate); Evelynton (named after Evelyn Byrd); Berkeley (the Harrison family's plantation); and, of course, Belle Air Plantation. Many of those homes can be visited for a small fee. Some of the plantations even run bed and breakfasts for those who would like to sleep in one of those ancestral homes. Indeed, since there are no hotels there, overnight guests have little choice. Other interesting sights along that scenic route include the new Westover Church, described earlier in this book, the Charles City County courthouse and Greenway farm, birthplace of President John Tyler.175 Visitors to nearby Jamestown can see life-size replicas of the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery (and climb aboard one of those ships where a sailor will describe the four-month voyage from England to Virginia), visit an accurately recreated Pawhatan Indian village and a recreated fort. Visitors to nearby Colonial Williamsburg, moreover, will be treated to a unique colonial experience as they walk through a 173-acre outdoor living history museum with over 500 public buildings, private homes, stores and taverns complete with craftsmen practicing historic trades and crafts -- all in an authentically created 18th Century community. Colonial Virginia in and around Charles City County, in short, is a cornucopia of early American history. Information for those interested in visiting any of the above sites is set forth in the footnotes below. 176
Those who cannot travel to Charles City County can see pictures of its colonial homes in books including Virginia Plantation Homes, Plantation Homes of the James River and Old Virginia Homes Along the James.177 A scholarly analysis of Charles City County worth reading is Charles City County, Virginia: An Official History. 178 One of that book's authors, James Whittenburg, graciously assisted me in compiling some information for this book. An interesting but difficult to locate book is D. Gardiner Tyler's A History and Pictorial Review of Charles City County, Virginia. 179 Tyler's book runs the gamut from detailing older county history to listing the entire membership of the of the county's current local American Legion. The last half of Tyler's book includes photographs of, seemingly, every home in Charles City County (including, of course, Belle Air). Although Tyler died on March 29, 1993, at the age of 93, those who act quickly can buy one of the last ten autographed copies of that book being held for sale by the Heritage Library in Providence Forge. 180 Tyler, a grandson of President Tyler, was considered Charles City County's resident historian at the time of his death.
One cannot drive down the John Tyler Highway without drifting back through history. It was that road that Richard I and his family so often covered on horseback or carriage to travel to church or visit others; that Richard II used so often in carrying out his duties as an officer and a sheriff; that Nathaniel Bacon and his men used to storm into Jamestown and then out to meet the Indians; and, eventually, that Philemon and his brothers used to leave Charles City County for good.
Brother Richard (III) Moves to Caroline County
As previously noted, Philemon's oldest brother, Richard Bradford III, apparently moved away from the Bradford family plantation shortly after his father's death. Richard III, moreover, was apparently married by October 1729, since the sale of his portion of the Bradford plantation indicates that, as a part of that sale, his wife "Rachel" released her dower rights thereto. I do not know Rachel's maiden name.
After selling his portion of the family's Charles City County land to Benjamin Harrison in 1729, Richard III and his wife Rachel moved to Caroline County, Virginia, where they lived in that county's Drysdale (later St. Asaph's) Parish. Notably, Caroline County was formed in 1727 from the western portion of King and Queen County where, as you may recall, Richard Bradford II owned some land as early as 1699 (and apparently still owned at his death since the administration of his estate mentions amounts paid to John Holcomb, the sheriff of King and Queen County). Perhaps it was to Richard II's King and Queen County land that Richard III moved in 1729.
After moving to Caroline County, Richard III spent most, if not all, of his life there (since court records from that county mention him as early as 1732 and as late as 1755). Richard's will, dated October 28, 1756, was probated in North Carolina's Granville County Court in January 1757. That record would seem to suggest that, just before his death, Richard III moved to live near his brother Philemon who was already living in Granville County. At least one researcher, however, has suggested that Richard III died in Caroline County and that the will in Granville County is a duplicate of one filed and/or probated in Caroline County, Virginia.181 Wherever he died, Richard III's will names the following children: Richard (IV), John, Lephirah, Eliza, Sepharah, Hanna (who had married a Poe), Mary (who had married a Case), and an unnamed daughter who had married a Bird. One particularly interesting fact in Richard's will is that he left to his son Richard "all land in Carolina which I bought of my brother" Philemon. 182
Brother Thomas Moves To North Carolina
After he sold his portion of the family's plantation in December of 1728, Philemon's brother Thomas Bradford, like many other Virginians of his day, moved to the new colony of North Carolina. That move was reportedly made in 1729. Thomas married Elizabeth Smith of Surry County, Virginia, apparently prior to moving to what was then known as Bertie Precinct (later known as Northampton County), North Carolina. The earliest record of Thomas Bradford in North Carolina is a record from Edgecombe County, dated April 5, 1732, which reflects Thomas and Elizabeth's sale of 180 acres on the south side of Moratuck (later Roanoke) River for ten pounds. There were only three counties in North Carolina at the time, with each subdivision of those counties called a "precinct." Each precinct eventually became a county. In 1739, Thomas's wife Elizabeth and her sister Mary (who had married Samuel Norwood) "of the colony of Carolina" (it was not yet divided into North and South Carolina) sold, for four pounds and six shillings, the one hundred acres in Surry County, Virginia that they had inherited as co-heirs of their father Robert Smith's estate. (Interestingly, only Thomas Bradford signed his name in that record, while his wife and both of the Norwoods signed with an "X"). In a record dated October 15, 1840, Thomas's wife Elizabeth and her sister Mary released their dower rights in that land but were reportedly "so sickly and impotent that they can not Travel to our said court." 183
Some time after the death of his first wife, Thomas remarried. His second wife was named Mary (some say her last name was Britten, but the evidence is inconclusive). Thomas died in Northampton County, North Carolina, in 1762 and his will was probated in November of that year. Thomas's will, which is dated May 23, 1761, mentions his "loving" wife Mary, sons William, Henry, Richard, Nathaniel and Thomas Jr., and daughters Edith, Sarah and Elizabeth. In his will, which is on record in Jackson, North Carolina, Thomas left North Carolina real estate in Orange and Northampton Counties -- including an eighty acre island in the Roanoke River "near Captain Spanns Island" that Thomas received from the Crown on March 30, 1743 -- to his heirs.
A captain of the company of soldiers from the Roanoke District of the Northampton County militia, Thomas served in the French and Indian War and reportedly may have fought the French alongside of George Washington in the July 3, 1754, Battle of Big Meadows.184
Three of Thomas's sons (Richard, Nathaniel and Thomas Jr.) eventually moved to Craven County, South Carolina (which was later divided into Chester and Lancaster Counties). Indeed, places in that state were named after the Bradfords, including: Bradford Springs in Lee County, South Carolina, was named after Nathaniel (1738-1807), while Bradford's First Mill and Bradford's Second Mill, both in Sumter County, South Carolina, were named for Richard (1744-1826).185 Of Thomas's other three sons, two (William and Philemon) stayed and died in Northampton County, while the third (Henry) reportedly moved to Darlington County, South Carolina. John Bennett Boddie (who traces quite a bit of Thomas's lineage), wrote in Virginia Historical Genealogies that there are ancestors of Thomas Bradford, particularly some with the surname Stover, still living in Lancaster County, South Carolina. At least one author, however, disputes that conclusion and says that the Lancaster County Stovers were related not to the descendants of Richard Bradford, but, instead, or Samuel Bradford (or Brawford) who immigrated to South Carolina from Ireland in 1768. 186
Philemon: The Youngest Son
Richard II's youngest son, Philemon, (generally pronounced "fi LEE men"), was apparently born around 1700. Since I can find no prior family members named Philemon, I assume that now-uncommon name was taken from the Bible. Philemon is the title of a biblical Epistle written by the apostle Paul to Philemon. The biblical source of Philemon's name reinforces my belief that religion was an important force in the life of the early Bradfords.
Like his father and brothers, Philemon was born on the family's Charles City County plantation. Because there was no hospital and few doctors, it is safe to assume that Philemon's mother, Anna, gave birth to him in the family's house, most likely with the assistance of a local midwife. Regardless, Philemon's childhood was probably much like his father's before him: working on the plantation and learning to read and write at home from his parents. Philemon was about twenty years old when his parents died. Within the following two years, as discussed earlier, Philemon sold the 470 acres of the Bradford family's Charles City County plantation that was left to him in Richard II's will.
Because many of the records of Charles City and surrounding counties have been destroyed, I am not sure what happened to Philemon between May, 1726, when he sold 350 acres of his portion of the family's plantation, and 1744 when land records indicate that he was living in North Carolina. My best guess is that Philemon remained in Charles City County, either on some remaining portion of the Bradford plantation, or on some other plot of land left to him in his father's will.
Philemon Marries, Has Seven Children
Philemon married sometime after his father's death. Although his will mention his wife Mary, some family researchers believe that Mary was his second wife. That evidence is not conclusive. Some believe that his alleged first wife's maiden name was Bird (or Byrd) was the mother of Philemon's seven children. Whoever their mother, Philemon's children (as identified in his will) included: Elizabeth (reportedly born in 1730), Thomas (reportedly born in 1731), Philemon Jr. (reportedly born in 1733), Mary (reportedly born in 1736), Richard (reportedly born in 1738), John (my ancestor, reportedly born in 1751) and David (who one source says was born in 1747 and another says was born in 1754). 187 Philemon and his family were apparently still living in Charles City County when the first five of those children were born, since records reflect that Philemon was still living there as late as 1737. It was in that year he was reportedly fined five pounds by the Granville County Court for missing church services. Although an unheard of penalty today, the Anglican Church was still the colony's official church and attendance was mandatory. 188 To the best of my knowledge, that is the last record of Philemon in Virginia, although some say that he was living in St. Margaret's Parish, Caroline County, Virginia, from 1729 to 1743. 189 Since Caroline County's records burned in a courthouse fire in 1836, however, that theory can be neither proved nor disproved. No surviving Caroline County records mention Philemon. Regardless of where he lived in the 1730s, Philemon, like his older brother Thomas, was living in North Carolina by the early to mid 1740s.
Some of Philemon's descendants believe that Philemon married a second time. Supposedly, his first wife died and he later remarried. That second wife was allegedly named Mary Parker, the daughter of Jonathan Parker and Ann Copeland. Her parents, Jonathan and Ann, are mentioned in Eunice Kirkpatrick's The Parker Family of Johnston County, North Carolina and Related Families.190 That second wife was reportedly the mother of Philemon's last two children (John and David).
Although I have not seen any hard evidence to prove that Philemon married twice (much less that he ever married Mary Parker), I think that most people base their estimates of his children's ages on surviving tax lists from Granville County. The first of those tax lists, dated March 25, 1755, shows Philemon with 475 acres of land and indicates only two sons as tithables: Philemon Jr. and Richard (Thomas, who had already married, was listed as living elsewhere in the county). By the time of the March 25, 1769, tax list (taken less than a year before Philemon's death), however, the only children still listed as tithables living at home were John and David. Thomas, Philemon and Richard, who were each older than David and John, still lived in the county, but each owned his own farm.191 Notably, I believe that some people have misinterpreted those records by equating the number of "tithables" in the household with the number of people living in the household. That, however, is not accurate. Females and males below the age of maturity were not counted as "tithables" in the records mentioned above. 192
North Carolina, one of our country's thirteen original colonies, was still a very young colony when Philemon and his brothers moved there. Although North Carolina was the site of America's first English settlement, on Roanoke Island, that future state's dangerous coastlines, shallow rivers and fierce native Indians made it more uninviting to settlers than either South Carolina or Virginia. Hence, North Carolina was settled later than either of those adjoining areas. It was not until the 1630s that the English began to explore North Carolina, and not until the early 1650s that the first English settlements appeared there. Those first settlements were on the coast, just off Albelmarle Sound. But what was to become North Carolina was not yet part of any organized colony. That did not happen until 1663 when King Charles II created the colony of "Carolina" and granted it to eight "Lords Proprietor" as a political favor. An explanation may be helpful.
As noted in the first chapter, Richard Bradford I left England as a part of the Cavalier migration that occurred during 1653-1658 while Oliver Cromwell, Puritan and former member of the English Parliament, ruled over England as the "Lord Protector" and there was -- for the first time in hundreds of years -- no king or queen in control of England. In 1660, however, the control of England was returned to the throne and Charles II became the first English in the eleven years since his father, Charles I, was beheaded by Cromwell's rebel forces.
Charles II, however, did not regain control of the throne without assistance. He was helped by several powerful Englishmen. Later, Charles II repaid eight of those men by giving them a large grant of land in America that they were free to settle and make profitable for the Crown and themselves. That grant, made on March 24, 1663, included all the land in America between the thirty-first and thirty-sixth degrees latitude North. In 1665, that grant was expanded to include all North American lands between the thirtieth and thirty-eighth degrees latitude North. Hence, those eight men were given control of approximately one-third of the continental United States. That land included the entirety of the future states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alabama and Mississippi, most of the land in the future states of Texas and Louisiana, and parts of Nevada and Florida. Not a bad political payoff for the lucky Lords Proprietor. In 1665, that colony of "Carolina" was divided into two parts: North Carolina and South Carolina.
The settlement of North Carolina progressed slowly until the warlike native Tuscarora Indians were defeated in a series of battles with the English between 1711 and 1714. Even after that, colonization of the Carolinas was so slow that, in 1728, the Crown offered to buy back all lands held by the heirs of the eight Lords Proprietor. Each of the those heirs, except one, sold their shares back to the Crown. The one hold-out was Lord John Carteret of England, who later became known as the Earl of Granville, but was called simply "Lord Granville" by the colonists.193
Lord Granville's land holdings stayed in his family until after the American Revolution and -- incredibly -- almost until today. Indeed, the dispute over those land holdings was one of the most monumental cases to never be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. You see, in 1782 the North Carolina General Assembly passed an act confiscating Lord Granville's lands. Two years later, Lord Granville's heirs brought a lawsuit to recover those lands on the (rather sound) grounds that the Treaty of Paris of 1783 (signed by the U. S. and Britain after the Revolutionary War), provided that all property rights were to be respected, notwithstanding the war. The case dragged on until it reached the Supreme Court in 1809. That lawsuit, however, was dropped when the heirs' attorney, Francis Scott Key (yes, the same man who penned The Star Spangled Banner) died. As a student of the law, I wonder how the Supreme Court would have ruled on that matter. As a dreamer, I imagine how American history may have changed if the heirs had won. As an attorney, my eyes pop at the contingency fee possibilities of such a case.
The Granville District
As inheritor of his grandfather's portion of the original grant to the eight Lords Proprietor, John Carteret, the Earl of Granville, retained control of a swath of land running from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, with the northern boundary of that area being the thirty-eighth degree latitude North (the line between Virginia and North Carolina) and the southern boundary being a line that can now be seen running in a straight line from east to west, separating Chatham, Randolph, Davidson and other North Carolina counties on the north and Moore, Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties on the south. In 1744, the Earl of Granville began to sell that land. Philemon Bradford was one of his first buyers. 194
Northampton, Edgecombe and Granville Counties
While I believe that Philemon, like his big brother Thomas, may have moved to Northampton County when he first moved to North Carolina, the earliest North Carolina land records mentioning Philemon that I know of show him living in Edgecombe County in 1742 or 1743. Philemon was granted 600 acres on "the south side of Great Creek" in Edgecombe County on March 16, 1742/43, half of which he sold for fifty pounds in February of 1746 (that waterway, now called Deep Creek, lies in what is now Halifax County). 195 Thereafter, Philemon became an active land speculator. For example, on February 18, 1744, Philemon, sold 400 acres on Edgecombe County's Persimmon Creek which had been granted to him by Lord Granville only hours before. 196 The purchaser of that tract, William Williams "Gentleman," listed Philemon Bradford as an adjoining neighbor in 1749. 197 Thereafter, all records that mention Philemon are from Granville County, North Carolina. Philemon, who appears in Granville County shortly after it was created in 1746, lived there for the rest of his life. Indeed, my Bradford ancestors did not finally move from that county until the 1840s and some of Philemon's descendants live there to this day.
Although records seem to indicate that Philemon moved around quite a bit in North Carolina, appearances may be deceptive since the county boundaries in that state repeatedly changed as new settlers continued to move in. Hence, Philemon probably did not "move" from Northampton County to Edgecombe County in 1741, but just so happened to live in the portion of Northampton County that was broken off that year and renamed Edgecombe County. Similarly, Philemon and his family probably did not really "move" from Edgecombe County to Granville County in 1746 as much as, similarly, they lived in the portion of Edgecombe County that was broken off and renamed Granville County (after Lord Granville) in that year.
Philemon, like his American forefathers, was a plantation owner. But, whereas Philemon's grandfather Richard I was a pioneer, and his father Richard II was a colonial leader, Philemon was a land speculator. The grants of Granville County land that he received from Lord Granville were almost dizzying. For example, surviving records indicate that Philemon received at least the following grants of Granville County land:
March 25, 1749: 640 acres on both sides of Fishing Creek;198
October 28, 1751: 460 acres in the Parish of St. John on the head of Fort Creek near Tar River on Poplar Branch;199
September 25, 1755: 570 acres on Cedar Creek on Joseph Fuller's Corner:200
November 13, 1756: 570 acres "granted from Thomas Child, agent for Lord Granville" in the Parish of St. John on both sides of Little Creek joining Joseph Fuller, Arthur Fuller, Cedar Creek and Peter Vincent;201
March 7, 1759: 200 acres in the Parish of St. John on the branches of Quick Sand Branch and Beaver Dam Creek;202
September 15, 1760: 578 acres (in Northampton, rather than Granville, County) in the parish of North West, joining Bradford's corner, the County line, and John Jones;203
August 5, 1761: 530 acres on both sides of Beaver Dam and Fort Creeks, "joining Bradfords line";204
August 1, 1762: 700 acres on the branches of Beaver Dam Creek adjoining Philemon Bradford Jr., McCulluch's line and Rain's line;205 and,
August 1, 1762: 688 acres on the branches of Quicksand run joining his own line and Nelson's (or Wilson's) line.206
The above grants to Philemon add up to a whopping 4,936 acres -- nearly eight square miles of land! Moreover, he was the first English owner (excluding the Earl of Granville who, of course, never went near those lands) of each of those tracts. The grants listed above, moreover, may not even reflect the entirety of Philemon's Granville County land grants, particularly since he later sold land in the county, as you shall soon see, not included in the above tracts.
Philemon, of course, did not receive his land grants for free. By law he was required to pay Lord Granville an "entry fee" for each tract received. For each tract Philemon was granted before 1759, the entry fee was three shillings sterling -- regardless of the tract's size. After 1759, Philemon was required to pay entry fees of ten shillings sterling per tract. In addition to the entry fees, Philemon was required to pay a tax, called a "rent," of three shillings sterling per hundred acres, granted. Those rents were collected two times each year: on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel (September 29). All fees were generally collected in sterling. If Philemon or any other grantee fell six months behind in paying rent on granted land, title to that land reverted back to Lord Granville. Moreover, Lord Granville retained one half of the mineral rights to all gold and silver found on any granted lands.
The various fees and rents on the granted lands were collected by Lord Granville's agents James Innes, Joshua Bodley, Francis Corbin, Ben Wheatley and others. As you will soon see, however, some of those agents took great liberties with their powers in both doling out land (by granting the same land to two different men) and collecting rents and fees (by overcharging grantees and, apparently, pocketing the difference). Hence, I can not calculate the total overhead that Philemon was required to pay on his granted lands.207 The graft makes it hard to compute his total costs.
In addition to those grants from the Earl of Granville, Philemon sometimes purchased Granville County lands from other colonists. Since the only purchases that I am aware of were from his relatives, I can only assume that those purchases were made as accommodations to those family members or for purposes of keeping those lands in the family. For example, on March 10, 1761, Philemon bought ten acres from his son Thomas, thereafter, on November 11, 1761, Philemon bought, also from son Thomas, 430 acres on Fishing Creek for ninety pounds.208 Similarly, on September 30, 1763, Philemon bought 360 acres on both sides of Beaver Dam Creek from his son Richard Bradford for sixty pounds. 209
Like most land speculators, however, Philemon did not just acquire land but, when profitable or otherwise appropriate, sold it. Some of his reported sales of Granville County land include the following:
1746 (no day or month cited): "Philip Bradford of Edgecombe County" sold 250 acres in Granville County on Reedy Branch, north side of Fishing Creek, for twenty-three pounds;210
January 21, 1749: 350 acres on Little Fishing Creek and Hatchers Creek to William Reeves Jr. for sixty pounds;211
September 14, 1758: 60 acres on Beaver Dam Branch to son Philemon Jr. for 5 shillings;212
June 2, 1759: 150 acres on the north side of Fishing Creek to Carter Hudspeth for fifty pounds;213
October 15, 1761: 570 acres on Cedar Creek in Joseph Fuller's corner to James Vinson of Northampton County;214
February 1, 1762: 265 acres sold to Richard Harris for ten pounds, in a deed also signed by Philemon's wife Elizabeth;215 and,
September 30, 1763: 888 acres on the branches of Quicksand and Beaver Dam Creeks on Truman Bradford's and Nelson's lines to son Thomas Bradford for seventy-four pounds.216
Philemon's land sales probably yielded him a tidy profit. For example, the 570 acres that Philemon sold for fifty-seven pounds in 1761 only cost him about seven pounds in 1755. Hence, Philemon sold that acreage for approximately eight times what he paid for it a mere six years before -- a pretty impressive rate of return. Thus, as you can see, Philemon profited from his status as an early settler of the colony of North Carolina.
The study of Philemon's land dealings provide many footprints for tracking that intrepid ancestor. Copies of those ancient deeds (with Philemon's signature affixed thereto) may be acquired from the North Carolina Department of Archives and History in Raleigh. Abstracts of most of the above land records, along with many others that mention Philemon's relatives and neighbors, are in some wonderfully helpful publications: Abstracts of the Early Deeds of Granville County North Carolina by Zae Hargett Gwynn and The Granville District of North Carolina: Abstracts of Land Patents by Margaret M. Hofmann.217 Those books provide a bonanza of information for anyone tracing the Granville County Bradfords.
A Growing, Changing Population
Philemon witnessed a lot of growth in Granville County's population. Many Virginians, following in Philemon's footsteps, participated in a huge migration to North Carolina. As a result, that colony's population grew quickly. For example, while the population of Granville County was 2,000 (of which only 313 were landowners) in 1749, it grew to 3,200 within the next five years, thereafter growing so quickly that Granville County was split into two parts in 1764. The portion broken off was named Bute County (which was later broken into Warren and Franklin Counties). Growth continued. By 1767, even though Granville County's area was half its original size, the county's population had grown to 5,000. The county's population hit 8,000 by 1782. Philemon, however, also witnessed explosive population growth for all of North Carolina. That colony's 1730 population of 30,000 swelled to 265,000 by 1775. 218
North Carolina's (and America's) population was not just growing, however, it was also changing. Although the colonies were almost solely populated by the English during Richard I and Richard II's lives, Philemon witnessed a growing influx of non-English immigrants. Those immigrants helped turn America into a melting pot of different peoples and cultures. Between 1739 and the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, a growing tide of Scotch Highlanders (who came directly from their homeland), Scotch-Irish and Germans (each of the latter moved largely down from Pennsylvania) swept into North Carolina. In 1760, North Carolina's population included 45,000 English (34%), 40,000 Scots (31% including both the Highlanders and the Scotch-Irish), 15,000 Germans (11%) and 31,000 African Americans (24%). As a result, Philemon, unlike his colonial forefathers, lived next door to people with different accents, customs and religious beliefs. It was an interesting time to live.219
I have every reason to believe that Philemon and his family still belonged to the Anglican Church from the time he moved from Virginia until his death. Admittedly, however, I am not positive. The Anglican Church was present in Granville County during that period. Saint John's Church, which was built in Williamsboro in about 1757, was the county's first Anglican Church. That church, which still stands today, is the oldest frame church in North Carolina and the third oldest church building of any type in the whole state. Prior to the construction of that building, there were reportedly three Anglican congregations in the county: one called "Nut Bush" in the town of Williamsboro, St. George's in Harrisburg (less than a mile east of present-day Oxford) and Banks Chapel in Wilton (in the southern part of the county). Although Philemon and his offspring may well have attended services at Saint John's church after its construction in 1757, I believe that -- if they still belonged to the Anglican Church -- they would have attended services in Harrisburg, a town closer to Philemon's home on Poplar Creek than either of the other two churches.
The Bradfords, however, were soon surrounded by people who adhered to faiths other than the Anglican Church. Hence, whereas the Church of England was the "only show in town" in Charles City County, Granville County's growth made it home to people with a host of different beliefs. There were, for example, Presbyterians in the county since its beginning and, slowly, Baptists grew in number.
Some pain accompanied Granville County's growing religious diversity. As the diversity of Granville County's population grew, so did the hostility to the colony's official religion. Several members of other religions were hostile to the Anglican Church since, by law, they were required to pay parish taxes to support that church even though they did not belong to it. That hostility, in turn, led many adherents of those faiths to grow hostile towards the government. Indeed, it was the general country-wide hostility to the state-supported church that later led Thomas Jefferson to demand a separation of church and state. Similarly, that hostility is the reason that the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment provision guarantees the freedom to exercise any religion and prohibits the government from establishing any "official" religion.220
Granville County Land Riots
Granville County's population growth had its painful moments. Just as Philemon's parents and grandparents witnessed Bacon's Rebellion, Philemon witnessed the Granville County land riots of 1759. Because the land owned by the Earl of Granville was so huge, he had to rely on a group of men to survey, grant and regulate that land for him. Some of those men were, charitably, not very ethical. Sometimes the same tract of land was granted to two different men. Illegal rents were collected. Oppression by the Granville agents began as early as 1752, when agents Thomas Child and Francis Corbin declared null and void all patents issued by their immediate predecessors, Mr. Moseley and Mr. Halton, on the legally shaky grounds that the phrase "Gr. by his attorneys" rather than "Right Honorable Earl" was written after Granville's signature on each of those patents. The locals, who rightly learned to distrust those agents, filed a number of complaints with the colony's legislature and the Earl of Granville.
After four years of having their complaints ignored, however, the wronged took matters into their own hands. Hence, when one of Granville's agents, Mr. Haywood, died owing back rents to several Granville County residents, the enraged citizenry went to his home, dug up his grave and broke open the coffin to see if he was really dead -- or if it was just another trick. It would appear that the maxim "no rest for the wicked" was taken quite literally in early Granville County. What a night! Haywood's unceremonious (although understandable) disinterment, however, only started the mob's festivities that night. They did not go straight home.
The sight of Haywood's corpse only temporarily satisfied the Granville County mob. That group of rioters soon turned to find any surviving scoundrels who had cheated them. Hence, a number of Granville and Edgecombe County men, possibly including some of the Bradfords or their neighbors, grabbed their guns, mounted their horses and rode to the house of another Granville agent, Francis Corbin. In the dark of night that angry mob grabbed a stunned -- and probably terrified -- Corbin at his home, kidnapped him and whisked him to nearby Enfield where he was held for several days until he agreed to produce his records and refund all illegally charged rents. Thus, eighteen years before the American Revolution, Granville County witnessed the type of rebellious and independent spirit that eventually earned our independence from Britain.221
As a side note, can you imagine (bonus points if you can do it without laughing) how much more responsive to your concerns your government officials would stay if the Granville County mob were just around the corner keeping an eye on them? There would be no need to call twice to complain about the faulty traffic light down the street and few politicians would risk being caught with their hands in the community cookie jar.
Although an active land speculator, Philemon did not just trade in land, he also farmed it. Like his father, Philemon was a planter. His largest crop, if he was like most of his neighbors, was probably Indian corn. Wheat was also commonly grown. Although he probably also grew tobacco, that crop was less for commerce than for the payment of parish and county taxes. Tobacco prices were high in 1762, but that crop's importance declined after that. Philemon probably also owned at least one fruit orchard. Some of the plantation's fruit was made into cider. In turn, its a fair bet that some of that cider was turned into brandy. I am not suggesting that Philemon was a drinker, it is just that in those days, making brandy was the only known way to preserve fruit. Hence, if you wanted to taste fruit in the winter, you had to drink brandy. Brandy was reportedly the most common strong drink in Granville County at the time.
Philemon's plantation also included livestock. He, like virtually all farmers in his day, almost certainly had a number of hogs and cattle. Indeed, pork, beef and cornbread were probably the most common things served at the Bradford dinner table. Sheep also appeared in the county around that time and, therefore, many of the county's families owned wool wheels. Philemon also owned horses which he used for labor and transportation. Interestingly, farm animals were allowed to run wild in Granville County. According to local law, farmers were not expected to fence in their animals, but, stunningly, were required to keep their crops fenced in. Hence, if a farmer's crops were trampled or eaten by a neighbor's livestock, he could not recover from the animals' owner until he first proved that he had a regulation-size fence around those crops. Horses were branded for identification. Similarly, hogs and cattle had their ears marked.
With Philemon's and his neighbors' animals running wild, you might think that others were tempted to steal livestock. Perhaps, but I am sure they fought the urge. The penalty was too steep. Any person who either stole livestock or placed their brand or mark on another person's livestock was fined ten pounds plus the animal's value. For a second offense, the perpetrator was given forty lashes and his or her left hand was branded with a "T" (presumably signifying "thief") by means of a red-hot iron, in addition to the fine. As bad as that sounds, consider the consequences if the perpetrator were an Indian, slave or mulatto: their ears were cut off after their first offense. Repeat offenders from that group were put to death. No pork chop is worth that.
Tools were plentiful in Philemon's day. He, like his neighbors, probably used axes, plows, handsaws, hoes, claw hammers, cross-cut saws and plow shares. He also owned wagons and harnesses for his horses. Horses, however, were not just for farm work -- they were also the primary mode of transportation. Horseback remained the best way to travel in North Carolina until the end of the eighteenth century. Even so, a man with a good horse could average no better than thirty-five miles a day. For jobs like pulling the farm's crops to the market, however, two and four horse teams were used to pull four-wheeled wagons. The roads, however, were narrow, often no wider than a cart's wheels, and probably became impassable in winter months. Travel was also made difficult by North Carolina's numerous rivers, creeks and swamps. Because of the adverse winter travel conditions, the Bradfords probably spent most of the cold winter months indoors reading, working and trying to keep warm.222
While Philemon had a large family, he did not rely solely on his family members to tend the crops. He also had slaves. Whereas no records indicate that Richard I or Richard II were slave owners, Philemon definitely was. The proof, as you will later see, is that he passed on eleven slaves to his children in his will. Those men and women, probably purchased at auction, almost certainly played a large role in the plantation's operations.
This is as good a time as any to discuss slavery. An important aspect of early America, slavery planted the seeds that led to the Civil War and the future division of America.
The first African slaves were brought to America in 1619 when a Dutch Man-of-war's skipper sold twenty of them to a group of Virginia colonists. Slavery, however, was slow to catch on in the Virginia Colony. The Virginia colonists in Richard I and Richard II's day still relied primarily on indentured Englishmen to provide their farm labor. Hence, in 1649 there were only 300 people of African descent in America and that number reached only 6,000 (most of which were slaves) by 1700. By Philemon's day, however, slaves had largely supplanted indentured servants as the provider's of colonial plantation labor. Indeed, by 1754, slaves comprised twenty-six per cent of Granville County's population, with that number soaring to forty-one per cent by 1782.
In today's enlightened age, we recoil at the thought of the outright ownership of humans. Moreover, it is difficult to believe that such bartering in humanity took place in a country now so dedicated to freedom and the value of the individual. But, in fairness to those early colonists, the slavery system was legal at the time and, apparently to their way of thinking, the most economical way to financially compete in a market in which farm labor was becoming increasingly expensive.
Slavery, moreover, was socially acceptable -- even prevalent -- in the early middle and southern colonies. Indeed, several early U.S. Presidents owned slaves. The slave-owning Presidents include: George Washington (who owned 216 slaves in 1773); Thomas Jefferson (185 in 1809); James Madison (166 at one time); Andrew Jackson (160 upon taking the presidency); Zachary Taylor (300 upon taking office); John Tyler; James Polk (owned eighteen slaves); Andrew Johnson; and, surprisingly, Ulysses S. Grant. Hence, not only did two of the four presidents featured on Mount Rushmore own slaves, including the one who ironically wrote that it was self-evident that all men were created equal, so too, enigmatically, did the general who led the armies that eventually ended slavery in America. Philemon, therefore, was in some tall company in his now-frowned upon labor practice. I add this discussion not to forgive or rationalize that practice, but to place it in proper historical perspective.
Whatever the acceptability was in Philemon's day, it is unfortunate that Philemon and his fellow colonists began to rely on slavery to meet their labor needs. A short term solution, slavery was a long term mistake. Beyond the fact that the system of slavery is considered morally repugnant by their educated descendants, the early southerners' growing reliance on slave labor led the southern colonies to depend on a marginally successful agricultural economic system while the northern colonies took the lead in manufacturing, banking and world trade. Too many southerners never left the farms to explore other trades and professions. Education was not taken seriously enough. By the time that many Southerners realized that farming was a dead-end for them, they were financially, socially and educationally well behind their northern counterparts. Only now is the south recovering the ground it allowed the north to take by default in the years prior to the Civil War.223
Some of Philemon's descendants speculate that Philemon was a haberdasher and earned income from that profession in addition to the income he derived from his land speculation and crop production. Their speculation is based upon the following September 4, 1750, North Carolina land record:
Thomas Bradford of Northampton Co. N.C., farmer, to Philemon Bradford of same county, haberdasher, for 20 pounds, 200 acres on Quarret Creek, being a half of 400 acres near Lick Creek. Witnesses: Jno. Norris, Jno. White, Geo. King, Alex Burch.224
Haberdashers, once prevalent in England and colonial America, no longer appear in America's cities. The dictionary defines a haberdasher as a retail dealer in men's furnishings, such as shirts, ties, gloves, socks and hats or a dealer in small wares and notions. Haberdashery specialists first appeared in the mid-14th century. One can get a flavor of goods in a haberdashery from the inventory of a seventeenth century haberdashery which reportedly included pins, needles, thimbles, bodkins, girdles, looking glasses, small chests, purses, bracelets, rings, ribbon, thread, tape, buttons, toothpicks, spectacles, spectacle cases, artificial flowers, combs, inkhorns, brushes and money boxes. Some haberdashers sold dolls. Hence, some haberdashers catered not just to men, but the whole family. Regardless of their clientele, the colonial haberdashers were inevitably involved in trade with British merchants since so many of their goods could not be produced in the colony. 225
It is unclear, however, that the Philemon Bradford who is the focus of this chapter was the haberdasher mentioned in that 1750 land record. While it is conceivable that they are one and the same man, the evidence is inconclusive. Notably, however, none of the numerous land records in Granville County mention Philemon's profession as that of haberdasher. Instead, those later records describe him, if at all, as a planter. Moreover, Philemon was busy buying land in Granville County before 1750 and, therefore, may not have fairly been described as living in Northampton County at the time (as was Philemon the haberdasher). Nevertheless, people do change professions and Philemon Bradford was not a common name (indeed, I believe that we are related to each of the handful of Philemon Bradfords who have ever lived in North Carolina). At the very least, therefore, Philemon the haberdasher was a cousin or nephew of the Philemon Bradford who is featured in this chapter (particularly since the Thomas Bradford in that record was certainly Philemon's brother Thomas).
