Brady, Mahala MAGA © 2000-2007
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Virginia, Ill.

By: J. N. Gridley

Printed by the Enquirer



Charles Brady was born December 6th, 1801, in Kentucky. He was married, in 1823, to Mahala Graves. From this union there was born to them eleven children, four of whom are yet living: Mrs. W. S. White, of Temple, Arizona; John T. Brady, of Pomona, Cal.; Alexander, of Neodesha, Kan.; Wm. C. Perkins, Okla. Ter.

In 1829, with his young wife and two children, (one of whom later became Mrs. John E. Haskell), he emigrated via "Prairie Schooner Route" to Illinois. His object in leaving Kentucky was to raise his family away from the evil influences of slavery. The Kentucky Bradys were none of them slave holders and did not believe in slavery. Mr. Graves, the father-in-law of Charles, was a large slave holder, and wished to present his daughter Mahala with two young slaves, a man and his wife, when she started with her little family for Illinois, but his offer was refused. Mr. Brady was an abolitionist and a staunch Whig.

In early youth Mr. and Mrs. Brady became members of the Christian church, and remained such as long as they lived.

He was a man of sterling integrity and honesty, whose word was as good as his bond; of a quiet and unassuming disposition, and even temper, but with strong convictions and decided opinions on any subject he investigated.

On arriving in Illinois he settled on a farm of 120 acres in Sugar Grove, known later as Wilson Farm, where he remained until 1838, when he moved his family to the little town of Virginia, which at this date had perhaps 200 inhabitants, who lived in small frame or log houses, with clap board roofs.

Here he became associated with John E. Haskell in a carding machine and cloth factory, receiving wool direct from the farmers, carding and weaving it into the cloth desired by the farmers, or returning to the owners, carded in rolls ready for spinning.

By endorsing notes for a friend he became involved in debt and decided to go to California to recoup his fortunes, in 1849, as California was then in the height of its gold excitement.

He returned to Illinois, in the fall of 1852, with about $1200, which he paid on the notes amounting to $2000, and was released from further obligation. Two years later he succumbed to an attack of typhoid fever, and on October 18th, 1854, he peacefully "went home", at the early age of 53 years.

The remains were laid to rest in the Robison graveyard, beside the four tiny mounds of his little ones "gone before."

The brave-hearted and sturdy pioneer mother, who renouncing slaves and slavery, and saying good-bye to parents, relatives, and home of her childhood, went in a covered wagon, with husband and babies, far away into an unknown wilderness, and with unflinching courage bore her share of all the hardships of that rugged frontier life, struggled on and in the same gentle, but firm way, bore the burden laid upon her. After a long and useful life she laid her burdens down at the ripe age of 88, in Virginia, February 19, 1892, honored by all who knew her.

We talk much of "The Winning of the West." Yes, "Winning of the West" with railroads, telegraph, telephones and automobiles, to say nothing of money easily made, good roads, unexcelled postal service and other luxuries the real frontiersman never dreamed of. These two pioneers in "The Winning of the West" had only brave hearts and iron muscles, a little helpless family, a wagon and team and the bare necessities, and before them an "unblazed trail" into a vast wilderness.

All honor to these sturdy pioneers of Illinois!