Friday, January 4, 2013



Thanks to for this beautiful picture of County Armagh

After studying about Red Lion [New Castle County, DE] Sam in the previous posts, let's get back to researching our other Samuel Bradford (Rebecca's father). For the sake of being clear on which Samuel we’re talking about, am going to call Rebecca's father “Elkton Sam” (as he and his family lived near the town of Elkton in Cecil County, Maryland). As mentioned before in this blog, there is more written about his brother, James Bradford1, than about Elkton Sam himself, as the entries below attest. That's okay... perhaps by studying the lives Sam and James, we will eventually be able to find information about their parents.

In the excerpt below, we actually learn about James' daughter, Mary, and her marriage to James Allison. Note that James Allison was born in Ireland, but no town is given. Did the Bradford's and Allison's know each other in ‘the old country”? Both families migrated to Maryland, though apparently at different times. However, Northern Irish neighbors moving “in waves” to the same region in America was common and there is a chance they were from the same village. Perhaps a more intense study of James Allison (and other closely connected with the Bradford’s – see below) will turn up exactly where in Ireland our Bradford’s were from.

"Mary Bradford , born about 1748 in Ireland, daughter of James Bradford and a sister to David Bradford who is well known in connection with the Whiskey Insurrection of 1791. Mary immigrated with her family from Ireland to Cecil Co. Maryland, later moving to Washington Co. Pennsylvania.2 She is buried in Chartiers Hill Presbyterian cemetery near Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

"Judge James Allison [her husband] was a prominent citizen in Washington Co. Pennsylvania. James [Allison] was born in Ireland about 1743. He immigrated to Maryland with his brothers and one sister. He married Mary Bradford [see above] and they moved to Chartiers Hill in Washington Co. Pennsylvania where they raised 8 children. James [Allison] along with Dr. McMillan and John McDowell [another Bradford in-law] established the Washington Academy later renamed Jefferson College. James was an associate Judge in Washington Co. He died July 24, 1820 and is buried in the Old Chartiers Hill Presbyterian Church cemetery near Canonsburg, PA. The 1882 History of Washington Co. by Crumrine has a biography." (Source:

Note that:
·         James was still living in Ireland in 1748 when his wife gave birth to their daughter, Mary. Sadly, no town name given.
·         James and his family immigrated to America, locating in Cecil County, Maryland, as did his brother, our Elkton Sam.
·         Later James and his family moved to Washington County, PA. The family of his brother, Elkton Sam, eventually moved west too, settling very near to brother James in neighboring Fayette County, PA.3
·         The Allison’s and McDowell’s (in-laws of our Bradford’s) also traveled this Northern Ireland–Elkton, MD–Washington Co, PA route.4 & 5

In the next excerpt, we learn more about James Bradford’s daughters, Jane and Mary, and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Gibson) via information about more of their in-laws: 

"R. V. JOHNSON FAMILY RECORD. John Johnston and his wife Elizabeth, of County Down, Northern Ireland, were Presbyterians of Scotch-Irish descent, and their children were: William, Esther, Jane, Margaret Elizabeth, Richard, and John, the last named dying in Ireland. They, with their six children, embarked for America in the year 1772, but both died of fever on shipboard during the voyage. The children located in Delaware, whence in the spring of 1791 they removed to western Pennsylvania near Canonsburg. William married in 1774; Esther married Hugh Jackson in 1777; Jane married James Hindman in 1780; Margaret married John Anderson; Elizabeth married William Campbell; and Richard married Jane Bradford August 23, 1796. Richard Johnston, son of John and Elizabeth Johnston, was born in June, 1763; married, August 23, 1796, Jane Bradford, daughter of James and Elizabeth (Gibson) Bradford; died November 13, 1836; their children were Mary, James, William, Elizabeth, John, Richard, Jane and Thomas (twins), David, George, Nancy, and one that died when two weeks old. Mary, born September 24, 1798, married Thomas Allison, May, 1817, and died February 7, 1884; James, born March 10, 1800 died in 1819; William, born May 3, 1802, married Elizabeth Orr, May 10, 1826, and died December 27, 1838; Elizabeth, born February 6, 1804, was married first to George Gladen, and afterward to Rev. John Stockton, D. D., November 19, 1861, and died July 11, 1892; John, born March 6, 1806, married Rebecca Van Eman March 17, 1840, and died October 9, 1888; Richard, born July 1, 1808, died in 1831; Jane (twin), born May 21, 1811, married Guiane Morrison, May 23, 1833, and died June 2, 1888; Thomas (twin) born May 21, 1811, married Catharine Johnson, lived in Steubenville Ohio, and died June 19, 1879; David, born May 19, 1813, married Jane Rex, February 9, 1841, lived in Steubenville, Ohio and died February 8, 1883; George, born August 7, 1815, married Mary Tracy, August 25, 1847 lived in Portsmouth, Ohio, and died April 14, 1875; Nancy, born April 19, 1822, died in 1827." (Source:

·         The above article begs the question: Were the Bradford’s from County Down as were their Johnston in-laws?