French and Indian Wars
Philemon lived at the time of a dispute the British call the Seven Years War and Americans call the French and Indian War. That war was the fourth and final dispute between France and Britain -- then the leading nations in Europe -- fought between 1689 and 1763. Curiously, each of those conflicts were referred to differently by Europeans and the American colonists. Hence, the war of the League of Augsburg (1689-1697) was known in America as King William's War; the War of Spanish Succession (1701-1713) was called Queen Anne's War; and the War of Austrian Succession (1744-1748) was known to the colonists as King George's War. Hence, it is not surprising that the Seven Years War (1756-1763), the war which was fought for imperial control of America, was termed the French and Indian War by the colonists.
Whatever that conflict is called, it resulted in a major enlargement of the portion of North America controlled by the Great Britain. Prior to that conflict, the British controlled the land east of the Appalachian Mountains. The French, who controlled Canada, encircled those lands with a line of forts that ranged from Quebec down to Detroit, south to Saint Louis and down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. A third European power, Spain, controlled Florida and all lands west of the Mississippi River. The English settlers were, in short, surrounded. As the British colonies grew, therefore, it became clear that something had to give. Hence, the British steadily pressed west until they had an inevitable series of disputes with the French. Those disputes, along with others back in Europe, culminated in the Seven Years War between France and Britain. Spain allied itself with France in that conflict.
Although the Seven Years War did not "officially" begin until 1756, that struggle "unofficially" began in 1754 when George Washington, then a young officer, led a militia force in an attack against France's Fort Duquesne. Thereafter, an undeclared war was waged on American soil until the formal declaration of war in 1756. The French, who were greatly outnumbered in North America (75,000 French versus over one million British colonists), bolstered their forces by recruiting their Indian allies to help them. Those tribes, who resented the increasing British presence, accepted firearms from the French and joined them in raiding the colonial frontiers.
The war was a great victory for the British. After the war, the British entered into a treaty with the French which expanded greatly the Britain's North American land holdings. In that treaty of 1763, France surrendered control of Canada and all lands between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River (except New Orleans) to Great Britain. France also turned over the huge tract of land called "Louisiana" (later the subject of the Louisiana Purchase) to Spain. In return, however, Spain was required to surrender Florida to Great Britain.
The Seven Years War was important to Britain and its colonies for several reasons: it expanded the empire, it removed Spain and France as competitors for the continent's control, it gave many colonists fighting experience, and it showed the colonists that they could join together for a common cause -- each of those factors proved invaluable when the colonists fought for their independence a few years later. There were about 1.5 million people living in the American colonies at the war's end.226
Philemon died a few years later -- about six and a half years after the French and Indian War and six and a half years before the American Revolution. His will, dated August 25, 1769, was proven in the Granville County court in January 1770 with his wife Mary appearing as executrix and his son Thomas appearing as executor. After debts and funeral expenses, Philemon left five pounds each to his daughters Elizabeth Hudspeth, Mary White and sons Thomas and Richard. To his wife, Mary, he left "the plantation where I live," four male and three female slaves and "all stock and household goods" until she either died or re-married. To his son John he left "all that track of land I purchased of my son Thomas Bradford on each side of Fort Creek ... containing fore hundred acres more or less" as well as, at his mother's death, three named slaves, all cattle he was keeping "at William Parnals," three cows and calves, six sows and pigs, two beds and furniture -- all of which was to be divided equally among Philemon's other children if John died childless. Philemon's son David was to inherit, on his mother's death, the "400 acres whereon I live" which was described as being "on Poplar Branch" and another thirty acres Philemon had purchased from his son Thomas, along with four slaves, six cows and calves, two beds and furniture -- all of which was to be divided among David's siblings if that son died childless. Philemon's will was witnessed by Joseph Parker, Mary Parker, James Heflin and Christopher Parnal and was proven in open court upon the oaths of Joseph Parker and James Heflin. 227
Philemon's will solves a mystery. Philemon's many land transfers make it virtually impossible to identify which of those lands he actually lived on. His will, however, identifies the land he lived on as an approximate 400 acre plot on the waters of Granville County's Poplar Branch. Philemon's will specifically describes that tract as follows:
Fore hundred acres more or less and Bounded as followeth: to wit: Beginning at a white oak running east to a pine; thence north to a white oak thence west to a spanish oak thence south to a corner to two persimmon trees thence along a line of mark trees to the poppler Branch thence up the said branch to a corner poppler thence east to a ash thence south to the first station....
I have not yet pinpointed the location of Philemon's home as described in his will. The trees referred to therein are obviously long gone. Poplar Creek (Poplar Branch), described as a border of that approximate 400 acre plantation, is located about two miles east of Oxford, North Carolina, breaks off of Tabbs Creek and skirts the county line between Granville and Vance Counties. I am not sure who now lives on Philemon's former plantation.
The Will's Other Gleanings
Philemon's will also identifies the names of his wife (Mary) and seven children: sons Thomas, Richard, Philemon Jr., John and David and daughters Mary (who married a White) and Elizabeth (who married a Hudspeth). That document also gives an idea of the size of Philemon's estate, which I would describe as modest, but solidly middle to upper-middle class.
Finally, that record suggests that Philemon was a religious man. Although many colonial wills made reference to God, Philemon's references seem to exceed other contemporary wills. His will, for example, begins as follows:
In the name of God Amen. I Philemon Bradford of the county of Granville and province of North Carolina Being in perfect health and sound in mind and memory thanks be to God for the Same and knowing that it is appointed for all men to die Do make this my last will and Testament in manner and form following and first of I all I commend me soul to almighty God who gave it in assure and comfortable hopes of a joyful resurrection through the merits and sufferings of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ....
Hence, it seems that religion was an important part of Philemon's life. Perhaps the dye was cast from the time he was young. As his parents named him after a biblical character, clearly religion was important to them. Philemon's parents must have instilled those beliefs in Philemon who died "commending his soul to God Almighty."
Philemon's life was not vastly different from his father's. He ran large plantation lands and probably lived pretty close to the earth. Unlike his father, however, he was not a community leader. Philemon opted instead for a quiet life and active land speculation. He moved from his family's ancestral Virginia home to the young and growing colony of North Carolina. Although he died in North America 115 years after his grandfather Richard I first set foot there, he, like his forefathers, lived and died a British subject. Although he may have discussed the possibility of a break from Britain with his family and neighbors, he died before the events that triggered the American Revolution. He was the last Bradford in my line to have that distinction. Each of his children, however, lived to be among the first citizens of the United States of America.
I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.
There is nothing permanent except change.
IV. John (I) and Judith
I am a direct descendant of Philemon's son John Bradford. Before I set forth what I know about that son, however, I will share what I know about John's siblings. Incidentally, since I am also a direct descendant of John's grandson John Bradford (again, neither of which had identifying middle names), I will refer to Philemon's son as John Bradford I and to the latter as John Bradford II.
Elizabeth (Bradford) Hudspeth
John I's oldest sister, Elizabeth, married Giles Hudspeth sometime before the date Philemon's will was drafted in 1769 (some say that they were married in 1750). Giles, who was born in Henrico County, Virginia, to parents Ralph Hudspeth and Mary Carter in 1727, lived in Granville County's Fishing Creek area for several years during the mid 1700s. Giles and Elizabeth moved to Surry County, North Carolina, in about 1770. On October 9, 1793, Giles and Elizabeth's son Charles Hudspeth "farmlet" 208 acres in Surry County, North Carolina, to Giles (spelled Jiles) and Elizabeth Hudspeth (Giles's wife) in which those parents were given a lifetime claim to that land for the low price of ten shillings per year. 228 The Hudspeths and the Bradfords remained close for many years. Carter Hudspeth, a man with unknown connections to Giles, had a long and close relationship with the Bradford family. For example, one of the earliest records of Philemon in North Carolina, his sale of 400 acres on Persimmon Creek in the Edgecombe Precinct to William Williams for twenty-five pounds "current money of Virginia" on February 18, 1744 was witnessed by Giles's brother Carter Hudspeth. 229 Interestingly, a neighbor of Philemon's in 1758 was reportedly named "Ralph Hedgspeth" -- probably a misspelled reference to one of the Hudspeths. 230 If so, that record provides further evidence of how the colonists' inability to travel far resulted in their marriage to surrounding neighbors. Philemon sold 150 acres in Granville County on the north side of Fishing Creek to Carter Hudspeth for fifty pounds on June 2, 1759. 231 Carter Hudspeth died in Granville County in either late 1795 or early 1796 and his will, dated September 4, 1795, was proved in the Granville County court in February 1796. 232 Giles and Carter both served in the Granville County militia in 1754. Hence, both of them appeared in Captain Andrew Hampton's Company during the October 8, 1754, Granville County militia's general muster before Col. William Eaton. 233
Both Giles and Elizabeth died in Surry County, North Carolina: him in September 1796 and her sometime after the drafting of her November 15, 1802, will. They had eleven children, including: (1) Mary Ann Hudspeth (born 1772, married Caleb William Webb in Surry County on December 11, 1797, moved with her three sons to Overton County -- now Clay County -- Tennessee in 1830, she died there in about 1842); (2) William Hudspeth (will filed in Surry County on March 4, 1778); (3) Giles Hudspeth Jr. (will filed in Granville County on July 19, 1780); (4) Benjamin Hudspeth; (5) Charles Hudspeth (married to Elizabeth Glenn in Surry County on July 18, 1788, died after June 1, 1830, in Madison, Alabama); (6) Elizabeth Hudspeth; (7) Jemima Hudspeth; (8) Ralph Hudspeth; (9) Martha (Patty) Hudspeth (married Thompson Glenn); (10) Hannah Hudspeth (born about 1770, married Absalom Holman in Surry County on January 27, 1794, died about 1848 in Overton County, Tennessee).234
Mary (Bradford) White
I know very little of John's sister Mary other than that she married a Mr. White sometime before Philemon drafted his will in 1769. Her husband is believed to have been the Jonathan White who died in Granville County in 1774 and had his estate settled by John Bradford's brother Thomas Bradford in August of that year. Thomas Bradford inventoried and sold the contents of White's estate in May of 1774. 235 White, incidentally, was such a well respected member of the Granville County militia that the members of that unit requested that colony's governor to appoint him captain of that military unit in 1755. Prior to that time, White had been a commission of the peace. 236
Philemon Bradford Jr.
Philemon Bradford Junior, however, left a few more footprints than some of John I's other siblings. Philemon Jr. was listed as one of the nine justices of the Granville County court when that group convened in August, 1793. He was also a co-executor of William Buchanan's will in 1788 and brother Thomas's will in 1786. 237
Philemon Jr. probably died in 1804. His will, which was dated June 23, 1800, was proven in the Granville County court in May, 1804. Philemon's will mentions his wife Elizabeth (some speculate that her last name was Booker) and his nine children: daughters Mary Bradford, Nancy Bradford, Massy Fuller, Elizabeth Hooker, Sarah Tuggle and Jemima Bridges; son in law Jonathon Moore (who was the surviving spouse of Philemon Jr.'s deceased daughter Fanny); and sons Booker Bradford and Harris Bradford.238
Several of Philemon Jr.'s children married in Granville County: Fanny married John Moore in 1782; Sarah married John Tuggle in 1784; Booker married Fanny Mann in 1788; Harris married Mary Pruett (or Prewitt) in 1790; Jemima married Joseph Bridges in 1796; Elizabeth married John Hooker (although I am not sure where or when the marriage occurred, a Granville County record reflects that John Hooker died on May 13, 1800 and left all of his estate to his wife Elizabeth); Nancy married Simpson Mangum in 1814; and Mary (also called Polly) married John Finch in 1815.239 I am not certain which Fuller married Massy, but I suspect that it was the Joseph Fuller who joined Massy Fuller and Mary Bradford in proving John Hooker's will in Granville County in 1800. 240 Descendants of several of those children of Philemon Jr. are active family genealogists and have much information about that branch of the family's line. 241
A number of Philemon Junior's descendants, including members of the Bradford, Tuggle, Moore, Bridges and other related families moved to Smith County, Tennessee, between 1798 and the 1820s. Included in that group was, among others: Booker Bird Bradford (with his wife Fanny and children, Joseph, Agnes, Nancy, Polly and Elizabeth); Jesse and Isham Fuller (sons of Joseph and Massey Fuller); and John Tuggle and Sarah Bradford Tuggle, who died and were buried in Smith County). A fuller discussion of those and other descendants of Philemon Bradford Sr. is in The History of Smith County Tennessee, a work sponsored by the Smith County Homecoming '86, Heritage Committee.242 Harris Bradford and his wife Mary moved to the eastern part of Sumner County, Tennessee (in an area east of Nashville that later split off and became Smith County) and then, in about 1822, they moved to Gibson County, which is located near the western end of Tennessee. Harris lived on a small hill northwest of Humboldt which overlooks the present Forked Deer River bottom and, 170 years later, his ancestors still live there. Harris, who died in 1836, left ten children. Much information about his descendants is set forth in Families and History of Gibson County, Tennessee to 1989. 243
Relation to Vice President Al Gore?
Before moving on the rest of Philemon's children, you may find it interesting to know that the Bradfords are apparently distantly related by marriage to Vice President Al Gore. Vice President Gore, you see, hails from Carthage, Tennessee, the county seat of Smith County -- the same county that so many of Philemon Bradford's descendants moved to in the late 1700s and early 1800s. As stated above, one of the related families that moved from North Carolina to that area during that period was the Moore family. Elizabeth Moore, daughter of James Moore, married Enoch Gann (1810-1853) in Smith County, Tennessee, in 1831. 244 Enoch and Elizabeth's granddaughter, Cathrine Montgomery Gann (1873-1949), in turn, married James Senson Gore (1865-1945) in Smith County in about 1890. 245 James S. Gore's brother Allen Gore (1869-1956) was Vice President Gore's grandfather. 246
As you can see, the Bradford family's relationship to the Vice President is attenuated at best. Hence, we should not be quick to criticize him for not inviting each of Richard Bradford I's descendants to Washington for the recent inaugural festivities. Nevertheless, kin is kin and an occasional Christmas card from him, Tipper and the family would be nice.
John's oldest brother, Thomas, also left plenty of footprints between his birth in 1731 and his death in 1785. He and his wife Mary had nine children: Elizabeth (who married John Prewitt in 1769); Mary (who married a Mr. Lovet); Philemon (who married Susan Clopton on March 25, 1779); David (who married Mary Keraney, or perhaps Kearny, on August 2, 1784, and who is referred to as David Bradford Jr. in Granville County records); Thomas Jr. (who married in Polly Hargraves on August 12, 1782, and is believed to have married a second wife, Martha Garrison, on February 13, 1804); Ephriam; Benjamin (who married Polly Smith in 1783, before moving to Tennessee and, later, Louisiana); Sarah (who married James Fuller in 1786); and Sealy (who married Coleman Reed White in 1786).247
Thomas, the oldest of Philemon's children, like his father, actively snapped up available land in Granville County. Hence, Thomas was granted 640 acres on the Lick Creek branch of Flatt River on March 25, 1752. He was granted 412 acres on the north side of Fishing Creek on March 10, 1761. Finally, also on March 10, 1761, he was granted 430 acres on both sides of Fort Creek "joining Philemon Bradford's line." Thomas sold that last tract to his father for ten pounds on November 11, 1961.248 Eight years later, as mentioned earlier, Philemon passed that land to his son John Bradford I -- my great, great, great, great, great grandfather.
Thomas also served in the Granville County militia. Hence, Thomas appeared at that militia's general musters on October 8, 1754 and September 6, 1755.249
Thomas died in Granville County in 1786. His will, dated March 22, 1785, was proved in the Granville County court in May 1786. James Heflin delivered the sermon at Thomas's funeral.250 Thomas, like his brother Philemon Jr., has a number of descendants who have actively traced his branch of the Bradford family tree. 251
Notably, two of Thomas's sons (Philemon, ca.1755-1824, and Thomas Jr., ca.1750-ca.1835) reportedly moved to Greenville County, South Carolina, in 1797. Thereafter, in 1814, the descendants of those two sons reportedly all moved from South Carolina to Alabama.252 Indeed, a wealth of information on the descendants of Philemon's descendants can be found in the Asheville Library and Archives in St. Clair County, Alabama. Most informative is a large descendancy chart, going all the way back to the first Philemon Bradford, which lists over a hundred Bradford descendants. 253 That chart, created by Earl Massey of Trussville, Alabama, has information on a host of descendants of Philemon who moved to Alabama, including, most tantalizingly, the Presley family (i.e., a Mary Bradford married William R. Presley in Alabama in about 1840) -- whether or not that makes the Bradfords related the "King of Rock and Roll" Elvis Aaron Presley (who was born in nearby Tupelo, Mississippi ninety-five years later), I do not know. I leave that to another researcher to discover. 254
Finally, I cannot move on without passing on a story, recorded in a researcher's notes that are housed in the Asheville (Alabama) Library and Archive, of one Bradford's involvement in handling Civil War bushwackers. According to that report, there was a shady group of renegades in St. Clair County, Alabama, who, during the Civil War, joined neither side in the war but, instead, "preyed upon the defenseless old men, women and children, terrorizing them at night by burning their homes and robbing them of all their possessions, even kill[ing] many disabled men. Those pillagers called themselves "Tories." One night the Tories went on a rampage in Springfield, Alabama. First they beat, robbed and left for a dead a Mr. Louis Hening. Next they grabbed Mr. Wiley Truss who they would not allow to dress since, as they told him, they planned to kill him. Truss was taken to a briar patch where he was to be killed with neighbor John Bradford after the Tories seized Bradford. When the Tories went to Bradfords house and demanded his surrender, Bradford responded with gunfire, killing one of the bushwackers and shooting the finger off of another. They Tories beat a hasty retreat and the dead Tory, still wearing the boots and ring he had stolen from Hening earlier that night, was buried in Bradford's turnip patch. Reportedly, that night ended the Tories' reign of terror.
It is difficult to track Philemon's son Richard Bradford since that son lived in Granville County at the same time that Philemon's brother Richard Bradford III and that brother's son Richard Bradford IV lived there. Hence, Granville County records that refer merely to "Richard Bradford" without more are ambiguous and not very helpful. Nevertheless, some records are helpful. Richard's name, for example, appears in several records that also mention his brother Thomas. Specifically, Thomas was the witness when Richard deeded land to their father in 1762. Similarly, Richard was the witness when Thomas deeded Philemon land in the following year. Thomas also witnessed Richard's purchase of 472 acres that adjoined Granville County's Low Ground Creek "near Wilkerson's Path" in 1763. Richard was granted 600 acres on Beaver Dam Creek in 1760 (360 of which he sold to his father in 1762). 255 Richard was a neighbor of Thomas Banks in 1763. Richard still lived in Granville County in March 1785, according to his brother Thomas's will which was drafted at that time. Specifically, Thomas's will left "418 acres adjoining Philemon Bradford, my son, and my brother Richard Bradford's land." 256 I am not sure if Richard married and do not know what subsequently became of him or his lands, although it has been suggested that he moved to Bedford County, Tennessee.257
The youngest of John's siblings was his brother David. Like John I, David spent his entire life in Granville County, North Carolina. On November 6, 1777, at the age of twenty-three, while the Revolutionary War was raging, David married Elizabeth Mann. 258 David also joined the Granville County militia and served as a private in the Revolutionary War. 259 According to Granville County tax lists, David owned 1,987 acres in Granville County as early as March 25, 1788, and as late as 1799. David, who lived in that county's Beaverdam District, died just before 1800 and his will, dated August 25, 1797, was probated in the Granville County court in May, 1800. David left his estate to his wife Elizabeth and his two children, James and Ann. David's will was witnessed by his brother John and John's wife, Elizabeth. John and his son Elijah proved that will in court in 1800. 260
David's daughter Ann married Vincent Rust in Granville County on August 23, 1769.261 David's son James married Elizabeth Rust in Wake County, North Carolina on July 2, 1803. James, according to Granville County's tax lists, lived in the county's Beaverdam District and owned 1,200 acres in 1800 and 1,280 acres in 1801. Later James moved to Smith County, Tennessee, along with several of his relatives in 1812. The History of Smith County Tennessee, which provides much more information about that James Bradford and his descendants, says that James died leaving a large family in 1813. 262
Bradford Boys Marry the Mann Sisters, Have Children
John and David were brothers and, apparently, good friends. Close in age, they grew up together on their father's plantations and, when it came time to marry, married two sisters: Elizabeth Mann and Judith Mann. (Incidentally, those brothers were also close to their nephew Booker Bradford who married Fanny Mann in 1788 and, later, was described as a "friend" when he was named as an executor of David's will). Elizabeth, Fanny and Judith (who is referred to as Judy in her father's will) were each daughters of John Mann, whose will dated June 2, 1785, in Wake County, North Carolina. Mann's will mentions each of those daughters as well as his wife (Elizabeth), four other daughters (Avy, Agnes, Nancy and Anne) and six sons (Arnold, John, Zachaeus, David, Peter and Joseph). 263
John, the older brother, was already married to Judith Mann when his brother David married her sister Elizabeth in 1777. Whereas David and Elizabeth had only two children, however, John and Judith had at least ten. Although I do not know the birth dates of most of those children, I do know the names of their three sons and seven daughters; John Jr. (born in 1776), William, Elijah, Ava, Judith, Mary, Fanny, Nancy (born in 1788), Rutha and Lydia.
Unlike his father, John did not move around. He lived his entire life on the 430 acre Fort Creek plantation which he inherited from his father. That estate must have bustled with activity, particularly in light of John's huge family and the growing number of Bradford relatives living in Granville and surrounding counties.
For those interested in the family of John I's wife, Judith Mann Bradford, there is a discussion of her family in John Bennett Boddie's Historical Southern Families. Boddie suggests that Judith's father, John Mann, was either the son or brother of Thomas Mann of King William County, Virginia. Boddie's hypothesis is based on the following: (1) three of John Mann's sons witnessed the May 7, 1788, Wake County, North Carolina, will of David Gill Sr. which mentions Gill's rights to a child's portion of the estate of Thomas Mann of Virginia's King William County, a right Gill allegedly earned through his wife (who was, therefore, apparently one of Thomas Mann's daughters); and (2) John Mann's will was witnessed by David Gill Sr. as well as Gill's sons David Jr. and Isaac (hence further suggesting a close family relationship between the Gills and the Manns). Boddie goes on to suggest that Judith's father John was possibly a descendant of Arnold Mann, a planter whose wife was named Mary, who first appeared in Virginia's King William County in 1696/97. In making that suggestion, Boddie emphasizes that one of Judith's brothers was named Arnold.264 Boddie, therefore, suggests that, like most North Carolinian's of that time, her parents were transplanted Virginians.
John was a young man during a very exciting era of our country's history. It was a time of discovery. Moreover, John, who was born in 1751, was a contemporary of Daniel Boone's.
Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734, but moved to North Carolina with his parents in 1750. Boone, who traveled through the Cumberland Gap and explored the land that was to become known as Kentucky, was hired to survey that area by a Granville County business, the Transylvania Company (originally called the Richard Henderson Company), in 1772. The Transylvania Company was financed, in large measure, by investors living in Granville County. That company signed a treaty with the Cherokee Indians in 1775 which granted the colonists possession of the land that would later comprise most of the state of Kentucky. Almost immediately, the Transylvania Company sent Boone and thirty others to blaze a trail to that land. The Transylvania Company later sent a group of settlers who founded Boonesborough in May, 1775.265
While we may never know for sure, John Bradford I, a Granville County resident of some financial means at the time, may have invested in the Transylvania Company and Boone's ventures. Furthermore, while it is unclear whether Daniel Boone ever came back east to visit his Granville County employers, he may well have. If so, I wonder if John passed him on the street, or overheard Boone tell stories of his adventures in the land west of the Appalachia Mountains, a land which the Bradfords and other early colonists considered the wild west. Kentucky was a far-off land to John I, and he scarcely could have known that several of his descendants would, years later, follow Boone's trail on their way to a new home in that state.
John also witnessed a time of open rebellion. John lived during the American Revolution. Before that, however, John witnessed a revolt by a group of North Carolinians known as "the Regulators." That regional dispute arose because farmers in North Carolina's then-westernmost counties (Orange, Anson, Rowan, Franklin and Granville) tired of struggling with the colonial and local governments which they considered inefficient, unfair and intolerable. Those colonists, a group which may well have included some Bradfords, their friends, neighbors or relatives, felt they had suffered enough of what they considered dishonest sheriffs, extortionate fees, corrupt lawyers and excessive taxes. Furthermore, they did not believe that the colony's legislative leaders -- most of whom lived in the colony's eastern counties -- did anything to solve their problems. In 1768 many of those farmers organized as "Regulators" to "regulate" the government and remedy its abuses. After some riots and violence, the Regulators were defeated in the Battle of Almance Creek on May 16, 1771. Seven of the revolt's leaders were put to death, but more than 6,000 were pardoned by the colony's governor. 266 Most Granville County residents were either Regulators or in sympathy with them. I have no reason to think that the Bradfords were any different than their neighbors in that respect. 267 Openly or secretly, they must have applauded the Regulators in their efforts.
The American Revolution
North Carolina's experience with the Regulators, however, was only a glimpse of things to come. A few years later, John witnessed the American Revolution and the birth of the United States of America. That war ended Britain's control of the American colonies and immediately transformed the many descendants of Richard Bradford from British citizens into the first citizens of the United States of America.
The revolution broke out in April, 1775. North Carolina's governor immediately fled and that colony's royal authority broke down. Thereafter, Granville County played an important role in the Revolution. First, it contributed soldiers. Granville County was one of the thirty-five North Carolina counties that were asked in 1775 to raise Minute Men. Since it was one of the state's four most populous counties, however, it raised three companies whereas most of North Carolina's counties raised only two. While few battles took place in North Carolina, soldiers from that county went north and fought under General George Washington and suffered through the terrible winter of 1778-1779 at Valley Forge with him.268
In addition to providing soldiers for that war, Granville County was an important source of agricultural supplies for the colonial troops. Feeding and supplying those troops was a big job and North Carolina was heavily involved in that process.
Granville County, moreover, was the home of John Penn, a member of the Second Continental Congress and one of the three men who signed the Declaration of Independence on behalf of North Carolina. Penn, a lawyer from Virginia, moved to Granville County's Williamsboro in 1774. A pleasant speaker, Penn became an immediate community leader and was sent as a delegate to the state's Provincial Congress in Hillsboro in 1775. Penn became one of the most popular members of that provisional government's 184 member body. One month later, Penn was selected as one of North Carolina's delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. On April 4, 1776, Penn and the other delegates to Philadelphia were on the way home when North Carolina's Provisional Congress met in Halifax and passed a resolution which empowered Penn and the other North Carolina delegates to the Continental Congress to "concur with the delegates of other colonies in declaring Independence, and forming foreign alliances." Later, Penn and the other North Carolina delegates, Joseph Hewes and William Hooper, returned to Philadelphia and voted for and signed the Declaration of Independence. Penn served as a member of Congress until 1777, was re-elected in 1778 and served until 1780. Later Penn, along with North Carolinians John Williams and Cornelius Harnett, ratified the Articles of Confederation on North Carolina's behalf. At the end of his public career, Penn retired to practice law. Penn died on September 14, 1787, at the age of forty-six.269
North Carolinians, a people who quickly expressed their displeasure with the colonial government (as shown by the land riots and, later, with the Regulators' revolt), seemed to have a general displeasure with British authority. They were anxious to rid themselves of the effect of the Stamp Act, the Navigation Acts, the Sugar Act, the "Intolerable Acts," and any and all other restrictive measures enacted by the British government. Hence, by the time the North Carolina provisional government voted to instruct its delegates to support independence from Britain in April 1776, most North Carolinians favored a break from Britain. That body (which, as discussed earlier, included Richard I's descendant Colonel John Bradford of Halifax County) also unanimously adopted a document which listed grievances against the government and suggested ways to resolve them. That document, "the Halifax Resolves," was published and praised by newspapers throughout the American colonies.
It was not until July 22, 1776, that North Carolinians learned of the July 4 signing of the Declaration of Independence. On that date, the North Carolina Council of Safety, meeting in Halifax, adopted a resolution which declared that North Carolinians no longer owed allegiance to Britain. That resolution was first publicly read in Halifax on August 1. John I and the other Granville County Bradfords must have heard the news shortly thereafter.270
Most people incorrectly consider the Civil War the only war in American history that pitted neighbor against neighbor in open warfare. In truth, however, that also happened during the Revolutionary War. Many colonists were not convinced that it was a good idea for the colonies to break from Britain. Indeed, John Adams once said that only about one-third of the colonists supported independence with a third opposing it and the others being indifferent. Adams's analysis held true in North Carolina. Hence, North Carolinians who opposed the Revolution, the "Tories," battled the revolution-supporting North Carolinians, or "Whigs," in February 1776. The Tories were soundly defeated. Thereafter, North Carolina's Whigs passed a series of laws which confiscated a million dollars worth of Tory property. Many Tories left the state as a result.271
One author described North Carolina at the time of the Revolution as follows:
Independence from Great Britain was not an impulsive action resulting from mass hysteria. It had been talked about at firesides, in the churches, on the lonely trails, along the wharves and piers, in the fields, at formal balls, and at cabin play-parties. Freedom was often the subject of lengthy debate in legislative halls, and there were many who confessed that they often lay sleepless, planning and thinking of the risks involved.
Several of the colonies had an almost entirely English citizenry; North Carolina had more English than any other nationality, but it also had more non-English white people than any other southern colony. Its population was less concentrated in coastal towns; its settlers pushed farther into the back country. In a colony larger than that of New York, there were Swiss, German, Scotch-Irish, French Huguenot, and Negro, as well as the hardy English yeoman.... There were more small industries, more small farms and farmers, and there was more chafing against English rule than in South Carolina and Virginia.272
War's Impact on the Bradfords
I have often wondered what effect the war had on the Bradford family. I doubt if any of them were Tories, especially since none of them had their properties confiscated by the Whigs. If anything, I believe that John and his family supported the Revolution. I have not found any evidence that John fought in the war. John, however, was already a father of several of his eventual ten children and his time may have been deemed better spent protecting his homestead and supplying the revolutionary troops with agricultural goods from the Bradford plantation. Nevertheless, military records are incomplete and it is possible that John I was a revolutionary soldier. It is undisputed, however, that John's little brother, David, served as a Revolutionary War soldier in the Granville County militia and, fortunately, lived to tell his children about it. 273
Perhaps John attended one of the county's meetings at which the locals discussed, debated and finally agreed to support, the revolutionary cause. If so, perhaps he had a chance to share his views with neighbor John Penn, one of the Declaration of Independence's fifty-six signers, before Penn met with John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and the other members of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776.
During its six years, the war must have weighed heavily on the minds of the Bradfords who, invariably, had endless discussions about the war and the propriety of a break from Britain. Those discussions, if not arguments, must have happened at the dinner table, across the fence with neighbors, at church, in the street and at the county's well-attended county meetings.
While the outcome of the war had a great effect on the Bradfords of Granville County, North Carolina, they were fortunate that no battles took place there. In May or June of 1781, however, British commander Lord Cornwallis and his troops passed somewhere near Granville County's eastern border on their march from Wilmington to Yorktown. Since John and his family lived in southeastern Granville County at the time, they may well have watched silently -- or otherwise -- as Cornwallis's troops marched by. Indeed Cornwallis may have marched across the Bradford plantation on his march through the county. If so, the Bradfords saw those Brits marching to a date with destiny, for it was in Yorktown that Cornwallis was besieged by French and American troops until he finally surrendered to General George Washington in October 1781. Aside from a few minor skirmishes, Cornwallis's defeat at Yorktown marked the end of the war. After that, the British signed a treaty in 1781 which gave the colonists control of all the land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Alleghenies. Britain, however, retained the rest of its North American holdings, except for Florida, which it returned to Spain.
Militia Service and Loyalty Oaths
The Bradford family's role in the American Revolution may never be fully ascertained. Certainly several Bradfords, as well as their friends and neighbors, served in the North Carolina colonial militia. For example, the Granville County Muster Roll of October 8, 1754 includes not only Bradfords (Philemon Jr. and Thomas), but other names you will recognize. For example, there were Hudspeths (Carter and Giles), Whites (Jonathon Jr.), Mangans (William and James), and Fullers (Joseph and Samuel). 274 A partial Muster Roll from September 6, 1755, repeats some of those names. 275
John Bradford's name appears on a list of the members of the Granville County Militia which was made on October 3, 1771. In that list, John was named as a member of Captain Sol Alston's Company. Indeed, that Company was loaded with John's neighbors, friends and relatives. Specifically, that military unit included, for example: Philemon Bradford (Lieutenant); Samuel Fuller (Sergeant); Jones Fuller (Ensign); Aves Hudspeth (Corporal); James, William, John and Charles Heflin; and Israel and Joseph Fuller. Another Granville County Company was led by John I's in-law Jonathan Kittrell (Captain).276
Finally, several of the Bradfords (including Thomas Bradford Sr., Thomas Bradford Jr., Richard Bradford, Philemon Bradford Sr. and Philemon Bradford Jr.) signed oaths of allegiance to show their support for the revolutionary cause in 1777.277 Hence, while the Revolution was still raging and its outcome was very much in doubt, the Bradfords cast their lot with George Washington and the others. Other records, moreover, affirmatively establish that some Granville County Bradfords served as Revolutionary War soldiers. 278 While Granville County records are incomplete, I have every reason to believe that John Bradford I's loyalties were identical to those of his friends and relatives. He was, therefore, almost certainly a Patriot.
Several things changed for the Bradfords and their fellow North Carolinians in the years following the Revolutionary War. The state's size shrunk when North Carolina gave the United States possession of its western land claims. In 1796, that western region was admitted to the Union as the state of Tennessee. At the same time that North Carolina shrunk in size, it also became transformed from one of the many British colonies scattered around the world to one of the first states in a new country.
North Carolinians, however, did not rush to adopt the new country's Constitution since the state's leaders feared a strong central government. As a result, the United States Constitution was ratified in 1789 without North Carolina's (or Rhode Island's) approval. Those two states, as we all know, eventually joined the Union of the thirteen colonies. Nevertheless, North Carolina was the second to last colony to join the Union. Coincidentally, North Carolina's conservatism also led it to be the second to last state to secede from the Union in the Civil War. Hence, North Carolina was every bit as hesitant to leave this country as it was to join it in the first place.
