Bradley, Joseph 3rd

From Helderberg Hilltowns of Albany County, NY


Joseph Bradley, 3rd was born April 10, 1771, the son of Joseph Bradley 2nd. (October 19th, 1746 -) and Martha Bates (July 19th, 1749 - ), daughter of Elias Bates. His siblings were:[1]

  • Isaac, born Sept. lo, 1769, died Sept., 1834, at Onondaga.
  • Daniel, born August, 1773, died —
  • Thankful, born August 25, 1775, died —
  • Sarah, born Sept. i, 1777, died Jan. 7, 1838, at Danbury.

Isaac married Sarah Williams, a daughter of Dr. John Williams, of Fairfield, who, when a boy, had been carried away captive by the Indians, and lived with them several years, learning many of their simple remedies for curing diseases, of which he made profitable use in his subsequent practice as a physician. Another daughter of his, a Mrs. Babcock, confided to me a specific remedy for curing cancer, the recipe for which was left to her by her father, and which has proved effectual in several cases. Isaac left Connecticut at the same time with his father, and after staying awhile at Bern, emigrated to Onondaga County, New York, where he spent the rest of his life; leaving behind him several sons, Elias, John and Orsemus ; another son, Joseph, having died unmarried.

Daniel married Poll Holmes, I think of Danbury. He also emigrated to Onondaga, after residing a short period in Bern ; and left one son, Abraham, who resided, the last that I heard of him, at Syracuse. Daniel lived to be very old. I heard of him as still living when he was past 90 years of age.

Thankful married Sherwood Fanton, of Danbury, I believe, and never left Connecticut.

Sarah married Daniel Holmes, of Danbury, and died there in 1838.



The other occasion was that of an attack of camp fever whilst serving in a detachment of New York volunteers called out in the war of 1812 to protect the northern frontier, and which rendezvoused at Sackett's Harbor.


My grandfather, Joseph Bradley, 3rd, born April 10, 1771, was put out by his father with Elnathan Williams, of Weston, Fairfield County, to learn the trade of tanning, and the manufacture of leather in all its forms, shoes, harness, saddles, bridles, etc., a trade which stood him in good stead when he removed to the recesses of the Helderberg mountains. Before leaving Connecticut, in 1794, he married Mary Wheeler, daughter of Calvin Wheeler, of the township of Fairfield, an Episcopalian by persuasion, and of a highly respectable character. Mrs. Schenck sends me a memorandum of a marriage recorded between Calvin Wheeler and Ruhamah Bradley, July 5, 1762. She was probably daughter of Daniel Bradley 2d, and born July 31, 1745; or of Peter Bradley, and born 1743. But she must have died soon after her marriage, because the wife of Calvin Wheeler, who became the mother of his children was Mary Thorp. I have a copy of their family record which is as follows :

Calvin Wheeler, born Jan. 1742; died March 17, 1831. Mary Thorp, born Aug. 21, 1745 ; died April 17, 1828.

