(Above: The Bradley family headstone is at the left, the footstone of Captain William Brown Bradley and his son Sands Bradley and the plaque are located next to it. Photo by Karen Prytula.)
The descendants of Captain William Brown Bradley, friends of the family and the Beechwood Cemetery Foundation assembled at Beechwood Cemetery on October 4 for an unveiling ceremony of a plaque recognizing Captain Bradley as a veteran of the War of 1812, and commemorating his lifetime achievements.
Re-enactors from the 100th Regiment Historical Society were present, and the 104th Regimental flag was on display courtesy of the New Brunswick Museum, in the reception centre, where the ceremony began.
Once the procession arrived at the gravesite, Dr. Bruce Elliott, professor of history at Carleton University, spoke to the audience about Captain William Brown Bradley being among the first retired officers to settle in March Township, and was immediately appointed a magistrate. Dr. Elliott further explained that it was because of the Captain’s military experience that he was named Lieut. Colonel in the First Carleton Militia.
Captain Bradley was born near Savannah, Georgia, USA c1771. After the American Revolution the Captain, his twin brother, mother and step-father left the USA for New Brunswick, in 1783. It was in New Brunswick that the Captain married, and where all his children were born.
The Captain joined the New Brunswick militia at the age of 22, and served in the 104th Regiment of Foot during the War of 1812. Dr. Elliott informed us that the Captain led his company on the gruelling 52-day overland march from Federicton, N.B., to Kingston, Ontario in the dead of winter in 1813 to reinforce the British army in Upper Canada against the advancing Americans. The Captain participated in the raid on Sackett’s Harbour, in the Battle of the Beaver Dams, and in the assault on Fort Erie.
When the 104th Regiment disbanded in 1818, Captain William Brown Bradley received 800 acres of land for his military service in Montreal, Gloucester Township, March Township, and Huntley Township. He shared the land generously among his sons Sands, Clements, and William; his daughters having already married.
Captain Bradley died while at Clement’s Gloucester property (where Eastview/Vanier in Ottawa is now) in 1850 and was buried in the old Sandy Hill Cemetery, in Ottawa. In 1876 his body was moved to Beechwood Cemetery.
Two of Captain Bradley’s sons raised large families, which in turn produced a large number of descendants for the Captain; many still live in the area today and were in attendance. These distant cousins made their way back up to the reception centre where a light lunch was served. While mingling as if at a family reunion, people pulled out their scrapbooks and photo albums. Dave Aldus, descendant of Captain Bradley and organizer of the event, had many historical items on display; some that had once belonged to Captain William Brown Bradley.
The War of 1812 Graveside Project made this program and this plaque available. For more information, visit 1812veterans.ca
Author Karen Prytula wears a number of hats with various heritage groups in the Ottawa area. She’s the Director of Rural Built Heritage for Heritage Ottawa, she’s the Director of Communications for the
Lanark County Genealogy Society, and Editor of the Old Walls Society Newsletter.
Many of the photos for this article were contributed by Laura Young. Bradley is her Great Great Great Great Grandfather.