Despite its initial hesitancy to join the Union, North Carolina eventually approved the Constitution. Soon thereafter, that state (and, therefore, presumably the Bradfords) began to back strongly the policies of the farmer's champion, Thomas Jefferson, a man who shared their fear of a strong central government. A farmer and son of a farmer, John I probably fell into that group.
End of the Anglican Church in America
Another big change brought about by the Revolutionary War was the end of the Anglican Church in America. That church was made the established church of North Carolina by a law enacted in 1715, and, presumably, was the church attended by the Bradfords since Richard's arrival in 1653. Nevertheless, that church simply disappeared with the war's end. Indeed, even though North Carolina did not adopt the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights for several years, North Carolina was the first colony to rid itself of the Anglican Church. In 1776, a full six years before the Revolutionary War was over, that state adopted a state constitution which guaranteed religious freedom and forbade the state's establishment of any religion. As a result, every Anglican Church pulpit in the state, including therefore the one in Granville County, was abandoned before the war's end. The American branches of the Anglican Church, to a large extent, turned into the Episcopal Church at the war's end. Granville County was no exception, and, hence, St. John's Church became an Episcopal Church after the Revolutionary War. It is still one today.
The Bradfords Become Baptists
John I and his family, therefore, by necessity -- if not by choice -- switched religious faiths by the war's end. Hence, it must have been at or around that time that the family converted to the Baptist religion. 279 Although not organized in the state until 1727, Baptists outnumbered all other denominations in North Carolina combined by 1755. That church's membership came largely from rural areas and, as a result, by 1860 only thirty of its 780 church buildings were located in towns or villages. In 1755 a Reverend McAden visited Granville County and reported that there were at least three Baptist congregations there at the time: "old Sherman's on Tar River;" the Baptist meeting-house" sixteen miles from Grassy Creek; and the "Baptist Yearly Meeting" at Fishing Creek. Local minister Reverend William Walker had established each of those congregations. The Bradfords did not live near the meeting house in Grassy Creek (which was in the northern part of Granville County), but they did live fairly close to both Tar River and Fishing Creek, which are in the southern part of the county. Indeed, on December 23, 1760, Bradford neighbor William Mangum (who I believe is an ancestor of Simpson Mangum who married Philemon Bradford Jr.'s daughter Nancy in Granville County in 1814) granted "two acres of land whereon he now lives and whereon the Meeting House now stands" to each male member of the Baptist Church "now under care of Rev. William Walker." 280
The Granville County Baptists were a fervent lot long before the Revolutionary War ended the Anglican Church. They were, moreover, apparently intolerant of the Anglican religion. For example, when Anglican minister Reverend Jason MaCartney visited the county in October of 1769, he apparently was not enthusiastically received. MaCartney reported to the Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of The Gospel that, although he succeeded in baptizing 221 whites and 79 blacks, "there were many Presbyterians in the Parish, and they have a minister settled amongst them. There are likewise many Baptists here, who are great Bigots." Nevertheless, the ever-dedicated MaCartney assured his superior at the Society that he would take "every prudent method I am capable of to abolish Dissension and make converts to the Church." MaCartney, however, was fighting a losing battle. The Baptists and other non-Anglicans were soon in an uproar over the Anglican Church's demands that they pay that church's taxes. That antagonism lasted until that church's reign in the state ended with the Revolutionary War.281 Granville County residents presented petitions protesting parish taxes in both 1771 and 1772. 282
The Great Awakening
Another factor that probably helped precipitate the Bradford family's conversion from the Anglicans to Baptists was the Great Awakening. The greatest revival in America's history, the Awakening profoundly affected this country. Although the Awakening began with some Dutch Reformed churches in East Jersey in the 1720s, it was still going strong in the Carolinas backcountry on the eve of the American Revolution. By the time the Awakening ended, the Anglican Church had ended in America, 250,000 people were converted to the protestant faith and 350 new churches were established.
The man who is given the greatest credit for beginning the Awakening was George Whitefield, an astonishing speaker whose "magical voice," by Benjamin Franklin's estimate, could be heard, without shouting, by 30,000 at one time. Whitefield, an animated speaker who often wept as he preached, could reportedly invoke such an array of tenor and pitch in his speech that he could convulse an audience merely by pronouncing "Mesopotamia." Farmers who traveled miles to hear Whitefield or one of the many Whitefield-inspired evangelists were not disappointed. At revivals during the Awakening there was frequent tearing of hair, swooning, falling down and crying -- by both the evangelist and members of the often huge crowds that inevitably formed when the evangelists spoke. Evangelists during the Awakening spoke of the better world to come and, when necessary, the dangers of those who strayed from the recommended path. Fear was thus frequently invoked. Evangelist Jonathon Edwards, for example, was reportedly "unusually terrifying" when he preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" before a congregation in 1741 (Edwards reportedly felt that the congregation in question had become "loose and indolent"). The evangelists were compelling and, hence, highly successful. Converts were abundant.283
By 1745 the Awakening was over in the northern colonies but just beginning in the South. All existing Protestant sects benefited from the Great Awakening. The Baptist Church was no exception. Hence, although the Baptist Church had previously played a minor role in colonial life, it became a great presence in 1755 when two evangelistic "Separate" Baptist preachers from New England traveled to North Carolina and gathered a flock in Sandy Creek near Cape Fear. Their success in North Carolina was considered immediate and spectacular and, as a result, the Sandy Creek Church soon became the head of a large Association. "Separate" preachers reportedly used a preaching style called "the holy whine" which was described as having a hypnotic and nasal quality. Carolina preachers when they were in full swing during the Awakening often invoked various bodily reactions in the crowd and themselves. Those reactions included "jerks," "barking" and "fallings" -- each of which were reportedly generally more extreme than those witnessed during revivals in the northern colonies.284
Granville County did not escape the Awakening's effects. Indeed, a change in the local Baptist Church's doctrine occurred when two missionaries from the Philadelphia Association reorganized some of Granville County's local Baptist churches on the basis of the Philadelphia Confession of Faith. As a result a local church Association was formed. Some Granville County Baptist churches, however, are believed to have belonged to the Sandy Creek Association. The Baptists were the first denomination to reportedly develop a well organized association in Granville County.285 Local citizens like the Bradfords, therefore, largely turned to the Baptist Church if they were seeking a faith to adhere to in light of the religious void left by the ending of Anglican Church in America.
Great Awakening Camp Meeting in the woods. Drawing by F.O.C. Darley.
John I, unlike his father Richard II, does not appear to have become involved in local government service. That is not to say, however, that he did not perform his civic duty, because he clearly did. The court minutes of Granville County show that John served on the county's grand jury in both February 1791 and November 1792. Similarly, that county's court records show that John was one of three "searchers" for the county's Fort Creek District in February 1793. Admittedly, however, I am not sure what a "searcher" was or what that job entailed. Shem Cooke Jr. and Charles C. Heflin were the other two Fort Creek searchers.286
John's name appears on North Carolina's first census. According to that census, made between 1784 and 1787, there were twelve people living on the Bradford plantation at the time: John, Judith, four sons under the age of twenty-one, three daughters and three slaves. 287 Similarly, John's name appears on the United States' first census, made in 1790. That census, however, only listed the name of the head of the household. Hence, all that record shows is that John was still the head of the household and that he was still living with his family in the Fort Creek District. 288
Each census that mentions John describes him as living in that county's Fort Creek district. A record in North Carolina's state archives in Raleigh describes each of Granville County's twelve districts in 1770. That record, which was made in 1894 from several minute books of Granville County's Court, describes the Fort Creek District as the area "bounded by Fort Creek from the mouth to the Bradfords by the Path from thence to the head of the Long Branch to Johnston County Line, by that Line to Tarr River, and by the River up to the mouth of Fort Creek." Similarly, that record describes the county's "Dutch District" as "bounded by Tarr River from the mouth of Fort Creek to Hambleton's Mill by the Trading Road, from thence to the Orange County Line, by the Orange County Line to the Johnston County Line, by the Johnston County Line to where the Long Branch crosses it, by Long Branch, from thence to the path that leads to Mrs. Bradford's on Fort Creek, and by Fort Creek to the Mouth." While I cannot be sure, I believe that the "Mrs. Bradford" referred to in that record was John's mother, Mary. Since Philemon died in 1769, his estate would properly be described as "Mrs. Bradford's" in 1770.
John also show up in later censuses. For example, the country's second census shows that in 1800 both John and Judith were over forty-five years old, and that seven children were still living with them. Two of the three boys living at home with them at that time were between sixteen and twenty-six years old, and the other one was under ten years old. That record also shows that John and Judith had five daughters living with them at the time: three between sixteen and twenty-six years old and two under the age of ten. John was fifty-one years old at the time.
The results of the 1810 Census were destroyed by a fire at the national archives, hence, it there is no record of the status of the Bradford household in that year. In 1820, however, John and Judith still had children living with them. According to the 1830 Census, taken three years after John died, there was a male aged between the ages of fifteen and twenty living with Judith. I believe that the male was his son John Bradford Jr., who was unmarried at the time of his father's death. I am not sure who the young female living in the home at the time was. The only unwed daughter that I know of was his daughter Lydia, but his will described her as living in Tennessee.
I cannot help but be jealous of John when I think of the time he lived in. He witnessed the American Revolution and this country's early growth. He is one of the few Americans who grew up paying taxes to Kings (George II, then George III) and ended up voting for Presidents (John lived during the tenures of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams).
John also lived to hear something that his father and grandfather never did -- a description of the land between the thirteen original colonies and the Pacific Ocean. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson hired Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to take a historic exploratory trip across the continent. In eighteen months, between 1804 and 1806, those two men blazed a trail across the continent and returned with maps and descriptions thereof. The news of Lewis and Clark's findings undoubtedly created great excitement in early America. Perhaps John and his children heard of that land and dreamed of seeing it.
The country expanded farther west during John's life. In 1804, when John was fifty-three, the country's size doubled. John, you see, lived while Napoleon was overrunning Europe. Napoleon was so powerful that, although the Spanish had long controlled the land west of the Mississippi River, he forced them to give France possession of the huge tract of land known as Louisiana. Americans were concerned about the threat of France -- then the most powerful country in the world -- colonizing that area. To avoid that possibility, President Jefferson persuaded the French to sell that tract to the United States for $15 million in 1803. That purchase gave America control of another million square miles and, importantly, control of the port of New Orleans. The Louisiana Purchase guaranteed sole control of the strategically important Mississippi River to the Americans.
The Louisiana Purchase was not the last expansionary act that America made during John's life. In 1814, America bought Florida from Spain. Thereafter, in 1818, America and Britain agreed to make the forty-ninth parallel the border between Canada, which Britain still controlled, and America. The United States had begun to take shape.
Americans began to believe that all continental lands west of its eastern holdings were eventually going to belong to the United States. That view, one of early America's so-called Manifest Destiny was prophetic. The march West had begun, and the hungry Americans were not to be stopped. Furthermore, President James Monroe stated in 1823 that the Americans demanded that they retain the balance of power in the Western Hemisphere: the "Monroe Doctrine" stated that the European powers could not establish any new colonies in the Western Hemisphere and, furthermore, that Europe must no longer interfere in the affairs of the New World nations in such a way as to threaten their independence. The Americans decided that only they should control what happened in their backyard.
America's new land holdings were quite popular with early Americans, like John, who must have dreamed of the beautiful land now available for settlement by Americans. Although John was too settled in to move, he no doubt saw several of his neighbors pack up and move west by wagon or boat. John, however, never saw any of the new American lands.
Early America's Political Landscape
Many of the American leaders in John I's day are considered legendary today. John I, for example, lived long enough to vote for Andrew Jackson, the seventh President of the United States (a South Carolinian, war hero and representative of the common man, Jackson almost certainly swept every vote in the Bradford household). John also lived during the tenures of Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams.
John not only saw the first Presidents but also witnessed the country's first political parties. The debates over the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 gave rise to two parties: the Federalists and the Antifederalists (the latter of which became the Democrat-Republicans). The former favored a strong federal government and the latter supported a league of states. North Carolinians like John I, as stated earlier, generally supported the Antifederalists. Nevertheless, John I must have been supportive of Washington, a Virginian who was also the nation's first war hero. John I, however, probably supported Thomas Jefferson -- an opponent of a strong central government and friend of the farmer -- in Jefferson's loss to Adams in 1796 and in Jefferson's victories in 1800 and 1804. Jeffersonian Democrats Madison and Monroe, both landslide winners, were probably also supported by John I and his family.
The election of 1824 must have aggravated John. Though North Carolina favorite Andrew Jackson won a clear plurality of the popular votes in a five-way election, the House of Representatives selected the country's president since no candidate had a majority of the electoral college. They chose John Quincy Adams. During the term of that second President Adams, the followers of that President joined forces with those of Henry Clay of Kentucky and became known as National Republicans (later known as the Whigs) while Jackson's followers became known as Democrats. A year before John I's death, Andrew Jackson, a man born to poverty and a hero to small planters like John I, swept away John Quincy Adams and ushered in a new way of thinking.
Last Will and Testament
John died in Granville County in 1829 at the age of seventy-eight. He left behind his wife, Judith, and at least nine children. His will, on file in Oxford, North Carolina, was made out by John on May 18, 1827, and was witnessed by Eaton J. White, James Spears and Anderson H. Walker. That will, proved in the Granville County court in August 1829, reads as follows:
In the name of God amen. I John Bradford of Granville County, being in sound and perfect mind and memory (blessed be God) do this the eighteenth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven make and publish this my last will and testament in the manner following:
First, I lend to my beloved wife Judith Bradford all my estate both real and personal during her natural life, excepting a bed and furniture, cow and calf, which I give to my son John Bradford on his marriage or at the decease of my wife.
Secondly, I will that at the decease of my wife my estate both real and personal be sold on [illegible] credit, and fifty dollars be given to my Grandson John Cawthon and fifty dollars to my Granddaughter Darthulia Bradford of Tennessee, by my executors; and to my daughters Mary Buchannan five shillings, to Lydia Bradford of Tennessee five shillings, and to John Mayfield five shillings, and the remainder of my property to be equally divided between my following children: Elijah Bradford, John Bradford, William Bradford, Rutha Allen, Nancy Higgs and Judith Allen. I also will that the portion I allotted for my daughter Fanny Mayfield, which is equal with my last named children, to be equally divided between the children she has, or may have, by John Mayfield, or their heirs begotten of their bodies in case of either of their deaths.
I nominate my worthy friend Philip White and my son William Bradford executors of this my last will and testament which I hereunder set my hand and affix my seal in the presence of us.289
Hence, John left everything to his wife Judith, with a distribution of his property to be made upon her death. As per that will's terms, his daughters Mary Buchannan, Lydia Bradford (of Tennessee), Nancy Higgs, Judith Allen, Fanny Mayfield, Rutha Allen, and sons Elijah, John Jr. and William and grandchildren John Cawthon and Lydia Bradford (of Tennessee) were to receive no distribution until Judith's death.
A few months after John's death, the executor of his estate, his son William Bradford, made an inventory of that estate on August 25, 1829. That inventory tells us not only what worldy possessions John left behind, but gives us a first-hand look at his life. His possessions, clearly those of a farmer, are of great interest. Hence, I will set forth that inventory as recorded by John's son and estate executor, William Bradford on August 25, 1829 (the items listed below in brackets are those which represent my best reading of that partially illegible inventory):
600 acres of land lying on [Horse or Fork] Creek, adjoining the lands of Charley Heflin, Daniel Jones and others; Negroes Hernsby, Jacob, Ben, Tillman, Hundley, Dilcy, Eady; 5 beds and furniture; 1 cupboard; 1 holding table; 2 pine tables; 2 chests; 1 clock and base; 1 looking glass; 2 shotguns; 17 sitting chairs; fancee dishes ditto plates; 3 pewter basins; 6 bowls; set cup and saucers; 16 tumblers; set knives and forks; knife; bar; lantern; 3 candle lighters; 2 candlesticks; 1 pr. snuffers; 2 pitchers; 1 large Bible and parcel old books; 4 jugs; 3 pots; 3 ovens; 1 skillet; 4 butter pots; 2 water pails; 2 tubs; 1 [peggin]; 1 loom; 2 spinning wheels; 2 [pr.] cards; 1 churn; 30 barrels corn; 520 lbs. bacon; 40 lbs. lard; 50 lbs. soap; 1 log chain; parcel old Hogshead; 3 bushels wheat; [parcel] barrels; 1 wire sifter; 6 bee hives; 30 lbs. wool; 1 grind stone; 1 ox cart; 200 feet planks; 3 ploughs; 3 ground hoes; 2 back diggers; 3 back hoes; 1 [cutter]; 7 weeding hoes; 3 pr. [hammers]; 3 augers; 3 chisels; 1 hand saw; 1 [House]; 2 [cradles]; 1 side saddle; pot [rack]; 1 ladle and flesh fork; 2 sides tanned leather, 8 ditto in tan trough; 6 head horses; 69 ditto hogs; 36 ditto sheep; 1 yoke oxen; 19 head cattle; 3 stacks of fodder; 1 ditto oats; 1 foot adze; 1 chamber pot; 2 pr. pot hooks; 6 pole axes; 1 pr. flat irons; 7 dollars and eighty cents in money; 1 note on Mary Hester and Hinton Hester for $20.00 due 28th April 1829; one note on Ted W. Nance for $5.12 due 21 Augt. 1826 with a credit 16th Feby. 1827 of $1.80.
As of the above articles of property I have sold the following upon in credit of mine allotting, from the 28th November 1829 for the purposes of paying debts (to wit);
4 hogs first choice
James B. Peace
4 hogs second choice
James B. Peace
5 sheep first choice
Robert B. Lawrence
5 ditto second choice
5 ditto third choice
1 spotted cow
John Smith Jun'r
1 red heiffer
1 small ditto
1 white mare
1 large burro
James B. Peace
The balance of the foregoing property I have delivered over to the widow according to the provisions of the will during her life as will more fully appear by her receipt a copy of which is given below.
Immediately following that inventory, the Granville County Court record book includes widow Judith's receipt of that property. In that receipt, Judith acknowledged that everything she inherited from John was to be passed on to her children upon her death as per the terms of John's last will and testament. That record was filed in court on February 30, 1830. 290
Judith Passes On
John was not the only one blessed with a long life. Although John lived to be seventy-eight, his wife Judith enjoyed an even longer life. As written earlier, she was, though over seventy at the time, still listed as the head of the household in the 1830 Census. Furthermore, the census of 1840 shows that Judith was still living at the Bradford plantation with her son John Jr. at that time. The 1840 Census, however, listed John Bradford Jr. as the head of the household. The household's only other member was a female, presumably, as shown in the next chapter, one of Judith's granddaughters, who was between twenty and thirty years old. Perhaps Judith was not listed as head of the household because of her failing death. Indeed, she passed away that year, sometime between the time of that the census was taken and August.
After Judith's death, John I's estate was liquidated and the proceeds of the proceeds thereof were distributed to his heirs pursuant to the terms of his will. John and Judith's son William Bradford served as the executor of their estate. William prepared an Inventory and Account of Sales of that property dated August 27, 1840, which he filed with the Granville County Court in February 1841. According to a commissioner's audit of that account signed by D. T. Paschall, Thomas Y. Cook and Edward Speed on May 12, 1842, John and Judith left a total estate of $3,397.34, of which $3,207.12 1/2 was to be distributed to his heirs.291
The Ford Creek Estate Today
John I inherited a six hundred acre Granville County farm when his father's estate was settled in early 1770. That farm spread out on both sides of Granville County's Ford (sometimes spelled Fort or Fork) Creek. John I lived on that farm until his death in 1829. Thereafter, his wife Judith lived there until she passed away in 1840. After her death, son and executor William Bradford sold that land at a public auction held on August 27, 1840. Bradford relative William D. Allen, the auction's highest bidder, bought that land for $1,301 (less than $2.20 an acre, assuming that there were still 600 acres in that estate at the time). Pursuant to the terms of that auction, Mr. Allen had one year in which to pay that purchase price. Allen eventually paid that amount and, on July 20, 1843, the land was deeded to him. 292
Between the time that John I's will was drafted in 1827 and his death in mid-1829, however, John I sold almost half his 600 acre plantation to his eldest sons John Jr. and William. Specifically, on March 7, 1829, John I deeded 271 acres on the waters of Fort and Middle Creeks to his sons William and John Jr. for $300.293 An April 29, 1854, record in which William left land to his son William H. Bradford, describes William's half of that tract (135 1/2 acres), as lying on both sides of the road leading from Wilton to Franklinton (now called State Highway 56). 294
A Quiet Life
John lived a fairly quiet life. He was born in Granville County, North Carolina, and lived his whole life there. He moved to the plantation on Fort Creek left to him in his father's will and never moved away. He died there in 1829. He witnessed the birth of a country and, later, saw it double in size. He lived in America during a time of tremendous growth. The country's population, which was somewhere between one and one and a half million people at the time of John's birth, grew to almost twelve million by the time of his death (the latter number, incidentally, is smaller than today's population of the greater metropolitan New York City area). John lived at the same time as many of our country's greatest leaders and died a mere three years after Thomas Jefferson did -- and a full 176 years after his great-grandfather Richard I first set foot on the American continent.
John Bradford was one of the original citizens of the United States of America and, regardless of any of his shortcomings, that distinction can never be taken away from him.
Not to know what happened before one was born is to remain a child.
--Cicero: De Oratore, XXXIV
V. Elijah and Haney
John's son Elijah Bradford was reportedly born during the American Revolution. Since the war's outcome was still very much in doubt in 1779, the year Elijah was reportedly born, I am not sure if that distinction means that he was technically born an American, a British citizen, both, or neither.295 Regardless, Elijah grew up and died in Granville County, North Carolina as a citizen of the United States of America. The same is true of Elijah's nine brothers and sisters. Before sharing what I know of Elijah, however, I will set forth what I know of his siblings: John Jr., William, Rutha, Judith, Nancy, Fanny, Mary, Ava and Lydia.
John Bradford Junior
Elijah's older brother John Bradford Jr. never married. Moreover, John Jr. never moved off his father's estate until after his mother passed away in 1840. Although Judith became head of the household after her husband's death, John Jr. was listed as head of the household in the 1840 Census. Judith was in her eighties at the time and, no doubt because of her advanced age and failing health, apparently passed on the responsibility of running the estate to her son John Jr.
After his mother's death, John Jr. moved to Granville County's Cedar Creek District where he lived until his death in 1869. As you will later see, that bachelor's real and personal property, as per the terms of his last will and testament, was left to three of his brother Elijah's daughters and one of sister Mary's sons.296
Elijah's brother William Bradford -- unlike his brother John Jr. -- did marry. William married Nancy Kittrell in Granville County, North Carolina, in 1808. 297 I have some information about the family of his wife, the Kittrells. According to the book The Higgs Family: Maryland to Missouri, by Betty Higgs Bridges, the Kittrells of Granville County descended from Jonathan Kittrell who moved from Nansemond and Isle of Wight Counties in Virginia to Bertie County, North Carolina. Jonathan Kittrell moved to Granville County in about 1745. He married Ann Durant there. According to Ms. Bridges's book, some Kittrell descendants were still living in the Granville County in 1972. Ms. Bridges also reports that the Vance County town of Kittrell, which is near Oxford, is named after that family. Although Ms. Bridges's book is primarily about the Higgs family, from which she has descended, it also discusses the Kittrells since the Granville County Kittrell and Higgs families intermarried. 298 Similarly, Paul Edwin Power's book The Power and Allied Families, traces the Granville County Kittrells. That book discusses Jonathan Kittrell Jr., who died in Granville County in 1812 and left a considerable amount of property to William Bradford's wife Nancy and her siblings. 299
William Bradford and his family appear in several census records. The 1820 Census reflects that William and his wife (who were both between twenty-six and forty-five at the time) were living in Granville County's Fishing Creek District with their one child (a son under the age of ten). By the time of the 1830 U.S. Census, William (who was in his fifties) and his wife (who was in her forties) had two children (a son who was between fifteen and twenty and a daughter who was between five and ten). By the 1840 Census, there was another son. When William died in about 1850, he was survived by his wife Nancy and those three children: William H. Bradford, Mary E. Bradford and Jackson R. Bradford.300
Each of William and Nancy's children married in Granville County. Jackson, who is discussed in greater detail below, married Ann E. Cannady on December 10, 1844. William H. Bradford married Melvina Overton on August 29, 1857, and Mary E. Bradford married Silas E. McGehee on May 3, 1859.301
According to a book by Elizabeth Adams Tissot and Agnes Cannady Cashwell, Cannady and Allied Families, William and Nancy Bradford had a son, Jackson R. Bradford, who married Ann Eliza Cannady in Granville County on December 23, 1844. Jackson and Eliza went on to have five children: (1) Maranda E. Bradford (born 1845, married to John Wilson on 2/23/1878); (2) John Wesley Bradford (born 9/13/1846, marred Sarah Cornatzer on 2/25/1876, Luella Tucker on 2/20/1879, served in Company G of the 47th NC infantry, was wounded at Gettysburg, captured at Hatcher's Run, Virginia, held as a POW at Point Lookout, Maryland, died March 3, 1903, buried in the Confederate section of the Moravian Cemetery in Winston-Salem); (3) James Bradford (born about 1848, married first Mary Parker, then Mary Belle Wrenn); (4) Wyatt Bradford (born 1850, resided in Henderson, North Carolina); and (5) Caroline Victoria Bradford (born October 27, 1851, died July 6, 1925). The Cannady family book lists other relatives and descendants of this branch of the Bradford family.302
Nancy (Bradford) Higgs
Elijah's sister Nancy is mentioned in Ms. Bridges's book about the Higgs family since Nancy married Ms. Bridges's distant relative, a Granville County farmer named Levi Higgs, in 1813. 303 According to that book, Levi was the son of Leonard Higgs and Sarah Kittrell. Levi's father Leonard, a private in the North Carolina militia, fought in the Revolutionary War. Hence, he is listed in the D.A.R. Patriot Index. Levi's grandfather, Zachariah Higgs, also fought in the Revolutionary War. Like his son Leonard, he is listed in the D.A.R. Patriot Index. 304
The 1850 Census shows that Levi and Nancy were living in the vicinity of Granville County's Tabbs Creek district. That census record further indicates that Levi was sixty-eight at the time, that Nancy was sixty-two, and that they had three children living at home: Judith (or Julia W.) aged thirty-three, Mary D. (aged thirty) and Leonard (twenty-six). According to Ms. Bridges's book, Levi's estate papers from 1857, which are in housed in the North Carolina Archives, list two other daughters: Minty Wyatt Higgs Thomason and Jacksy Higgs.
Ms. Bridges also shares the poignant story of her 1972 visit to Granville County during which she met Kittrell family descendant Willis Rogers Kittrell, then in his eighties, who showed her where the Higgs family lived on Granville County's Ruin Creek at a place called "Higgs Hill." Mr. Kittrell told her of an old family cemetery that he long ago plowed around. Ms. Bridges tried in vain to find that cemetery, but reported that she could not find it in the overgrown pine thicket pointed out by Mr. Kittrell. She did, however, find the remnants of the Higgs family's home. She reports that she kept two bricks from the crumbling chimney. We should all be so lucky.
Rutha (Bradford) Allen
Elijah's sister Rutha married Garland Allen in Granville County in November, 1806. Garland was the son of Samuel Allen who had died in Granville County in 1813. Samuel's will, dated November 29, 1812, and probated in the Granville County court in August 1813, left a portion of his estate to son Garland. 305 Garland, however, only survived his father by six years. When Garland died in Granville County in 1819, his will left all of his property to Rutha, who thereafter raised their two young children, William and Mary Ann, by herself. Rutha and Elijah's brother, William Bradford, was a co-executor of Garland's estate. We know that Rutha died before February 1833, because in that month Rutha's brother William turned over Rutha and Garland's estate to the eldest of their two orphaned children, William D. Allen, who took control of that property which he jointly owned with his sister Mary Ann Allen. That property included a 150 acre tract which contained both a grist mill and a saw mill. 306
One source indicates that Rutha and Garland's son, William, married Emeline Henry Allen, daughter of Edward Chambers Allen and Julia Brent, who were married in 1807. William and Emeline had two daughters: Julia Brent Allen (born 1850, married to R.V. Minor in 1870, died 1919); and Virginia Caroline Allen, who married W. Davis Smith.307
Judith (Bradford) Allen
Like Rutha, Elijah's sister Judith married an Allen. Judith, named after her mother Judith Mann Bradford, married Thomas B. Allen in Granville County. Judith, however, apparently was substantially younger that Rutha since she married on December 3, 1821 -- fifteen years later than sister Rutha. 308 While I am not certain, I believe that Thomas was the son of Samuel Allen Jr. who, in turn, was the brother of Rutha's husband Garland and the son of Samuel Allen Sr. who died in Granville County in 1813. 309
While I am not certain how many children that Judith and John had, I do know that they had a son named William D. Allen (1823-1883) who married Melvinia Minnis (1831-1901) in 1850. William built a house in Granville County which still stands today. That house, a two story Greek Revival style residence located on Route 1700 in Granville County's Grissom District, is listed on the North Carolina Study List as being potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. As of 1991, an Allen (Julia Farmer Allen) was still living there.310
Mary (Bradford) Buchannan
Elijah's sister Mary married a Buchannan by the time her father's will was drafted in 1827. I do not, however, know her husband's first name. Regardless, their wedding must have taken place outside of Granville County since that county's records do not mention that marriage. I am not sure what happened to them. They did, however, have at least one son, John R. Buchannan (spelled Buchanan in some records), who, as a nephew, was left a tract of land on the north side of Granville County's Roberson Creek in his uncle John Bradford Jr.'s 1865 will. 311
Ava (Bradford) Cawthon
Sister Ava married Nathan Cawthon (or Cawthorn) in Granville County on August 30, 1792. 312 Ava died before her father drafted his will in 1827, but apparently had a son, John Cawthon, who her father mentioned in that will. I suspect that Ava's husband was related to Granville County resident William Cawthon whose will dated July 11, 1810, was probated in the Granville County court in May 1811. That will named sons William, Jesse, John, C.H., Lemmuel, Alsey and Jemy and daughters Sealy, Peace and Caty and son-in-law Archer Boldy. Richard Hudspeth was a co-executor of that will which was witnessed by Garland Allen and William Bradford (Ava's brother-in-law and brother, respectively). 313 Regardless, I am not sure what became of Ava and Nathan.
Fanny (Bradford) Mayfield
Sister Fanny married John Mayfield on August 25, 1807. Thereafter, however, I am not sure what happened to her. 314 A John Mayfield died intestate in Granville County in 1818 and left a widow and seven children. I am not sure, however, if that was the same John Mayfield, particularly since that record lists the widow's name as Sally. 315
Sister Lydia was not married at the time her father's will was drafted in 1827. She may never have married. All I really know of her is that her father's will identified her as living in Tennessee at the time it was filed. Interestingly, John's will also mentioned granddaughter Darthulia Bradford who was identified as also living in Tennessee. I am not sure who Darthulia's parents were. She may have been the daughter of one of John's married sons, Elijah or William. Or, you never know, perhaps Darthulia was Lydia's daughter. We may never know. As we consider that possibility, I will turn my attention to the focus of this chapter: my great, great, great, great grandfather Elijah Bradford.
Named After a Prophet
Elijah, as stated earlier, was reportedly born in 1779 while the Revolutionary War was still raging. As he was the first Elijah in the family, we can safely assume that Elijah was named after the biblical prophet Elijah. Regardless of his namesake, Elijah grew up on his father's Fort Creek plantation, which his father John inherited from Elijah's grandfather Philemon ten years before. Elijah, most likely, had a pretty quiet childhood. There were still no public schools at the time so, like each of his ancestors born on this continent, he probably learned to read and write from his parents. Those interested in seeing a copy of his signature should obtain a copy of his uncle David Bradford's August 25, 1797, will which was witnessed and signed by both Elijah and his father John Bradford I. 316
Weds Haney Welch
Elijah married a Granville County resident, Haney Welch, on March 14, 1797. Elijah's relative James Bradford was that Granville County wedding's bondsman. Granville County clerk Stephen Sneed served as the witness. 317 Elijah's wife, Haney Welch Bradford, was the daughter of John and Hannah (or Hanner) Welch. One researcher has informed me that Haney's mother's name was Hannah Collingsworth. 318 A child of the American Revolution, Haney was born in 1776. Haney's father died in 1812 and his will, dated April 29, 1809, and probated in the Granville County Court, identifies his children as John Welch Jr., Robert Welch, Rebecca Hayslip (wife of Labon Hayslip) and Haney (whose name is given as "Haneritor Bradford"). John Welch Jr., executor of his father's estate, provided an inventory of that estate to the Granville County Court in November, 1812. 319 Another record relating to John Welch's estate is an account of sale dated September 30, 1814, which indicates that Elijah purchased "1 large Pott; 2 [chairs or churns]; 4 reap hooks; 1 Butter Pott; [and] 1 ladle." 320
I do not know anything else about Haney's family other than that they were living in Granville County at least ten years before Elijah married Haney. On February 28, 1789, for example, Haney's mother and brother (Hannah and Robert Welch), witnessed a record in which Jeremiah Williams mortgaged his horse, feather bed, iron pot, all pewter and earthen ware and other furniture to secure a debt to William Williams.321
Elijah and Haney had eight children: three sons and five daughters. While I do not know their precise birthdates, I do know that each of those children were born between 1797 and 1830. Based on census and other information, their names and approximate years of birth were: James Bradford (born about 1799); Avy (or Ava, born about 1800); Betty (or Betsy, born about 1802); Sally (or Sarah) Bradford (born about 1805); John Bradford (my ancestor, born about 1810); Hicksey Bradford (born about 1813); Rutha Bradford (born about 1818); and Chesley Davis Bradford (born about 1820). 322
Census Gleanings and a Tragic Turn of Events
Elijah and Haney spent their entire married life in Granville County. The U.S. Census of 1800, for example, shows that they were still living there at that time. More precisely, at least according to that county's tax lists of 1801, Elijah and Haney lived in Granville County's Beaverdam District. That record, moreover, confirms that Elijah owned no land and no slaves. By the time of the 1810 Census, Elijah and Haney had six children: two sons and four daughters. While that record does not list the names of those children, it does identify the range of their ages at the time that the 1810 census was made: one son was between ten and sixteen years old (apparently James) while the other son (John II) and each of the four daughters (apparently Avy, Betty, Sally and Rutha) were under ten years old. 323 As for the two daughters not living with Haney, one (Sally) married in 1826 and another (either Avy or Betty) was living with grandmother Judith Bradford and Uncle John Bradford Jr.
