Bradley, Joseph 2nd

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY


Joseph Bradley, 2nd, was born October 19th, 1746, and baptized the following February, at Greenfield Church, the son of Joseph Bradley 1st and Olive Hubbell. His siblings were:[1]

  • Thaddeus, May 25, 1727; (died young)
  • Onesimus, July 17, 1730;
  • Eunice, Jan. 2, 1732; [1732-3] (died young)
  • Ruth, Feb. 24, 1734; [1734-5]
  • Martha, Sept. 2, 1737
  • Nathan, July 20, 1740
  • Isaac, Jan. 15, 1738; [mistake for 1743-4] (died young)
  • Benjamin, April i, 1749.

As before stated, it is probable that Thaddeus, Eunice and Isaac died young, as they are not mentioned in their father's will, and I do not remember to have heard my great-grandfather speak of them.

Onesimus is registered in the Fairfield Record of Marriages and Births, as follows : "Onesimus Bradley (son of Joseph Bradley), and Emitt Cable were married August 1, 1754. Children born — Asa, June 26, 1756. I learned from my grandfather, or great-grandfather, that Onesimus had two sons, Asa and Thaddeus ; and that he emigrated with his family, soon after the Revolutionary War, to Delaware County, New York, and, afterwards, to a more Western part of that State. I have never heard more of the family.

Ruth married Thomas Treadwell, and was long respected in Weston as a most estimable and excellent woman, not-withstanding an indiscretion in early life. At Westport in 1851, I heard her spoken of in the highest terms by an old gentleman called Squire Nichols, who had known her well when he was a young man. Perhaps the one weakness of her life, had a redeeming effect on her character. She lived to extreme old age.

Martha married Nehemiah Cable — "Miah Cable" — the hero of many a story told on Winter evenings by my great-grandfather of his early days.

Nathan settled at Saugatuck (Westport) and had three sons, Nathan, Stephen and Abel, the eldest of whom died without issue, and the others resided at Saugatuck for many years. Whether their descendants are there still, I do not know. I get these facts principally from the relation of my grandfather in 1851, on the occasion of our visit to Weston mentioned below ; though they were often alluded to in family conversations during all my boyhood.

Benjamin, the youngest, joined the British side in the Revolutionary War, entered into their service, and lost his life in some engagement. He had one son, Gould, or Gold, Bradley, who after the war became a man of wealth and prominence in or near Weston. I always heard that he had a son Burr, who became in after years, owner of his great-grand-father's old place.



Her husband, Joseph Bradley, 2nd, was out with the gatherings of militia which were being collected for the purpose of annoying the British expedition.[1]

Served at Peekskill, New York, Oct. 13, 1777
Served at burning of Redding and Compo
Capt. Dimon's Co. of Fairfiled in Ma 1778
General Silliman, Col. Whiting, Lt. Col. Dimon, Maj. Elijah Ahel, Capt. Ebenezer Hill, Lt. Lewis Goddsell
(Record of Conn. men in American Rev p.p. 514 to 517

The Vermont Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution Application for Membership - Descendent of Joseph Bradley, 2nd. - Page 3


My great-grandfather, Joseph Bradley 2d, lived until my time. I spent a considerable portion of my boyhood with him and his wife at Berne, in the County of Albany, New York. They had given up their farm to their son, my grandfather; but continued to live in their own house, having reserved a support for the remainder of their lives. Being alone, it was their great delight to have a child with them, who could make it cheerful by his prattle, and sometimes do errands and light chores. I being their oldest great-grandchild, they claimed the right to have me domesticated with them ; and though my mother often demurred, they generally succeeded in their wishes until I got to be old enough to be of service to my father; and, even then, I often spent my winters with them, going to school during the day. Those were, indeed, happy times. My great-grandmother always had some delicacy in her pantry, which exactly suited my taste; and, then, those delicious hours which were spent in hearing them tell stories of the olden time — when they were young! Stories of the old French and Indian war, of the exploits of Gen. Putnam — " Old Put " — as my great-grand- father often called him : Stories of the Revolutionary war, and of domestic life ; the wonderful feats of strength, or agility, of "Miah Cable," and "Siah Cable," and "Elnathan Williams," and many others whose names I have forgotten. One incident related by my great-grandmother was this : In 1777, when the English burnt Reading and Danbury, upon their landing at Campo, the alarm was carried through the country by men on horseback, and my great-grandmother living on the road by which the "Regulars" would be likely to come, started across the fields with her little family, then consisting of four children, in order to be out of their way. She had not proceeded far, before she found herself enveloped in the very ranks of the "red-coats." The officers, however, made a way for her to pass on, and she escaped with nothing more than a little fright. Her husband was out with the gatherings of militia which were being collected for the purpose of annoying the British expedition.

