Monday, October 15, 2012

More Evidence for County Armagh?

County Armagh
(photo courtesy of

As in the previous post, we are still examining clues as to exactly where our Bradford’s came from in Northern Ireland. Though the Bradford DNA study makes it clear that the family has its origins in Scotland, I am certain they were moved to Ireland to become farmers on the Ulster Plantations. There are very few records about the common people from this era, so we will really have to dig deep to find any clues. And while we are quite certain that the Miller’s were from the Lifford area of County Donegal, but there is no indication that the Bradford’s were from that area.

In the last post, County Armagh was suggested as a possibility for the Bradford’s home in Ireland. Following is a little more evidence:

We do know that Samuel Bradford (Rebecca’s father) and his brother James came from Northern Ireland (search previous posts for “James Bradford”), and that it was a common practice to immigrate with other families, friends and religious leaders. From the two paragraphs below, we see that Samuel’s brother, James Bradford, was associated here in America with a Reverend James Finley, and the good reverend was from County Armagh. While this isn’t proof that Samuel and James Bradford were from there, that possibility certainly bears more research.

“Another noted pioneer in the western advance of Presbyterianism was James Finley, who was born in County ArmaghIreland, in February, 1725, but was educated in America under Samuel Blair at the Flagg's Manor school. He was licensed by New Castle Presbytery and in 1752 was ordained pastor of East Nottingham ChurchCecil County, Md. In addition to pastoral work he engaged in teaching. As lands in the West became open for occupation emigration among Finley's people began on so large a scale that he joined the movement. He crossed the mountains in 1765 and again in 1767. Thirty-four heads of families belonging to Finley's congregation settled in Western Pennsylvania, and the emigrants included three of Finley's sons. He asked for a demission from his charge, that he might follow them, but the congregation was loath to give him up, and the Presbytery refused his application. He appealed to the Synod which dissolved the pastoral relation, May 17, 1782. He was called to Rehoboth and Round Hill, both in the Forks of the Youghiogheny, in the fall of 1784. He was commissioned by the State Government both as Justice of the Peace and as Judge of the Common Pleas. He retained his Youghiogheny charge until his death, January 6, 1795.” (

“Rev. Finley first visited Western PA in 1765 and in 1783 he brought his family. In those intervening years as many as 34 families connected with his congregation came to Western PA. They had hoped to settle in a cluster but ended up somewhat scattered. Among them were and James Bradford of Chartiers; Henry Graham, Robert Barr, James and Samuel Fleming of Cross Creek; John Wright, Robert Moore and John Powers of Rehobath; John Allen and Samuel Finley of Laurel Hill.” (From Old Redstone published in 1854 (page 287). 

County Armagh, Northern Ireland

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