Henry BRADFORD Family

Submitted by Peggy Bone Colella

©1998; updated October 1999

I am submitting this family mainly to try to correct some misinformation that has been published time and again over the years. It has been published that Henry Bradford married Elizabeth Fleming Payne b. 1769, daughter of Josias Payne of Goochland Co., VA, and widow of John Blakemore, Jr. THIS IS NOT CORRECT. According to the will of Mathew Payne, dated Sept. 1795, proved 8 Oct. 1806 in Sumner Co., TN, it was his daughter Elizabeth who married Henry Bradford. This agrees with a book on the Blakemore family, compiled by John A. Blakemore in 1963, which says Elizabeth Payne, the daughter of Mathew Payne of Chester Co., PA, married first John Blakemore, Jr., who was killed by Indians at or near Nashville prior to June 1782. She married second Henry Bradford. A court record found in Russell Co., VA, Book 3, p. 221, 29 Sept. 1802, states that proof has been given that Molly Baker (wife of Isaac Baker of Sumner Co., TN) was the only child of John Blakemore, Jr. The court records do not say what the proof was. In 1792, Davidson Co., TN, Court Minutes say Henry Bradford was appointed guardian to Molly Blakemore. While no marriage record has been found, I did find an unfinished autobiography (transcript included at the end of this file) written by George Bradford, son of Priestly Bradford, who was a son of Henry and Elizabeth Bradford. It says, "He (Henry Bradford) married Elizabeth Blakemore, in 1785, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Paine, a young widow with one child." This autobiography was handwritten on the blank pages of his grandfather's revenue record book.

Some of the following information comes from "ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS", by W. Henry Grant, published, 1929. Henry C. Bradford was born 12 Mar. 1758 in Fauquier Co., VA. He was the grandson of John Bradford and his wife Mary, widow Kingcart, nee Marr. His parents were William Bradford and his wife Mary Morgan, daughter of Charles Morgan. William Bradford died about 1760. His will, dated 30 Sept. 1759, is found in Fauquier Co., VA, will book 1, pg. 8. Mary Morgan Bradford remarried 3 Feb. 1764 William Nash of Fauquier Co. Mary died in 1818 or 1819. On 12 Feb. 1770, with his mother's consent, Henry Bradford apprenticed himself for his minority to John Cook, a tailor. When the War of Independence broke out, he joined the Army. He was a member of Captain John Blockwell's Company, Third Virginia Regiment commanded by Col. Thomas Marshall. On the Company Muster roll for 1777, he was reported as absent and wounded and was discharged as Sergeant Dec. 23, 1777. Henry was granted land warrants for services in the Army and in the fall of 1784, he started out for the Cumberland Country. He was attacked by Indians at Hazelpatch, KY. John Carr was in the party and wrote about the attack in his book, "EARLY TIMES IN MIDDLE TENNESSEE."

By 1794, Henry Bradford paid taxes in Sumner Co., having settled on Drake's Creek, about 15 miles east of Nashville, TN. One of his first duties, when arriving in the part of Tennessee which is now Sumner County, was to help build a stockade. He then sent back to Virginia to borrow slaves from his step-father, William Nash. The slaves made brick with which to build the Bradford house. The house had a huge native rock foundation and large basement and the brick walls were two feet thick. Henry Bradford acquired much land in Sumner County and Rutherford and Wilson Counties.

Henry Bradford was Revenue Collector for the Ohio Territory under Presidents Adams and Jefferson, 1796-1802. In a large, hand-made, leather bound book, he listed all of the County Distilleries employed in distilling Spirits from domestic materials. Columns in the book give names of persons owning a still, the capacity, yearly duty at 54 cents per gallon, monthly duties at 10 cents per gallon, number of gallons, when paid and total amount of duties for the year. Among those mentioned are Thomas Craighead, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Talbot, James Whitsitt and Isaac Bledsoe.

Henry Bradford was given the title of Major during the Indian Wars. He traveled to Wautauga, with others, in 1791 to make a treaty with the Indians.

Henry Bradford died July 1815 at age 57. He was buried in the family cemetery near what is now Hendersonville. His grave was marked on 30 Sept. 1973 by the French Lick Chapter of the DAR. elizabeth Payne Bradford is said to also be buried in the family cemetery but no stone has ever been found for her. She apparently died after her husband, as she is mentioned in his will.