The 1820 census does not mention either Elijah or Haney. Indeed, according to that census, the only Bradfords who owned land in Granville County at the time were Elijah's father John Bradford and Elijah's uncle William Bradford.324 The 1830 census, however, tells a sad story.
The 1830 U.S. Census lists Haney as the head of the household. Tragically, Elijah had apparently died within the last couple of years. Elijah's untimely death left Haney to care for herself and six children -- three sons and three daughters. The census indicates that those children were aged as follows in 1830: two (a son and a daughter) were between twenty and thirty; three (two daughters and a son) were between fifteen and twenty; and the youngest, a son, was between ten and fifteen.325
For obvious reasons, Elijah's death was tragic for Haney and the children. Indeed, the loss of a spouse is always tragic. In addition, however, Elijah's unfortunate death imposed financial hardship on his descendants for several reasons: (1) Elijah was still a relatively young man (about fifty at the time of his death) and presumably the family's breadwinner, hence his loss made life financially difficult for Haney and the kids, particularly since they owned no land and, presumably, had no saved wealth to fall back on; (2) Elijah's father, who died a couple of years before Elijah did, he had no reason to make any special provisions in his will for Elijah's family in case Elijah died before inheriting the portion of the family's estate he was supposed to receive upon the death of his mother, Judith; and (3) Judith outlived Elijah by many years, thus, necessarily postponing the date on which Elijah's heirs could inherit the portion of John I's estate left to Elijah in John I's will. There was, moreover, no life insurance in those days. Times became difficult for Elijah's children.
War of 1812
Around this time the young nation entered its first war. On June 18, 1812, our fledgling country declared war against Britain for several reasons: Britain had seized U.S. ships trading with France; the British stopped U.S. ships and seized thousands of former Brits off of them; and Britain armed Indians who were raiding the U.S.'s western border. Moreover, some Americans saw war with Britain as an opportunity to expand the country's borders -- a chance to grab Florida from Spain or Canada from Britain. The war did not expand the country's borders, but it did include some important historical events. Washington D.C. was burned and the White House was fired upon. Washington attorney Francis Scott Key, inspired by the view of the still-waving flag from the deck of a British warship he was visiting to arrange the exchange of prisoners, penned The Star-Spangled Banner. Most significantly the war produced a new national hero: Andrew Jackson. Jackson, a veteran Indian fighter, won a dramatic and one-sided victory over a strong British force in the Battle of New Orleans (over 2,000 British casualties versus only seventy-one Americans lost).
This was an unfortunate time, economically, for the Bradfords. Not only had the family's prospects taken a bad turn with the early death of Elijah, but the economy of North Carolina itself turned so bad that there must have seemed little hope that the Bradfords could dig themselves from the economic hole fate had so cruelly thrust them into. This was a period of decline for North Carolina which became known as the "Rip Van Winkle" state. As one book vividly recounts:
From 1815 to 1835, North Carolina made so little economic and social progress that it was called the Rip Van Winkle of the States and the Ireland of America. The chief cause of this backwardness was its inaccessibility to markets. In 1815 there were only twenty-three small iron works, three paper mills, and one cotton mill in the State. Many small gristmills and distilleries were operated, but there was little machinery. Manufacturing was still in the domestic or household stage. No large trading city existed, and only 7 towns in the State had more than 1,000 people.
North Carolina dropped in population from third place among the states in 1790 to seventh place in 1840. Soil exhaustion, the lure of the West, lack of internal improvements and educational facilities, and unhappy conditions generally led many people to forsake the State. Thousands moved to other States, among them young Andrew Johnson and the families of two other Carolina-born Presidents, Jackson and Polk.326
The above description only scratches the surface of North Carolina's problems during that period. Another source elaborates:
Problems of North Carolina after 1815: No state was less developed or had more serious problems relating to agriculture, transportation, commerce, manufacturing, finance, education and emigration than North Carolina. Nature's resources of climate, soil, and forest made it easy for the people of the state to provide a scanty, live-at-home subsistence for themselves and their farm animals, but conditions were such that it was difficult for them to produce enough to live much above the level of mere subsistence. The state was poor, backward, divided -- an unattractive place in which to live because of the limited opportunity for advancement. In 1830 a legislative committee reported that North Carolina was "a State without foreign commerce, for want of seaports, or a staple; without internal communication by rivers, roads or canals; without manufactures; in short without any object to which native industry and active enterprise could be directed." In addition to all of these handicaps, there was general political apathy under a one-party system, which resulted in indifference to all cultural, social, and economic matter.
Agriculture: Agriculture was the predominant occupation of the people of North Carolina.... The state was almost entirely rural; its economy was highly unbalanced. Primitive methods of cultivation with crude tools and with little fertilization or conservation of the soil; lack of adequate land and water transportation to markets; and high prices of necessary articles which could not be produced on the farm -- all these resulted in soil exhaustion, low per capita wealth and income (the lowest of all the states in the nation), a low standard of living, and a reputation and a condition of extreme backwardness.
Roads: Everywhere the roads, which were little more than paths marked out across fields and through forests, were virtually impassable in wet weather. Everywhere and at all times land transportation was slow, difficult, and expensive. In 1842 Governor Morehead said that it cost half the value of the farmer's crop "to transport the other [half] to market." Lack of good transportation facilities discouraged the production of a salable surplus beyond mere subsistence needs and made freight rates high, and these high rates reduced the income of the sellers and raised the price for the buyers.... [Farmers] drove hogs and cattle on foot to distant markets and hauled their whiskey and other products in wagons over the poor roads at a speed of ten to twenty miles a day to markets fifty to two hundred miles away. Since the farmers made little profit from their sales and had to pay high prices for purchases, they bought and sold very little. Naturally, most of them practiced a live-at-home economy of self-sufficiency.
Intellectual Conditions: Intelligent citizens and visitors were shocked at the colossal ignorance and intellectual degradation of the people of North Carolina. In 1840 one-third of the adult whites were illiterate. If the Negroes and whites under twenty years of age are included, more than half of the population was illiterate.... There was no provision for the education of the youth.... Some Children were taught to read and write by their parents or by hired tutors. But the great mass of children grew up in ignorance, with no opportunity to acquire any education.... [M]any ill-informed observers believed it more difficult to obtain a primary education in North Carolina than it had been fifty years before.
Poverty, sparse population, sectionalism, rurality, and the large number of Negro slaves were in part responsible for educational backwardness, but more important were the attitudes and beliefs of the people. The prevailing philosophy was that education was a private, not a public, matter and was therefore the responsibility of individuals, not the state. The leaders, the masses, and the General Assembly were notoriously indifferent, and there was general contentment with ignorance and mediocrity. The dominant aristocracy of wealth regarded education as a privilege for the favored few who could afford it; education was for gentlemen and the professions only.
Emigration: [T]housands of North Carolinians moved to the new territories and states beyond the mountains every year. Richer soil and better transportation facilities made farming more profitable in the West than in North Carolina....
The newspapers and letters of the period abound in descriptions of the endless procession of migrating groups. The heaviest migration was from the eastern parts of the state and to Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Indiana. As early as 1815 ... 200,000 North Carolinians were living in other states. Young, energetic, ambitious citizens were leaving; few were coming to take their places. The state dropped in population from fourth place in 1790 to fifth in 1830, and to twelfth in 1860. The 1830's was the decade of heaviest migration -- nearly half of the countries actually declined in population and the increase in the state was only 2 per cent, whereas the normal increase was 15 per cent per decade. A legislative committee reported in 1833 that nine-tenths of the farmers would move away if they could sell their farms.327
The above description of North Carolina leaves little doubt that the problems of the Rip Van Winkle state adversely affected the Bradfords. They were, economically, in the worst place possible. It is little wonder that Elijah's children felt compelled to leave that North Carolina for greener pastures. It is just unfortunate that they waited as long as they did. With inadequate markets for their crops and no other jobs available, the Bradfords' fortunes waned. With no educational facilities and no mandatory school law, their degree of learning dropped: most of Elijah's children never learned to read. Things had taken a distinct turn for the worse.
Though much of North Carolina's citizenry, certainly including the recently impoverished Bradfords, were unhappy with the state's economic stagnation, little was done to remedy the situation. While some North Carolina leaders urged the building of transportation facilities, a stimulation in manufacturing, promotion of education and development of the state's resources, the state's government was still dominated by its eastern landed gentry. That government was unwilling to launch the requested internal improvement programs. Moreover, even though half of the state's population lived west of Raleigh by 1830, the easterners retained power by creating a new county in the east each time a western county was created. The state was reportedly on the verge of a revolution between 1831 and 1835.
Some changes were made, finally. In 1835, a convention was held in Raleigh to amend the state's constitution. That body made revisions to that document which, among other things, reapportioned legislative representation and provided for popular election of the Governor. In 1839, the first public school law was passed and the state's first public schools were opened in the following year. Two railroad lines were completed in 1840, the Wilmington and Raleigh (161 and one-half miles from Wilmington to Weldon along the Roanoke River) and the Raleigh and Gaston which ran from Raleigh to Weldon. The latter track ran very close to Granville County's eastern border and undoubtedly carried the first train the Granville County Bradfords ever saw. They must have marveled at that wondrous invention and thought about all of the places it could take them to. Perhaps it was that train that carried some of Elijah and Haney's children away from North Carolina for good.328
Hard Years and a Belated Inheritance
Unfortunately, little is known of what happened to Haney and the kids after Elijah passed away. The 1830 Census records that Haney was still living in Granville County at that time. That record, one of the only indications of the status of the household at that time. That record shows that there were six people living in the household at that time: Haney (aged 40-50); two daughters (one between 15-20 and one between 20-30); and three sons (one aged 10-15, one 15-20 and one 20-30). That record, however, does not give the names of any of those children or provide any other information about the family.
By the time of the 1840 U.S. Census, James had married and bought his own farm in Granville County.329 One of Haney and Elijah's daughters was still living with grandmother Judith Bradford and uncle John Bradford Jr. 330 Son John had married and moved out on his own. Hence, the only people left in the household were Haney (age sixty-four), son Davis (who was listed as head of the household) and three of her four unmarried daughters (Sally was still the only one who had married by that time). 331
Some financial relief came to Elijah's widow and children in May 1842 when Elijah's mother Judith Bradford, passed away and John I's estate was distributed. Specifically, on May 12, 1842, Elijah's children (James, Avy, Rutha, Betty, Hicksey, John, Sarah and Chesley Davis), were given a total of $486.37. The above amount equaled their portion of Elijah's share of John I's estate. Each of those children signed a document acknowledging receipt of those funds. Sadly, however, only Davis was able to place his signature on that document. His siblings, who must have been illiterate, merely marked their receipt with an "X."
By the time that the census taker came calling in 1850, Haney (who was seventy-four at the time) had moved in with Elijah's brother-in-law John Bradford Jr. John Jr.'s farm was located in Granville County's Cedar Creek District. John Jr., who was also seventy-four at the time, listed his occupation as "farmer." According to that record, made on October 17, 1850, five of Haney's unmarried children (Avy, Betty, Hicksey, Rutha and Chesley Davis) were living there also.
Haney had apparently died by the time of the 1860 Census. Her still unmarried children (Davis, Avy and Betty), however, continued to live on their uncle John Bradford Jr.'s Granville County farm even after her death. Although Rutha married Richardson Stroud in 1854, she (along with Richardson) still lived with her uncle John Bradford Jr. in 1860. Sister Hicksey, who married in 1859, however, had moved in with her husband Joseph Hester. None of those siblings (Avy, Rutha, Chesley Davis, Hicksey or Betty) had any children. John Bradford Jr. died a few years later. As he was a bachelor, however, he had no children to leave his estate to and, hence, he left part of his estate to his nieces Rutha, Hicksey and Betty (Avy and Chesley Davis had apparently already died).
The distribution of John Bradford I's estate marked the end of an era. Indeed, it seems that several of John I's descendants stayed in North Carolina during the worst of North Carolina's period of economic stagnation. For the heirs of Elijah, that period was even more difficult than it was for most North Carolinians. Indeed, after John I's estate was distributed, several of his heirs (including Elijah's sons James and John) joined the flood of people migrating from North Carolina. That inheritance, although helpful, equaled less than sixty one dollars for each of Elijah's children and was not enough to significantly affect their economic position. It was simply too little, too late. It would be generations before Elijah's descendants regained the educational, social and financial status that, years before, their forefathers took for granted.
If man could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind us!
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
VI. John (II) and Nancy
I am a descendant of John Bradford, one of Elijah and Haney's three sons. Because he, like his grandfather John Bradford had no middle name and was named simply John Bradford, I will refer to him as "John II." Born in 1810, John II eventually moved the family to Kentucky with his family twenty years before the Civil War. As shown below, however, none of those siblings followed him.
The oldest of John II's siblings was his brother James (who was born in about 1799). James married Lucy Paschall in Granville County on September 27, 1839, only eight years after John II married Nancy Smith (indeed, James's marriage was the first marriage of a Bradford in Granville County since John's in 1831). James Bradford and Lucy Paschall's best man was James's brother-in-law John Smith -- the same man who married Sarah Bradford in 1826. Although James and Lucy were living in Granville County at the time of the 1840 U.S. Census, they were gone by the time of the 1850 Census. James's wife Lucy was the daughter of John Paschall and Patsy Wilson. I do not believe they had any children. One source reports that James and Lucy moved to Tennessee. 332
Sally (Bradford) Smith
John II's sister Sally (or Sarah) Bradford married John Smith Jr. in Granville County on February 22, 1826. Elias Huskey was the bondsman.333 While I do not know, I assume that John is the brother of Nancy Smith, who married John Bradford II in 1831. John and Sally have a number of descendants, several of which still live in and around the Granville County area. 334
Hicksey (Bradford) Hester
Sister Hicksey married Joseph P. Hester in Granville County on January 18, 1859. William L. Mitchell served as that wedding's bondsman.335 Hicksey was left a tract of land on the south side of Granville County's Roberson Creek "adjoining the lands of Rufus Bobbitt, Mrs. Taylor and others" in the August 4, 1865, will of her uncle John Bradford Jr. 336 Joseph and Hicksey were still living in Granville County's Dutchville District at the time of the 1870 Census. That record lists the occupants of that Freeman's Township household as follows: Joseph Hester (59, farmer); "Hixie" Hester (57, keeps house); Mary Hester (23, at home); Kinchon Hester (22, works on farm); and Edith Hester (20, at home). Obviously well-to-do, that family had at least three live-in servants. 337 Since the children who were living with Joseph and Hicksey in 1870 were all between the ages of nine and twelve when Hicksey married Joseph in 1859, they were obviously from Joseph's prior marriage. Joseph and Hicksey apparently did not have any children of their own.
Rutha (Bradford) Stroud
Rutha Bradford, like her widowed mother and fellow unmarried siblings, was living with her Uncle John Bradford Jr. at the time that the 1850 Census was taken. Rutha married Richardson Stroud, a man ten years her junior, in Granville County on October 15, 1854. Junius Hays was that wedding's bondsman. 338 Rutha was about thirty-six when she married. After marrying Rutha, Richardson moved in with her and the other Bradfords who were still living with her Uncle John (Hicksey, Avy, Betty and Chesley Davis) and began to work on that farm. As of 1860, Richardson and Rutha had no children. 339 I do not believe that they ever had any. In the August 4, 1865, will of Rutha's uncle John Bradford Jr., Rutha (called Ruthy in that record), and fellow-niece Elizabeth (probably Rutha's sister Betty) Bradford were given the right to live out their lives on John Jr.'s estate lying on the north side of Roberson Creek. Upon their deaths, that land was to be inherited in fee simple by their cousin John R. Buchanan. That land is described as "adjoining the lands of Rufus Bobbitt, William Adcock and others." 340
While I have not yet pinpointed the location of the land deeded to Buchanan, the homes of Adcock and Bobbitt still stand. William Adcock's house, located in North Carolina State Route 1721 in Granville County's Creedmore vicinity, is included among the homes featured in Heritage and Homesteads. Built in the 1820s and 1830s, that home is still in the Adcock family's hands.341 Rufus Bobbitt's home, now called the "Bobbitt-Rogers Home" is similarly featured in that book. That home, which is a Greek Revival style home, has been nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Still standing across the road from it is a tobacco manufactury, similarly nominated, which Rufus reportedly built in the 1850s. 342
Avy, Betty and Chesley Davis Bradford
John's siblings Avy (sometimes spelled Ava), Betty (sometimes spelled Betsy) and Chesley Davis (who apparently did not like his first name and went by Davis), never married. At the time of the 1850 Census, each of those siblings were living in Granville County with their uncle John Bradford, their widowed mother Haney and their then-unmarried sisters Hicksey and Rutha. By the time of the 1860 Census, their mother had passed away, but each of those children of Elijah were still living on their uncle's Granville County, Cedar Creek District residence (located in the township of Tranquillity). According to that record, the household then consisted of: John Bradford (84, farmer); Davis Bradford (40, farm laborer); Richardson Stroud (30, farm laborer); Rutha Stroud (40); Bettie Bradford (58); and Avy Bradford (60). 343 John's real estate was valued at $1280 and his personal estate was valued at $1400. In his will dated August 4, 1865, John left land to nieces Hicksey, Elizabeth (who may be Betty) and Rutha. Avy and Davis were not mentioned and, hence, may have passed away by that time. 344
Marriage to Nancy Smith, Children
As noted earlier, John married Nancy Smith in Granville County on November 1, 1831. Based on later census records, John and Nancy were twenty-one and sixteen, respectively, when they married. Mr. J.H. Cauthen served as the couple's bondsman and Stephen K. Sneed served as the wedding's witness.
John and Nancy led a fairly quite life in Granville County, where they lived and worked on their small farm. They eventually had ten children: William A. (in 1833); Mary Ann Elizabeth (in 1837); Darthulia E. (in 1839); Davis E. (in 1841); George W. (in 1843); Thomas E. (in 1844); John Lewis (in 1848); Nancy J. (in 1850); James Henry (in 1851) and Frances Ophelia (in 1857). The first six (William, Mary Ann, Darthulia, Davis, George and Thomas) were born in North Carolina, while the last four (John, Nancy, James and Frances) were born after the family moved to Kentucky.
Bradfords Say Good-bye to North Carolina
John, Nancy and their six young children moved from North Carolina to Kentucky some time between 1843 and 1848. They were a young family at the time. For example, assuming they moved in 1845, John would have been forty-two, Nancy would have been thirty and the children would have been quite young. In 1845 the children's approximate ages were as follows: Maryann Elizabeth (eight), Darthulia (six), Davis (four), George (my great great grandfather, three) and little John Lewis (two).
No one ever knows for sure why anyone else does anything, but I think I can guess why John II and his family left North Carolina. Times were hard and there was nothing left for them. Indeed, the only thing to hold John there was the fact that he had family there. Many relatives, however, had moved on. Indeed, John probably felt that there was no compelling reason to stay in North Carolina. He needed a new start and the opportunities were not there. Like his great, great, great grandfather Richard I who left England to find opportunity in Virginia 190 years before, and his great grandfather Philemon who left Virginia to seek opportunities in North Carolina over 100 years before, John II felt that North Carolina's opportunities had dried up for him and that it was time to move on. For him, opportunity equaled moving West. There was no more cheap land in the east and economic depression made the only home he had known a sad place where the future looked dim.
I am sure that moving was a difficult decision for John. He had six young children and a wife to take care of and, although he certainly had heard of the land west of North Carolina, he had never been there and could not know where that odyssey would take them. Like Richard I so many years ago, he must have pondered that decision long and hard before making a decision which affected all of his descendants. John probably prayed and worried over that move and he and Nancy certainly had discussions long into the night. But, inevitably, there was nothing to stay for. Friends and relatives had been leaving the state for years. Bradfords had, in the last several years, moved to Tennessee, South Carolina, Alabama and other states in an attempt to find more for themselves and their families -- more room, more security, more happiness and more opportunities.
Decisions can always be second-guessed, but John and Nancy's decision to abandon North Carolina appears sound. While, sadly, I have no reason to think that their lives were any better or happier in Kentucky, I have no reason to think otherwise either. It was one of those decisions, however, which affected many, many people. I, like everyone else on this planet, am who I am because of a particular set of circumstances. One of those circumstances was that my great, great grandfather George Bradford married my great, great grandmother in Kentucky in 1869 and gave birth to my great grandfather who, in turn, was part of a chain that led eventually to my birth. If John II had stayed in North Carolina or moved my then-infant ancestor George to, say Tennessee, everything would be different and I would never have been born, much less sitting here typing out his story. John II was not an illustrious American and he appears in no history books, but like the fictional George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life, his life touched many others and his absence would have left an awful hole.
A Final Look Back at Granville County
An era ended when John and Nancy moved from North Carolina in the 1840s. The Bradfords had lived there since Philemon moved there one hundred years before. The state had changed quite a bit since Philemon first rode into that state in the 1740s and attempted to capitalize on that state's bountiful land offerings. When Philemon first arrived, North Carolina was a colony, a huge swath of land controlled by a moneyed official in England who answered only to the King. That young colony had a population of about 50,000, most of whom were, like Philemon, transplanted Virginians. The land was empty, wide-open and full of hope. It is little surprise that Philemon confidently snapped up every available piece of it that he could get his hands on.
North Carolina, however, had changed since Philemon's day. By the time John II and his family moved from North Carolina, the state's population had grown to about 800,000. The American Revolution had come and gone, as had the War of 1812. North Carolina ceased being a colony and became part of the United States. There were no more Kings to answer to. Now Presidents presided over the country. John was a third generation American. The Presidents during his life included Thomas Jefferson (who was in office when he was born), James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson (who I am sure he voted for in both 1828 and 1832), Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison and John Tyler (who John probably never dreamed grew up only a couple of miles from the Bradfords' ancestral home). Native North Carolinian James K. Polk was inaugurated in November, 1845.
The United States, formed since Philemon's death, had also grown. From the thirteen colonies in Philemon's day, the country had grown tremendously: most territory east of the Mississippi was annexed in 1783, Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and Florida was acquired from Spain in 1819. Incoming President Polk, moreover, did more to expand the country than any President before him. With the admission of the Texas Republic in 1845 (which included not only Texas but part of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming), the Oregon Territory in 1846 (which included Oregon, Washington and Idaho) and the southwestern lands acquired from Mexico in 1848 (which included California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and the remaining portions of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming which the U.S. did not yet control), the continental U.S. took on its current shape (with the exception of the lands acquired from Mexico pursuant to the Gadsden Purchase in 1853). By the end of 1845 there were twenty-eight states (both Florida and Texas were admitted that year).
Granville County, moreover, had changed quite a bit. By the time John and Nancy moved, the county's population was over ten times larger than the mere 2,000 it was in 1749 when Philemon arrived. The county, however, was a much smaller one. The county was carved up over and over. In 1752, part of the county was sliced off and added to portions of Johnston and Bladen Counties to form Orange County. The eastern half of the county was broken off and named Bute County in 1764. Eventually, in 1779, Bute County was broken up into Warren and Franklin counties. Finally, years after the Bradfords moved to Kentucky, in 1881, Vance County was formed from portions of Granville, Warren and Franklin Counties. Hence, locating old records and land sites can be very difficult. A location in "Granville County" is, therefore, relative. One must ask which Granville County: the current one, or the county as it existed in one of its many earlier permutations.
The Bradford family had also grown precipitously. Whereas Richard I had a limited number of descendants living when Philemon came to North Carolina, that number was now in the hundreds. Many of those distant relatives lived, died and were buried in Granville County. No markers mark the spots of their homes, the place where each of them suffered their greatest happiness or even, in most instances, where they were buried. Tragically, we find that we sometimes know more about Bradfords who either preceded or followed the Granville County Bradfords. But, then again, they all lived and died unaware of the scrutiny we might later subject them to. They lived their lives for themselves, their God, their country, their families and for whatever individual purposes they selected. They did not seek to change the world, but they saw it change. The made history, without even trying. As they lived each day, the inexorable swirl of time made them a part of a canvas that they were most likely unaware of. As we look at that canvas now in an attempt to analyze their motives, expectations and enthusiasms, perhaps they smile back knowing that those are secrets that only they will ever know.
Granville County Today
Granville County has not changed a great deal since the Bradfords moved away. According to the most recent U.S. Census figures, there were 38,345 people living there in 1990. Granville County is just north of North Carolina's famed "research triangle" of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill (Durham, the closest of the three, is thirty miles away). The county seat, Oxford, has a population of about 8,000. There is no tourist office in the county, but local treasures of information are kept in the county courthouse and the Richard H. Thornton Library. Other information is housed in the state's archives in nearby Raleigh. For those who cannot travel to Granville County, I would recommend Heritage and Homesteads: The History and Architecture of Granville County, North Carolina published by the Granville County Historical Society. That 500 page pictorial work, which at last notice was available for purchase at the Granville County public library, is without equal for those who cannot travel to that county for a first-hand look. 345 Granville county is largely rural, but at least 24% of the county's work force is involved in the manufacturing area. The county is near the heart of the state's tobacco growing area. That is one thing that has not changed about that area. Even Philemon would recognize the long rows of tobacco you will see if you drive through rural Granville County. Confined to travel by horse, however, he just never went by them as quickly as you will.
Other Possible Motivations
While the chance for better luck elsewhere was indisputably an important factor in John's decision to take the family west, two other events of national significance happened at or around the time of that move and may have also influenced John and Nancy's decision to make that move: the war with Mexico and the discovery of gold in California.
In 1846, President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor (whose successes led to his eventual presidency) to seize disputed Texan land which a number of Mexicans had tried to settle on. After a border clash, the U.S. declared war on Mexico and 12,000 U.S. troops swept into Mexico where they captured Monterey and Mexico City. In a treaty entered into in 1848, Mexico ceded to America all claims to Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and part of Utah. The U.S., in turn, agreed to assume $3 million in American claims and paid Mexico $15 million. Hence, in one fell swoop America gained about 918,000 square miles of new territory.
As the ink was drying on the treaty with Mexico, gold was discovered in the hills of California. During the next year, thousands of fortune hunters, the 49er's, swept into that state. That gold rush doubled California's population and led to its statehood in 1850.
Those two events, America's successful war against Mexico and the expansive lands it yielded and the discovery of California gold, created a westward lure which many easterners found impossible to resist. The potential reward from moving from the stagnating East that was provided by those and other events may have cemented the Bradfords' decision to leave North Carolina to see what the mysterious West had to offer.
The Move to Kentucky
John and Nancy eventually ended up in Bullitt County, Kentucky. I am not sure, however, what route or mode of travel they used to get there. Most likely, like Daniel Boone years before, they traveled via the Cumberland Gap. Regardless of their exact route, their trek covered nearly 500 miles and was an ordeal occasioned with hope and nervous anticipation. Even by automobile today that is a long trip. There, of course, were no automobiles then. Trains did not yet lead to Kentucky. Hence, their trip was most likely made via horse-driven wagon. Some early settlers even made that trip on foot. The trip could have taken weeks. I do not know if the family went to Bullitt County for a reason (i.e., they had family members who had previously moved there or had a job lined up there) or if they ended up there by happenstance. Maybe that was the first place that John found work. Regardless, Kentucky became the family's new home.
Kentucky was considered "the west" for North Carolinians for a long time. Kentucky's name is derived from an Indian word variously translated as "dark and bloody ground," "meadow land" and "land of tomorrow." It was part of the mysterious land west of the Appalachian Mountains, the natural barrier which postponed that state's colonization for many years. The land comprising Kentucky first began under English control in 1763 pursuant to the Treaty of Ghent entered into after the French and Indian War. Thereafter the English settlement of Kentucky came in the 1770s with the efforts of Daniel Boone and Granville County's Tranyslvania Company. Finally, in 1792, Kentucky became the country's fifteenth state. Kentucky's population grew quickly. By 1840, the state's population had swelled to 780,000, passing North Carolina (which had 753,000 that year) for the first time.
Kentucky's economy, like North Carolina's, was largely agricultural. In 1839, Kentucky led the country in producing hemp, was second in the production of both corn and hogs (Tennessee was first), came in fourth in the production of oats and rye and was one of the leading producers of tobacco, wheat and beef. Tobacco production grew steadily and, by 1865, Kentucky produced more of that crop than any other state in the Union. It was undoubtedly Kentucky's reputation for agricultural success that drew John II, who had never known anything other than agriculture as a source of livelihood, to the Bluegrass State.
Bullitt County and the 1850 Census
The next record that mentions John and Nancy is the 1850 U.S. Census. That record lists them as living in Bullitt County, Kentucky. According to that record, the family had expanded and now included seven children: William A. (17); Mary E. (15); Darthulia C. (12); Davis E. (10); George W. (7); Thomas E. (5) and John L. (2). John, who was forty, identified himself as a "farmer" in that record. Nancy, thirty-five at the time, was most likely a homemaker and, hence, did not cite any profession.
Bullitt County, the twentieth of Kentucky's eventual 120 counties is located in the far western Bluegrass region of Kentucky known as the Knobs. The Kentucky Encyclopedia describes Bullitt County as follows:
Bordered by Jefferson and Nelson, Spencer and Hardin counties, it has area of 300 square miles. The county was formed in December of 1796 from parts of Jefferson and Nelson counties and named for Alexander Scott Bullitt, Kentucky's first lieutenant governor (1800-1804)....
The county is hilly, with knobs covering most of its area. Salt River and its tributaries, the Rolling Fork and Floyd's Fork, drain to the west and empty into the Ohio River at West Point in Hardin County. Archaeological discoveries...indicate that Native Americans lived there 15,000 years ago.346
Bullitt County (and surrounding county) records do not indicate any land purchases or sales by John. Hence, I believe that the family lived as tenant farmers on land owned by another. Unfortunately, John's failure to own land makes it virtually impossible to pinpoint where he and the family lived in Bullitt County.
Nelson County and the 1860 Census
The next record that mentions John and Nancy is the 1860 U.S. Census, taken in June 1860, which shows them living in Nelson County, Kentucky, in the vicinity of the Boston Post Office (District 2). That record lists the family as follows:
Mary Ann Eliza
In the 1860 Census, each respondent was also asked to list the value of their real estate and personal possessions. According to that census record, the Bradford family owned no real estate and owned personal property that was valued at only $500.347
Nelson County, the family's new home, was the fourth oldest county in the state. That county, formed in 1784 from part of Jefferson County, was named after Thomas Nelson, Virginia Governor and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Boston, a small town twelve miles west of Bardstown on Highway 62, lies on the county's western edge near the Rolling Fork River. Those interested in seeing a pictorial history of Nelson County in general and Boston in particular should obtain Nelson County Kentucky: A Pictorial History.348
The 1860 Census provides some information about the status of John and Nancy's family. That record, for example, discloses that John and Nancy did not own any land (they probably never did), and did not engage in any business other than farming and were a family of limited financial means. Again, since the family did not own land it is difficult to pinpoint where they lived, but perhaps the names of their neighbors -- as indicated by that census record -- may provide a clue. The individuals listed on the census record directly before them was a young couple named Henry and Lydia Hart who had no children, but a owned a farm with a value of $5,000. Listed directly after the Bradfords were two large Purcell families: William and Nancy Purcell (a farm family with $3,000 in real estate) and Dennis and Jane Purcell (who owned $6,000 in real estate). Also living nearby were the elderly John and Rebecca Sprigg who owned a farm worth $8,000. Finding those lands may help lead to the Bradford home. Those records may also lead to the land -- owned by a wealthier neighbor -- that the Bradfords tilled for a livelihood.
The above 1860 U.S. Census record also raises some questions. For example, we are left to wonder what happened to oldest son William (who would have been twenty-seven at the time) who was living with the family in 1850 but had apparently moved on. Perhaps William had married by that time and settled elsewhere. Perhaps he moved further west.
The 1860 Census also shows that the Bradford family was, despite hard economic times, growing. The family now had a total of ten children: six boys (William, Davis, George, Thomas, John and James) and four girls (Maryann, Darthulia, Nancy and little Frances Ophelia). Such large families, however, were not unusual. Farm families in those days often believed that large families were the best defense against poverty. Their rationale was that an extra child who labored on the family farm put more food on the table than he or she ate. Regardless of the rationale, the size of the Bradford family must have made for a full table at dinner time.
What Happened to John and Nancy?
The 1860 Census is the last record that mentions John and Nancy Bradford. The family, therefore, must have broken up sometime before the 1870 Census. John and Nancy may have died by the time of that next census or they, and other parts of the family, may have moved away. But if so, where? And why? I do not know the answers to those questions and the answers may never be known. One possible answer suggests itself, however, and to that possible answer I now turn. Ask yourself: what happened between 1860 and 1870 and may have caused the breakup of a family living in Kentucky at the time? While we will never know for sure, the Civil War must be considered as the possible answer.
A State at the Heart of the Civil War
There is so much good literature written about the Civil War that it would foolish for me to try to authoritatively cover that historic period in detail. A look at how that conflict potentially impacted on the Bradfords, however, is worth exploring. While many people refer to the Civil War, America's most divisive war, as a war which pitted brother against brother, that fact was more true in Kentucky than any other state. Technically neutral in that war, Kentucky was geographically and otherwise at the war's heart from the beginning.
Many of the war's key players were Kentuckians. Kentuckian Henry Clay, "The Great Compromiser," for example, was credited with staving off that war for years. Clay crafted compromise after compromise to postpone that sectional conflict. For example, when Illinois was admitted to the Union in 1818, there were ten slave and eleven free states. In the following year, both Alabama and Missouri applied for statehood. Alabama returned an equal balance in the number of slave and free states, but supporters and opponents of slavery long argued over whether Missouri would enter the Union as a state allowing slavery or one that did not. The House of Representatives was controlled by anti-slavery forces and the Senate was controlled by pro-slavery forces. Just when bloodshed seemed eminent, it was Clay who fashioned the first Missouri Compromise whereunder Missouri was admitted as a slave state but Maine was cut loose from Massachusetts and came in as a free state. Moreover, Congress decreed that slavery would be forever excluded from the territory acquired in the Louisiana Purchase, north of the parallel 36 degrees and thirty minutes, the southern boundary of Missouri. Again in 1850, Clay avoided a sectional struggle by crafting a compromise in which, among other things, California was to be admitted as a free state and New Mexico and Utah would be organized without legislation either for or against slavery. Clay's attempts to maintain peace, though laudable, eventually failed. While he could not stop the Civil War from happening, Kentuckian Clay staved it off for many years.
The most notable Kentuckian to figure in the Civil War, however, was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on the south fork of the Nolin River (in LaRue County, about twenty miles from where the Bradfords lived in nearby Bullitt and Nelson Counties). That native Kentuckian's election as the sixteenth President of the United States in 1860 prompted South Carolina to secede from the Union and began a set of dominoes which ended with General Robert E. Lee's surrender to Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox Virginia in April, 1865.