My great-grandfather left Connecticut in 1791, and settled on a quarter section of land in Van Rensselaer's Patent, in in the town of Bern and County of Albany, attracted by the advertisements put forth by Mr. Stephen Van Rensselaer after getting possession of his estate. The lands were represented as fertile and valuable, and nothing was charged for the purchase money of a hundred and sixty acre lot, which was regarded as sufficient for a farm. But, although a fee simple was given, it had the fatal condition of a perpetual annual rent — not to commence immediately — but only after the lapse of seven years after settlement. The rent, it is true, was not large, only 30 Dutch schepels, (pronounced skipples) (A schepel contained about 3 pecks. 30 schepels, therefore, were 22 bushels.) of wheat per annum, or its value on the first of January each year. The land was covered with heavy timber, for which there was no demand, and which had to be consumed by fire on the ground.

It took years, with great labor and toil, to clear off enough, and get it into an arable condition, to make a comfortable farm. The result, in the end, was that the rent was found to be a greater burden than the settlers could well bear; which, in long subsequent years, produced the discontents that resulted in the anti-rent war. But these troubles came after my great-grandfather's day. In his time, and when I was a lad, the farm, by much industry and economy, produced all the comforts that persons leading a plain farmer's life could desire. The family, in removing from Connecticut, took a sloop at Campo, on which they deposited all their household goods, and traversed the entire distance to Albany by water, occupying in the voyage many days. The worst part of the journey then commenced. It was the Spring of the year, and even the streets of Albany consisted of deep mud and clay which made them almost impassable, and the country roads were, if any thing, still worse; and when they reached the borders of the Helderberg Wilderness they were indeed in sad case. But they finally reached their destination, and put up a temporary shelter, and soon a log dwelling; and commenced to clear the land. The privations to which they were subject, however, can hardly be conceived of at the present day. Sometimes meal for family use had to be brought many miles on horseback, and seed and every thing needed had to be conveyed great distances along rough and dangerous paths in the woods.

It seems hardly credible, now, that such hardships were endured by the early settlers of a district so near to a city like Albany. But they had stout hearts, and they went through it all bravely, and brought out of the wilderness a smiling farm, crowned with plenty and pleasantness. As far back as I can remember, the fields were all well cultivated, and apple orchards and other fruit trees abounded. What we called the "old orchard" had sprung up from apple seeds planted by my great-grandmother herself. One of the trees, I remember, produced an early Summer sweet apple ; and the fruit of that tree the old lady always claimed the prerogative of having at her own disposal. I need not say that, when a boy, I largely profited by this whim of hers, being always one of her most favored beneficiaries. Of my great-grandfather, of course, I have a very vivid recollection. He was in his 67th year when I was born, and lived to his 82d. year. He was a tall, strongly built man, standing six feet in his stockings. He had black eyes, and a very sweet and kindly expression ; a full head of soft, silken black hair, in which were seen but a few silver threads to the day of his death. He had a small hand but strong limbs, and must, in his prime, have been a man of great physical power. In his old age, when I knew him, he made his garden his special care, and used to set me occasionally at weeding out his precious beds of vegetables. It was quite a large enclosure for a garden, and besides containing fruit trees, was surrounded by a thick hedge of current bushes. It was well stocked, I remember, with herbs of various kinds, catnip, sage, horehound, &c., bundles of which, in the proper season, were hung up in the garret to dry: and in some sunny spot, on the farm, he always raised a small crop of tobacco, to stand him in stead in the long winter season, in case his ordinary supply should happpen to fail. Decoctions of herbs were the only medicines used in the family. I never knew a doctor to be called in. Though deprived of the enjoyment of church privileges in the secluded section in which he lived, except from the occasional visits of methodist and baptist traveling preachers, my great-grandfather never forgot his presbyterian training. It was his regular practice on every Sunday, to spend a considerable time in reading the Sacred Scriptures, whilst his wife devoted herself to the perusal of her old Prayer Book. An old neighbor, by the name of Harris, who lived a lonely life a mile or more away, on a neighboring farm, used to drop in on Sundays, and have a long chat with my great-grandfather on religious subjects, generally staying to dinner. I remember this old man very well, and his singular pronunciation of Scripture Names — such as Phar-i-sees and Sadd-u-cces — and the deference he paid to my great-grandfather when the latter expounded some particular point of religious doctrine always from the stand-point of the Scriptures themselves.- — If ever a human being loved another as intensely as he loved his own mother, so I loved this old great-grandfather of mine — he was so good, so kind, so tender, and so just. He died on the 24th of January, 1828, in his 82d year, of sheer old age. More than once, sometimes in the cold winter season, I have gone to his grave alone, whilst yet a mere boy, and wept bitter tears for his loss. His wife survived him eight years, and died the 13th of March, 1836, in her 87th year; but much of this period I was obliged to be absent, and saw her but little, being in college at the time of her death. It was always a source of great joy, however, both to her and myself, when I could make arrangements to pay her a visit, which I always did at least once a year.[1]

Marriage & Children

Jospeh Bradley, 2nd married Martha Bates (July 19th, 1749 - ), daughter of Elias Bates. Their children were:



Additional Media


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Family notes respecting the Bradley family of Fairfield, and our descent therefrom : with notices of collateral ancestors on the female side for the use of my children (1894), Bradley, Joseph P., 1813-1892. cn; Bradley, Charles, 1857- ed, Newark, N.J., A. Pierson & Co., printers and book-binders