New Family Stories from Cousins

In doing the Henry Martin Bradley Autobiography reprint and Kickstarter project I have been hearing from some cousins of mine.  Cece Menard Lane and her brother John Menard, 2nd cousins and grandchildren of Lucile Bradley Shepard, wrote me on Thanksgiving saying that they wanted to contribute to the reprint project with checks.  Cece then wrote me a letter saying that she is old enough to remember our great grandfather Edward Luther Bradley and his house at 2229 East 1st street in Duluth.  She said he played the card games “Slap Jack” and “War” for her.

My first cousins tell me that their father, Bruce Burris Bradley, proposed marriage to their mother, Ruth Atkins, in that same house.  I have also heard from 3rd cousin Press Norpell, widow of the former family trustee Tim Norpell.  She has the 1891 family portrait in her house just as I do.  I would love to hear where the other copies of the 13 1/2 by 20 inch, 1891 family portrait ended up.  She also confirmed that she still has one of the two original bound copies of the Autobiography of 1907.

Rumsey Young, also a 3rd cousin, came for a visit and told me the history of the Norpell family.  Carl Norpell who married Adie May Bradley was a lawyer in Ohio and his father emigrated from Germany.  His son Max was also a lawyer and researched and printed the Genealogy update of 1927.  Max’s sister Louise was Rumsey’s grandmother.  Max was the father of Tim who also was a lawyer.

Finally, I have been trying various items with Zazzle such as shirts and mugs using the carte de visite photograph of Henry Martin Bradley that was in the album given to me by my 3rd cousin Ruth Boone.  Her grandmother was Alice Bradley Edwards, the oldest child of Henry.  So I now offer the Henry Martin Bradley 15 ounce coffee mug at $18 postpaid.  All proceeds go to the Autobiography project.

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Autobiography Publication as a Kickstarter Project is Funded

The Kickstarter project is over and is funded at $1,053.00 which is 175% of our goal.  That means we can produce a quality book.  Thank you so much for your support!

We now have an editor!  My old and dear friend Nancy Growald Brooks has agreed to edit this book.  We are not deleting anything from Henry’s Autobiography but it is in need of more paragraph breaks.  I just transcribed a section where he went over 2 and one half pages without breaking for a new paragraph.  Nancy is retired from being an editor at the Smithsonian American History Museum and did exhibits and publications.  How perfect is that?

I have now transcribed the entire Autobiography and it comes to 51 solid pages of text in Word.  It has been edited by Nancy Brooks.  I am working on the Introduction and Afterword.

My daughter Maeve Sullivan Bradley, an art student at the University of Virginia, has agreed to illustrate the book during her winter break.  She will illustrate it with small pen and ink drawings that will break up the text and make the book more visually appealing.

The book will also contain carte de visite photographs of Henry, his mother, his brother Nathan and his five children and their spouses.

The proceeds of this Kickstarter crowdfunding project will ONLY be used for the actual printing cost of the book which will be issued under the Railway Station Press label with me as publisher.

If you wanted to contribute to the cost of reprinting the Autobiography but did not want to go through Kickstarter you can make your contribution payable to “Railway Station Press” care of Stuart Bradley, 105 East Glendale Ave, Alexandria, VA 22301.  You will also receive a copy of the Autobiography by May 2017 and my gratitude, of course.

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Henry Martin Bradley as a younger man in Bay City, Michigan

Autobiography of Henry Martin Bradley will be Published in 2017

After 110 years “A Brief Autobiography of Henry M. Bradley” will be published in 2017.  Only three copies of the original 96 page, small 1907 privately printed book are known to have survived.  The rest were destroyed by his son Edward Luther Bradley.  I believe that this small book would have appeal beyond his direct descendants and at the very least should be available in genealogical libraries and local historical societies in the places that Henry describes.

The Autobiography is an invaluable historical resource of early Ohio history in the 1830’s and 1840’s where Henry’s family was clearing the forest for farming and living with the danger of wolves and bears.  Henry then worked in the cloth industry.  He goes on to describe his lumber business and the rough and tumble politics in Bay City, Michigan in the 1860’s and 1870’s.

