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.

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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

Looking Back on 2015

This was the first year of the Bradley History blog.  There is a lot of content here with downloadable information, film clips, photographs and 17 blog posts.  A defect of the page format I chose is the fact that you have to scroll to the bottom of any page to get to the menu of other pages.  Those pages are from left to right:

Home – where the blog posts are listed

About – brief biographical information /

Downloads – “Moving With the Frontier” and other documents

Film Clips – movies from World War II etc.

Photographs – historic Bradley family photos

I hope you will take time to explore all the content that is available here.

Thank you & Happy New Year in 2016

In March, my wife Ellen and I will be celebrating 30 years of marriage.  We were married without our family near Loch Ness in Scotland at the beginning of a six month honeymoon trip through Europe and ending with visits to family in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Our European trip took us through Scotland, England, France, Italy, Greece (for ten weeks), the former Yugoslavia, Austria, Germany, France and England again.

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It is traditional in Scotland to be “piped out” of the church after a wedding.  We thank our friend Sir John Lister-Kaye OBE for making this possible and for generously hosting our wedding festivities at his Aigas Field Centre in Beauly Inverness-shire, Scotland.  Here is the church we were married in.


Mystery Solved: The Howk Family Lead the Bradleys to Wellington, Ohio

The Dutch family by the name of Howk, originally “Huyck” lived in Lee, Massachusetts at the same time as the Bradleys and were also farmers. The Howk family was originally from Kinderhook, New York where our 8th President, Martin Van Buren (Served 1837 to 1841) was born and raised speaking Dutch as his first language. I would also mention that Van Buren and Thomas Jefferson were our only Presidents with red hair.

Henry Martin Bradley’s uncle Josiah married Fiche Howk in Lee in 1815. Also his aunt Polly married David Howk in 1810. Josiah and Fiche Howk Bradley moved to Wellington, Lorain County, Ohio in 1818 with Fiche Howk’s family and were some of the first settlers there.

In Henry Martin Bradley’s Autobiography he speaks at length about his family moving to Wellington, Ohio in 1835 and the dangers and hardships that they faced there. The mystery that is solved is why his father William and mother Lucy chose Wellington, Ohio to move to from Lee, Massachusetts and the answer is that William’s brother and sister and the Howk family led the way there and encouraged them to make the move.

Credit for this information regarding the Howk family goes to Nicole Hayes and her excellent blog “19th Century Wellington” and the link can be found here:

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