Children of Henry and Elizabeth Bradford:

  1. Larkin Bradford b. between 1786-1788 d. 8 Nov. 1813 at the Battle of Talladega, Talladega, AL, from a tomahawk buried in his brain. He was a Lieutenant under Jackson and Carroll during the Creek and Indian Wars.
  2. Ira Bradford b. 1789 Hendersonville, TN, d. 1831 Natchez, MS m. 20 Aug. 1813 Elizabeth Richardson Sampson, a native of Goochland Co., VA. They moved to Mississippi and had a large family.
  3. Henry C. Bradford m. 18 Sept. 1817 in Nashville, TN, Martha P. Turner. Henry was a doctor and served as a Surgeon in the War of 1812. He and his wife moved to Arkansas.
  4. Priestly Bradford b. 7 Feb. 1795 d. 7 May 1854 Hendersonville, TN, buried in the family cemetery, m. 11 Sept. 1817 Elizabeth Jouette b. 26 Mar. 1799 d. 14 Dec. 1853, buried next to her husband. Elizabeth was from Overton County.
    1. Martha Bradford b. 8 Mar. 1823 d. 9 Aug. 1865, buried in the family cemetery, next to her husband. m. Phillip Shute b. 27 July 1787 d. 28 Oct. 1862
    2. George Grant Bradford b. 4 Mar. 1825 d. 20 Dec. 1866
    3. Norman Bradford b. 4 Mar. 1826 d. 11 Apr. 1854
    4. Thomas P. Bradford - probably died young
    5. Mary Sophia Bradford b. July 1827 d. Aug. 1872, buried in the family cemetery, next to her husband. m. Stephen G. Willis d. 18 Mar. 1861, age 61 years, 7 mos. 4 days
    6. John P. Bradford
    7. Cecelia Bradford b. 27 Oct. 1830 d. Aug. 1848, buried in the family cemetery.
    8. Jane Bradford b. 14 Mar. 1833 d. 18 June 1859, buried in the family cemetery. m. Ed Darlington
    9. Sarah Bradford b. 26 Mar. 1835 d. 4 Dec. ? - never married
  5. Cecelia M. Bradford b. 1792 d. 13 Sept. 1848, buried in the Old City Cemetery, Nashville, TN. She married William Carroll who became a Governor of the state of Tennessee. Their marriage bond is recorded 1 Sept. 1813 in Sumner Co., TN. Cecelia is the only one of the Bradford children to be married in the Bradford house. William Carroll owned a store on the square in Nashville, was a hero in the Battle of New Orleans, twice steering a boat down the Mississippi in dangerous waters after the earthquake of 1811.
  6. Sophia Bradford b. 1802 d. 1882 Pittsburgh, PA. Marriage bond between Sophia and George Grant issued Nov. 1819, solemnized 8 Nov. 1819 by T.B. Craighead. George Grant b. 1790 d. 1849 Pittsburgh, PA. He was the son of Moses Grant, a fifth generation American.
  7. William Bradford - served in the War of 1812. Will proved Aug. 1831 in Sumner Co., TN. m. Nancy Smith of Kentucky. I found a Sumner Co. marriage for William Bradford and a Nancy Boyles, 26 Mar. 1812?

From the files of the SUMNER COUNTY ARCHIVES, Gallatin, TN, "Bradford Collection, MSC 93-4, Box 27". Following is a transcript of an unfinished autobiography written by George Bradford, son of Priestly Bradford. It was written on the blank pages of his grandfather's revenue collection book.

To preserve the memory of past events; the recollections of persons, and to record passing transactions, and more particularly to amuse myself, I am induced to write my autobiography:
I was born in Sumner County, Tennessee, on the eighth day of February 1825. I have no informations of my father's family beyond my grandfather. His name was Henry, and the tradition is, that he was a soldier of the revolution; but if so, he was quite young, for he died in 1815 at the age of 57 years. He emigrated very early to Tennessee, in the fall of 1784, and settled in Sumner County. I suppose the first land he owned was the farm upon which I was born. He married Elizabeth Blakemore, in 1785, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Paine, a young widow with one child. From this marriage came four sons, Larkin, who, as Lieutenant of a company, was killed at the battle of Talledega. He was very popular, and died bravely, facing the savages boldly, who advanced and burried (sic) their tomahawks in his brain: Ira, who married a Miss Sampson, and died in Mississippi in 1830 or 31 leaving a large family: Henry, a doctor, who married a Miss Turner. He died at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, leaving children, and my father, Priestly, who was next to the youngest child. There were also two daughters, Cecelia who married General William Carroll. She died in 1848 leaving three sons. And Sophia, who married George Grant, of Pittsburg, and who is still living in that city--the only surviving child of my grandfather.

I know but little of my grandfather. It is recorded of him that he was a man of courage and daring and humanity. The tradition is that he was thick set, well made and handsome; somewhat aristocratic in his manners, a good judge of men, and very preemptory. The pages of accounts in the back of this book, kept by him in his capacity of Federal officer, in the business mentioned therein, attest that he was a man of fine business ability and had the confidence of both Adams and Jefferson.

Further evidence of this is found in the fact, that commencing poor, he accumulated a handsome estate, which he divided, by will, equally between his children, giving to each of them a tract of land, several slaves and other personal property. The homestead tract, containing six, or more, hundred acres, the place at which he first settled, and upon which he died, and now lies buried, and upon which I was born, as I have before related, he divided equally between his two youngest children--my father and Mrs. Sophia Grant.