Lincoln, leader of the new Republican Party, however, was not the only Kentuckian who ran for President in the seminal Presidential election of 1860. John C. Breckinbridge, a Lexington, Kentucky, resident and then-U.S. Vice President under James Buchanan, was a spokesman for southern Democrats. Breckinbridge argued that since the country's individual states had created the federal government, those states -- not the federal government -- were supreme. Although not a slave owner, Breckinbridge argued that the U.S. Constitution provided the federal government with limited powers and that those who challenged slavery were attacking property rights protected by the highest law in the land. Breckinbridge was considered the election's secession candidate. The election's other candidates were northern Democrat and Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Tennesseean John Bell, the latter of whom campaigned on a ballot of sectional conciliation.
After the 1860 election, when the seceding states selected their leader, they -- like the North -- looked to a native Kentuckian. Jefferson Davis, who was named the first and only president of the Confederate States of America by the provisional Confederate Congress at a meeting in Montgomery, Alabama on February 9, 1861, was born at Fairview (then called Davisburg) in Christian (now Todd) County, Kentucky, on June 3, 1808. A "neutral" state, Kentucky had supplied each side's commander-in-chief.
The Eye of the Storm
In the election of 1860, Kentucky was not carried by either of its native sons Lincoln (who did not carry a single county) or Breckinbridge. Indeed, in the county he was born in, Hardin County, Lincoln carried only four votes. 349 Instead, most Kentuckians voted for John Bell who proposed to preserve the Union at any cost. Although Kentucky was a slave state and considered itself southern, most of its natives wanted to keep the union intact. They did not want war.
While eleven states (including the former Bradford home states of Virginia and North Carolina) seceded from the Union, it was Kentucky, a technically neutral border state, which became the most war-torn of the country's states. Kentuckians, who must have suspected that might happen, tried harder than others to avoid that war. As author James M. McPherson points out in his seminal work Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era:
Nearly three-quarters of the white men in Missouri and two-thirds of those in Maryland who fought in the Civil War did so on the side of the Union. Kentucky was more evenly divided between North and South; at least two-fifths of her white fighting men wore gray. Kentucky was the birthplace of both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Heir to the nationalism of Henry Clay, Kentucky was also drawn to the South by ties of kinship and culture. Three slave states and three free states touched its borders. Precisely because Kentucky was so evenly divided in sentiment and geography, its people were loath to choose sides. A month after Lincoln's call for troops, the legislature resolved that "this state and the citizens thereof shall take no part in the Civil War now being waged [but will] occupy a position of strict neutrality."
Kentuckians took pride in their traditional role as mediator between the North and South. Three times Henry Clay had devised historic sectional compromises: in 1820, 1833, and in 1850. In 1861 Clay's successor John J. Crittendon had tried to devise a fourth. Even as late as May 1861, Kentucky unionists still believed that Crittendon's compromise offered the best hope to save the Union. Governor Beriah Magoffin appealed to the governors of the three midwestern states on Kentucky's northern border for a conference to propose mediation between the warring parties. He sent emissaries to Tennessee and Missouri for the same purpose. If all six states formed a united front, thought Magoffin, they could compel North and South to make peace. But the Republican midwestern governors, busy mobilizing their states for war, refused to have anything to do with the idea, while Tennessee soon made its commitment to the Confederacy. A border states conference held in Frankfort on June 8 attracted delegates from only Kentucky and Missouri. They adjourned in futility after passing unnoticed resolutions.350
Both the North and the South considered Kentucky a prize. Not only was that state seen as a potential supply of troops and supplies, but it was strategically located. Author McPherson explains:
For almost five hundred miles the Ohio river flows along the northern border of Kentucky, providing a defensive barrier or an avenue of invasion, depending on which side could control and fortify it. Two of the Ohio's navigable tributaries, the Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers, penetrate through Kentucky into the heart of Tennessee and northern Alabama. Little wonder that Lincoln was reported to have said that while he hoped to have God on his side, he must have Kentucky.351
Both the North and South tried to compel Kentucky to join them and requested the state to supply them with troops. Kentucky Governor Magoffin, however, rejected both Lincoln and Davis's requests for troops. Although Kentucky's leaders were unable to stave off the war and were at least initially unwilling to take an official stand in that conflict, the state was inexorably drawn into that conflict. In the weeks after Fort Sumter was fired upon in April, 1861, thousands of Kentuckians began to filter into Tennessee to join Confederate units at recruiting stations set up just across the state line. Similarly, thousands of Kentuckians joined the North at recruiting camps for those volunteers set up in Ohio, just across the Ohio River. A great many Kentuckians, like the state itself, stayed neutral and either played no role or transacted trade with both sides.
Despite its initial neutrality, a great deal of trade to the South took place through Kentucky. Horses, mules, food, leather, salt and even munitions entered Tennessee via Kentucky. Although governors from some midwestern states tried to halt that trade by placing armed steamboats and artillery on the Ohio River, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad continued to haul provisions from Kentucky to Confederate Supply centers in the South. Eventually, unionists in the state passed laws which made that trade illegal. Those laws, of course did not stop that trade, but it did drive it underground.
Eventually, both sides ignored Kentucky's neutrality. Several northern regiments, under the leadership of Ulysses S. Grant, were stationed at Cairo, Illinois, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. A confederate force of a similar size, under Leonidas Polk, occupied northwest Tennessee about fifty miles away. Both sides greedily eyed the strategic point at Columbus, Kentucky, from which either side could control the Mississippi River. Ignoring Kentucky's neutrality, Polk moved in and seized Columbus in September, 1861. Grant responded by moving in and occupying Paducah and Smithland, towns located at the mouths of the strategically important Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. Both sides had invaded, but the South, which attacked first, was soon deemed the aggressor by Kentucky's state government. The dye was cast and Kentucky found itself knocked off the fence of neutrality and, effectively, soon torn in two. Hence, following the joint-invasion by both sides' armies:
On September 18 the American flag rose over the capitol and legislators resolved by a three to one margin that Kentucky having been "invaded by the forces of the so-called Confederate States ... the invaders must be expelled." Governor Magoffin and Senator Breckinbridge resigned to cast their lot with the Confederacy. Other Kentuckians followed them. On November 18 a convention of two hundred delegates passed an ordinance of secession and formed a provisional government, which the Congress in Richmond admitted as the thirteenth Confederate State on December 10. By the end of the year 35,000 Confederate troops occupied the southwest quarter of Kentucky, facing more than 50,000 Federals who controlled the rest of the state.
War had finally come to Kentucky. And here more than anywhere else it was literally a brothers' war. Four grandsons of Henry Clay fought for the Confederacy and three others for the Union. One of Senator John J. Crittendon's sons became a general in the Union army and the other a general in the Confederate army. The Kentucky-born wife of the President of the United States had four brothers and three brothers-in-law fighting for the South -- one of them a captain killed in Baton Rouge and another a general killed at Chickamauga. Kentucky regiments fought each other on several battlefields; in the battle of Atlanta, a Kentucky Breckinbridge fighting for the Yankees captured his rebel brother.352
War in Their Backyards
While both northern and southern troops made their way across Kentucky during the war, most of it, thankfully, took place away from the Bradford's homestead in central Kentucky. For example, during the early parts of 1862, western Kentucky became the scene of military operations by southern leaders Johnston, Polk, Buckner, Crittendon and Zollicoffer and northern leaders Grant, McClellan and Thomas.
One famous Kentuckian who time and again roamed in the vicinity of the Bradford home was John Hunt Morgan and his brigade of horsemen, the famous "Morgan's Raiders," who repeatedly frustrated the North with their raids. Morgan's Raiders, for example, destroyed much of the state's northern rail trade by destroying the nearby Louisville and Nashville Railroad train tracks only a few miles from the Bradfords' home. Morgan achieved fame in July 1862 when, on a thousand-mile raid through Kentucky and middle Tennessee, he and his men captured 1,200 prisoners and tons of supplies while incurring less than ninety Confederate casualties. Morgan's men, who relied on speed and guerrilla tactics, frustrated the North again and again. Morgan's men, for example, once blocked the railroad north of Nashville by pushing flaming boxcars into an 800-foot tunnel, causing the timbers to burn and the tunnel to cave in. As a result, a major Northern troop advance was temporarily halted. Morgan also burned the railroad trestles at nearby Hardin County, Kentucky's Muldraugh Hill. On another occasion, Morgan's men captured a telegraph office in Hardin County and transmitted messages -- dictated by Morgan but ostensibly sent by a Union officer -- that inquired into the disposition of Union forces in the vicinity and passed on misinformation about the location and strength of Morgan's command.353 Morgan, a hero in the South, later led his men on raids into Indiana and Ohio. Morgan's raid of 1862 so vexed Union forces that an exasperated Abraham Lincoln wired Major General Henry W. Halleck, the ranking commander in the War Department, that "They are having a stampede in Kentucky. Please look to it."
Open man-to-man warfare also came to the Bradfords' Nelson County home. In 1862, Confederates leaders Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith led their men on a drive into central Kentucky. Kirby, with 21,000 men, marched from Knoxville, Tennessee to Lexington, Kentucky in August of 1862. Meanwhile, Bragg led 30,000 troops from Chattanooga to a point 100 miles west of Kirby, eventually capturing a Union garrison of 4,000 men at Munfordville, only sixty miles south of Louisville. Bragg asked Smith to link up with him at Nelson County's Bardstown -- a town only thirty-five miles south of Louisville and halfway between those two Confederate forces. Bragg's men camped in Bardstown from September 20 through October 3. Northern General Don Carlos Buell, however, moved down from Louisville with 60,000 men to meet the rebel forces. Buell sent one division of men on a feint towards Frankfort (where Bragg and Smith had stopped to watch the inauguration of Kentucky's confederate governor) while the remainder were marched towards Bragg's troops in Bardstown. Bragg was deceived and led half his men to Frankfort while Polk, who was left with the rest of Bragg's forces, retreated in the face of superior forces and eventually ended up in nearby Perryville. Both armies, in one the driest summers in Kentucky history, came to that town searching for water. It was there that Buell and Bragg's men fought.
The Battle of Perryville, which was fought on August 8, 1862, was the bloodiest encounter in Kentucky history. The result was a draw, with 4,200 Northern casualties and 3,400 Confederate casualties. Bragg, however, retreated and left Buell in possession of the field. That battle was the last time that Confederates made any serious attempt to take possession of Kentucky. Other than the occasional guerrilla raid, the state of Kentucky saw no further significant battles in the war. During the war, Nelson County was raided by both Marcellus Jerome Clarke and William Quantrill of the Confederacy and Edward Terrell of the Union.
War's Effect on the Bradfords
The Civil War must have had a profound effect on the psyches of John II and his family -- just as the Revolutionary War had on his grandfather John I ninety years before. Unfortunately, I do not know whether John Bradford II or any of his sons fought and/or died in that war. Although the extant records listing Kentuckians who served in that war indicate that there were Bradfords fighting on both sides of that conflict, none mention John Bradford II or any of his sons. Hence, it would seem to appear that they did not fight in the war Unfortunately, however, one cannot be certain since that war's records are incomplete.
If John II and his and his sons did not fight in the war, then it becomes less clear what happened to John II (who would have been a relatively young fifty-five in 1865) and three of his fighting age sons (William, Davis and John Lewis) -- each of whom seem to have disappeared at or around the time of that war. If they did fight, they may have stood with the North, rebelled with the South or, most tragically, split into factions and sent family members to both sides. The latter scenario, as previously discussed, happened all to often in "neutral" Kentucky. It is also possible that the Bradfords sat out that conflict altogether. Even if they did not serve, however, they may still have skirmished with men in or out of uniform at that time: several Kentuckians were victimized by looters or bandits who wore gray or blue and who took advantage of the war's confusion to victimize the unarmed or isolated.
We will likely never know the Bradford family's role in that dispute. Perhaps that is for the best. Hence, rather than looking back on that war through the eyes of a beaten but proud "rebel" or a victorious but saddened "Yankee," we can look on that conflict objectively for what it was -- the saddest, most tragic chapter in our country's history.
John and Nancy Pass On
John and Nancy must have passed away sometime between 1860 and 1870. While their graves have not been located, I would wager that they were buried in the churchyard of some Baptist Church located in either Hardin, Nelson or Bullitt Counties of Kentucky near the point where those three counties meet. The reason I believe that John and Nancy died during that period is that the 1860 Census showed the family still living together, while the 1870 Census has no record of John or Nancy, but instead shows their then-fifteen year old son James living with his brother George in Colesburg, Hardin County and also shows thirteen year old daughter Frances Ophelia living in Bullitt County with daughter Mary, who had since married John Masden. Clearly, the family had broken up.
A tenant farmer, John left few footprints and his final whereabouts may be forever cloaked in obscurity. We may never know where he was buried. Any tombstone would have to survive over 125 years of central Kentucky's wide weather swings. Hence, even if discovered, John and Nancy's headstones may be worn smooth and unreadable. Those early Bradfords lived so close to the land, however, that perhaps it is best that they disappeared into it. Like ghosts or legends, therefore, I drive through the area of Bullitt, Nelson and Hardin Counties finding them nowhere -- but sensing them everywhere. Every field is one that could have been tilled by John. Every road is one he may have ridden his horse down. Every tree is one possibly planted by his hand. Every stone was there during his life and may have been touched by him. Every stream may have may have been fished by him, all woods possibly hunted by that long-dead ancestor. A bittersweet, but perhaps apropos, ending for that intrepid ancestor.
John II lived though much. Born during Thomas Jefferson's Presidency near the time of the Louisiana Purchase, John lived to see Abraham Lincoln become President. He saw wars come and go. John II witnessed the War of 1812 (1812-1814), lived while Texas won its independence from Mexico shortly after Davy Crockett and others were killed at the Alamo (1836), heard first-hand reports of the Mexican War (1846-1848) and, finally, watched as Civil War rocked the country. The country's population, less than 6 million at John II's birth, swelled to around 35 million by the time he and Nancy died. The country, a mere seventeen states in 1803, had twice that number of states when John and Nancy passed on. It was not yet the America we know, but it was getting there.
When tillage begins, other arts follow. The farmers therefore are the founders of human civilization.
-- Daniel Webster
VII. George and Mary Ann
Born the fifth of ten children, little is recorded about my great, great grandfather George Bradford to distinguish him from those around him. Born the son of John and Nancy Bradford in North Carolina on April 18, 1843, George died in tiny Colesburg, Kentucky, shortly after the turn of the twentieth century.
Although they did not live that long ago, I strangely know less of George's siblings than I do of Richard I's children. Thus is the curse of poverty and frequent relocation. Indeed, their lack of wealth virtually renders them historically invisible to those tracking them. Although a family Bible or other source may someday come to light and inform us about what happened to those relatives, their failure to purchase land or hold local political titles leaves little public record of their existence. Compounding that problem, the family's frequent movements have made it difficult to know where to look. Once you overlay those problems with the fact that they lived 150 years ago, you have a mystery that would vex Scotland Yard. Nevertheless, I have some leads.
George's sister Mary Ann Bradford married John P. Masden in Bullitt County on July 7, 1867. Mary Ann was twenty-eight at the time of her marriage. Mary died January 2, 1910, and John, who died September 2, 1918, was buried next to her at the Valley Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. That cemetery is located in Hardin County, five miles outside of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on Highway 567. During the 1910 Census, John and Mary Ann were living in Boston, Nelson County with the following children: Leonard Masden (born 1869); Fannie Masden (born 1871); Lizzie Masden (born 1873); and daughter Mannie Masden (born 1876).354 There are still Masdens living in that area.
George's youngest sister, Frances Ophelia Bradford (who was thirteen at the time), was living with sister Mary Bradford Masden and brother-in-law John Masden at the time of the 1870 Census. I am not sure, however, what happened to her after that.
Sister Darthulia Bradford married James A. Trainor, a twenty-eight year old widower, in Bullitt County on August 25, 1870. Darthulia's husband, like his parents before him, was a native Kentuckian.355 I am not sure, however, what became of them after that.
George's small brother James was living with brother George and George's wife in Colesburg, Kentucky, in 1870. James was fifteen years-old at the time. James, who never married, worked as a laborer and tenant farmer his whole life. For example, the 1910 Census records him as living and working on the farm of George and Mary Maraman in Bullitt County, Kentucky.356 James died February 13, 1927. He is buried in the New Mount Moriah Baptist Church Cemetery in Boston, Kentucky.
George's brother Thomas Bradford married Alice H. Perry and lived with her in Hardin County, Kentucky. Sadly, Thomas, his wife, and three of his four children were not long for this world. By September of 1905, Thomas and Alice had died, leaving one heir, Clara H. Bradford who was then twenty-one years old.357 Thomas (1845-1898), Alice (1859-1905) and daughters Norah E. Bradford (1877-1903), Stella M. Bradford (1879-1900) and Blanche P. Bradford (1881-1899) -- like Thomas's sister Mary Bradford Masden -- are each buried in Hardin County in the Valley Creek Baptist Church Cemetery. I have no idea what tragedies caused three of Thomas and Alice's children to pass on before any of them either married or celebrated their twenty-seventh birthday.
Sadly, I have no further information about George's other siblings: William A. Bradford, Davis E. Bradford, John Lewis Bradford or Nancy Bradford.
George Marries a Carlisle
On March 15, 1869, twenty-six year old George married nineteen year-old Mary Ann Drusilla Carlisle in Colesburg, Hardin County, Kentucky. Their marriage, which was witnessed by Francis Miriam Carlisle and Lucy Ann Coyles, took place in the home of Mr. H. Bryan, a Colesburg resident. A record of their marriage is on file in Elizabethtown, Hardin County's county seat. Mary was born on May 28, 1849 in tiny Colesburg. Many Carlisles lived in Colesburg and several of them are buried in Colesburg's St. Clare Cemetery.
George's wife, Mary, was the daughter of William Carlisle and Rosella Wise of Bullitt County, Kentucky. Mary's father, a native Kentuckian, was the son of James Carlisle, who was born in Maryland in 1794, and Druscilla Howlett, who was born in Maryland in about 1800. James Carlisle and Druscilla Howlett married in Bullitt County on April 1, 1819. Druscilla Howlett's parents were John Howlette (who was reportedly born in Virginia or Maryland in about 1760) and Drusilla Johnson (who was born in Maryland in 1765). John Howlette and Drusilla Johnson were married in Baltimore Maryland on Mary 1, 1793, and they moved to Hardin County Kentucky where, by 1848, they both died.
Mary Ann Drusilla (Carlisle) Bradford (1849-1918). (photo courtesy of Dottie Cornett).
Mary's mother Rosella Wise, like Mary's father William Carlisle, was a native Kentuckian. Rosella was born in Hardin County, Kentucky on July 27, 1828. Rosella also died in Hardin County, on March 10, 1865. Rosella was the daughter of Gabriel Wise (born 1801) and Mary Anne McBride (born 1803), each of whom was born in Kentucky and, apparently, died there prior to 1870.
Conversion to Catholicism
George, at least partially as a result of his love for Mary Carlisle, converted to Catholicism. The Carlisle family had long adhered to the Catholic faith. Similarly, each of George and Mary's children were christened into the Catholic Church in Colesburg's St. Clare Church, where the family attended services. Saint Clare Church, which was established in 1804, still stands in the tiny hamlet of Colesburg. It was the first Catholic church built in Hardin County. So many Catholics have moved from that area, however, that church services are no longer conducted there. Thereafter, all St. Clare's records were moved to nearby Shepherdsville.
George, who was born in North Carolina in 1843 and died in Colesburg, Kentucky, before his fifty seventh birthday, lived in Colesburg during most of his life. Although I am not sure when he moved there, he was living there at least as early as October, 1868, when, at the age of twenty-five, he was mentioned in the local county tax assessor's report. The tax man, alas, finds us all.
Colesburg, a tiny town in Hardin County located just off of I-65 and near Kentucky 434, is little more than a spot on the map. The town was named for William Cole, one of the area's oldest settlers, who moved there in around 1800.358 Colesburg is less than five miles northeast of Elizabethtown, two miles southwest of the point at which Nelson, Bullitt and Hardin Counties meet and about two miles south of the Fort Knox Military Reservation which houses the U.S. Bullion Depository. The Depository, incidentally, has housed more than just billions of dollars worth of gold. That depository also, during World War II, housed the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution and autographed copies of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and second inaugural address. Many other priceless items have been housed there.
Fort Knox was created after George died. That military post, a 109,000 acre site which extends over portions of Bullitt, Hardin and Meade Counties, was established as Camp Knox in 1918. It originally served as a field artillery training range for Louisville's Camp Zachary Taylor. It was on June 25, 1918, that Congress allocated $1.6 million to purchase 40,000 acres to form Camp Knox -- land that was previously farmed by George and his friends and nieghbors. The family farm is long gone.
Muldraugh Hill and the L&N Railroad
Most of Colesburg's history seems to surround Muldraugh Hill, the local high point which leaves Colesburg in its shadow. The Kentucky Encyclopedia describes the history of Muldraugh Hill as follows:
Muldraugh Hill is a long steep ridge that roughly follows the Rolling Fork River and rises about five hundred feet above it. The ridge extends approximately seventy-five miles from West Point, Hardin County, to Calvary, Marion County. Muldraugh Hill was named for John Muldraugh who settled near its eastern extreme in Marion County in about 1776. Though the name originally applied to only to that part of the ridge where Muldraugh lived, it is used now for the entire expanse. (Another explanation of the name traces it to Mule Draw Station, a stable at the foot of the ridge that rented mule teams to settlers to draw their wagons over the hill.)
When the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad's main line to the south was under construction in the 1850's, the first obstacle encountered was Muldraugh Hill. A series of trestles and a tunnel 1,986 feet long and 135 feet below the summit, were built five miles north of Elizabethtown in 1860. During the Civil War, Muldraugh Hill and the L&N Railroad became strategically significant. By 1862 the railroad was being used to supply Federal armies advancing into Tennessee. During his Christmas Raid on December 28, 1862, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan defeated the Federal forces at Muldraugh Hill and burned the railroad trestles. Though Morgan succeeded in closing the L&N for five weeks, Union logistics were little affected as Union Gen. William Rosencrans had already sent supplies to Nashville. The raid nevertheless slowed the Union advance, as more than 7,000 men from Rosencrans's army worked to repair the trestles. Union forces were able to hold the railroad for the remainder of the war, minimizing any further damage to the lines by the Confederates, and the L&N emerged from the war in relatively sound financial and physical condition.
... Muldraugh ... is now surrounded by the Fort Knox military reservation.359
The builders of the L&N Railroad remember well tiny Colesburg and nearby Muldraugh Hill. As shown in Maury Klein's History of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, that area figures prominently in the creation of the L&N Railroad. That railroad, which was chartered by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1850, became the state's dominant rail carrier in the decades following the Civil War. As Klein's books states, the planners of the L&N anticipated no serious obstacles, when they laid that track in the mid-1850s, until the line reached Muldraugh Hill, which they saw as an engineering nightmare: "a solid 500-foot limestone structure perpendicular to the route, presented the most imposing engineering problem on the road, and there was no good way around it." They expected to spend $520,000 to grade the five mile stretch. Klein's book includes a photograph of Muldraugh Hill "the most formidable obstacle of the original line" as it appeared in the late 1850s.
The L&N railroad tunnel at Muldraugh's Hill was completed in April 1860, after five years of work. The train line between Louisville and Nashville was thereafter completed and trains began to run regularly between those two cities on October 31, 1860. Passenger trains ran the 185 miles in ten hours -- three times faster than stagecoaches. Freight trains, although somewhat slower, still beat the several-day transit by wagon road or water. In 1927, L&N completed a new fourteen mile second track between Lebanon Junction and Parkston, two miles south of Elizabethtown, which eliminated the need for the tunnel at Muldraugh Hill.360
In the Vicinity: the Railways and Custer
George and his family and neighbors must have discussed the railroad and the changes it wrought. Even assuming George's life was spent quietly as a farmer, he nevertheless saw history made. Trains were the most modern mode of transportation in George's day. A relatively new development, the "iron horse" was first developed at around the time of George's birth in the 1840s. George, who was probably too young to remember North Carolina or his family's trip to Kentucky, probably by covered wagon from that state, must have dreamed of riding the rails to faraway places. George and his family watched the L&N Railroad being built and probably marveled at the construction of the tunnel through Muldraugh Hill. George and some of his brothers, moreover, may have helped dig that tunnel.
A young George may also have seen John Hunt Morgan and his men riding in to capture and destroy the nearby newly-built train trestles. There were few roads then. Perhaps George saw or heard those troops thundering away after their raid. Union troops also came and went. The Civil War, one must remember, was a war that was fought in mid-nineteenth century America's backyards. We read of it, but George and his contemporaries lived with it for years -- and lived with its aftermath for the rest of their lives.
George also lived in Colesburg while a famous figure lived in the vicinity. Specifically, on September 3, 1871, the legendary General George Armstrong Custer was ordered to report for duty at nearby Elizabethtown. Custer and two hundred men of his famous 7th Calvary, along with a battalion of the Fourth Infantry, were stationed there "to put an end to illegal distilleries and to restrain the Ku Klux Klan and the bushwhackers." Custer and his men, who we all know were eventually re-stationed in the West, left the area in the spring of 1873.361 A recent book about Custer, Cavalier in Buckskin, describes Custer's Elizabethtown responsibilities at the time as follows: "Duties were light and routine, chiefly suppressing Ku Klux Klan activity, chasing moonshiners, and inspecting horses purchased for the calvary." 362 It was only three years later that Custer and the 7th Calvary's 264 men were done in at the Battle of the Little Bighorn by thousands of vengeful Sioux warriors led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. While living in Elizabethtown, Custer and his wife reportedly lived in one of the small brick cottages connected to Aunt Beck Hill's boarding house, now called the Brown-Pusey House, which is located near the courthouse in Elizabethtown. The Brown-Pusey House, where the Custers took their meals each day, was later donated to the town and now houses a local history and genealogy library. Custer wrote My Life on the Plains while he lived in Elizabethtown.
George Bradford and his family probably saw the inimitable Custer either as that brash young general rode through the countryside attending to his duties, or perhaps during one of the Bradford family's trips into Elizabethtown, the county seat and the nearest town of any real size. If so, I am sure that George -- who like everyone else in America heard the stories of Custer's death -- never imagined the near-mythical proportions that "Custer's Last Stand" would take on in years to come.
The Industrial Revolution
George lived through a time of major technological change, although toiling in the fields, he may have only been vaguely aware of it. In the year that George was born, 1843, for example, Congress granted Samuel F. B. Morse, the man who had worked out the principles of electrical telegraphy, $30,000 to build the country's first telegraph line (between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.). In 1856 the Western Union Company was formed to exploit that invention and, within a few years, telegraph poles and wires appeared everywhere.
The telegraph, however, was only one of the magnificent discoveries that took place during George's life. No fewer than 676,000 patents were granted by the United States Patent Office between 1860 and 1900. The Singer sewing machine was created in 1850. Samuel Colt revolutionized the production of small firearms in 1853. The first electric light bulb was created in 1854. In nearby Eddyville, Kentucky, ironmaker William Kelly came up with the brilliant idea of turning iron into steel by blowing cold air through it -- English engineer Henry Bessemer proved Kelly right in 1856, and the Bessemer process began to yield the steel used to build much of America. Milk was first pasteurized in 1864. Photography was developed and, in 1873, the first color photos appeared. In 1876, Scottish immigrant Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and, within a few years, phone boxes appeared in every business office and the streets of the country's larger cities became criss-crossed with overhead phone lines. In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. The first American bicycles were produced in 1878. In 1880, George and his family must have marveled when canned fruit and meats first appeared on store shelves. Edison developed the incandescent light in 1880. Electricity soon lit America's cities. The first skyscraper (a then eye-popping ten stories) went up in 1883. In 1893, Henry Ford built his first car. In the 1890s Edison, ever the active inventor, began to experiment with a motion-picture machine.363
While inventions did not come to Colesburg the same day they appeared in the country's large cities, change did come to George's nick of the woods. For example, records from nearby Bardstown indicate that it acquired coal oil street lamps in 1882, telephone service in the 1880s and electricity in 1896. America became quite a different place. It is odd to look back and realize how many things that seem commonplace -- if not outdated -- to us, were so new and strange to George and his family. They probably wondered where all the change and discovery would lead to. Don't we all.
America Continues to Expand
Even though George was among the eighth generation of Bradfords to live in America, plenty of the country's growth took place during his lifetime. Iowa became a state in 1846; Wisconsin followed in 1848; California joined in 1850; in 1854 Congress ratified the Gadsden Purchase in which the U.S. purchased part of Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico; Minnesota achieved statehood in 1858; Oregon followed in 1859; Kansas became a state in 1861; the Unionists of West Virginia broke off from Virginia to form a new state in 1863; Nevada became a state in 1864; in 1866 the U.S purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million; Nebraska became a state in 1867; Colorado became a state in 1876; 1889 witnessed the statehood of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington; Idaho and Wyoming became states in 1890; and, finally, Utah became a state in 1896. Hence, a country which had only twenty-six states at George's birth, grew to forty-five states prior to his death in 1900. (Only Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska remained to round out the eventual fifty states.)
George also lived during the terms of a number of Presidents. Born during President Tyler's term, George was too young to vote for the Presidents of his youth: James Polk, Zachary Taylor (who was replaced by Millard Fillmore when he died in office) and James Buchanan. George, however, had the opportunity to vote for (or against): Abraham Lincoln (at least in Lincoln's second election), Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield (who was assassinated in 1881 and therefore replaced by Chester Arthur), Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.
The country's population quadrupled during George's life. Whereas there were less than 20 million living in America at George's birth, the country's population reached 76 million by the time he died. Similarly, Kentucky, which had between 800,000 and 900,000 inhabitants when the Bradfords moved there in the 1840s, grew to a population of over 2 million before George passed away.
The country, moreover, changed forever during George's life. The cementing of the U.S. into a cohesive unit, a process which began with the American Revolution and the Constitutional conventions held during the life of George's great-grandfather John I, was completed in George's day. The Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and subsequent amendments to the Constitution put an end to slavery in America once and for all. The Civil War ended the only serious threat to the country's unity. Thereafter it was clear that the United States were united to the end. Technological leaps forward in the areas of transportation and communication also made the country a more cohesive unit. One could now travel across the country in a matter of days and news could travel that distance even quicker. George died in a country which was well on its way to becoming the world's leading military, political and economic power.
George and Mary had six children, each of whom were born in Colesburg and baptized at Colesburg's St. Clare Church. There were three sons and three daughters. George and Mary's children were as follows: Mary Ann Rosalia Bradford ( "Nan," born January 19, 1870); Willie Ella Bradford ("Ella," born February 4, 1872); Anna May Bradford (sometimes spelled Annie Mae, born in 1874); James Ernest Bradford ("Ernie," born December 22, 1875); Ollie Thomas Bradford (my great-grandfather, born January 6, 1878); and George Lee Bradford ("Lee," born March 22, 1882). Each of those children grew up on the family's farm in Colesburg. 364
1868-1875 Tax Records
Several records made by the Hardin County tax assessor mention George. While other such records may be extant, I have only seen records for the Colesburg area for 1868, 1869, 1871, 1872 and 1875. Each of those records provide information about George. Microfilm copies of those records are available at most good research libraries in Kentucky (I saw them in Elizabethtown's Brown-Pusey House).
The 1868 Hardin County tax assessor's book lists George as a resident of that county's District Number 1. That record, made on October 15, 1868, shows that, on that date, George owned no land and no animals other than a horse which he valued at sixty dollars. George was required to pay a property tax of eighteen cents on that horse (all property was taxed at the rate of thirty cents per $100). That record also indicated that George was enrolled in the state's militia. The 1868 record, therefore, proves two important facts about George: (1) he served in the state's militia; and (2) he moved to Colesburg before he married Mary Carlisle (who he married in the following year). Hence, I owe a debt of gratitude to the landowner who allowed George to work on the farm in the vicinity of his future wife (and my great, great grandmother): Colesburg resident Mary Ann Drusilla Carlisle.
The 1869 Hardin County District Number 1 tax assessor record indicates that George's financial situation was somewhat better than the year before: although he did not own any land, mules, dogs, pigs or cattle, he did own a horse valued at $50 (down from $60 in 1868, so I guess the past year had taken its toll on George's poor horse), fifty pounds of tobacco and 125 bushels of corn (this tells us what crops he grew). George again was described as a member of the state's militia.
The 1871 tax record (I did not see him mentioned in the 1870 records) indicates that he owned two horses or mares (worth a combined seventy-five dollars), three hogs over six months old, and 150 bushels of corn. Taxes, however, had increased: George now owed forty-five cents per $100. His 1871 property tax bill, therefore, was just under twelve cents.
The 1872 record is very informative. Not only does it list George's property holdings (he owned two horses valued at a total of $100, a cow, five hogs over six months old and 350 bushels of corn), but it informs us that he was living next to the Rolling Fork River. Hence, for the first time we can pinpoint where George and the family lived. George apparently lived near that river for the rest of his life. Indeed, his son Ollie often mentioned to his descendants that the family lived in Colesburg near the Rolling Fork River. That river is on Hardin County's border with Nelson County (Boston was just across the river). Hence, George did not fall far from the tree: once he moved to Kentucky as a boy, he never lived more a few miles from the point where Hardin, Nelson and Bullitt Counties meet.
Finally, the tax assessor's record of 1875, incidentally the first year that the Kentucky Derby was held, identifies Gus Spink as George's nearest neighbor. George's taxable property holdings in 1875 consisted of nothing more than two horses (with a combined value of $100) and 300 bushels of corn. George was again listed as a member of the militia.
Census Records of 1870 and 1880
Although most of the 1890 U.S. Census records were destroyed in a fire in Washington D.C., the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Census records include information about George and his family.
According to the 1870 Census, George was living with his wife and children in Hardin County, Kentucky's Colesburg Precinct. That record indicates that there were four people living in the household at the time: George Bradford (who gave his profession as "farmer," reported being twenty-six years old and listed his birthplace as North Carolina); Mary Bradford (who was twenty and reportedly "keeps house"); Mary R. Bradford (age three months who lives "at home") and James R. Bradford (George's fifteen year-old brother who "works on farm" with George). The family owned no real estate and valued its personal property at only $200. George also responded that he could read, but could not write.
At the time of the 1880 U.S. Census, taken on June 6 of that year, the family was again living in Hardin County's Colesburg Precinct. The family's seven listed members were: George (35, "farmer"); Mary D. (33, "keeps house"); Nancy (10); Willie E. (8); Annie M. (6); Earnest (4) and Frances (Ollie, my great grandfather, 2).