My grandfather did not leave Connecticut until 1796, or 1797. He then removed to Glen's Falls, on the upper Hudson, in New York ; and after spending a short period there in the pursuit of his trade, he finally settled at Bern, on a portion of his father's homestead, where he continued to reside till his death. When his father became too old to manage his portion of the farm, my grandfather took charge of the whole, rendering the old people a comfortable support and maintenance for life; and removed to a house adjoining theirs. As before stated, much of my boyhood was spent at this old double-home. My grandfather was an industrious farmer. When he first removed to Bern, he utilized his trade so far as to erect a small tannery for the purpose of tanning leather for the use of the farm, and occasionally some for the neighbors ; but never allowed it to interfere with his farming operations. He was a man of strong, hardy constitution, honest and straightforward in his principles, utterly detesting every thing mean or under-handed, and regarded religion as a thing rather to be lived than to be professed. Although he rarely missed reading his Bible for an hour or so every Sun- day, I do not think I ever heard him speak a word on the subject of religion. That he kept in his own breast, and let it speak for itself in his dail}^ life. He also, like his father, died simply of old age. One pleasant day in May, 1854, he walked four miles over the mountain roads to make a visit to my father's home. Feeling a little tired, a thing which he would never admit before, he concluded to spend the night there. The next day he returned on foot, refusing to ride; but he had to sit down and rest two or three times by the way. When he got home he lay down on his bed, and refused to be disturbed, or to take any food, and in a day or two quietly breathed his last with perfect composure, and with all his faculties about him to the last. He had never been sick but twice in his life : once, when a young man, he was inoculated for the small pox, and formed one of a party made up to retire to a vacant building until the disease had spent its force. This, however, was rather a frolic than a fit of sickness. It was in accordance with the practice of those days, before vaccination was introduced. The other occasion was that of an attack of camp fever whilst serving in a detachment of New York volunteers called out in the war of 181 2 to protect the northern frontier, and which rendezvoused at Sackett's Harbor. Many of the troops had been taken with the disease and nearly all had died, whether of the fever, or of blood-letting, is hard to say : — Bleeding was the universal treatment of the day. My grandfather determined that if he was attacked he would die of the fever, if he had to die, rather than of phlebotomy ; and so announced in advance. He was finally taken down and became somewhat delirious, and the surgeon appeared with his lancet, and seized his arm ; but my grandfather retained enough consciousness to comprehend the situation, and with a strong effort, released himself, and aimed a blow at the doctor's head, which the latter fortunately dodged ; I say fortunately ; for a blow from my grand- father would have been no trivial matter. The doctor left his patient in disgust, and my grandfather got well. He often told me that he was very glad he missed the doctor's head, for in his then state of nervous excitement, he really believed that he would have killed him if he had struck him. As an evidence of his great strength, I have seen him playfully seize a strong and lusty young man, and hold him out at arm's length by the shoulder with one hand, and shake him till his teeth chattered, — whilst the victim, held as in a vice, could neither release himself nor make any resistance. He was very strongly and compactly built ; had a soft blue eye, and a pleasant, even gentle, expression of countenance. Unlike his father, he became gray at an early age, and in bis latter years, he had but a few thin locks of hair on his head. I was always a great favorite with him, and he would frequently seduce me away from my great-grandmother, to go out with him into the fields or woods, to which I was nothing loth. He has often, when I was but a little fellow, perhaps six or seven years of age, tied me on to the back of a horse, so that I could keep him company without being overcome with fatigue ; and nothing pleased me so much as when he would take me out into the "sap-bush," in maple sugar time, and keep me trudging about amongst the woods, or allow me to play about the wigwam near the large kettles where the sap was boiling; and as I grew larger, I could give a considerable help in my small way, by keeping up the fires, and filling up the kettles as the sap boiled away. But the greatest sport was to go with him on gunning excursions. He was an expert marksman, and many a load of game — mostly red and black squirrels — or vicious crows or a hawk, with now and then a partridge, have we brought home with us after a day's hard scouring of all the surrounding woods. Netting wild pigeons was another of our favorite pastimes. He knew by the manner of their flight whether they could be drawn down to the snare laid for them. I remember one morning he called me hastily to go with him, armed with his net and stool-pigeons (of which he always kept a stock) to a neighboring hill-side, sown I think with buck- wheat. Arrived at the point selected by him, we soon made our plant of net, and stool-pigeons and booth-house, and in less than half an hour took in at one haul more than 200 birds. They were all carried home alive, placed in an upper room and fed with corn, until taken out by a half dozen or dozen at a time and made into old fashioned country pot-pie. And the neighbors did not go without their proper share of the game.[1]

Marriage & Children

Before leaving Connecticut, in 1794, Joseph Bradley, 3rd married Mary Wheeler, the daughter of Calvin Wheeler (Jan. 1742 - March 17, 1831) and Mary Thorp (Aug. 21, 1745 - April 17, 1828). Their children were:[1]

  • Philo Bradley, (my father) born March 23, 1795.
  • Olive, born December 30, 1797 : married John Fisher.
  • Elam, born January 9, 1801.

My aunt Olive Fisher, (who was named after her great-grandmother, Olive Hubbell) removed from Bern with her husband to Lewis County, N. Y., (the Black River Countiy) in 1824. They had several sons and daughters, who are mostly settled in that region.

My uncle Elam, remained on the farm with my grandfather until after the latter's death. He let it slip out of his hands, however, and subsequently removed to Albany, where he died several years ago. He had one son, John, and two or three daughters, of whom I have lost sight. I believe John, the son, died unmarried. Thus the old place which had been the family home for seventy years, fell into the hands of strangers, and I have had no heart to visit it since.


Joseph Bradley III died May 23, 1854, at Bern. [1]


Additional Media

Bradley, Franklin G., is a grandson of

Philo Bradley, an early settler of Berne, Albany county, and a son of

Daniel G. Bradley, for many years deputy sheriff, and was born in Berne, December 28, 1849. Daniel G. came to Albany in 1857 and was long a prosperous merchant. He married Arvilla Nelson, and of their nine children seven sons are living.

With the exception of six years spent on a farm in Guilderland, Franklin G. Bradley has been engaged in the mercantile business since he reached the age of twenty. He established his present grocery and provision store on Beaver street in 1878 and in 1893 moved to No. 99 Hudson avenue. He is a member of Wadsworth Lodge No. 417, F. & A. M., Fort Orange Council. R. A., and American Lodge No. 32, L O. O. F. In 1868 he married Alice M., daughter of Hiram Gardner of Franklin, Va , who died in 1891, leaving three children: Daniel G., Jennie E. and Franklin G., jr. He married, second, in 1892, Mrs. Celia (Reed) Weidman of Summit, Schoharie county.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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