James Bradley




James Bradley

James Bradley was born about 1720 in Wales died in 1796 in Bourbon County, Kentucky.  He married Hanna Elizabeth Pelham who was born in England in about 1726 and died in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1788.

At some point, James and his wife moved from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and established a home just outside Charlotte.  During the Revolution, Charlotte was a site of encampment for both American and British armies.  Charlotte was also an ideological hotbed of revolutionary sentiment and James Bradley with unfailing loyalty supported the cause of Independence.  His wife, Elizabeth Pelham Bradley, turned their home into a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers.  In his autobiography, Rev. James Bradley Finley, their grandson, tells us:

"My maternal grandfather - Mr. James Bradley - was a native of Wales.  My grandmother was from England; she was a lady of rare endowments, thoroughly educated, being well-read in the ancient languages.  During the period of revolutionary strife and suffering she made herself acquainted with medical science, and opened a hospital for the sick and wounded soldiers, administering to their necessities with her own benevolent hand."

Elizabeth Pelham appears to have been quite a remarkable woman.  Later in his autobiography, James Finley describes her further:

"My parents and relatives were all Presbyterians, except my grandmother Bradley, who was a Whitefield Methodist, and had been converted to God in her early life by the ministry of that distinguished and eloquent man of God, Rev. George Whitefield.  She was a zealous and happy Christian.  Her experience was bright and clear on the subject of experimental religion, and differed from most of the professors, as also from the experience of her ministers.  This often brought on a controversy between her and her ministers and Christian friends.  She expressed, in clear and direct terms, her belief in the witness of the Spirit, and always bore testimony to the fact that she knew God had power on earth to forgive sins, because she felt in her own heart the pardoning love of God.  Such a profession was regarded by both preachers and people as presumptuous, if not, indeed, a species of fanaticism.  The doctrine then taught was, that forgiveness of sins could not be known till death or after death, and that it was necessary for us to commit some sin to prevent self-exaltation and vain confidence.  It was urged as impossible for man to know his sins forgiven, because the decrees of God concerning election were secret, and could not be revealed or made known till death, or after the soul passed into the spirit-world.  From all this she warmly dissented, affirming that she knew the time and place of her conversion, and that she had the witness of the divine Spirit bearing witness with her spirit that she was a child of God."

James and Elizabeth must have suffered greatly during the Revolution.  Besides loosing their property, all three of their sons died in service to their country.  Their son, Captain James Bradley, fell at the Battle of Camden.  Their son, John, was captured by the Tories at Charleston and died on board a prison ship.  And finally, their son, Francis, who is the subject of the next generation, was murdered Tory deserters.

Perhaps because of all of their losses, after the Revolution, James and Elizabeth joined their daughter, Rebecca and her husband, Robert Finley and migrated to Bourbon County, Kentucky where Elizabeth died in 1788 and James died in 1796.

Children of James Bradley and Hannah Elizabeth Pelham were:

1.  James Bradley is described as a “regular officer without troops from Halifax County, North Carolina”.  He fell at the Battle of Camden on 17 August 1780.  The Battle of Camden was a decisive battle for the British in the Southern theater of the Revolution.  British forces under Lord Cornwallis routed the American forces of General Horatio Gates which strengthened the British hold on the Carolinas.

2.  John Bradley died on a British prisoner ship in Charleston Harbor.  Conditions on the ships were deplorable.  Rations were short and having no fruit or fresh vegetables, scurvy was a common affliction of the prisoners. Yellow fever, smallpox and dysentery were also common.

3.  Francis Bradley was born in 1743 and was murdered 14 November 1780 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.  He married Abigail Alexander and is the subject of the next generation.

4.  Esther Bradley was born 08 August 1746 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and died 11 August 1815.  She married Isaac Price.

5.  Rebecca Bradley was born in 1752 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina and died 28 June 1821 in Highland, Ohio.  She married Robert Wilkes Finley in 1780.


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