The 1880 Census tells a particularly sad story. While George's father brought the family to Kentucky for a better future, George and his family lived at barely better than subsistence level. Fate and circumstances had conspired to drive the family to a point where they were tenant farming and the family's savings and property equaled last month's food bill (although, admittedly, not in 1880 dollars). Moreover George, if the census taker faithfully recorded his response, could not even write!
What had happened? The family which once boasted bold petitions to the governor and vast land holdings could not write a simple letter! Why was it that over two hundred years after Richard I came to this country so full of hope that some of his descendants wondered where their next meal was coming from? A poor family, the Bradfords worked -- probably just for room and board -- land which years later ironically would house a countless fortune in gold. George, of course, probably never knew what the family once had and, therefore, never appreciated the irony of what had become. While no doubt rich in character and strong in principle, the family had lost something. In fairness, however, they were not alone. According to the 1880 Census, 25.6 per cent of the farms in the United States were operated by tenants like the Bradfords.
Perhaps, however, one must look at the family's position from a different angle. The family was still alive. Wars had come and gone, pestilence and disease were always around. The family, however, continued to forge ahead. Indeed, perhaps George Bradford and those like him are the ones we should respect the most. While Richard I, Richard II and Philemon, for example, lived at a time of great promise, George woke up every day not knowing what that day held for him or his family. George worked so hard, even in his youth, that school was a luxury he never knew. His reading, if any, was probably restricted to the family's Bible. Life, which was more tenuous than ever for the Bradfords, perhaps became a little more valuable. While I don't know for sure, I would wager that he never missed a church service. Anyone can face a day full of promise. George, however, probably just thanked the Lord for each day that the sun or rain provided crops for him to tend. He gave heartfelt thanks for the food he was able to put on the table for his young family. War savaged his homeland and he certainly saw friends and neighbors, perhaps even brothers, march off to die -- fighting each other. Yet he survived. What slender threads of hope, outside of his church and his family, kept him going each day? What inner strength kept him toiling in the fields -- someone else's fields -- while many others prospered in the post-Civil War years? Which of us can boast that type of strength?
I think, perhaps, that descending from that kind of strength is something to be proud of -- something to envy. He pulled the family through difficult times, one day at a time and, although he couldn't read, George begat children who learned to read and several grandchildren and great grandchildren who became teachers and, cumulatively, have taught thousands to read. George's strength should inspire his descendants every day of their lives. And if it does not, then what was the point?
I do not mean to suggest, however, that George was not a content man. Many around him were financially doing no better than he was. Many were worse off. Indeed, when he sat to dinner with his loved ones, George may have smiled to himself and considered himself the luckiest man alive. Perhaps he was.
Land and census records tell us that George never owned an acre of land. All of his work was done on farms owned by others. While no records describe farm life for the Bradfords or the nature of their work, some records give us an idea.
Agriculture was Kentucky's main source of income throughout George's life. Tobacco was the state's central cash crop. In 1840, the state produced over 53 million pounds of that crop. Kentucky's annual tobacco production grew to 55 million pounds in 1850 and 108 million pounds in 1860 (that trend continued until 1982 when that crop's annual yield reached 589 million pounds). Corn was also widely grown and, in 1850, the state became the second highest corn-producing state in the Union. Wheat, rye, oats and to a larger extent hemp, were also grown on Kentucky farms. By 1861, the state was the fifth largest producer of horses and mules and a major breeder of cattle, hogs and sheep. Farm work in George's day, therefore, was much as it had been when the Bradfords first looked to the soil for their livelihood so many years before. Like Richard I, Richard II, Philemon, John I, Elijah and John II, George muddied his hands planting tobacco, corn and other crops.
The time following the Civil War, however, was difficult for Kentucky farmers. Since many of the state's farmers relied on a single cash crop -- tobacco -- that crop's farmers, like the cotton farmers farther south, became virtually bankrupt with the various panics that followed 1865. Those difficulties led to the organization of various farmers' movements, including the granger organizations, the Farmers' Alliance and the Populist party. George may have become affiliated with such an organization. An area comprised largely of farmers, the Bradfords and most of their friends and acquaintances adopted Populist views and, hence, strongly supported the policies of leaders like William Jennings Bryan for many years. A colorful example of that area's political leanings occurred on October 19, 1900 (eight months after George's death), when Teddy Roosevelt, then the Republican Party's nominee for President, spoke in Elizabethtown to a hostile crowd of less than a 1,000 people. Roosevelt and his speech were reportedly received "very unfavorably" by that crowd and Roosevelt, reportedly "became very angry and lost his temper when men in the crowd shouted for [Democratic nominee] Bryan." Roosevelt's "resulting anger and vehement speech" provided the Hardin County crowd what "was said to be the greatest display of teeth ever shown" by a speaker in that area.365 Not surprisingly, the fiery Roosevelt never returned to Hardin County.
The farm work, which was not yet mechanized, was conducted much as it was two hundred years before. One book describes the typical day of small Kentucky farmers like George at that time as follows:
On the typical day, the small farmer rose early, fed and watered the animals, and cast a wary eye to the still dark sky in an effort to determine the day's weather. He returned to the house, barely lit by a kerosene lamp perhaps, for a hearty breakfast. The usual fare of fried shoulder, or ham with red-eye gravy, or sausage, or bacon, with eggs, biscuits or cornbread, would serve him until the noonday meal. In his clumsy, formless brogans, jeans, perhaps with a hat to shield him from the sun, the farmer went out for a morning's work. Such farmers used wooden beamed plow stocks, crude iron plow shapes, hand hoes, and other tools that indicated their independence on earlier methods. Narrow profit margins made them hesitate to introduce newer, less tried methods, even if they wished to.366
The children, particularly the boys, helped in the fields as soon as they were old enough. When they were young they brought in wood, made fires, fed and watered the livestock and ran errands. As they grew, so did their share of the responsibility of tending the farm. The daughters, if the family was a typical one, were taught by their mother to help with sweeping, cooking, cleaning and sewing. 367 Times were difficult. Everyone had to pitch in to help whenever possible. Weather and natural disasters, moreover, had to be contended with. For example, a local flood in 1884 was so bad that Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, came to Hardin County to distribute food, clothing and medicine. 368
The book excerpted above, Kentucky: Decades of Discord, 1865-1900 (incidentally, almost exactly the years that the Bradfords lived in Colesburg), discusses life for rural Kentuckians like the Bradfords. According to that book, sources of information for rural families like the Bradfords were generally oral and came from traveling salesmen, the rural mail carrier, the local compulsive gossips and, eventually, the local newspaper (the first issue of the Elizabethtown News was published on August 12, 1869). There was no downtown area in Colesburg then (or now for that matter) and most trade and life, therefore, centered around the general store which served as marketplace, banking and credit source, public forum and news exchange. The above-referenced book describes the local general store in rural Kentucky at the time as follows:
There rural Kentuckians in isolated communities sat perhaps with their feet on a pot-bellied stove in winter or on a dusty porch in the summer and discussed religion, crops, weather, politics, and life in general. Here the proprietor dispensed smiles, local news, reminiscences, the mail, and everything from hay-racks to headache pills; from postage stamps to patent medicines; from pencils to peppermints; from cedar-posts to shoes; from pistols to coffins. Here the shopper received credit for his tobacco crop and bought a few "extras" for his family. Here voters cast their ballots for their favorite local politicians. Here they listened as the events of the distant county court were repeated almost verbatim by those in attendance, complete with a mimicking of the judges, lawyers and defendants. Here the owner of the store frequently read a letter to an illiterate farmer, wrote replies for him, advised him on possible courses of action, loaned him money if necessary -- at a suitable interest rate -- and kept him informed on the latest gossip. The pervasive influence of the country store affected many rural communities.369
The children were probably taught to read at home. That, however, was not the family's fault. Beyond the fact that every available hand was needed to provide for the family's welfare, Kentucky's educational system was not very good. The state's first public school system was not created until 1838. By 1840, however, counties with as many as 2,000 school-age children reported none in school, while the counties with the best attendance records could boast no more than fifty per cent attendance. While a common-school law operated in every Kentucky county by 1853, attendance remained low and the Civil War disrupted public education's few gains. In 1869, only 169,477 of the state's 376,868 of school age children attended school. Nine years later there were still 226,323 children out of school. It is small wonder that illiteracy was rampant in Kentucky at the time. In 1883, fifteen percent of the state's population, more than 250,000 people, could not read. Kentucky, sadly, has remained a national laggard in education since that time. 370
I do not know who the family socialized with, but I do know that Mary had several relatives in the Colesburg area. According to my great grandfather, the Fowlers were friends of the family. In later years, George's son Ollie reportedly spoke of the Fowlers often.
George and Mary Pass On
George Bradford died and, according to records from St. Clare Church, was buried in Colesburg's tiny St. Clare Cemetery just outside of town. George, who died February 2, 1900, two months before his fifty-seventh birthday, just lived to see the dawning of the twentieth century. 371 Unfortunately, however, he did not live to fully appreciate what he wrought: George died before any of his seventeen grandchildren were born. He also never knew what I know: that each succeeding generation of his and Mary's offspring have enjoyed better and better standards of living; that those descendants are better educated, better traveled, more financially successful and more diverse than he probably ever suspected. I think he would be pleased. I hope he would be proud.
Mary outlived George by eighteen years. After his death, Mary moved to Louisville, where she lived with son Ernest ("Ernie") for a while. In the 1910 Census, for example, Mary (then reportedly 63), was living with James Ernest Bradford (reportedly 33) and nephew Oscar W. Carlisle (age 19).372 Thereafter, Mary lived with her daughter Nan. Mary died on June 7, 1918. Mary was buried in St. Louis Cemetery in Louisville. Eventually, the family moved George's body from Colesburg and had it placed next to hers. Mary's grave has no tombstone, hence, George's worn headstone marks both their graves. The inscription on George's grave is barely legible. Their grave can be seen in the St. Louis Cemetery, 1167 Barret Avenue. The cemetery's office is located at 1600 Newburg Road. The gates are open from 8:00 AM to 4:45 PM daily. George and Mary are buried at the cemetery's edge in Section 6 at Lot 12 W 1 and 2. While the family may (and probably should) replace that time-worn headstone, I will share with you its aged, barely decipherable inscription. George, it seems, was loved. His grave marker bears a silent testament of that love:
GEORGE W. BRADFORD
Born April 16, 1843
Died February 2, 1900
A light from our household is gone.
A voice we loved is stilled.
A place is vacant in our hearts,
That never can be filled.
All these were honored in their generations, and were the glory of their times.
There be of them, that have left a name behind them, that their praises might be reported.
Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name liveth for evermore.
-- Ecclesiasticus 44:7-8, 14.
George Lee Bradford (son of George and Mary Ann Bradford) and his family on 12/15/48. Front Row (l. to r.): Bob Wierwille, George and his wife Florence, Dottie Wierwille, Jean Wierwille. Back Row (l. to r.): Corky Welch, Charlene Bradford, Charles Bradford, Ethel Bradford, George Lee Bradford Jr., Jim Mahoney, Norman Wohlbold, Walter J. "Scottie" Scott, Thelma Scott, Jessie and Gil Welch, Dorothy and Fritz Wierwille, Margaret Mahoney).
VIII. Ollie and Agnes
My great grandfather Ollie Thomas Bradford died in 1962. Only a year and a half old at the time of his death, I never knew that great, great, great, great, great grandson of Richard Bradford I. Before talking about Ollie, however, I will share what I know of his siblings.
Ann Rosalia "Nan" (Bradford) Bryan
Ollie's oldest sister, known as Aunt Nan to the rest of the family, was christened Ann Rosalia Bradford in Colesburg's St. Clare Church on February 19, 1870. Nan married widower and Colesburg resident John Henry ("Johnny") Bryan in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 18, 1902. Nan and John's wedding was witnessed by Ollie Bradford and Benjamin Spink and the ceremony was performed by P.J. Walsh. 373 John Bryan's parents were Benjamin Francis Bryan (7/26/1845 - 9/29/1922) and Harriet Malinda Spink (4/2/1845 - 1/12/1872) who married in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 27, 1865. John's parents are buried in Colesburg's St. Clare Cemetery. A book, The Brian-Bryan-O'Brian Family of Colesburg, Hardin County, Kentucky further describes John's family history. 374
After their marriage, Nan and John lived in Louisville, Kentucky, where John ran a grocery store at the corner of 24th Street and Broadway for fifteen years and a second one at Second and Kenton Streets for the next twenty-five years. John retired in 1930. Although Nan did not have any children of her own, Nan helped raise John's three sons from his previous marriage to Fannie Lee Padgett. Those sons, Edward X. Bryan (born 1888), Robert V. Bryan and Joseph Kenneth "Kenny" Bryan (born 1891) were still young when Nan and John married in 1902. Kenny, who died at the age of sixty-two, was buried in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery on December 2, 1954.375
John died in Louisville, Kentucky, on December 3, 1951. Nan died on May 23, 1959. After their deaths, John and Nan, like Nan's brothers Ernie and Lee, were buried in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery. That cemetery is located on 1600 Newburg Road, P.O. Box 4096, Louisville, Kentucky, 40204.
Willie Ella (Bradford) Bishop
Ollie's sister Willie Ella Bradford ("Ella") was born in Colesburg on February 4, 1872. Like her siblings, Ella was christened in Colesburg's St. Clare Church. Ella married Charles William ("Charlie") Bishop in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1898. Charles ("Pop" to his grandchildren) worked as a tailor in Louisville until he, Ella and their two sons, Charles Harold Bishop (born in Louisville on October 25, 1901) and George Ellis Bishop (born in Louisville on September 24, 1906), moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in about 1930. Ella and Charlie, I am told, also had a daughter who died as a young girl. Ella died on February 21, 1939, and was buried in Indianapolis's Holy Cross Cemetery. After her death, Charlie remained in Indianapolis until the late 1950s when he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with his son George. Charlie, who died in Savannah, Georgia, at the age of eighty-four in March 1960, is buried there.
In 1955, Charlie and Ella's son George, as noted above, moved to Atlanta. George, who worked as an auditor for the government, married Irene Wilson and, later, a second wife, Mary Frances "Fran" Dwyer. George and Irene had a son, Kenneth Wilson "Ken" Bishop, who was born on March 22, 1939, and later married his first wife, Terri Dobbs, and had the following children: (i) Deborah Anne Bishop (born on July 19, 1962); (ii) Cindy Leigh Bishop (born on May 14, 1968, married Patrick Flynn); and (iii) Wendi Michelle Bishop (born September 9, 1971, died April 9, 1985). Ken's second wife, who he now lives with in Atlanta, is the former Deborah Murrey. Ken, however, was not George's only child. With his second wife, Fran, George had two more children: (i) David Dwyer Bishop (born March 15, 1952, and now lives in Atlanta); and (ii) Martin Dwyer Bishop (born October 19, 1954, and also lives in Atlanta). George died on June 6, 1982, and was buried in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Farmer City, Illinois. The remains of George's second wife lives in Marietta, Georgia, but frequently visits her family farm in Illinois.
Ella and Charlie's son Charles Harold Bishop (who always went by the name Harold) left behind a huge family. Harold married Marie Catherine Scharfenberger (who was born in Louisville on August 28, 1906) in Louisville on October 7, 1931. Harold and Marie had eleven children (including, notably, two sets of twins), each of whom was born in Indianapolis. Harold, who worked as an estimator and salesman for a lumber company, died on December 19, 1971, and, thereafter, was interred at Indianapolis's Calvary Cemetery. Marie, however, is still alive and lives in Indianapolis. My information on her and Harold's eleven children is as follows:
Charles Harold Bishop Jr., who was born on July 21, 1932, married Imelda Aurora Canales on July 15, 1961. Charles and Imelda, who live in Indianapolis, have five children. Their children are: (i) Rosaire Aurora Bishop (born October 5, 1962, who married Edward Dreyling and has three children of her own, Aurora Catherine Dreyling, born January 17, 1989, Lauren Nicole Dreyling, born April 13, 1990, and Nathan Edward Dreyling, born May 28, 1993, they live in Danville, Indiana); (ii) Maria Imelda Bishop (born September 17, 1964, married Creig Schnellenberger on August 8, 1987, died on September 6, 1989); (iii) Lisa Ann Bishop (born January 21, 1966, married Mark Boyle and had Colleen Aurora Boyle on February 25, 1992, and Alison Maria Boyle on October 1, 1993, the Boyles live in Hammond, Indiana); (iv) Charles Harold "Chuck" Bishop III, born March 19, 1967, and lives in Indianapolis; and (v) Leticia Maria "Letty" Bishop (born December 27, 1971).
Elizabeth Jean "Betty" Bishop, Charles Harold Jr.'s twin, was also born on July 21, 1932. Eventually she became a nun and, in conjunction with taking her vows, has taken the name Sister Madonna Bishop. Sister Madonna, who currently lives in Indianapolis, is a Franciscan Sister from Oldenburg, Indiana..
Mary Margaret Bishop, born on October 7, 1933, like her older sister, became a nun. She has taken the name Sister Rosaire Bishop. Sister Rosaire, like her elder sister, is a Franciscan Sister from Oldenburg, Indiana. Although she lives in Indianapolis, at the time of this writing she is on a one-year mission to Minnesota.
Joella Bishop, who was born on January 17, 1940, married James Benjamin Frentz in Indianapolis on July 11, 1959. Joella and James (who has worked in sales for U.S. Air for about the last thirty-five years) have nine children: (i) James Benjamin Frentz Jr. (born May 8, 1960, married Rhonda Rife and had three children -- Melissa Mae Frentz who was born July 6, 1981, Shana Marie Frentz who was born January 29, 1985, and James Benjamin Frentz III was born February 27, 1988); (ii) John Joseph Frentz (born August 6, 1961, married Mary Kot and had two children -- Michael David Frentz and Christopher Joseph Frentz; (iii) Madonna Frentz (born October 18, 1962; married Cliff Overby); (iv) Joseph Charles Frentz (born November 3, 1963); (v) Matthew Joseph Frentz (Joseph's twin brother, born November 3, 1963, married Penny Hurley and has four children -- Angie Marie Little who was born August 21, 1982, Katie Marie Frentz was was born October 16, 1988, Sara Elizabeth Frentz who was born October 10, 1989, and Matthew Michael Frentz, who was born November 18, 1990); (vi) Patricia Marie Frentz (born February 21, 1965, was married to Timothy Emiegh and has a child, Karri Lynne Emiegh, born February 23, 1986); (vii) Christopher Joseph Frentz (born May 26, 1967); (viii) Michael David Frentz (born October 4, 1975); and (ix) Andrew Joseph Frentz (born September 10, 1978). Joella and her family live in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania.
John Gerald "Jerry" Bishop was born on February 19, 1941, and married Nancysue "Nancy" Blaschke in Indianapolis on November 17, 1962. Nancy, curiously enough, was born at 11 p.m. on February 18, 1941, in Indianapolis's St. Vincent's Hospital -- only four hours before her future husband (and, of course, his twin sister) was born in that same hospital. Though they slept only feet apart in the hospital on the first day of their lives, Jerry and Nancy never met until a dance held at Cathedral High School sixteen years later. Jerry has been a firefighter for the City of Indianapolis for the past twenty-seven years and, for the past fifteen years, has worked part-time as head of maintenance for St. Malachy Catholic Church, where his family attends services. Nancy, for the past seventeen years, has served as St. Malachy's parish secretary. Jerry and Nancy have four children: (i) Jennifer Lee Bishop (born September 11, 1963, a registered nurse, who married Steven Charles Bruess, a lawyer, on August 1, 1987, and now lives in Shoreview, Minnesota); (ii) Juliana Linn Bishop (born September 29, 1966, who lives at home and works as a nanny for two families in Indianapolis); (iii) Joanne Linn Bishop (born May 26, 1968, and married Brian Carl Shaw on April 23, 1993, Joanne is an office manager for the Department of Transportation, State Highway Department while Brian is an environmental engineer who is working on his master's degree); and (iv) Jerilyn Lee Bishop (Joanne's twin sister, also born on May 26, 1968, Jerilyn married Bret Sinclair on April 13, 1991, and works for Associated Medical Products while Bret works as an apprentice electrician).
Thelma Marie Bishop, Jerry's twin, who was also born on February 19, 1941, married David Edward Bray on October 15, 1966, and had two children: (i) Amy Marie Bray (born November 13, 1967, married Gregory Laker) and (ii) John David Bray (born June 6, 1975). A very organized distant cousin, Thelma was instrumental in helping me acquire information about the large far-flung Bishop family.
Virginia Ann Bishop, who was born on August 13, 1945, married James Robert Morrison III on August 30, 1990. Ann then legally changed her name to Annie. She and Jim now live in Lansing, Michigan, and their family includes daughter Pamela Michelle Richman (born October 15, 1969), son-in-law Tyler Richman (married September 18, 1993) and son Robert James Morrison (born May 17, 1972).
Mary Catherine "Cathy" Bishop, who was born on May 12, 1948, married Walter "Walt" Stabenau on November 22, 1971. Cathy and Walt live in Yardley, Pennsylvania, and have two children, Elizabeth Ann "Beth" Stabenau (born July 13, 1974) and Derek Stabenau (born April 7, 1977).
Mary Linda Bishop, who was born February 25, 1950, married Lawrence M. "Butch" Cox on June 7, 1973, and has a daughter named Kimberly Cay "Kim" Cox who was born on October 3, 1974. Linda and her family now live in Belleview, Florida.
Mary Joan Bishop, who was born February 11, 1954, married Russell "Russ" Forthofer on June 8, 1974. Joan and Russ have two daughters: Melissa Marie Forthofer (born October 28, 1974) and Jessica Lynn Forthofer (born May 29, 1976). The Forthofers live in Indianapolis.
Alice Marie Bishop, the youngest of Harold and Marie's eleven children, was born on August 12, 1955. Alice, a forensic treatment specialist, married Jagat Kishore "Jack" Barman (born in Calcutta, India), a computer programmer consultant, on August 19, 1978. Alice and Jack have a son, Alakshendra Kishore "Alec" Barman, who was born in Danbury, Connecticut, on March 18, 1980. The Barmans live in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
Anna May (Bradford) Mattingly
The youngest of Ollie's three sisters (each of whom were older than him), was named Anna May Bradford ("May"). May was born in Colesburg in 1874. May married Charles J. ("Charley") Mattingly (born Leitchfield, Kentucky, on January 1, 1873) in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 24, 1899. P.J. Walsh, R.C.P., presided at that ceremony and Oliver Wayman and Clara Grimes served as witnesses. 376 After their marriage, May and Charley settled in Louisville, Kentucky, where Charley, like Ella's husband, worked as a tailor. Charley worked in the tailor shop at the Seelbach Hotel. Charley, notably, served in the Army during the Spanish American War. His term of service was from May 13, 1898, through February 24, 1899.
May died in Louisville on June 27, 1953, and Charley died there on December 6, 1956. Charley and May each had funeral services performed for them at Holy Cross Church prior to their interments at Louisville's Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
Charley and May had four children, each born in Louisville, Kentucky: Chester R. Mattingly (born 1901); Patrick Lee ("Pat") Mattingly (born May 12, 1903); Anna May Mattingly (born December 12, 1905); and Mary Rose Mattingly (born January 22, 1916).
May's oldest son Chester worked as a tailor with his father for several years. Chester, who lived with his parents his whole life, never married and had no children. Chester died in Louisville on August 10, 1951, and was thereafter buried in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery.
Although living in Louisville, May's son Pat eloped and married Thelma Robinson (born 1905) in Clark County, Indiana, on July 1, 1926.377 For many years, Pat worked in Louisville with the Kentucky and Indiana Terminal ("K&I") Railroad. Pat and Thelma had no children. Pat died on November 29, 1959, and was buried in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery. After Pat's death, Thelma remarried (to Al Rogers in 1964). Thelma, who worked at the Powder and Ammunition Plant in Indiana during World War II, worked at an answering service after the war. She was buried next to Pat after her death in 1969.
Daughter Anna May married Jesse G. Walters (born August 2, 1908) in a wedding performed in Louisville's St. Charles Catholic Church on October 16, 1929. Jesse served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 through 1945. Notably, he served on a U.S. Destroyer in the South Pacific and was aboard his ship when it was involved in the Battle of Iwo Jima. After the war, Jesse worked for the Falls City Brewery in Louisville. Anna May died on February 19, 1972, and is buried at St. Michael's Cemetery in Louisville. Jesse, who turned eighty-five in August 1993, still lives in Louisville's West End. Jesse and Anna May had the following children:
Jesse G. "Sonny" Walters Jr. (born August 28, 1930, died July 19, 1991). Sonny, who never married, is buried in Louisville's Resthaven Memorial Cemetery.
Gene Stanley Walters (born August 28, 1931, married Justina Diebold (born October 13, 1934) at Louisville's Holy Cross Catholic Church on May 12, 1956). Gene and Justina have four children, all of whom still live in Louisville: Dawn Marie Walters (born April 26, 1957); Mark Gregory Walters (born November 16, 1959); Jude Scott Walters (born February 11, 1963); and Lynn Ann Walters (born December 28, 1965). Dawn married Rick Greenwell on March 17, 1979 (they have four children: Eric M. Greenwell, born June 21, 1981; Shannon M. Greenwell, born February 27, 1983; Brett M. Greenwell, born September 30, 1986; and Ashley M. Greenwell born September 22, 1990). The Greenwells live in Bridgeton, Missouri. Mark married Sheila F. Ward on March 5, 1983 (they have one child, Michael Walters, born July 3, 1983). Mark, Sheila and Michael live in Louisville. Jude married Mary M. Janczy (born January 14, 1964) on October 1, 1988 (they have two children: Anthony Thomas Walters, born January 24, 1989, and Alexandra Lea Walters, born April 5, 1991). Jude and his family live in Franklin, Kentucky. Lynn, the youngest of Gene and Justina's children, married Michael A. Baker (born March 10, 1965) on August 10, 1991 (they have two children: Jeremy L. Baker, born on June 20, 1982, and Trevor Alan Baker, born on May 12, 1993). The Bakers live in Louisville, Kentucky.
Patricia May "Patsy" Walters (born May 12, 1934, married Norbert A. "Norb" Peak (born April 27, 1933) at Louisville's Holy Cross Church on October 13, 1956). Patsy and Norb had three children: Mary Elizabeth Peak (born and died September 25, 1960); Norbert Patrick Peak (born December 22, 1961, died October 3, 1975); and Ted Joseph Peak (born April 17, 1970, the same day that Apollo 13 returned safely to earth). Ted graduated from Kentucky's Bellermine College with a B.A. in Accounting in December 1992.
Joan Elizabeth "Bunny" Walters (born on Easter Sunday, April 25, 1943, she was dubbed "Bunny" by her siblings before she arrived from the hospital. The name stuck.) Bunny married Kenneth Louis "Kenny" Jones in Louisville on November, 17, 1961. Bunny and Kenny have two children: Kenneth Lee Jones (born July 9, 1962) and Kristopher Louis Jones (born March 21, 1964).
Mary Rose Mattingly, May and Charley's youngest daughter married twice. She married her first husband, Henry Smith, in Louisville in December 1937. She married her second husband, Arthur James ("Jim") Huber, in Louisville on June 19, 1945. Jim and Mary Rose had no children. Jim who, like his wife, willed his body to the University of Louisville Medical School, died on March 22, 1976. Mary Rose's husband Jim was a highly decorated war hero. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 3, 1915, he graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1933 and, thereafter, worked in construction until he joined the Army on October 13, 1942. During World War II, Jim served in Northern France Rhineland, and received the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theater Ribbon, the World War II Victory Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon and two Bronze Service Stars. After his discharge on March 22, 1946, Jim worked as a construction foreman at United Catalyst until his death in 1976. Mary Rose, a delightful great-aunt who I first located through my research, still lives in Louisville, Kentucky. She turned seventy-six on January 22, 1993.
James Ernest "Ernie" Bradford
Ollie's brother James Ernest Bradford, known as Ernie by those who knew him, was born in Colesburg in 1875 and was christened in Colesburg's St. Clare Church on December 22, 1875. Ernie never married. He eventually moved to Louisville where, for a while, he lived with his mother after his father died. In 1910, Ernie was living with his mother and his cousin Oscar Carlisle in Louisville. By 1920, however, Ernie was living in Louisville with his sister Ella and his brother-in-law Charles Bishop. 378 I have been told, however, that he also lived for a while with sister Nan and her husband John. Ernie, who worked as a glazer (one who works with glass), died in Louisville on June 14, 1951. Ernie, like many of his closest relatives, was buried in the Calvary Cemetery in Louisville Kentucky.
Ernie Bradford (r.) with sister Anna May Mattingly and relative Jesse Walters (photo from J. Welch).
George Lee Bradford
Ollie's brother Lee, who was christened George Lee Bradford in Colesburg's St. Clare Church, was born in Colesburg on March 22, 1882. Lee married Florence Katherine Graviss (born in Louisville on August 26, 1885) in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on June 1, 1905. 379 Lee's wife Florence was the daughter of George Victor Graviss (born 1866 in Lanesville, Indiana, died January 29, 1909) who married Kate Hoffman Graviss (born in Germany on January 13, 1867, died August 28, 1930). 380 Lee worked in Louisville as a tailor and served in World War II. There was a period between 1918 and 1925, however, that Lee and his immediate family moved to Charleston, Missouri, where they lived near, and hence became very close to, Lee's brother Ollie and his family. It was in Charleston that several members of Lee's family, including Florence and children George Jr. and Jessie, contracted typhoid fever. During that time, two year-old son Charles stayed with Lee's brother Ollie until the family epidemic ended.
Lee died in Louisville on September 12, 1950. Florence died there on January 5, 1958. Lee and Florence, like many of Lee's closest relatives, is buried in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery. Lee and Florence's joint tombstone (inscribed BRADFORD, George L. Sr. 1882-1950 and Florence K. 1885-1958), is very close to brother Ernie's.
Lee and Florence had six children: Thelma Catherine Bradford (born July 2, 1906), Leona Bradford (born March 3, 1907); Jessie May Bradford (born November 8, 1909); George Lee Bradford Jr. (born January 11, 1911); Dorothy Mary Bradford (born March 30, 1914) and Charles Edward Bradford (born August 16, 1916).
Daughter Leona died at the age of eleven months.
Daughter Thelma's first marriage was to William Norman ("W.N.") Wohlbold in Louisville, Kentucky, on July 26, 1926. W.N. and Thelma had one child, Norman Lee Wohlbold who was born in Louisville on June 26, 1927. W.N. who died on December 27, 1964, is buried in Louisville Memorial Gardens in Shiveley, Kentucky. Thelma's second marriage was to Walter J. ("Scottie") Scott on October 20, 1945. Scottie, who worked in Louisville as a dietician for the Veteran's Hospital, was a decorated soldier who was injured in World War II. Scottie died in Louisville on May 31, 1974. Thelma died on November 2, 1975, and was buried next to him in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery. Blessed with no children of their own, Thelma and Scottie unselfishly served as foster parents to over twenty children. Norman, Thelma's child from her first marriage, served in World War II as a "Seabee" (a member of one of the U.S. Navy's construction battallions -- c.b.'s -- which were units created to build naval shore facilities in combat zones), and was stationed in Okinawa. After returning to the U.S., Norman worked in the transportation business in Louisville, primarily with the Yellow Cab Company. He retired in 1981 and still lives in Louisville. He married Ruth Lois Clore (born in LaGrange, Kentucky, on November 15, 1925) in Louisville on December 7, 1951. Norman and Ruth had a son, Wayne Lee Wohlbold, on October 22, 1952. Wayne attended Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana, and received a B.A. degree in Geology from the University of Louisville ("U. of L.") in 1975. Subsequently, Wayne conducted Masters work at U. of L. in the area of educational media technology. After that, Wayne worked in the area of computer sales and marketing until he began, in 1985, marketing and sales work for AT&T. Wayne lives in Clinton, New Jersey.
Jessie Mae Bradford (Aunt Jessie to me) married Gilbert ("Gil") Welch in Louisville on July 19, 1939. Gilbert, was born the son of Ola Gilfern June Welch in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 23, 1910. Jessie had one son, Edward Reed "Corky" Welch, who was born on July 26, 1933, and died on July 22, 1949. Corky attended Louisville's Flaget High School and would have entered the tenth grade in 1950. Gil, a World War II veteran, worked with the Deering Printing Company before he served a hitch in the Army. After his discharge on October 21, 1944, Gil eventually landed a job with the Louisville Water Company, where he worked for twenty years until his retirement in May 1975. Gil died in Louisville on December 15, 1975. Corky and Gil, like many of their Bradford relatives, are buried in Louisville's Calvary Cemetery. Aunt Jessie, who worked for Philip Morris from 1951 through 1962, lives in Louisville, attends church at Mother of God Counsel Church and joins with seven other ladies to play cards each Monday.
Son George Lee Bradford Jr. married Ethel Greenwell (born August 26, 1901) on January 11, 1911, in Louisville, Kentucky. George died on January 16, 1952, and Ethel died on December 23, 1974. George and Ethel had no children.
Dorothy married Frederic "Fritz" Wierwille in Louisville on December 31, 1932. Fritz, the son of Edward H. Wierwille and Eunice S. (Yewell) Wierwille, was born on December 28, 1911, in Louisville. Dorothy died on July 9, 1984, and Fritz passed away on February 12, 1987. They are both buried in Louisville Memorial Garden East. I remember their visits to my family's home when I was younger. Fritz and Dorothy had three children, each of whom was born in Louisville: Robert Kenneth "Bob" Weirwille (born May 31, 1934); Dorothy Louise "Dottie" Wierwille (born August 1, 1935); and Thelma Jean Wierwille (born January 5,1941).
Bob, who served in a Naval Reserve Unit and was called to serve at a Naval Air Station in Chincoteague, Virginia, from 1957-1959, is self employed at Aerospace Material Service, Inc., in Wichita, Kansas, and lives in Augusta, Kansas, with his wife, the former Elsie May Kunzman. Bob and Elsie married in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 30, 1956. Elsie, who was born in Louisville on August 11, 1938, is self employed with Floral and Home Decor Products. Bob and Elsie have the following children: (1) Terry Lee Wierwille; (2) Eric Kevin Wierwille; (3) Bryan Kenneth Wierwille; and (4) Lance Kerry Wierwille. Terry (1) was born in Louisville on April 3, 1957. Terry, who is self employed and runs a delivery service, married Janet Louise Elsten (born in Wichita on December 10, 1957) on June 7, 1976. Janet works as an ob/gyn nurse. Terry and Janet have two children: Larry Lee Wierwille (born in Wichita on August 19, 1975) and Christina Lynne Wierwille (born in Wichita on October 26, 1978). Eric (2), was born in Louisville on August 21, 1961. Now employed with Boeing, he married Diane Loretta Rains (born in Wichita on April 17, 1958) on August 31, 1992. Eric and Diane (who works in the accounting department of Chance Manufacturing) have a son named Derek Kevin Wierwille who was born in Wichita on June 1, 1993. Bryan (3), was born on June 7, 1963, in Richmond, Virginia. Bryan, who graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. degree in December 1985, now lives in Dallas, Texas, where he works in sales for Technor Color. Finally, Lance (4), was born in Metairie, Louisiana, on September 10, 1967, but sadly passed away two days later of hyaline membrane disease.
