Sunday, April 19, 2015

Abner Bradford - Any Relation??

Plymouth Colony
In researching our Bradford ancestors in Delaware, I have often come across an Abner Bradford for whom there is quite a bit of online information. He is, apparently, a direct descendant of the famous Governor Bradford of Plymouth Colony fame. However, I can find no tie-in to Abner via any of our Bradford relations ...yet!

Of course we know that the father and maternal grandfather of our Rebecca Bradford were both named Samuel Bradford. Her father has been ruled out as being related to Governor Bradford, this Samuel (and his brother James) being Scots-Irish, having come from Northern Ireland in the 1700's.

Of Rebecca's maternal grandfather, whom we affectionately refer to as Red Lion Sam in this blog, we know nothing of his origins. We only know that he was born around 1690 (place unknown), married "Margret" around 1710, and we learn from his will that he died on April 20, 1767, in Red Lyon/Lion, New Castle County, Delaware. The only children mentioned in the will were William, Sara (Rebecca's future mother), and Martha.  From land records, we know that Samuel owned a piece of land called “Dragon Swamp” located in Red Lion Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware.  And that is it.

We know nothing of this Samuel's parents or where he came from. However, if we ever do find a connection with the famous Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony, it would have to be through this Samuel Bradford.

Can we glean any clues about Samuel's life by studying the history of Abner Bradford?

Here is an interesting description of  young Abner, a Revolutionary War patriot, who enlisted soon after the Declaration of Independence:

Taken From A Delaware Military War Record
In addition to the above information, I have learned the following from other researchers:
  • Abner Bradford was born 1758 in Brandywine Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. Brandywine Hundred is right next door to Christiana Hundred where he enlisted (see above), and both are only about 10 miles north of Red Lion Hundred, where our Samuel lived.
  • Abner died March 2, 2841, in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania
  • His first wife was Rachel Baldwin.  She died and he had a second wife named Elizabeth (surname unknown to me).  He and Elizabeth lived for awhile in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
  • He is thought to be the son of Abner Bradford (b. 1707 Kingston, Massachusetts) and Sarah Porter.
  • That would make him grandson of Israel Bradford and Sarah Bartlett) whose father was Deputy Governor William Bradford, son of the famous Governor William Bradford.
While I have been unable to find a link to Abner, there are some interesting coincidences, the first being proximity.  Many of our Bradford's and Miller's lived in this region of Delaware, including our Abraham Miller (Rebecca's father-in-law) who owned property in Christiana Hundred (he is noted on a 1777 tax list of Christiana Hundred as having owned 13 acres there).

Secondly, descendants of Abner Bradford wound up in Adams County and Fayette County, Pennsylvania, just like many of our Bradford's did.

Still, I have found no direction connection between Abner Bradford and our Bradford's.

Additionally, because researching Bradford's is never straightforward or without confusion, a Rootsweb entry lists an Abner Bradford as being born in 1758 (a match), married to Rachel Baldwin (another match), having parents named Abner Bradford and Susannah Porter (close, but not quite a match), and that he was born in 1758 in Kingston, Plymouth County, Massachusetts (not even close to the Brandywine Hundred, Delaware as noted above)!
Brandywine Valley, Delaware

So as always, the mystery continues! Are we, as descendants of Rebecca Bradford Miller, or are we not, related to the famous Governor?? Only time and lots more research will tell.

NOTE:  If any descendants of Abner Bradford can throw any light on this question, we would love to hear from you!

Also, if any of you men can trace your surname line directly back to Red Lion Sam, a Bradford DNA test would be invaluable in solving this mystery (please see immediately preceding post).

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