BRADDOCK, Joseph S.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, p 478
Rev. Joseph S. BRADDOCK, who is now the oldest living graduate of Washington & Jefferson College at Washington, PA, and who since 1865 has been the pastor of the Middle Creek Presbyterian church in Winnebago Township [Winnebago County, IL], was born in Greene County, PA, 17 Jun 1817, his parents being Francis and Anna (GRAY) BRADDOCK, both of whom were natives of PA. They were farming people and both passed away in PA more than a half century ago.
Rev. Joseph BRADDOCK was reared to farm life, early becoming familiar with the duties and labors of the fields as he assisted his father in the farm work. His early educational privileges were supplemented by a course in Washington College, now the Washington & Jefferson College at Washington, PA, from which he was graduated in the class of 1842. He is now the oldest living alumnist of that noted institution. Determining to devote his life to the work of the ministry, he became a student in the Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny, PA, and was licensed to preach in 1847, since which time he has been continuously connected with the active work of the ministry, never failing to preach a sermon on the Sabbath through all these years on account of illness, and his vacations have also been few. His first pastorate was in KY near Frankfort. He remained in that state for some time, and was also principal of a female seminary at Lebanon, KY, until the school was destroyed by fire by the noted rebel named MORGAN. This was because of Rev. BRADDOCK's allegiance to the Union, and after the destruction of his property he came to the north in 1865 and accepted his present pastorate at the Middle Creek Presbyterian church.
While in Lebanon, KY, Rev. BRADDOCK was married to Miss Ella EDMUNDS, who died in 1900, and their only son, William A., was killed in the Civil war. In his early political affiliation Mr. BRADDOCK was a Whig, and when the Republican party was formed to prevent the further extension of slavery he joined its ranks and have to it his support for a number of years, but is now a prohibitionist, that party embodying his views on the temperance question. His life however has been given almost entirely to the upbuilding of the church and the dissemination of Chrisitian principles. Toward the middle of the 19th century the adherents of Presbyterianism in this locality worshiped in the First Presbyterian church in Rockford, but were too far distant to attend services there regularly, and in Apr 1855 application was made to the presbytery of Chicago for the organization of a church in this neighborhood. The request was granted and the church was formed with 16 members, services being held in a stone schoolhouse. In the spring of 1856 Rev. W. P. CARSON became pastor, combining the work of teaching and preaching and remained at the head of the church for a number of years. In the summer of 1856, after worshiping for five years in the stone schoolhouse and Grout church alternately, arrangements were made for the building of a house of worship, and on 10 May 1861 the new church edifice was dedicated. In Sep of that year Rev. CARSON resigned and was succeeded by Rev. M. B. PATTERSON, and in Oct 1862 M. J. L. MERRITT was called to the pastorate. He was succeeded in Dec 1865 by Rev. J. S. BRADDOCK, who has now for 40 years been pastor here, and his labors have been attended with success, which is manifest in the growth of the church, its spiritual development, and its activity in its various lines of Christian labor. Rev. BRADDOCK has the unqualified respect and goodwill of all throughout the community whether of his own or other denominations, and has the warm love of his parishioners, as is indicated by the fact that he has remained here as pastor through four decades.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.