Dorothy and Fritz's daughter Dottie married James Tyne "Jim" Cornett (the son of Forest B. Cornett and Theadis (Chapman) Cornett, born June 8, 1934, in Jackson, Kentucky) on December 15, 1956. Jim, who served in Japan during the Korean War as a Corporal and as a Field Communications Chief, graduated from the University of Louisville Speed Scientific School with a civil engineering degree in 1961. Dottie graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.S. in Elementary Education in 1957 and, thereafter, taught second grade for a couple of years. Jim worked around the country and Puerto Rico, Israel, Spain and the Canary Islands as a Project Engineer in Industrial Construction. Jim, who eventually settled in Louisville where he founded James Tyne Cornett Construction Company, Inc. and, later, the MC Engineering Company, passed away on August 22, 1989. He was laid to rest in Louisville Memorial Gardens East. Dottie and Jim had two children: (1) Cathi Lynn Cornett (born December 14, 1957) and (2) James Tyne "Jim" Cornett Jr. (born October 11, 1961). Cathi (1) married Larry Dale Cox (born July 8, 1947) in Crestwood, Kentucky, on June 28, 1980. Cathi and Larry live in Goshen, Kentucky, with their two children, Rebecca Blair Cox (born April 30, 1982) and Michael Bradford "Brad" Cox (born May 28, 1985) and two children from Larry's earlier marriage (to Carol Ballard Cox): Larry "Dale" Cox II (born September 28, 1972) and "Jason" Alexander Cox (born June 14, 1976). Cathi works as a Licenced Practical Nurse while Larry, who was awarded a bronze star for his 1966-1968 service in a tank division during the Vietnam War, works as a truck driver. Jim Junior (2) married Sherri Lynn Gilliam (born July 3, 1960) in Louisville on April 22, 1989. Jim (who started the Jim Cornett Construction Company in April 1991) and Sherri (who graduated from the University of Louisville in 1982 and works as a sales representative for a new car dealer) have two children, each born in Louisville: Austin James Cornett (born September 29, 1989) and Cheyenne Taylor Cornett (born September 25, 1992).
Fritz and Dorothy's youngest child, Thelma Jean, married Louis "Louie" Allgood in Louisville, Kentucky on March 8, 1963. Louie worked in Louisville as an office manager. Thelma, who received an Associate in Arts degree from the University of Louisville in 1985, worked in the secretarial field for several years and, for a couple of years, served as a member of the Derby City Sweet Adelines Chorus, a large all-female singing group. Thelma and Louie had two children: Cindy Renee Allgood (born in Louisville on May 1, 1971) and Gregory Louis "Greg" Allgood (born in Louisville on October 11, 1966). Thelma Jean died in Louisville on March 9, 1993, and was buried in Louisville Memorial Gardens East Cemetery. Louie, who has remarried, lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Their son Greg graduated from Oldham County High School in 1985. Thereafter, Greg attended Auburn University and now lives in Louisville where he works in sales. Greg married Lorrie Hudson in June of 1990 and has a son, Tyler Gregory Louis Allgood -- one of Richard I's newest descendants -- who was born on August 4, 1993. Thelma Jean and Louie's daughter Cindy graduated from Oldham County High School and now lives in Louisville where she is working as a pre-school teacher and pursuing a degree in Elementary Education at the University of Louisville.
Lee Bradford's youngest child, Charles, married Charlene Nash (who was born the daughter of Lula King and Theodore Nash in Glen Dean, Kentucky, on July 30, 1925), in Louisville, Kentucky on June 26, 1948. On their first date, on May 3, 1947, Charles took Charlene to the Kentucky Derby. Charles distinguished himself as an Air Force Sergeant in World War II and, thereafter, returned to his job at Louisville's General Shoe Lace Company. Subsequently, he worked at the Henry Vogt Machine Shop and, finally, the Metropolitan Sewer District (from which he retired in August 1979 as a supervisor). Charles was a member of the American Legion and a lifetime member of the St. Denis Men's Club. Charles passed away on December 15, 1991, and was laid to rest at Louisville's Memorial Garden West. Charlene, who has helped greatly with compiling information for this book, still lives in Louisville when she is not visiting the cabin at Kentucky's Rough River that she and Charles built several years ago.
Ollie Marries Agnes Worland
Ollie, who was twenty-seven when his father died in 1900, moved in with uncle and neighbor William "Billy" Carlisle shortly after his father's death. Billy moved to Charleston, Missouri, a couple of years later. Ollie, who fell in love with Agnes Helen Worland, married that woman in Louisville on April 24, 1907. Ollie's wife Agnes was born in Indiana on April 13, 1874. Much is known of Agnes's ancestry. I will share some of what I know of her family's line. 381
Agnes's mother was Margaret Ann Newton, who was born in Shelby County, Indiana, on October 15, 1844. Agnes's mother, who died in Shelbyville, Indiana, on March 18, 1878, married Simon Brute Worland in Shelby County, Indiana, on October 14, 1868. Margaret Newton was the daughter of David K. Newton (born in Kentucky in about 1818, married in Shelby County, Indiana, on February 1, 1842) and Theresa Worland (born October 5, 1818 in Scott County, Kentucky, died about 1865).
Agnes's father was Simon Brute Worland (born Shelby County, Indiana, on December 28, 1841, died Louisville, Kentucky, on March 7, 1893). Simon was the son of Leo Hardy Worland (born Scott County, Kentucky, on March 18, 1802, died Shelby County, Indiana, on January 24, 1882) and Margaret Valentine Loudon (born February 14, 1807, in Kentucky and died May 21, 1881, in Shelby County, Kentucky) who were married in Lexington, Kentucky, on April 19, 1824. Leo Hardy Worland, in turn, was the son of Thomas Worland (born June 11, 1774, in Maryland, married December 8, 1799, in Maryland and died in Shelby County, Indiana, on July 13, 1850) and Verlinda Hardy (born June 6, 1780, in Frederick County, Maryland, died in Shelby County, Indiana, on April 18, 1858).
Agnes's great grandfather Thomas Worland was the great grandson of John Worland I who was born about 1659 and died in Charles County, Maryland, on February 15, 1701. Interim ancestor John Worland II (1685-1754) lived and died in Charles County, Maryland, while John Worland III (1720-1790) was born in Charles County, Maryland, and died in Washington County, Maryland. A lengthy work (1,112 pages!) by Olive Lewis Kolb, Wilfred V. Worland and Reverend T. Vincent Worland, One Man's Family: The History and Genealogy of the Worland Family in America, 1662-1962, provides a wealth of information about the Worland and related families.382
The father of Agnes's great grandmother Verlinda Hardy was Solomon Hardy (or Hardey) who was born in Maryland in 1732. Solomon served in the Revolutionary War in Frederick County, Maryland in 1776. Solomon was the son of William Hardey Jr. who died in Prince George County, Maryland, in 1740 and married Ann Stimson in Maryland. William Hardey Jr. was the son of William Hardey, who was born in England, arrived in Maryland in 1679 on the ship Rine which had sailed from Liverpool, and died in Charles County, Maryland, in 1718. Solomon's mother Ann Stimson was the daughter of Solomon Stimson and Elizabeth Finch. Much information about the Hardey family is found in a self-published work by Mrs. Marion B. Arpee (nee Hardey) entitled The Hardey Family of Charles County and Piscataway, Maryland (and Their Missouri Descendants).383
Agnes's great, great grandmother (Verlinda Hardy's mother), Rachel Livers, was born in Prince George County, Maryland, in about 1741. Rachel, who married Solomon Hardey in Prince George County, Maryland, sometime before 1757, died in Scott County, Kentucky, on February 22, 1822. Rachel was the son of Arnold Livers, a tailor and merchant. Arnold Livers was a colorful character who was reportedly born in Flanders (or possibly Holland) in 1669 and allegedly served as a page in the British royal household and later, as a young man, served in the British militia. Legend has it that Arnold, a Cavalier, fled England -- still in his uniform -- when the Stuarts fell from power. Arnold married Mary Ann Drane, daughter of Anthony Drane, in 1721 in Prince George County, Maryland. Mary Ann died in Prince George County in about 1742 and Arnold died in that same county in 1751. A book by Sister Mary Louise Donnelly, Arnold Livers Family in America, includes a wealth of information about Arnold Livers and his descendants. Sister Donnelly's book tracks Arnold's descendants all the way down to Verlinda Hardy and her siblings. According to Sister Donnelly, the Livers, Hardey and other families were staunch Catholics who moved, en masse, from Maryland to central Kentucky.384
The Move to Missouri
Ollie and Agnes moved to Mississippi County, Missouri, shortly after their wedding in 1907. Although Ollie was the only one of his siblings to move to Missouri, that move was made neither hastily nor blindly. Ollie's cousin William Henry "Billy" Carlisle (brother of Ollie's mother Mary Ann Drusilla Carlisle) had moved to a farm in Missouri's Mississippi County, just outside of the town of Charleston. Billy, who had moved to Mississippi County a couple of years before, invited cousin Ollie to cross the Mississippi River and move in with Billy's family. The land, Billy reported, was fertile. Billy, moreover, promised to find Ollie a job as a tenant farmer. With no better opportunities waiting for them in Kentucky, Ollie and Agnes, glad for an opportunity of any type, crossed the Mississippi River and moved west to Missouri's Mississippi County. Ollie and Agnes lived in that area until their deaths in the early 1960s.
Mississippi County is located in southeastern Missouri, near the Mississippi River (hence its name). Although George and Agnes were the first Bradfords to live in southeast Missouri, that area, like central Kentucky, northern North Carolina and tidewater Virginia before it, soon became home to many of them.
Charleston, Mississippi County, Missouri
Mississippi County, Ollie and Agnes's new home, is in the southeastern part of the Missouri. It is bounded on the east, north and south by the Mississippi River and on the west by Scott and New Madrid Counties. Mississippi County, which is about one hundred and sixty miles south of St. Louis, was created out of a portion of Scott County in 1845. When the Bradfords arrived, Charleston's population was about 3,000 and the county's population was about 14,000. The land, which was flat, was largely used as farmland. The soil, much of which was deposited by the Mississippi River, was and is sandy. Missouri was a farming state. Indeed, in 1900 only one state had more farms than did Missouri.
The area that the Bradfords moved to had been swampland for many years. Man, however, had transformed that land. Thirty years before Ollie and Agnes arrived, large lumber companies moved into the area and removed much of the timber. After that timber was removed, levees were built and drainage districts were organized. Thereafter, hundreds of miles of levees and dikes were built in southeast Missouri's drainage district. As a result, thousands of acres of land were reclaimed for agricultural use. The transformation in the land was drastic. Prior to drainage, over seventy per cent of the area's land was unfit for raising crops. By 1930, however, less than three per cent of that land was considered unfit for farming.
Once the swampy land was drained, it was cleared for plowing and crops were planted. The former swampland had become rich farmland. The soil was rich due to the deposits left by centuries of the nearby Mississippi River's floods. Mississippi County's agricultural output became impressive. Indeed, by 1945 only nine Missouri counties had larger agricultural outputs than Mississippi County, even though it was the second smallest county in the state. It is little wonder that farmer Ollie readily moved west to join Uncle Billy Carlisle once he learned of that land's promise.385
Farms and Children
Ollie, who never worked as anything other than a farmer, returned to farm work after he relocated to Missouri. Immediately after he and Agnes moved there, they lived with Billy Carlisle for a while. While living there, Ollie and Agnes had their first child, Thomas Carlisle "Buck" Bradford (my grandfather). Buck was born on May 27, 1908. Within a year or so, however, Ollie and Agnes moved out of Billy's home and struck out on their own.
After they stopped living with Billy Carlisle, Ollie and Agnes lived on a series of small farms in the Charleston area. During that period, Ollie and Agnes never owned their own farm. Rather, Ollie, like his father and grandfather before him, worked as a tenant farmer, and paid the family's rent with the proceeds from the sale of the crop the family raised. Being tenant farmers, however, they were economically one rung up the ladder from sharecroppers (who, in turn, were head and shoulders above those with no job whatsoever). One book describing Missouri agriculture from that period explains the distinction between the tenant farmer and the sharecropper:
Tenant farming is a system whereby an owner rents his land for cultivation in return for some specified payment. Sharecropping is that form of tenancy under which an individual engages himself to provide the labor to produce and harvest a crop for a percentage of the returns from the sale of the crop. The sharecropper is the most precariously situated of the tenant class, since he is entirely dependent upon crops which may, and often do, fail.386
The sharecroppers, I am told, could never get ahead, according to my great-aunt Bertram, who draws upon the family's experience and a book she recommends, Rich Land, Poor People (which she says includes an accurate description of the plight of sharecroppers in Missouri's "bootheel"). Bertram told me that as soon as a sharecropper began to prepare the soil for planting, he could borrow grocery money from the tenant farmer on whose farm he was sharecropping. By the time that money was paid back in the Fall, there was not much left for the sharecropper to live on until the next Spring when the soil was again prepared for planting. Some sharecroppers found jobs on other farms as temporary day work. Many fished and hunted for food.. There was a period between the time that the the crops were "laid by," that is, they needed no more work until time to pick the cotton, that Southeast Missouri sharecroppers survived on cantaloupes and watermelons, considered unfit for sale, that other farmers gave them for free. The Bradfords were thankful for their status as tenant farmers and the relative security, tenuous though it was, that they had in comparison to the area's many sharecroppers.
The first of the farms that the Bradford family moved to was called the "Marshal Place," a farm owned by the Marshal family of Charleston. The family lived on the Marshal Place long enough for Ollie and Agnes to have the rest of their children: Mary Genevieve Bradford on July 13, 1910; Bertram Agnes Bradford (who I spoke of above) on September 18, 1912; Omer Bernard "Chick" Bradford on September 3, 1914; and Ollie James "Jay" Bradford on October 2, 1916. Those children, along with my grandfather, became fast friends with their cousins from Louisville, Kentucky, the children of Lee and Florence Bradford, while those relatives lived in Charleston from about 1918 through 1925 (Lee ran a tailor shop in Charleston during part of that time).
The Marshal Place was located about a mile north of Charleston. Ollie, Agnes and the kids moved to three other small farms after they moved from the Marshall Place. Although each of those farms were in the Charleston area, one of those farms, unlike the others, was in the Bertrand, not Charleston, postal area. Although my grandfather showed me some of those houses when I was a young boy in the 1960s, those then-rotting, abandoned homes are sadly now gone. Indeed, during a recent visit, my great-uncle Ollie James Bradford gave me a tour of those farms. Nothing marks the site of those homes. I wish I could share a picture of them with you. Indeed, I wish I could share a picture of them with myself.
In 1918, Ollie and the family moved from the Marchal Place to a farm a mile east of Charleston known as the Beckwith Farm. In January 1921 they again moved, this time to a farm five miles northwest of Charleston that was owned by te Marshal Land Company of nearby Blodgett. That farm was very close to one of the area's numerous Indian burial mounds.
Diehlstadt, Scott County
Although Ollie and the family lived in Charleston for several years, the family moved in about 1926 to a dairy farm located about ten to fifteen miles from Charleston and about four or five miles southwest of the Scott County town of Diehlstadt. That farm, like the farm the family had just moved from, was owned by the Marshal Land Company of Blodgett. The Bradfords lived there until 1931, when they moved to a farm three miles east of Diehlstadt. Next, the family moved to a farm a half mile farther east. It was from that last farm, in about 1946, that Ollie sold all of his farm equipment and retired, with Agnes, to a small home in Charleston.
Scott County, like Mississippi County, is situated on the Mississippi River near that river's confluence with the Ohio River at a point where Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri meet. Like Mississippi County, Scott County's economy was largely agricultural. Its primary crops, however, included watermelons and cantaloupes. It is one of the largest melon-producing counties in the country. Those who want to learn more about southeast Missouri should read Goodspeed's History of Southeast Missouri, the History of Southeast Missouri, the WPA Guide to Missouri and the History of Mississippi County, Missouri, Beginning Through 1972.387
Originally, the family raised primarily wheat and corn. For several years, work raising those crops dominated the family's work schedule. In the 1920s, however, the family began raising cotton (the first bale of cotton in the county was ginned in 1923). Everyone in the family pitched in to do the family's work. The children attended school, but after classes they returned to help tend the farm. Indeed, Ollie's last farm was a dairy farm on which the boys (and Bertram I am told), for example, helped milk the cows before they left for school.
In the mid-1920s, Ollie bought a tractor and became the first of the Bradfords in his family line to have mechanized help on the farm. That early tractor, however, was cumbersome and only helped marginally. As they had for many generations, mules did most of the heavy field work for the Bradfords. In the mid-1920s, however, times became too hard and Ollie went bankrupt (when, he, like most of his neighbors, lost most of his crops as a result of adverse weather conditions and, thereafter, due to adverse markets, could not sell what he had grown. Hence, Ollie could not pay the farm's owner as agreed. The Great Depression had arrived early for the Bradfords.
Ollie, like his father before him, was a tenant farmer. Hence, each year a landowner supplied Ollie with land and seed in return for a percentage of the crops raised on the land Their lifestyle, however, was not unusual: most of the Bradfords' neighbors were also tenant farmers. Almost one-third of Missouri's farms were cultivated by tenant farmers. Indeed, tenant farming was on the rise: by 1920 there were 75,727 tenants on Missouri farms; in 1930 that number had risen to 89,076; and, in 1935, there were 108,023 tenant farmers in Missouri.388
On at least three ocassions, the Bradford family shared a portion of their farmland with families of sharecroppers. Hence, Ollie continued to rent the land from the landowner, but he shared his farm equipment (which he owned) and cotton seed with the sharecropper, who, in return, farmed a specified number of acres and shared the proceeds of his crop with both Ollie and the landowner.
Mules were used for plowing, planting and bringing in the crops even after the family acquired a tractor. The tractor, however, made breaking the soil easier. Corn was brought in by shucking each ear by hand (now electric corn pickers do that task). Wheat was brought in with the use of a thresher (now combiners make that job much easier). Finally the family raised alfalfa. That crop was cut and left to dry before it was baled. Cotton was picked by hand. Each year the family sold its crops and settled up with the property's landowner. Ollie also supplemented the family's income by selling animal pelts. One of the family's farms (the one five miles north of Charleston) had a lot of pecan trees. The cash raised from selling pecans helped buy those little "extras" around the house.
Later, when the family ran a dairy farm, the family separated the cream from the milk, sold the cream and fed the skim milk to the calves and baby pigs. Agnes churned the family's butter by hand. The family also kept chickens and, after the children moved away, sold the eggs. The family, however, did not just sell their goods; they also lived off much of their farm's bounty. Hence, despite hard times, the family was able to live off of the farm's milk, eggs, butter, chicken, fruit trees, garden vegetables and hogs. The few necessities that the family could not produce, like sugar and flour, were purchased in town. Ollie and the boys, on occasion, caught fish or shot rabbits or squirrels for dinner.
Ollie and Agnes eventually worked through the worst of their financial difficulties. In about 1920, Ollie bought the family's first car, a Willys-Knight, a cloth-topped two-seater touring car which could hold the whole family. It had two little seats that folded into the back of the front seat. Curtains were placed in the side windows when it rained. Like all cars in that day, a hand crank in the front was turned to get the car started. The family's next car, purchased in 1927, was a dark red Ford Model T. That was, incidentally, the last year in which Ford manufactured the Model T. Ollie and Agnes never learned to drive, but their children, Buck and Bertram, did. Those two did all the family's driving for years. My grandfather later courted my grandmother in that car. The car, apparently, was a concession to Agnes. When the land company that owned the family's prior farm asked the Bradfords to move to the dairy farm, Agnes balked because it was too far from church. The land company, helpless in the face of that argument, lent the family the money to buy the Model T in return for the family's promise to move to the dairy farm.
Much of the family's entertainment was simple. The children, like children throughout the ages, played outside and found fun where they could. Uncle Jay showed me a nearby Indian mound which he and his siblings explored in their youth (located on road "N" near highway 358). Hot summer days were tamed by swimming with the neighbors' children in one of the nearby drainage ditches (which were often as much as twenty feet wide and ten feet deep). After the family purchased a battery-operated radio in about 1929 (there was no electric service to the farm), the family began to listen to radio shows. Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and other early radio stars entertained the family after dinner was over and all chores were completed. While there was no local radio station, the family could pick up KMOX, a St. Louis AM station. Furthermore, as there was no electricity, light was supplied by kerosene lamps. There was, of course, no telephone. Wood and coal burning stoves kept them warm in the winter.
Life on the Bradford family's farms was much as it was on most small farms in those days. There was no running water. Water for drinking, cooking and bathing purposes was pulled up from the ground with a hand pump (water in that area was only a few short feet under the ground -- one could carry a hand pump around, drive it in the ground as little as three feet and pull up cold, clear water). As there was no running water, family members were required to use an outhouse rather than an indoor toilet. I asked Uncle Jay if that situation changed during the freezing winters. He assured me that things did not change, but that one would not dawdle in the outhouse any longer than necessary. I'll bet he's right.
Ollie and Agnes Bradford in 1927 with Model T showing on left (photo courtesy of Patsy Peak).
Religious and School Life
Ollie and the family remained Catholics. The family attended services at Charleston's St. Henry's Church. That church was the area's only Catholic church. St. Henry's was built in 1905 and was dedicated in 1907. Services are still held there.
The children attended classes at Charleston's St. Henry's Catholic School where nuns taught them to read and write. In 1922, after the family moved to the farm five miles north of Charleston, the children began attending classes at the Diehlstadt Consolidated Public Schools in the Scott County town of Diehlstadt (since the 1921-1922 school year was not yet completed at the time of that move, however, the children rode to St. Henry's in a buggy each day until that school year ended). Classes in the new school were small, with only about twenty students enrolled in each class. The Bradford family's change in schools, while seemingly unimportant in the grand scheme of things, was monumental to me and many others: it was in the Diehlstadt public school that my grandfather met my grandmother and it was there that they fell in love. That change in schools was one of many otherwise minor events that led to my birth. In retrospect, I heartily endorse my grandfather's move to the Diehlstadt public schools.
Spanish American War and World War I
During Ollie's youth, America became enmeshed in a couple of more wars. First there was the Spanish American War. In 1895, a revolution began to rage in Cuba between that island's inhabitants and Spain. America may have stayed out of that war if the Maine, a U.S. battleship, was not been blown up in Havana Harbor in February 1896. After the sinking of the Maine, however, the U.S. promptly declared war on Spain. For America, the war was brief and easily won. It made Teddy Roosevelt, leader of the Rough Riders, an American hero. The peace treaty entered into between the U.S. and Spain in December 1899, made Cuba an independent country and ceded Spain's control of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam to the U.S. The U.S. added those Pacific holdings to Hawaii, which it had seized in 1898. In 1916, the U.S. purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark.
After the Spanish American War, the U.S. military was not involved in any major conflicts until World War I. It was in 1917 that Woodrow Wilson joined that already-raging conflict by declaring war on Germany. America was sympathetic to the Allies of Britain, France and Belgium and also feared the consequences of a possible German victory. Americans, moreover, had not forgotten that 128 Americans were aboard the British vessel Lusitania when a German submarine sank it in 1915. Thereafter, unrestricted German submarine activity in 1917 sent a number of American vessels to the bottom of the ocean. Conscription began and over a million U.S. troops were sent to that far-off war before peace came in November 1918. America had joined the top tier of world powers.
1910 and 1920 Census Gleanings
Ollie and Agnes lived in Charleston, Mississippi County, Missouri, at the time of the 1910 U.S. Census. That Census reflects that, at the time, the family included Ollie (32), Agnes (36) and Carlisle (my grandfather, age 1). 389
The 1920 U.S. Census records recently became publicly available (a federal privacy law keeps those results private for seventy years). At the time of that census, the family was still living in Charleston, Missouri. According to that census, the family then included: Ollie T. (42, can read and write); Agnes (45, can read and write); Carlisle (grandfather, 11, can read and write, attends school); Mary (9, can read and write and attends school); Bertie (Bertram, 7, reads and writes and attends school); Ohmer (Omer, 5); and Ollie J. (3).390
The Great Depression
Ollie and Agnes lived through a number of the nation's economic depressions. They survived the ravages of the depression of 1893-1897 and the panics of 1904, 1907 and 1921, but nothing compared to the ten year depression that began in 1929. The cruelest and longest of our country's depressions, the Great Depression was unforgettable. By 1932: the number of unemployed Americans exceeded twelve million; over 5,000 banks had closed their doors; farm prices fell to their lowest price in history; and the national income was only half the eighty billion it was three years before. Ollie, Agnes and their voting age children, like most Americans, supported Franklin Delano Roosevelt who promised them a "New Deal" in 1932. Ollie and Agnes, like most of their neighbors, reportedly always voted for the Democratic Party's presidential candidates.
World War II
The Bradfords watched warily as World War II crept toward them and eventually engulfed them. Actions by Japan and Germany, countries half way around the world, was something they wanted no part of until December 7, 1941, when the Japanese steeled every American's resolve by bombing Pearl Harbor. That war filled the hearts and minds of the Bradfords until September 2, 1945, when -- four months after the Germans were vanquished -- the Japanese unconditionally surrendered to America and its allies on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. Ollie and Agnes, however, did not follow the war as disinterested observers: they watched all three of their sons and both of their sons-in-law put on uniforms and serve their country. Chick enlisted in the Marines in 1941, Jay was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1942, Bertram's husband Ed entered the Army in 1943 while Mary's husband Glenn joined the Army Air Corps and, in 1944, Buck was drafted into the Navy. Luckily, each of them returned home safely. Others were not so lucky. Indeed, a marble monument on the Mississippi County courthouse lawn lists the names of fifty-six men from that county who were killed in that war.
America Becomes America
Ollie and Agnes watched the final pieces of America fall into place. The country, which had forty-five states at the time Ollie's father died, grew to the fifty states now represented on our nation's flag (Oklahoma became a state in 1907, Arizona and New Mexico achieved statehood in 1912 and Hawaii and Alaska made it an even fifty in 1959 -- less than three years before Ollie and Agnes passed away).
Like those before them, Ollie and Agnes witnessed leaders whose reputations later achieved mythical proportions. They were, for example, served by Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and fellow Missourian Harry S. Truman. Ollie reportedly always voted and Agnes, following the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, became one of the first women to vote in national elections. They saw many national leaders come and go. Agnes was born during Ulysses S. Grant's presidency while Ollie, who was four years younger than her, was born during Rutherford Hayes's term in office. Two of their presidents were killed in office (Garfield in 1881 and McKinley in 1901). They also lived through the heyday of world leaders Stalin, Churchill and Hitler.
Ollie and Agnes witnessed America's move from the now seemingly ancient 1800s to the cusp of modern America. They were young people when the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886. Furthermore, during their lives: Orville and Wilbur Wright made their historic flight in 1903; Einstein developed the theory of relativity in 1905; the first radio programs appeared in 1906; Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908; Robert Peary reached the North Pole in 1909; in 1912 Captain Robert Scott reached the South Pole, Jim Thorpe swept the Olympics and the Titanic sailed and sank; the Panama Canal was opened in 1914; the first farm tractor was developed in 1915; Charles Lindbergh flew the first solo New York to Paris flight in the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927; the Empire State Building was completed in 1931; the first atomic bomb was built and detonated in 1945; the first hydrogen bomb was tested in 1952; racial segregation was ruled unconstitutional in 1954; and, in 1958, the U.S. sent its first satellite into orbit and the first domestic jet airline passenger service began. Moving pictures were invented, sound was introduced to those films and movie theaters became common. Prohibition, the Great Depression, the Korean Conflict and World Wars I and II (not to mention the Spanish-American War) came and went. Ollie, who outlived Agnes by three years, lived to see Kennedy inaugurated, shook his head at the Bay of Pigs fiasco and marveled as John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. The United States, which had less than 50 million inhabitants when Ollie and Agnes were born, swelled to over 180 million during their lives.
America, by the time I was unwittingly born in 1961 only to pass Ollie like a ship in the night, had become the place I know. Until I started this book, I always took that place for granted. Maybe that is the curse of the eleventh, twelfth or thirteenth generation Americans: they flail away in the world they are born into without any appreciation of what -- or who -- came before them. Perhaps everything in the past is too vast, too obscure, to take it all in. In my case, perhaps the opposite is true. One who once suffered that same short-sightedness, now I cannot stop looking behind me to see what is there and how we got where we are today. Perhaps that is my curse. Strangely, I find a comfort, a strength, in the now-dead ancestors who brought me to the spot I now fill. Beyond that, a pragmatist, I have long believed that those who do not learn from history's mistakes will suffer them anew. As I sift through time, however, I find many more successes than mistakes. I find simplicity, complexity and heroes -- but not heroes in the conventional sense of the word. The heroes hidden there are of a much quieter, more durable nature than the ones I see on the television screen. They, like Ollie and Agnes, were real people with beating hearts and thinking minds. They laughed, cried and -- most critically for their descendants -- continued the family line.
Ollie and Agnes Pass On
Ollie and Agnes moved from the countryside to downtown Charleston upon Ollie's retirement in about 1950. That small home, the last one on the right on Davis Street, is still there. Ollie and Agnes lived out the rest of their lives there.
Agnes died on December 6, 1960, at the age of eighty-six. She was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Charleston, Missouri. After her death, Ollie continued to live in Charleston at the home at 609 Davis Street. Ollie died on September 10, 1962, at the age of eighty-four. He was buried next to Agnes. The Calvary Cemetery, Ollie and Agnes's final resting place, is located just outside of Charleston. Their headstone is next to those of the gentle, loving relatives who took them in when they first moved to Missouri, three of which died in the flu epidemic of 1918: William H. "Billy" Carlisle (1864-1918, "father"); Elizabeth E. Carlisle (1864-1918, "mother"); John W. Carlisle (1848-1918, "brother); and William E. Carlisle (10/26/1849 - 3/9/1967, whose grave is marked with a World War II veteran grave marker).
I am at a disadvantage in describing great grandparents whom I never met. I can, however, tell you what I was told. Ollie was a quiet, strong man. Much like my grandfather I am told. He was firm with his children, but not too strict. Reportedly, he never raised his voice in anger either with his wife or his children. One of his favorite past-times was to go raccoon (or, rather, coon) hunting at night with his dogs. I can almost picture him heading out at night in the woods with his dogs baying and a full moon overhead. While I never met him, that is how I picture him. Agnes, I am told, was a living angel. She was quiet and kind and religion was important to her. Many of her actions were based on deeply based moral convictions. She never refused food to a hungry stranger who came to the door (and, yes, in those days they came). She was also generous to the families of sharecroppers who, from time to time, lived on the family's farms. Although the Bradfords did not have much, Agnes gave those families milk, eggs, vegetables and, at butchering time, meat. At Christmas, she gave gifts to the sharecroppers' small children. Once she even served as a midwife for one of those families. Her many acts of selfless generosity and live may be lost in history, but they are not, I assure you, lost on me. Agnes worked hard. She churned butter and fed the chickens. A traditional housewife, she sewed clothes for the family, cleaned the laundry and cooked the family's meals. I understand that she was a good cook. She baked fresh biscuits every morning. One of her specialties was homemade bread. Apparently she cooked enough at one time to last the whole week. The smell reportedly filled the house when she baked it. I could almost smell that bread as it was being described to me.
He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity.
Ollie and Agnes Bradford's children with their spouses on October 15, 1993. (left to right) Omer "Chick" and Vivian Bradford, Glenn and Mary Nenninger, T.C. "Buck" and Nada Bradford, Ollie James "Jay" and Marie Bradford and Ed and Bertram Murphy. (photo courtesy of Jim and Polly Bradford).
IX. Buck and Nina, et al.
Since the last chapter brought us practically up to the present, this chapter shall proceed somewhat differently than the others. Rather than telling of my grandfather Thomas C. "Buck" Bradford in detail (who may not welcome the attention or invasion of privacy that necessarily comes with publication), this chapter lists and describes each of Ollie and Agnes's descendants. Hence, this final chapter is not just about Buck: it is about many.
Ollie and Agnes had, as discussed previously, five children. Hence, this chapter is organized under headings named after those children (Thomas, Mary, Bertram, Omer and Ollie James). Though he is the eldest, my grandfather, ever the gentleman, would not object to my saving him for last.
Mary (Bradford) Nenninger
Ollie and Agnes's oldest daughter, Mary Genevieve Bradford, was born in Charleston, Missouri, on July 13, 1910. In her youth, Mary attended St. Henry's School in Charleston for six years and graduated from High School at Diehlstadt, Missouri. After graduating from high school, Mary moved to Blodgett, Missouri, and worked with the Blodgett Elevator & Grain Company. Later, Mary moved to Cape Girardeau where she was employed as a bookkeeper by the Missourian Printing & Stationery Company. Mary married Glenn Henry Nenninger at the St. Mary's Cathedral in Cape Girardeau on June 19, 1934. Mary and Glenn spent the entirety of their married life in Cape Girardeau.
Mary's husband Glenn was born on March 1, 1907, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Glenn worked as a bookkeeper for Moon Distributing Company. A World War II veteran, Glenn served at Fort Leonard Wood and the Weldon Springs Government Project. During World War II, Glenn, who served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, was stationed in Guam. After the war, Glenn worked for the Cotton Belt Distributing Company until he opened a liquor store, a business he ran until his retirement.
Mary and Glenn have seven children, each born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri: Janice Agnes Nenninger (born May 14, 1935); Glenn Edward Nenninger (born January 26, 1937); Thomas Bradford Nenninger (born July 13, 1939); Garet Louis Nenninger (born December 23, 1940); Mary Genevieve Nenninger (born February 23, 1948); Mark Henry Nenninger (born December 29, 1949); and Miriam Ann Nenninger (born November 4, 1952).