Later in life, he moved to Duluth, Minnesota and became wealthy from iron ore lands that he prospected in northern Minnesota.  It was this wealth that led him to have the 1891 Family Portrait taken, write and print the Genealogy of 1898, and write and print his Autobiography of 1907.  Henry died in 1918 at the age of 94.

I am in the process of retyping the Autobiography and will divide it into chapters, add an introduction and photographs, and lay it out in the computer program Adobe InDesign.  The result will be a PDF file that can be printed in a small press run.  It is my plan to purchase enough copies that I can be the principal distributor of the book under my press name Railway Station Press.  See the Items For Sale page at that website by clicking here.  Railway Station Press serves as the e-commerce site for this website.

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Here is the first page of the Autobiography scanned from an original copy owned by Melissa Rumsey Young.

3rd Cousins Interested in Genealogy

I have recently started corresponding by email with two 3rd cousins that coincidentally both live in Florida and both found this website.  Our common ancestors in both cases are our great great grandparents although in different parts of the family tree.

First is Rumsey Young whose great grandmother was Addie May Bradley Norpell, the youngest daughter of Henry Martin Bradley.  My great grandfather was Edward Luther Bradley, Addie May’s older brother.  Her grandmother Louise is sitting on her father, Carl Norpell’s, lap in the 1891 family portrait.  Louise married Paul Deady Meek and they gave birth to Rumsey’s mother Frances Warfield Meek (see photo) who married William Blue Young.

It just so happens that Rumsey Young inherited one of the two copies of Henry Martin Bradley’s Autobiography of 1907 and when she came to northern Virginia recently she let me see it. She has also done extensive family genealogy research through and the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) based in Boston.

My other newly discovered 3rd cousin is Doug Price whose mutual great great grandfather is Samuel Parker Hoover.  This is all related to other blog posts as Samuel Parker Hoover was the son of John Hoover who fought in the War of 1812 and the brother of George Hoover that was killed in the Civil War at the Battle of Gaines Mill in Virginia.  Samuel was also the father of my great grandmother Fannie Hoover Burris.

Doug Price is doing a genealogical DNA project through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) and paid for me to have one of these tests done.

My new email address is

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Frances Meek (standing) with her sisters Marjorie and Emily

Bradley Generations in America

1st Generation:

William Bradley (c.1619 England – 1691)

arrived in New Haven, Conn. in 1637

married Alice Prichard Feb. 18, 1645

eight children

2nd Generation:

Abraham Bradley (1650 – 1718) 3rd child

married Ann Thompson Dec. 25, 1673

four children

3rd Generation:

Daniel Bradley (1679 – 1723) 2nd child

married Sarah Bassett Jan. 16, 1702

two children

4th Generation:

Daniel Bradley Jr. (1706 – 1773) 2nd child

married Abigail Punchard in 1727

six children

5th Generation:

Jesse Bradley (1736 – 1812) 4th child

who moved to Lee, Mass.

served as Captain in Revolutionary War

married Mamry Ives Jan. 19, 1758

eleven children

6th Generation:

Eli Bradley (1762 – 1832) 3rd child

married Phebe Bartholemew Jan. 9, 1783

nine children

7th Generation:

William Bradley (1796 – 1858) 7th child

married Lucy Ball Nov. 28, 1816

moved to Wellington, Ohio in 1835

nine children

8th Generation:

Henry Martin Bradley (1824 – 1918) 4th child

married Mary Elizabeth Cook Jan. 1, 1846

moved to Bay City, Michigan

eight children

Since this website primarily serves the descendants of Henry Martin Bradley I will stop there with the 8th generation.  I am the 12th generation of Bradleys in America tracing back to William Bradley and my children are the 13th generation.  So for me it would be:

9th Generation: Edward Luther Bradley m. Lucretia Ann Pringle / five children

10th Generation: Edward Cook Bradley m. Kathryn Stuart Burris / four children

11th Generation: Stuart Van Leer Bradley m. Janet Van Orden Williams / four children

12th Generation: Stuart Van Leer Bradley Jr. m. Ellen Christine Sammon / two children

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John Hoover fought in the War of 1812

As previously mentioned my great grandmother, Fannie Hoover Burris, was the original genealogist in the family and very active in the DAR.  Her grandfather was John Hoover who lived in the District of Columbia.  When he was 22 years old he fought in the War of 1812 at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland on August 24th, 1814.  This was the last battle in defense of Washington DC before the British took the City and burned the White House and Capitol buildings.

