Captain Stuart V. Bradley & His Movie Camera in World War II

More World War II movies at “Film Clips” page.



My father, Stuart Van Leer Bradley (1916 to 2004), served in the Army Corps of Engineers in World War II and he took his movie camera along. This video is a clip mostly from England when his regiment, the 95th Engineer General Service Regiment, was building tent camps to prepare for the D-Day invasion of France. They built these camps in both Wales and England. Stuart was a Captain and one of the white officers of this black regiment. There is some very interesting footage of the men; cooking, marching, and playing games out in a field.

One purpose of these movies was to reassure my mother back in Duluth, Minnesota that he was fine. This is why you see my dad at the beginning of the clip showing how he washes his face. He mailed these 8mm movies home, my mother had them developed, and kept them in a box with dad’s letters home. She did not have a movie projector so ironically she wasn’t able to see them.

At the age of 14, I discovered these letters and movies in the attic of our home in Pittsburgh. They included about 40 small rolls of film and over 600 letters. My friend let me borrow his film editing machine and I did my best to follow the development dates on the film rolls to splice these small rolls together. I ended up with three, seven inch reels, approximately 5 hours worth of film that my parents had never seen. About this time in 1969 my brother Mark was serving in Korea as an MP and purchased a projector and a film camera in Japan for my parents as a Christmas gift. So finally, almost 30 years after he made these films we got to see what my dad had filmed.

Much of the footage was taken out of a train window first in the US as his regiment was sent across the country to build the pioneer road for the Alcan Highway in British Columbia, then in Wales and England in preparation for the invasion, then in France and finally in Germany. It was the job of the 95th Engineers to rebuild bombed out bridges in France and in Germany to help with troop movements.

A few years ago I had the movies converted to mini DV format and then imported them as iMovies onto my Macintosh computer. There are more movies available at the “Film Clips” page of this website. Most of them are out of chronological order so a scene from a train in Montana on the way to British Columbia is followed by target practice in England, then returned to Montana. I apologize for this, but currently I have no way to edit these film clips.

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Captain Stuart V. Bradley

The Nine Children of William & Lucy Ball Bradley: the Mystery of the name L.M.R.

William Bradley (1796 to 1858) and his wife Lucy Ball Bradley (1798 to 1872) had nine children, seven boys and two girls with seven born in Lee, Massachusetts and the last two in Wellington, Ohio. Lucy’s sister Amanda Ball married William’s brother Eli Bradley and they had seven children. The Ball sisters were two of eleven children of Captain Nathan Ball (1768 to 1856) and Fear Chadwick Ball (1778 to 1855) both of Lee, Massachusetts.

In other places I have discussed two of their sons, Henry Martin Bradley and Nathan Ball Bradley. Their youngest child was named L.M.R. Alonzo Bradley who was born in Ohio on November 5, 1843 and died at the age of 19 in Chicago on March 19, 1863. Try as I might over the years I have not been able to discover what the initials L.M.R. stand for. L.M.R. Alonzo’s brother Frederick E. Bradley named his son L.M.R. as well. He was born in Chicago on August 31, 1863, just 4 months after his uncle and namesake died.

Was L.M.R. some type of military rank since L.M.R. Alonzo died in 1863 during the Civil War at the age of 19? However, everywhere else in the Bradley Genealogy of 1898 Henry points out the Civil War service of any relative. He refers to the Civil War as the “War of the Rebellion”.

Could it be an abbreviation for a latin name, such as Lucius Maximus Rufus which would translate “light, greatest, red-haired”? Was it a place name? The L and M could stand for Lee, Massachusetts but what about the R? Maybe the answer lies back in the history of the Ball family. L.M.R. Bradley (the nephew) was the older brother of Kate Arnold Bradley Benton, the novelist.

Another possibility is that Nathan Ball Bradley named his two sons Elemar and Frederick after his brothers. The name Elemar was misspelled in the Genealogy as Elemer. Could it be the same name as L.M.R.? If you say the initials L.M.R. it comes out very close to Elemar and may account for the misspelling as Elemer. Why would Henry misspell the name of his brother Nathan’s oldest son?

I welcome your ideas and speculation as to what these initials meant. Oddly in the Cartes de Visite Photographs album there are three photographs identified as being of Elemar Bradley (born 1858), son of Nathan Ball Bradley, the first has him dressed as a girl, the second dressed as a boy, and the third when he is older.

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The Importance of a Lake Place: In the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes

Growing up in Duluth, Minnesota in the 1950’s I was certain of three things: most people had blond hair, I was the only person that couldn’t skate, and every family had a cabin on a lake somewhere.

As to the first; northern Minnesota, Wisconsin & Michigan attracted Scandinavian emigrants because of the similarity to their home country with the spring fed lakes, the birch trees and the long winters. As an adult I attended a Duluth wedding between a Johnson and a Johanson. I was teased in grade school because I was different, I had red hair.