Here is a write-up about the Rock Church of Cecil County and its famous Presbyterian Minister, Mr. James Finley6, who was very influential among the Scots-Irish in this area, including the families we have been talking about, eventually taking a group of them to western Pennsylvania:

"Colonies.—Through Mr. Finley’s influence, many of the early citizens of this region [Cecil County, MD], as well as members of the church, settled in Western Pennsylvania. In about twenty years, thirty-four families, chiefly young married persons connected with this congregation, migrated to that locality. They being neighbors, and closely related, sought settlements near each other, but were unable to do so, and had to scatter over a district forty miles long. Thus scattered, they united with different churches, and became the very pillars of many struggling congregations. They were most efficient men, and, by their piety, generous efforts and gifts, did a great work in sustaining the first ministers of Western Pa. Out of the thirty-four families, twenty-two of their heads became elders, among whom were Judge Allison, Judge McDowell [another Bradford in-law], James Bradford, Henry Graham, Robert Barr, James and Samuel Fleming, John Wright, Robert Moore, John Powers, John Allen, and Samuel, Ebenezer, Joseph, Michael and William Finley, all sons of the Rev. James Finley. About the same time this colony went West, many families went to North Carolina, among them were four sons of Thomas Sharpe, and a number of the Alexander family, through the influence of the Rev. Joseph Alexander." (Source:

·     According to, Rev. Finley was born in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, making this another contender for the origin of the Bradford’s.

Thus, it seems reasonable to start by narrowing our search for the Bradford’s homeland in Northern Ireland to County Armagh (where Reverend Finley was from) and County Down (where the Johnston in-laws were from). If we can find the exact town the Allison’s and McDowell’s were from, that might give further clues.

FYI: At, the surname Bradford is found in both County Down and County Armagh. Sadly no details are given, but it adds just a bit of weight to the above theory. As ever, we are hampered because of an extreme lack of historical records from Northern Ireland in this era, but we won’t give up! The search continues.



1We have proven in previous posts that James Bradford and our Elkton Samuel Bradford are brothers. Historical documents attest to the fact that the infamous David Bradford of Whiskey Rebellion fame enlisted the aid of his cousin, William Bradford. This William is the son of our Samuel and Sarah Bradford, making James and Samuel brothers.

2 Apparently Cecil County was not the James Bradford family’s first stop. According to research given to me by another researcher [whose source was, I believe., but I cannot currently confirm]:

James Bradford Sr.
b: 1716 Ireland  d: 12-14-1789 Strabane Twp, Washington Co, PA
James Bradford Sr. and wife Janet migrated from Ireland about 1740. They first located at Elizabeth, New Jersey. Later moved to Peach Bottom, Cecil County, Maryland. In 1785 they crossed the mountains and located on the rich hills between Washington and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Their children all lived in the same neighborhood, either preceding or accompanying them. Tombstone in Chartiers Presbyterian Church: In Memory of James Bradford Who Departed this Life Decd the 14 1789 Aged 73. Wife. Jane/Jennet/Janet? [Gibson] b: Ireland.

3 We actually don’t know if Elkton Sam made this move, or if he passed away before they left. Records indicate that his wife Sarah left for Fayette County with their daughter Rebecca and son-in-law William Miller.

4 Early Settlers. - Col. James Allison in the fall of 1773 emigrated with his family from Cecil County, Md., to the "Forks of the Yough" (now McKeesport), where he resided that winter, and in the spring of 1774 came to what is now Washington County and settled on Chartiers Creek. He and his family were of the twenty families who came to this section in that year, among whom were the Scotts, McDowell’s, Parks, Morrisons, Struthers, Norris, and others. He married a daughter of James Bradford, who came to Strabane township later and settled there. David Bradford, who was prominent in the Whiskey Insurrection, was a brother of Mrs. Allison, and Mrs. John McDowell was a sister.

5 Early Settlers, Petition for a New State: Fayette, Washington & Greene Cos, PA 
(List alphabetized from "The Ten Mile Country and Its Pioneer Families"). Fayette, Washington & Greene Co PA and Ohio & Monongalia Co VA (From an original petition for a new state located in the Library of Congress. No date on document. Papers of the Continental Congress No 48, Folios 251-6, pages 89-96). The names in this petition, which is not dated, seem at times to be taken from the militia rolls, and if circulated after 1780 contains names of persons deceased or moved from the district. There is no attempt to conceal the fact that the signatures were written by the prime agitators of the movement as many of those names which appear here could only make their mark.
James Bradford      John Bradford     John Bradford (sic)      Andrew Grimes     Noble Grimes
Benjamin Allison     John Allison     Thomas Allison        (many more names)

6 “Rev. James Finley… was an American Presbyterian minister and politician who may have owned the home in which the original draft of United States Declaration of Independence was written.” (

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