He was a private in the 1st Regiment of the DC Militia, serving under Captain John I. Stull’s Company of DC Riflemen.  The Stull position in the battle can be seen on the lower left side of the map below.  The dates of his service according to pension records were June 19, 1814 to July 1, 1814 and August 19, 1814 to October 8, 1814.

John Hoover was born November 10, 1791, married Sarah Meem about 1815 and they had ten children.  After his wife’s death in 1855 he married for a second time to Sarah Franklin.  They lived at 6 M Street North in Georgetown in 1864 and in 1871 they lived at 2527 M Street NW near Rock Creek. This may have actually been the same house but given different addresses by the City when houses were renumbered. The location is now occupied by an office building.

He died on October 7, 1878 leaving his war pension to his widow and he and his two wives are buried next to each other in Oak Hill Cemetery in DC.  The youngest of his children was George W. Hoover who enlisted in the Union Army right after college graduation and was wounded at the Battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia on July 27th, 1862 and died of his wounds on July 1st, 1862.

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Map from page 116 of the book “The Darkest Day, The Washington – Baltimore Campaign During the War of 1812” by Charles G. Muller from 1963.  See Captain Stull’s position in the lower left of the map where John Hoover fought.

I can now be contacted at:


The Henry Martin Bradley Autobiography of 1907 Revisited

The Autobiography Reprint is now a 30 day Kickstarter project ending on December 17th.

Henry Martin Bradley produced three family history documents that he distributed to the extended family.  The first was the family portrait taken in Chicago in 1891.  The second was a genealogy book printed in 1898, tracing the Bradley family back to Yorkshire, England in the 1640s.  And the third was his Autobiography that he had printed in 1907.  According to my great aunt Lucile her father, my great grandfather Edward Luther Bradley, collected as many copies of his father’s Autobiography as he could locate and burned them in a can in the driveway of his house mentioned in a previous post.  He almost succeeded in destroying this family document and I want to explore the possible reasons in this post.

Only two copies of the Autobiography of 1907 exist to my knowledge.  They both can be traced to Ohio where Henry’s youngest daughter Addie May lived with her husband Carl Norpell.  That put them out of the reach of Edward.  Lucile could only say that her father was embarrassed by the books.  I have quoted extensively from the Autobiography in “Moving with the Frontier” which is available to download below and speculated that it was the description of Henry’s illness and his conversation with Jesus who appeared at the foot of his bed that his son found embarrassing.

As I read the Autobiography again after these many years I am not so sure.  Henry has described the three major parts of his life, growing up in and near Wellington, Ohio, his lumber business in Bay City, Michigan and his later life in Duluth, Minnesota when he became rich.  When Henry was an old man he lived with his son Edward and Aunt Lucile who lived to be 92 told me of her memories of her grandfather.  He preached the evils of drink but had a bottle of brandy in his room which he called “medicine”.  He boasted of his generosity to the Methodist Church but railed against Catholics.

Henry was a staunch Republican and there is quite a long passage about Democratic politicians that he fought against particularly in Bay City.  He was involved in litigation with the Sheriff when he was the Street Commissioner.

Another possibility is a description in his Autobiography of what might be called a nervous breakdown.  His lumber business in Michigan got so demanding that he was unable to sleep at night and describes what sounds like a manic episode.  His solution was to sell the lumber business and go into a less demanding line of work.

So what was Edward embarrassed by?  There was the boasting of what could be called spiritual pride where Henry ends his book saying that Jesus rewarded him for a good life lived, or the very candid description of the up and downs of his life, or something else.  If it was not for his sister Adie May in Ohio he would very nearly have succeeded in destroying this interesting family document.

I think the Autobiography should be reprinted and made available to a larger audience who would appreciate the insights into early Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota history that it provides.

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Addie May Bradley Norpell with her grandchildren in Ohio.  Photo provided by Melissa Rumsey Young, Addie May Norpell’s great granddaughter.