As to the second; my grade school flooded the playground in the winter and we were expected to skate during recess. It was humiliating and I still can’t skate. The high schools all had hockey teams and the cheerleaders had to learn to do their cheers on ice.

As to the third; every family I knew had a lake place. My Uncle Jack and Aunt Ginny Williams had a very nice cabin on Gunflint Lake with Canada on the other side of the lake, my cousin John and his wife Jane Bradley had a cabin on Onion River. Aunt Ruth and her husband Milford Humphrey had a cabin on the border with the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area). I visited my great Aunt Lucile Bradley at her cabin in Minnesota.  There was also the summer place established by Henry Martin Bradley at Deerwood, Minnesota. It certainly seemed like all my parents friends had cabins and we would visit theirs or they would visit ours.

We used to visit our grandparents, Edward Cook and Kathryn Burris Bradley at their cabin in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin until we built our own cabin on Hart Lake on the Pike Lake Chain of lakes near Iron River, Wisconsin. The Spread Eagle cabin had a fire and then was sold after my grandparents moved to California.

The season was short, however, really just July and August for swimming in the lake. It took forever for the ice to go out. In Duluth one year there was snow in my backyard on May 12th when the trees finally began to bud. Some people had winterized cabins but we did not.

In the summer we lived at the cabin, my dad would drive an hour into Duluth to work and drive back for dinner. He always took a swim in the morning before work and another after work and before dinner. There was the startling sound of a big splash when he dove off the dock, more of a belly flop than a surface dive. We all had friends on the lakes and would spend our days waterskiing, canoeing and taking the boat to the grocery store two lakes over. It was a good life.

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Jean Bradley Hart Lake Painting
My sister Jean Bradley’s 1980 watercolor painting
of the boathouse and dock at Hart Lake, Wisconsin
click on picture to enlarge.

The 1886 “Portrait of an Unknown Man” by Alfred Boisseau: Is it Nathan Ball Bradley?

Patricia Moss of Fine Arts Investigations did research into the Bradley family history and concluded that this portrait must be of Nathan Ball Bradley (1831 to 1906). The portrait was found in Ilwaco, Washington and had been owned by Nathan’s grandson Harold Frederick Bradley. This painting is for sale.

Alfred Boisseau (1823 to 1901) was trained as a painter in France, then had a studio in New Orleans. Later he moved north and took photographs as well as painted portraits.

On the left is Nathan’s Mathew Brady photograph taken when he was a United States Congressman between 1873 and 1877. Next to it is the Boisseau portrait signed and dated to 1886. Below that is a close up of a photo of Nathan, from Cartes de Visite Photographs, taken sometime between 1890 and his death in 1906. Notice in the portrait the nose, the deep set eyes, the bushy eyebrows, the large earlobes, and the part in the hair.

What do you think, is this a portrait of Nathan Ball Bradley?

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Nathan closeup 1870sNBBradleyNathan Closeup

When First Cousins Marry: The Story of Kate A. Bradley & Frederick W. Bradley

Kate Arnold Bradley of Chicago (born 1867) married her first cousin Frederick W. Bradley (born 1860) on May 27, 1887 in Bay City, Michigan. Fred W. was the son of Nathan Ball Bradley and Kate was the daughter of Nathan’s brother Frederick E. Bradley. (see pages 24 to 26 of the Bradley Genealogy of 1898.) Michigan did not ban marriage between first cousins until 1904.

Their first child Marguerite was born in April 1888 but died within three weeks. Their second child, Harold Frederick Bradley was born July 10, 1890.

Sometime after that they divorced and Kate moved to New York City and became a successful novelist. She married Samuel Hart Benton on July 14, 1896 and wrote the popular novel “Geber: A Tale of the Reign of Harun Al Raschid, Khalif of Baghdad” as Kate A. Benton. However, the novel was not published until after her untimely death from acute tuberculosis in 1899.

Frederick also remarried.  He took his son Harold and moved to Oregon and Washington State where he was successful in the lumber business. Harold married Mary Blanchard Heron on April 4, 1917 according to the entry in a family bible in Ilwaco, Washington.

Fred W. Bradley donated land for a park in 1921 to be dedicated to his brother Elemar. The park overlooks the Columbia River on Route 30, twenty two miles east of Astoria, Oregon and is known as the Bradley Wayside. Here is a photograph of Kate A. Bradley and a picture postcard of the Park shortly after the drinking fountain memorial was installed.

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Kate3 Bradley Park Oregon

Family Portrait of 1891 & Henry Martin Bradley


By 1891 Henry Martin Bradley was a wealthy man and so he began to think of his legacy. He commanded his five children and their spouses and 15 grandchildren to travel to Chicago for a family photograph. He paid for the train tickets, the hotel rooms and the restaurants. His youngest, Adie May Bradley Norpell had to travel from Ohio with her husband and two young children. A large negative was made in a Chicago studio and he purchased enough 13 1/2 by 20 inch prints to be framed and delivered to his five children as well as himself.