My father was born on the 7th day of Feb. 1796. From infancy he was silent and reserved, with acute and warm feelings, which as far as the exterior is concerned, he had almost under perfect control. In his demeanor he was exceedingly kind & in his intercourse with the world clever and obliging. With these qualities were mixed, however, a decision which admitted of but little debate, and a firmness which knew of no wavering. He was strictly just in all his dealings and very hospitable. The prominent trait in his character was a hatred of arrogance, tyranny and oppression. In his youth he was fond of the army, in which his courage at a very early age was put to the se____t test when Genl. Jackson, in the distress in which he was left by the sudden desertion of Militia, called for sixty day volunteers, my father, in his eagerness to be upon the scene of action, in company with Mr. Sampson, mounted his horse and repaired to headquarters, in advance of the troops. There he was placed in the company of Capt. George Elliott of Sumner County, and was with the army in the alarming surprise at Emuckfau, and participated in that battle. He was with that portion of the troops who had crossed the creek, when the Indians made their attack. On the first alarm that portion of the troops were ordered to dismount & for each man take to a tree. My father did so, and having fired his gun from behind a tree at an exposed Indian, and was proceeding to load his gun, when looking back he saw himself along---the advance having retired beyond the creek. He immediately hastened to join them, and in the midst of the creek met Genl. Carroll who was hastening over to repair the confusion in the advance. He served out the campaign in Capt. Elliott's Co. and was honorably discharged at its termination. This short assay at arms completely cured him of his love of the army. The strictness and despotic character of military rule completely disgusted his democratic disposition, and he was ever after the political foe of armies and military chieftans (sic). His staunch whiggims, however, permitted him in 1840 to give Genl. Harrison, and to Genl Scott, in 1852, a cheerful vote. He married on the day of 1817, Elizabeth Jouette, the daughter of a substantial farmer of French descent, then living in Overton County. By this marriage was born ten children--a goodly number who all lived to be grown. Their names, in the order of their birth, are, Norman, Thomas P., Martha, Elizabeth, George G.--the writer of this account, Mary S. John J., Celia, Jane, Sarah and Wm H. If I do not dispose of these, my brothers and sisters, in the course of this history, the reader, if it ever finds one curious in the best of all history--the records of individuals--will know that such were the sons and daughters of Priestly Bradford and Elizabeth Jouette, his wife.

From birth to the first great epoch in life--in other words from my earliest recollection to that great event, the beginning of school life--1825 (several words crossed out here) Of this period I am unable to say much. I remember myself a curious and busy child full of antics, ________ and, possibly, quaintness. I pretty distinctly remember of having an invincible curiosity, and a thirst of knowledge that must have been singular. I saw nothing and heard nothing but that I made the inquiry what it was, whence it came, and why it was. These questions were not always propounded to others, but they at once fastened themselves upon the infant mind and were kept and revalued until some satisfactory solution was obtained. This character of mind was accompanied by another which is not common to children--the habit of close observation. Nothing escaped my observation, and when once noted, was attributed to some motion or to some action. These mental characteristics have continued with me to this day. But I was a troublesome and mischievous child--doubtless often paining my mother, and disobeying her. She was a good mother. Her care of, and attention to, her children were sleepless and untiring. I know not at what age I started to school, nor do I remember anything of the tedious process of acquiring my letters, or learning to spell. But I remember (the top line of the next page was cut off in the copying) Beverly E. Coats. I know not from what cause, to a size not exceeding early boyhood, and were wholly useless for every purpose. His body other hand was of a size equalling that of a powerful man, and in it and in his arms he had great strength. His locomotion was performed by throwing one of his little legs across the other, placing the supporting limb straight before him and then supporting himself upon both his hands on the floor or ground propel himself forward. He walked on his hands. He knew nothing except "according to rule", and had no incentive to study among his pupils except the fear of long beech switches coming down on the idle and the dull, driven by his nervous arm. ____ I passed rapidly through spelling & reading and was soon put to Latin. I do not know how far I was carried in that study, but probably not farther than Historae Sacrae--probably into Vivi Romoe. His system of teaching was old-fashioned--he was man of the long past. Modern improvements had not penetrated into Sumner County. From him I learned to read well, because, as I have since supposed, I couldn't help it, and to spell correctly. Under his severe discipline too, I committed to memory many rules in Arithmetic and Grammar, about which, though I could repeat them glibly, I knew as much as a parrot would, yet which stood me in good ____ long after under other systems, and the awakened power to reason. His errors however were not his own, but those who taught him--he gave back again what he had received. I owe him a debt of gratitude. He is an honest, upright and good many. May he long live to enjoy that competency which many years of honest toil enabled him to gather together and invest in the neyhbourhood(sic) of the home of his childhood.

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