William Henri Burris & the Burris Family

William Henri Burris was another great grandfather of mine.  His wife, my great grandmother, Frances “Fannie” McCurdy Hoover Burris wrote poetry, was active in the DAR, and is the source of most of the genealogical material that has come down to me.  She traced the Burris family back to her husband’s grandfather, Nathaniel Burris who was born on January 13, 1795.  On January 16, 1817 Nathaniel married Frances Dunton Goffigan at Bellevue on King’s Creek in Northampton County, Virginia.  They had ten children but only three survived beyond the age of four and lived to adulthood.

Their 8th child was William Southey Burris born February 25, 1830 and married Catharine H. Jarden on September 11, 1856 in Philadelphia.  They had five children, three of which died in infancy.  Their son William Henri Burris was born March 9, 1858 and married Frances McCurdy Hoover on January 14, 1886.  Their three children were Kathryn Stuart, William Wayne, and Frances Roberta who all survived to adulthood.

Kathryn Stuart Burris, my grandmother, was born October 22, 1886 at their home in Merchantville, New Jersey at 9 AM with Dr. Bartine officiating.  Her father worked as a financial secretary in Philadelphia.  Within a few years William Henri Burris was persuaded to move his family to Duluth, Minnesota and be the financial secretary for G.G. Hartley.  The Hartleys were loyalists during the Revolution and when the result did not go their way they moved to Canada.  Later they moved back to the US and became wealthy from lumber and mining.  I went to the same college and became good friends with Kate Hartley, G.G.’s great granddaughter and she has provided me with her family history.

Kathryn Stuart Burris Bradley lived to be 97 and she once said that it was good to see trees in Duluth as it was clear cut when she arrived as a girl.  She told me many stories but her favorite year was 1910, the year she was married to Edward Cook Bradley.  She was very accomplished on the piano and was supposed to travel to Vienna, Austria to study music but she fell and broke her arm and got married instead.

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William Henry Burris & Fannie

Frances “Fannie” Hoover Burris and William Henri Burris.  William died on March 8, 1943, the year after this photograph was taken.  Frances died November 19, 1949.

Great Grandparents Burris

Frances Hoover Burris, William Henri Burris and Kathryn Burris Bradley

Edward Luther Bradley’s 1904 Duluth House For Sale

Henry Martin Bradley’s son Edward (my great grandfather) owned the family lumber business and in 1905 he built a very beautiful home in Duluth, Minnesota at 2229 East 1st Street.  The house is now for sale and here are two photos from that real estate listing.  Unfortunately the real estate company has incorrectly listed it as being built by “Edwin” Bradley and have ignored my requests that they correct this mistake.  This is a link to the Zillow page.

My father told me stories of his visits to his grandfather’s house.  The grandchildren were expected to stay on the third floor to play. The 1853 Waterbury grandfather’s clock that Edward inherited from his father was in the front hallway.

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Edward L Bradley house 2229 E 1st St

Front Hall Where Clock Was

John Stone Bradley & His Two Brothers in the Civil War

Eli and Amanda Bradley of Lee, Massachusetts, first cousins of Henry Martin Bradley and Nathan Ball Bradley, had seven children.  Three of their sons were officers in the Civil War.

The oldest was Thomas Scott Bradley, born in 1825 who served as a Captain of a company of sharpshooters that he raised in and around New Lebanon, New York where he had been preaching as a pastor.  He “died in the service” at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1863 at the age of 38, leaving a wife and two sons.  This probably meant that he died from disease as so many soldiers did in the Civil War.

His brother Luther Bradley, born in 1838, also served as an officer in the Civil War.  He married Louise Glover and died in 1879.

The youngest brother was John Stone Bradley, born in 1842.  He is pictured below with his first wife Lucy Jane Sturges.  They had five children, only three of whom survived childhood. In 1862 he enlisted in the 37th Massachusetts Volunteers.  He served for three years and distinguished himself at the battles of Petersburg and Little Sailor’s Creek and was a Captain.  At Little Sailor’s Creek he received a wound in his thigh when he advanced to accept the surrender of a body of Confederate soldiers which had flown a white flag.

John Bradley lived in Lee, Massachusetts, Newark, Ohio and Portland, Oregon where he was in the lumber business.  After his first wife’s death he married his brother Luther’s widow, Louise Glover Bradley.  He lived to be 83 years old and died in 1925.

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M:M John Bradley