Janice Agnes Nenninger tragically died of meningitis on April 25, 1936, prior to her first birthday. Janice is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Glenn Edward "Ed" Nenninger received his primary education at St. Mary's in Cape Girardeau. Ed attended classes at Southeast Missouri State University and received a degree from the Rolla School of Mines in Rolla, Missouri. Ed's work in the oil fields took him from Shidler, Oklahoma, to Olney, Illinois, to Maracibo, Venezuela, to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Jackson, Mississippi, and finally to Charlotte, North Carolina. Ed married his first wife, Lois Ann Osiek (born December 29, 1937), on August 8, 1959, in Murrayville, Illinois. Ed and Lois had four children: Mathew Allen Nenninger (born July 8, 1960, in Ponca City, Oklahoma); John Thomas Nenninger (born January 15, 1962, in Fairfax, Oklahoma); Judith Lynn Nenninger (born May 10, 1963, in Olney, Illinois); and Christopher Robert Nenninger (born Mary 23, 1964, in Maracibo, Venezuela). Ed married his second wife, Kathleen Mayurnick (born May 8, 1951, in New Jersey) in Atlanta, Georgia on May 3, 1986. Ed and Kathy now live in Matthew, North Carolina. The current status of Ed's children is as follows:
Matthew Allen Nenninger married Wendy Renea Brunell of Bethel, North Carolina (born May 20, 1970) in Greenville, North Carolina on August 19, 1990. Their children are as follows: Thomas Tuthill Powell III (born August 13, 1988, in Taraboro, North Carolina); Amanda Brooke Nenninger (born March 18, 1991, in Greenville, North Carolina); and Emily Lynn Nenninger (born March 6, 1992, in Greenville, North Carolina). Matt and Wendy live in Ward, Arkansas.
John Thomas Nenninger, formerly married to Kay Lynn Eaton of Jackson, Mississippi, now lives in Orlando, Florida.
Judith Lynn "Judy" Nenninger, a graduate of Appalachian State University, lives in Banner Elk, North Carolina.
Christopher Robert Nenninger, a graduate of the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, married Wendy Jo Brennan (born August 12, 1965) of McKeesport, Pennsylvania, a graduate of Clemson University, on November 25, 1989. They live together in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Glenn and Mary's son Thomas Bradford Nenninger graduated from St. Louis University and conducted post-graduate work at Purdue University. He married Sandra Kay "Sandi" Dalbke (born July 15, 1942) on January 26, 1963, at the Holy Family Church in North Chicago, Illinois. Tom worked as a manufacturing engineer for Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas from 1963 to 1969 and has worked as a systems engineer for Electronics Data Systems ("E.D.S.") from 1969 through the present. Sandi has taught school since 1973. Tom and Sandi now live in Plano, Texas. Sandi and Tom have two children: Thomas Bradford Nenninger Jr. (born December 21, 1965, in Dallas, Texas, who graduated from Trinity High School in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania and attended Colin County Community College in Texas); and Susan Catherine Nenninger (born March 28, 1967, in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Susan married Timothy Arthur Hazzard at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Plano, Texas on September 15, 1990. Susan and Tim, who live in McKinney, Texas, both work with E.D.S.; Susan as a benefit analyst and Tim as a systems engineer.
Garet Louis Nenninger received a B.S. degree from the United States Air Force Academy in 1963 and an M.B.A. from the University of Missouri in 1977. Garet served twenty-one years as an officer and a pilot in the United States Air Force. Garet was stationed in Enid, Oklahoma, and Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. Garet then married Kathleen Claudia Allor (born July 14, 1944, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan) at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Harper Woods, Michigan, on May 12, 1967, prior to serving as an air controller in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Garet and Kathie, who live in Houston, Texas, have lived in the Panama Canal Zone; Warrensburg, MO; Shreveport, LA; Mililani Town, Hawaii; and Fort Worth, TX. Since his retirement from the Air Force, Garet has worked as an aerospace contractor at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Garet and Kathie have three sons: two born in Ancon in the Republic of Panama: Garet Glenn Nenninger (born May 28, 1969) and Gregory Bradford Nenninger (born October 5, 1971); and one, Brian Worland Nenninger, born at Whitman Air Force Base, Missouri (October 23, 1974). Son Garet, who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ("M.I.T.") with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1991 now serves in the United States Navy. He married Lisette Wilhelmina-Marie Lambregts (born November 7, 1968, in Renton, Washington), a fellow graduate of M.I.T. who has degrees in both chemical engineering and biology, in Issaquah, Washington, on October 10, 1992. They live in Arlington, Virginia. Son Greg attends classes at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. Son Brian attends classes at Texas Christian University.
Mary Genevieve Nenninger, who graduated from Notre Dame High School in Cape Girardeau, received her secondary education from Southeast Missouri University in Cape Girardeau. She worked in St. Louis as a workers' compensation supervising adjuster. She married James Dean Richardson (born August 17, 1945) in the All Saints Church in University City, Missouri on June 16, 1984. They live in Easley, South Carolina.
Mark Henry Nenninger attended classes at St. Louis University before transferring to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois where he received his degree. Mark spent several years in the military and now lives in West Carrolton, Ohio. Mark married Elizabeth Schwartzel in December 1992.
Miriam Ann Nenninger received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, graduating Cum Laude in 1975. Miriam, who works as laboratory technician at an analytical chemistry lab, married Columbia police officer Robert Kirk Hankins (born March 1, 1953) at St. Mary's Cathedral, Cape Girardeau, on May 15, 1976. Miriam and Robert have three children, each born in Columbia, Missouri: Chelsea Ann Hankins (born January, 19, 1978); Robert Glenn Hankins (born March 2, 1980); and Noel Edward Hankins (born November 18, 1982). The family lives in Columbia, Missouri.
Bertram (Bradford) Murphy
Bertram Agnes Bradford was born in Charleston, Mississippi County, Missouri on September 18, 1912. Bertram, who received a B.S. in education from Southeast Missouri State College in 1933, became a teacher. She taught elementary school in various schools in Southeast Missouri between 1931 and 1942. On May 16, 1942, she married Edward John "Ed" Murphy at St. Henry's Catholic Church in Charleston, Missouri. Ed and Bertram lived in Joplin, Missouri, in 1942, lived in Liberal, Kansas, in 1943 and, finally, Kansas City, Missouri, from 1946 until 1972. After her and Ed's children had grown, Bertram again taught classes, this time in Kansas City, from 1956 through 1977. She and Ed moved to Excelsior Springs, Missouri, in August of 1972. Bertam still lives there.
Bertram's husband Ed served as an accountant for a construction company prior to World War II. Ed served in the U.S. Army from May 1943 through December 1945. He was stationed in the South Pacific. After the war, Ed worked as a motel manager until his retirement. Uncle Ed succumbed to pancreatic cancer on July 6, 1991. He is buried in Resurrection Cemetery, located on Highway 291 in Clay County, Missouri.
Ed and Bertam have six children: James Bernard Murphy (born February 10, 1943, in Liberal Kansas); Mary Elizabeth Murphy (born September 26, 1946, in Kansas City, Missouri); Mary Catherine Murphy (born January 9, 1948, in Kansas City, Missouri); Helen Marie Murphy (born December 20, 1948, in Kansas City, Missouri); Edward John Murphy Jr. (born November 12, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri); and Thomas Bradford Murphy (born March 10, 1952, in Kansas City, Missouri).
James Bernard "Jim" Murphy received a degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. Jim married Carol Ann Gabel (who died on August 6, 1989). Carol bore Jim two sons: Sean James Murphy (born December 12, 1966, graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute) who know works as a photographer in Des Moines, Iowa and Hugh Nathan Murphy (born June 12, 1969) who does construction work in Port Townsend, Washington. Hugh married Laura Ferguson Huxley on September 3, 1991. Jim married his second wife, Margaret Erickson, on January 3, 1987.
Mary Elizabeth Murphy received a degree from Mount Saint Scholastica College of Atchison, Kansas. Elizabeth married Thomas "Tom" Porter in Denver on May 25, 1985. Tom and Elizabeth live with Tom's daughters from a previous marriage: Angie and Laura. Elizabeth and Tom, both computer analysts, live together in Lakewood, Colorado.
Mary Catherine "Cathy" Murphy graduated from Missouri University in Kansas City and has taught in both Missouri and Oregon schools. Cathy had two children, Adrienne Ida (born May 22, 1978) and Damian (born September 11, 1981) in her first marriage to Dennis Mann. Cathy married Dominic Albanese in Milwaukee on May 6, 1989. Cathy and Dominic live in Concord, Milwaukee, a suburb of Portland, Oregon.
Helen Marie Murphy attended classes at Missouri University. Helen married Anthony "Tony" Schiltz in Kansas City, Missouri on August 15, 1970. Helen and Tony have three children: Gretchen Lynn Schiltz (born August 15, 1973, a student at Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville, Missouri); Aaron Gabriel Schiltz (born September 26, 1976); and Martin Joseph Schiltz (born January 25, 1981). Helen and Tony have lived in Davenport, Iowa since 1976. Tony works there as a Director of Human Resources for Bawden Printing Company.
Edward John Murphy Jr. graduated from Conception Seminary in May 1972. John married Jan Wasleski in Kansas City on September 12, 1992. John works for the United States Government and he now lives with Jan in Kansas City, Missouri.
Thomas Bradford "Brad" Murphy attended classes at Central State University and Vocational Tech Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Brad, who serves as a welder for a steel construction company, married Joan Payne on March 16, 1982. They have two children: Patrick Murphy, who attends classes at Devry Institute and Robert Matthew Murphy who was born on January 5, 1984.
Omer Bernard "Chick" Bradford
It is with particular fondness that I write of Omer Bernard "Chick" Bradford. Born on September 3, 1914, that child of the First World War was the first of the family to study the family's genealogy. It was Uncle Chick, driving around in his camper and visiting Colesburg, Granville County, Charles City County and numerous places in between, who first successfully traced the family's roots back to Richard I. A letter that he sent to me in 1985 outlining that lineage sparked an interest in genealogy which eventually culminated in the writing of this book. Since that time, I have spent the last few years (during weekends and stolen lunch hours from my law firm) fleshing out the details of that outline. The descendants of Richard I owe him an eternal debt of gratitude.
Chick married Vivian Marie Howard in Dayton, Ohio, on April 14, 1945. Chick, like his brothers and sisters, grew up on farms in Scott and Mississippi Counties, Missouri. Chick moved to New York in March of 1939 where he lived with Victor Worland, his mother's brother, and Victor's wife Effie. Prior to World War II, Chick worked in New York in the circulation department of the Long Island Daily Press. Chick enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1941 and served honorably until his discharge in October 1945. After the war, Chick moved to St. Louis where he worked at the St. Louis Globe Democrat from 1946 until 1959. Later, Chick worked as a mechanic and operated a Standard Oil service station in St. Louis until his retirement in 1976. Chick now lives in Middletown, Missouri.
Chick's wife Vivian taught classes in home economics prior to World War II. Vivian, like Chick, served our country during that war. Vivian served in the U.S. Air Force. She reached the position of Second Lieutenant by the time of her discharge in 1945. After that time, she settled down with Chick in St. Louis after and became a housewife. Vivian is very active in local activities. Vivian, who was born in Oak Ridge, Missouri on June 3, 1913, is the daughter of Benjamin Harrison Howard and Rosanna Heise.
Chick and Vivian had five children: Helen Clare Bradford (born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on January 30, 1946); Mary Ruth Bradford (born in St. Louis on July 23, 1949); Melinda Jane Bradford (born in St. Louis on October 16, 1950); Susan Bradford (born in St. Louis on June 21, 1954); and David Bradford (born in St. Louis on February 4, 1957).
Helen Clare "Troy" Bradford married Kenneth Fredrick Sprenke of St. Louis in Denver, Colorado, on January 27, 1969. Helen received a degree in Theatre Arts from St. Louis University in 1970. Helen and Ken lived in Alberta, Canada, from 1969 until 1982 while Ken attended graduate school at the University of Alberta and taught at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and Helen worked as a teacher and as, variously, the Technical Director, Artistic Director and Vice-President of Walterdale Theatre Associates. Helen and Ken have three dual-national children: Jonathon Benjamin Sprenke (born November 4, 1972); Christopher Kenneth Sprenke (born October 31, 1975); and Nicholas Alan Sprenke (born April 1, 1982). The Sprenkes moved to Moscow, Idaho, in 1982 where Ken, a geophysicist, is a Professor of Geology at the University of Idaho and a private geophysical consultant. Jonathon, a National Merit Commended Scholar and an honor student at the University of Idaho majoring in Theatre, expects to graduate in 1994 along with his mother, who will complete a degree in Elementary Education from the University of Idaho.
Mary Ruth Bradford received a B.A. in History and English from St. Mary's College in Leavenworth, Kansas (graduating cum laude in 1971). During college, Mary participated in an exchange program with Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, and attended Sophia's Summer Session in Asian Studies. After graduation, she spent a year in France and studied at the Institut Catholique. A newspaper photographer for a while, Mary attended graduate classes in photo-journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mary married Paul Elliott Kleene in Rockport, Maine, on August 18, 1979. Paul, who is originally from Madison, Wisconsin, has undergraduate and graduate degrees in comparative literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mary and Paul lived in Maine for ten years and both of their children were born there: Elizabeth Bradford Kleene (on July 15, 1980) and Ann Catherine Kleene (on July 4, 1986). In the summer of 1989, the Kleenes moved to the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area where Mary became a Certified Financial Planner for the pension division of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. She now serves as the Sales Manager for the Washington, D.C. district and Paul works for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Elizabeth and Ann attend the Washington Waldorf School and are both Suzuki violinists.
Melinda Jane Bradford earned a degree from Missouri University in Columbia. A housewife now, Melinda is a former Junior High Science teacher, childbirth educator and a swim instructor. Melinda married Robert McElligot in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, on September 8, 1978. Melinda and Robert have six children: Margaret, Kelly, Bonnie, Renee, Brandy and John (of which the latter five were adopted in July 1985). Melinda and Robert now live in Freeport, Illinois.
Susan Bradford, who received a BS Ed degree in mathematics from Missouri University in 1980, was once married to James Stapleton of Columbia, Missouri. Susan has two children: James Otis (born September 16, 1983) and Clarissa "Risa" (born July 2, 1985). Susan works for Washington University in St. Louis, where she is involved in psychiatric research. Susan lives in University City, Missouri.
David Bradford received a degree in Physics from Missouri University in Columbia in 1983. David married Jane S. Garland of St. Louis in St. Louis on August 21, 1988. David is now working towards his Ph.D. in Physics. He will begin teaching college in Fulton, Missouri, on Fall, 1993. He and Jane, an assistant prosecuting attorney, live in Columbia, Missouri.
Ollie James "Jay" Bradford
Ollie James "Jay" Bradford, Ollie and Agnes's youngest child, was born in Charleston, Missouri on October 2, 1916. A true gentleman, Jay escorted me on a trip through Southeast Missouri in which he showed me the places the Bradfords lived in Mississippi and Scott counties. Much of the background information in the previous chapter was suppled by him during that trip. Like his brothers and sisters, Jay attended school at Charleston's St. Henry Catholic School before transferring to the public school in Diehlstadt where he graduated in 1935. Similarly, Jay, like his siblings, grew up working on the family's farms in and around Charleston. Jay, however, left farming for good when, at the age of twenty-five he was drafted by the U.S. Army Air Corps (this was before the Air Force and Army broke into separate branches of the armed services) in Fall, 1942. During his tour of duty in World War II, Jay was stationed in Burma, India and China. Following his return from World War II, Jay has worked as a construction bookkeeper, a real estate salesman and broker and, finally, a partner in an electrical contracting firm before retiring in 1982. At the time of the writing of this book, Jay lives with his wife Marie in Jackson, Missouri.
Jay's wife, Marie Frances Halter, the youngest daughter of Ida and Joseph L. Halter, was born in Charleston, Missouri, on June 20, 1926. Jay and Marie married in Charleston's St. Henry's Church on February 25, 1946. Marie has worked variously as a telephone operator, Deputy County Clerk of Cape Girardeau County (for ten and a half years) and a branch supervisor of a telecommunications company. She and Jay lived in Jackson, Missouri, from February 1946 through October 1946 and then lived in Charleston, Missouri, from October 1946 through January 1952. They have lived in Jackson, Missouri, since that time. She and Jay had six children: Evelyn Marie Bradford; Martha Ann Bradford; James David Bradford; Joseph Thomas Bradford; Maureen Carol Bradford; and Michael Paul Bradford.
Evelyn Marie Bradford, Jay and Marie's eldest child, was born in Charleston, Missouri, on August 16, 1947. Evelyn graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 1969 with a degree in elementary education and, thereafter, taught school. Evelyn married Melvin Holzum in Jackson, Missouri, on June 21, 1969. Melvin works for the Jim Wilson Company in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Melvin and Evelyn had a daughter, Alissa Marie Holzum, who was born in Cape Girardeau on October 18, 1972. Evelyn, who died on May 25, 1976, is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Cape Girardeau. Evelyn's daughter Allissa attends classes at Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau where she hopes to attain a degree in business management.
Martha Ann Bradford was born in Charleston, Missouri, on February 22, 1950. Martha received a nursing diploma in 1971 from the Barnes Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, and received a BSN from St. Louis University in 1975. Martha married John Douglas "Doug" Caldwell in Jackson, Missouri, on October 2, 1976. Martha and Doug have three children: John Bradford Caldwell (born September 27, 1977); Benjamin Thomas Caldwell (born May 17, 1979); and Laura Martha Caldwell (born January 13, 1981). Each of the children were born in St. Louis and still live at home with their parents in Crestwood, Missouri.
James David Bradford was born in Charleston, Missouri, on May 26, 1951. Jim attended a Diocesan Seminary his freshman year in high school. After graduating from high school in Jackson, Missouri, Jim attended Southeast Missouri State University. James married Polly Anne Elfrink in Advance, Missouri, on October 23, 1976. Polly and Jim have two children: Amy Marie Bradford (born July 23, 1979) and Catherine Renee Bradford (born June 7, 1981). Jim returned to Southeast Missouri State University and received a B.S. in computer science. Upon his graduation in 1992, Jim and Polly moved to Plano, Texas, where Jim is employed by Lennox International and Polly, who has a Masters degree in Elementary Education, teaches in the Carrolton-Farmers Branch public school system.
Joseph Thomas "Joe" Bradford was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on December 11, 1952. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in December 1972 and spent the majority of his tour of duty in South Korea as a Nike missile repairman. Joe, who received an electrical engineering degree from the Columbia, Missouri, campus of the University of Missouri, and a Masters in engineering from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, works as an engineering project manager for the Mallincrodt Medical Company in St. Louis, Missouri. Joe married Anita Marie Mason in Jackson, Missouri, on August 20, 1977. They have two children: Colleen Marie Bradford (born December 23, 1980, in Owensboro, Kentucky) and Glenn Joseph Bradford (born October 15, 1983, in Houston, Texas). Fortunately, Joe's work has required him to make several trips to Europe, during which he has helped research Richard I's family history. We each owe him a debt of gratitude.
Jay and Marie's daughter Maureen Carol Bradford was born in Jackson, Missouri, on October 21, 1954. Maureen attended Southeast Missouri State University and received a BSN degree from Webster College in St. Louis. Maureen now works as a floor supervisor at St. Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. Maureen married Daniel Wessell in Jackson, Missouri, on June 1, 1973. Dan worked in Cape Girardeau as a carpenter for many years. Dan and Maureen have two children: Shelly Renee Wessell (born October 22, 1977) and Bryan William Wessell (born December 2, 1979). The family lives in Jackson, Missouri.
Michael Paul "Mike" Bradford, the youngest of Jay and Marie's children, was born in Jackson, Missouri, on September 13, 1956. In 1978, Mike received an Electrical Engineering Degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. Mike does computer work for Segue, a consulting firm in St. Louis. Mike married Connie Sue Haynes in Jackson, Missouri, on July 26, 1980. Connie, a school teacher, has bore Mike three children: Sarah Elizabeth Bradford (born May 31, 1986); David Michael Bradford (born June 1, 1990); and Melissa Suzanne Bradford (one of Richard Bradford I's newest descendants, born March 7, 1993).
Thomas Carlisle "Buck" Bradford
My grandfather, Thomas Carlisle Bradford, "Buck" to those who know him, was born the first of Ollie and Agnes's children on May 27, 1908. Buck worked on the family's Charleston-area farms until he was about twenty-four years old. Thereafter he got a job running a Mobil gas service station in Benton, Missouri, until 1944 when he was drafted (at age thirty-eight, with three small children) to serve in World War II. During the war, Buck served in the U.S. Navy as a Seaman First Class until his honorable discharge on October 17, 1945. After the war, Buck worked variously at odd jobs, the Scott County Clerk's office and, for a while, steaming up and down the Mississippi River on a riverboat. Eventually, Buck landed a job with construction company Brown and Root. In that job he helped to build a natural gas pipeline in nearby Oran, Missouri. Thereafter, Buck landed a job as an oiler at the Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation's natural gas pumping station in Oran, where he worked until 1952 when he was transferred to Texas Eastern's pumping station in Stanford, Kentucky, near Danville. Buck worked for Texas Eastern at that station until his retirement in early 1973.
A simpler time. Buck and Nina Bradford in Junction City with their children in summer 1954. (l. to r., John, Buck, Nina, Sarah, Sharon, Larry).
Buck married my grandmother, Nina Mae English, in Diehlstadt, Missouri, on July 5, 1930. Thereafter, Buck and Nina lived with his parents for a short period of time. Later he and Nina moved to the Scott County town of Benton. When they moved to Kentucky in 1952, Buck and Nina moved into one of Texas Eastern's six company homes that were built just off Stanford's Airport Road. Their home their was only a short walk through the woods (one I was always too young to make) to the pumping station where my grandfather worked on varying day, evening and night shifts. After his retirement, he and grandmother moved to my hometown, Bardstown, Kentucky, where he and grandmother lived until shortly after her death in 1980. Thereafter, he lived alone in Bardstown until he married Nina's widowed sister Nada Ellen English Anderson, (Nada's first husband, William Ernest Anderson, died in Morley, Missouri, on March 10, 1968). Since that time, Buck and Nada have lived in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Only recently, Buck moved to that town's Missouri Veterans' Home. One of the strong, silent types, my grandfather is one of the few pillars of principle and strength I have known. A great pinochle player, he has long boasted tongue-in-cheek to be the Best in the West. I believe he is.
Buck's first wife and my grandmother, Nina Mae English, was born on March 18, 1912, in a place then called -- of all things -- Tywappitty Township, Missouri. That town is now called Diehlstadt. Nina was the daughter of William Alvin English ("Big Daddy" to his descendants, born 6/26/1873 in Jackson, Missouri, died 4/28/1951 in Benton, Missouri) and Nettie Mae McGinnis ("Big Mom," born 3/15/1888 in Evansville, Indiana, died 8/31/1980 in Sikeston, Missouri). Strong Southern Baptists, I understand that, initially, Nina's parents were not tremendously excited about Nina's marriage to Catholic Buck and her subsequent conversion. Nevertheless they, like my beloved grandmother, were won over by Buck -- a man grandmother told me she fell in love with when she first saw him show up at the school in Diehlstadt in his white knickers and matching white cap. The life of every gathering she ever attended, my grandmother was probably the best friend I had ever known when she died suddenly on January 21, 1980. The years she and grandfather spent in Bardstown between his retirement and her death were among the happiest years of my life. The memories I have of my brother and I spending long summer afternoons playing pinochle and visiting with them -- the hardest nickels I ever lost or won -- are without substitute. If she is indicative of the wives of the Bradford men who preceded Buck -- many of whom I know little or nothing about -- then the Bradfords have been blessed indeed. Nina Bradford is buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery in Bardstown, Kentucky.
Buck and Nina had five children: Jerry Bradford (born and died March 31, 1931); John Carlisle Bradford (my father, born August 5, 1932); Charles Larry Bradford (born August 9, 1936); Mary Sharon Bradford (born February 17, 1941); and Sarah Ann Bradford (born July 19, 1950).
Jerry Bradford, who died during childbirth on March 31, 1931, is buried in Charleston Missouri's Calvary Cemetery. A small headstone about fifty feet from the one shared by Ollie and Agnes Bradford marks the site of his burial. Although he never lived a day, my grandparents never stopped grieving his death.
Buck and Nina's oldest son -- and my father -- John Carlisle Bradford, was born in Diehlstadt, Scott County, Missouri. A standout high school athlete, John was the first Eagle Scout in Benton, Missouri's history. John's skill as a basketball player netted him an athletic scholarship to Southeast Missouri State College (now University) where he played varsity basketball and received a Bachelors of Arts degree in History in 1955. Thereafter, he entered dental school at St. Louis University where he received his D.D.S. in 1959. He married my mother, Margie Lou Tudor in Frankfort, Kentucky, on August 31, 1957. After John graduated from dental school, he and Margie lived in Danville, Kentucky, with his parents for a brief period before he opened up his dental practice in Bardstown, Kentucky, on December 7, 1959. Dad has practiced there in his office on East Flaget Street since that time. Although he now works only half days, he still sees quite few patients and manages to work on my teeth whenever I fly home.
John's wife, Margie Lou Tudor (Mom!), was born in Madison County, Kentucky, on July 10, 1936. Margie's parents were Humprey Hill "Jack" Tudor II (born 2/6/1906 in Madison County, Kentucky, died March 3, 1965 in Irvine, Kentucky) and Mary Elizabeth Noland (born 1/25/1910 in Frankfort, Kentucky, and died in Lexington, Kentucky, on May 7, 1991. Coincidentally, Margie is the great, great, great granddaughter of Valentine Tudor who lived in Granville County at the same time that the Bradfords did 200 years ago and served in the Granville County militia in the Revolutionary War.391 Equally coincidentally, Margie (on her mother's side) is the great, great granddaughter of James Parker -- one of John Hunt Morgan's men, the famed Morgan's Raiders, who raided the Colesburg area during the Civil War. Margie (who, incidentally, scarcely allowed me to raid the refrigerator, much less Muldraugh Hill) graduated valedictorian from the Nazareth School of Nursing in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1957. Although she worked as a nurse at Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown for a few years, she spent most of the 1960s and 1970s raising her and John's six children. Since those children have grown, Margie has become quite active in local and state politics. She has served on the Bardstown City Schools' Board of Education since 1979, and has served in a number of state elected and appointed positions including the Kentucky Bicentennial Commission, the Governor's Task Force on Education, Chairman of the Legislative Committee of the Democratic Woman's Club of Kentucky and, most recently, President of the Kentucky School Board Association (for 1993 and 1994).
John and Margie Bradford have six children, each of whom attended Bardstown public schools and received degrees from the University of Kentucky ("UK"). Those children are as follows:
John Carlisle Bradford Jr. (born 6/23/1858 in St. Louis, Missouri). John graduated with an accounting degree from UK in 1980. John received his CPA license in 1983. After graduating, John worked first with Potter and Company in Mount Sterling and Corbin, Kentucky, then Galen Health Corporation (formerly Humana Hospitals, Inc.) in Las Vegas, Nevada, and, most recently, Hospital Management Corporation, as comptroller, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. John married Lucille Emily "Luci" Cummins (born in Key West, Florida, on March 12, 1964) in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on March 14, 1986. Luci, a radiological technologist, attended classes at Eastern Kentucky University before graduating from the University of Louisville in 1989.
Lisa Elaine Bradford (born in Danville, Kentucky, on 11/4/1959). Lisa graduated from UK with a marketing degree in 1981. Lisa married Donald Lee "Donnie" Pinkston (born in Bardstown, Kentucky, on January 19, 1954) at Bardstown, Kentucky's St. Joseph's Proto-Cathedral on October 16, 1982.392 Donnie and Lisa have two children: Daniel Ryan Pinkston (my godson, born in Louisville, Kentucky, on August 22, 1984) and Matthew Craig Pinkston (born in Louisville on December 28, 1986). Donnie works for the CSX Corporation and moved to Jacksonville, Florida, when that company moved most of their operations there a few years ago. He, Lisa and the boys still live there. Lisa recently began working with the Sears Mortgage Corporation.
David Thomas Bradford. I was born on March 6, 1961. Llike each of my younger siblings, I was born at Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown, Kentucky. Like each of my brothers and sisters, I attended the Bardstown public schools and graduated from Bardstown High School. Following my graduation there in 1979, I attended UK where I received B.S. degrees in Accounting (in 1983) and Economics (in 1984) and a law (Juris Doctor) degree in 1987. Since that time I have worked as a lawyer specializing in corporate litigation with the New York City law firm of Shearman & Sterling (when I am not working on my book).
Laurie Anne Bradford (born in Bardstown on October 24, 1962) graduated from Bardstown High School on 1980. Laurie received a Pharmacy degree from UK in 1986 and has worked as a pharmacist in Louisville, Kentucky, since that time. Laurie helped gather information about many of the Louisville-area Bradfords.
Karen Maria Bradford (born in Bardstown on February 26, 1964) graduated from high school in 1982 and received a pharmacy degree from UK in 1987. Karen has worked as a pharmacist in Louisville and Shelbyville, Kentucky, hospitals since that time. Karen married Elwood "Chris" Conway III (born Frankfort, Kentucky, on May 8, 1964) at St. Joseph's Proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, Kentucky, on October 28, 1989. Chris is an insurance salesman in Frankfort where he and Karen live with the family's newest addition, my lovely niece Angela Nicole Conway who was born on April 6, 1993.
Christina Lee Bradford (born in Bardstown on January 9, 1966) after graduating from Bardstown High School, graduated from UK in 1989 (with a BBA) and in 1992 (with a law degree). Christina worked with a law firm in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after her graduation. Christina married Christopher Thomas "Chris" King of Madisonville, Kentucky, in a ceremony at Bardstown's St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral on May 16, 1992. Her husband Chris received a degree in English from UK in May 1989 and will finish a masters degree in English from Western Kentucky University after he completes a year of teaching English in Osaka, Japan, for the Japanese embassy for one year. Christina and Chris left for Japan in the summer of 1993.
Buck and Nina's second son, Charles Larry Bradford, was born in Benton, Missouri, on August 9, 1936. Larry, like his brother, was a stand-out athlete and, like his brother, played college basketball. After receiving his degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis University in 1958, Larry spent a year and a half at Harvard Law School before returning to Missouri to pursue a career in business. Since that time, Larry has worked at a series of positions, from Universal Match Company, to Monsanto, to Potlatch to, currently, the Jefferson Smurfit Corporation, where he is vice president. Larry married Judith Renea "Judy" Bondly (born in Minot, North Dakota, on June 8, 1939, the daughter of Conrad Leo Bondly and Lorraine Austin) and had the following children: Rachel Bondly Bradford (born in St. Louis on February 12, 1964) and identical twins Paul Thomas Bradford and Charles Conrad Bradford (each born in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 26, 1965). While Larry and the family have variously lived in St. Louis, Santa Ana and San Francisco, California, and Arkansas, Larry and Judy now live in St. Louis. Rachel, who received a degree in psychology from St. Louis University in 1988, now works in New Jersey for Project U.S.E. as a wilderness instructor. Paul received a B.S. degree in communication disorders from St. Louis University in 1990 and, in 1993, a masters degree in speech and hearing sciences from Indiana University. He now lives in St. Louis where he, at the time of this writing, is seeking a job. Charles graduated from St. Louis University in 1989 with a B.A. in English literature and from Babson College in 1993 with a masters in business administration. He now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he works as a customer service representative for Jefferson Smurfit Corporation.
John and Larry's younger sister Mary Sharon Bradford (Sharon to us), was born in Benton, Missouri, on February 17, 1941. Sharon graduated from Louisville, Kentucky's Ursuline College in 1962. Sharon married Jerry Allen Klein (born January 10, 1937, in Chillocothe, Missouri) on April 15, 1967, at United Hebrew Temple in St. Louis, Missouri (the oldest hebrew congregation west of the Mississippi River). A graduate of Washington University, Jerry is a self-employed attorney in Clayton, Missouri. Sharon is a real estate sales associate for Caldwell Banker in LaDue, Missouri. Jerry and Sharon have two children: Suzanne Deborah Klein (born in St. Louis on August 19, 1968) and Jordan Michael Klein (born in St. Louis on September 7, 1971). Suzanne received a degree in communications from the University of Kansas in 1992. She is employed as an advertising representative at Fort Bonne College in St. Louis. Jordan attends college at Georgetown University and hopes to acquire a B.S.B.A. degree in international business and marketing in 1994.
Buck and Nina's youngest child, Sarah Ann Bradford (born on July 19, 1950, in Cairo, Illinois) graduated from Boyle County High School in Kentucky in 1968. Sarah received a degree in social work from Eastern Kentucky University in 1972 and a master's degree in public affairs and administration from Kentucky State University in 1985. Since 1972, Sarah has worked as a social worker for the Kentucky Department of Social Services and has worked at several locations including Lexington's Florence Crittendon Home and, most recently, in Frankfort, Kentucky. Sarah married Eura Smith Jr. (born in Georgetown, Kentucky, on February 11, 1946) in Great Crossings, Kentucky, on September 2, 1987. Eura, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Eastern Kentucky University in 1969, a masters degree in counseling psychology from Eastern Kentucky University in 1975 and a masters degree in social work from the University of Kentucky in 1987, was licensed as a clinical social worker in 1989 and works as a psychotherapist for Comprehensive Care Center in Lexington. Sarah and Eura live in Sadieville, Kentucky, in a log cabin that is over 170 years old. One of the family's genealogists, Sarah's help and inspiration was indispensable to the writing of this book. Hence, it is fitting that it ends with a description of her.
A life which is not examined is not worth living.
Originally, I also wanted to make my family sound really important. Eventually, however, I decided that the true value was in telling the truth about what I found in unedited, undiluted form so that those ancestors could speak for themselves. The reader, I concluded, should know them as they were, not as I might want them to have been. Regardless, I think those ancestors can stand on their own without any assistance from me -- an eleventh generation upstart.
Now that it is completed, I hope that you enjoy the book and any messages it has for you. I am sure that it has an unavoidable share of historical errors, and for those I apologize. Those involved in genealogy know that it is not an exact science. Nevertheless, I endeavored to do my best. Perhaps someone will someday update and further the work I have begun. Perhaps that person will be me.
By the way, I mentioned at the beginning of this book that I began my Bradford family research in an attempt to find out where I came from as a possible avenue to learn where I should be going with my life. In retrospect, I am not sure what I learned in the process. Certainly I have a greater appreciation of things I hitherto took for granted. Somewhere along the way, however, I think that I picked up something more. I think I learned -- perhaps only better learned -- something I probably always knew: life is whatever you make of it. Richard I, for example, may have fretted over what life held for him -- but it did not keep him from meeting his date with destiny at the English wharf where he boarded the ship that brought him to America 340 years ago. Philemon's second thoughts about selling his portion of the family's Virginia homestead to explore North Carolina almost a hundred years later -- if he had them -- did not keep him from making that move. Similarly, John II boldly left the only home he, his father and his father's father had ever known when he moved to Kentucky 150 years ago. They and their wives, like many before them and many after them, lived life the way they thought best. Moreover, they apparently did just fine.
By and large, all those ancient ancestors left to the descendants of Richard I was a name and a heritage -- a truly American heritage. For that inheritance we are all the richer.
Some 1993 Family Additions