Growing up this portrait was always hanging in our living room, first in Duluth and then in Pittsburgh, and it now hangs in our dining room in Alexandria, Virginia next to Henry Martin Bradley’s grandfather clock. At an early age I discovered that the portrait was stuffed in the back with newspapers from Chicago that were dated 1891.

I also was able to date the photograph since little Henry Gansevoort Bradley, second from left in the middle row, was born in 1890 and died in 1892 from choking on a peanut. Lucile May Bradley, the baby in the middle of the top row, was born in April of 1890, and Ralph Tenney Bradley, far left in top row, drowned at a Sunday School picnic in Duluth in August of 1892.

I knew two of the people in this photograph, Edward Cook Bradley, third boy from the right in the front row, was my grandfather who died when I was five years old, and his sister Lucile, the baby in the top row, who lived to be 92 years old and was able to tell me about her memories of her grandfather Henry Martin Bradley and her father Edward Luther Bradley.

Henry continued this legacy by preparing and privately printing the Bradley Genealogy in 1898 and his Autobiography in 1907.

Click on photo above to enlarge. See Moving with the Frontier for more information on the family members.

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Ruth Quayle Boone & the Carte de Visite Album of Photographs

I first became aware of my cousin Ruth Quayle Boone (1904 to 1998) and her husband Travis when as a teenager in Pittsburgh we received an enormous box of walnuts for Christmas.  The box was a four foot cube and so big we had to keep it in the garage.  In 1977 I had the opportunity to meet Ruth and Travis at their walnut farm in San Ramon, California, on the other side of the Bay from San Francisco.

Cousin Ruth was warm, extremely generous and a nonstop talker.  She indicated that Travis was “stone deaf” and couldn’t hear what we were saying.  After about two hours of stories she announced she had a present for me and left the room.  Travis startled us by correcting some of the details of the stories Ruth had just told us.  When she returned he winked at us and went silent again.  Cousin Ruth handed me a blue cloth album full of Cartes de Visite photographs.  She knew I was the family historian and said that the photos were mostly of Bradleys and so I should take care of it.  See the Downloads page or view or download it here: Cartes de Visite Photographs

Her stories were quite interesting but all the family history was a bit much for my girlfriend at the time.  Ruth told of us how much more rainfall they used to get when the walnut farm was producing in the 1930’s and how they couldn’t grow walnuts anymore.  She also showed us photos of their trips down the Pan-American Highway when it first opened and before there were any hotels.  I was able to visit Cousin Ruth just one more time in 1993.

Ruth was descended from Alice A. Bradley (1847 to 1918), the oldest daughter of Henry Martin and Mary Cook Bradley.  Alice married Guardis Edwards who fought in the 4th Michigan Cavalry in the Civil War and contracted a lung condition that brought about his death in 1878.  Their daughter Fannie Edwards (1875 to unknown) is the teenager in the top row, far right of the 1891 Portrait (see Photographs page).  It was her Carte de Visite photo album.  She married William Quayle and Ruth Quayle was born to them in 1904 in Duluth, Minnesota before the family relocated to Hollywood, California.  It was there that Ruth met Travis “Bud” Boone, a  relation of the famous  Daniel Boone.

Before Ruth died in 1998 she donated her 16 acre farmstead (out of the original 375 acre farm) to the City of San Ramon to be a Park called “Forest Home Farms” and dedicated to her late husband Travis.  It is there that school children can learn about walnut farming and processing, and tour their 22 room Dutch colonial home.

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Alice Bradley Edwards

Moving With the Frontier: The Bradley Family of America 1644 – 1918

Below is a link to the PDF version of my Senior Thesis at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Michigan for my BA in History in June of 1976.  It focuses on three Bradley ancestors by way of biographies with genealogical material included.  The first is William Bradley (1619 to 1691) who fought with Cromwell in the English Civil War and emigrated from Yorkshire, England to Connecticut in 1644.  He was a farmer and the first resident of North Haven, Connecticut.

The second biography is of Deacon Captain Jesse Bradley (1736 to 1812) who moved to western Massachusetts and fought in the American Revolution.  He was also the author of  “A Narrative of Two Excommunications Upon Jesse Bradley (for Conscience’s Sake) by the Congregational Church in Lee” telling of his punishment of social ostracism in the town of Lee, Massachusetts for his disagreement with the local minister.

The third biography is of my great, great grandfather Henry Martin Bradley (1824 to 1918) who moved to Ohio as a young boy and remembered the danger of wolves in his Autobiography written in 1907.  He then moved to Bay City, Michigan where he was the first street commissioner and his brother Nathan Ball Bradley was the first Mayor (and later Congressman for two terms).  They were both in the lumber business.  As an older man he moved to Duluth, Minnesota where he made his fortune in mining.  Besides his Autobiography he published the Genealogy of 1898.

Henry’s descendants benefited from his mineral interests which were passed down in the HM Bradley Trust, which paid for the printing of 500 copies of this family history pamphlet in 1977.   You can view or download this PDF from the Downloads page or by clicking here: Moving with the Frontier

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Henry Martin Bradley