John Lemon Bradford was the first child of Charles Darnell Bradford and wife, Mary Lemon, daughter of James Lemon of Winchester, Frederick Co., Virginia. The couple met and married in Virginia in the early 1760s. John Lemon Bradford stated in his application for a military pension for his service in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War, dated 22 Nov 1829, "...that he entered the service of his country in the Revolutionary War in about the 16th year of his age and performed the duties of a Soldier as a Volunteer under Genl Sumpter [sic] at Fishing Creek; after a defeat at said place, he was made a prisoner, with his father and a number of other citizens by the orders of Cornwallis and consigned to Camden jail from whence he was paroled after a savage confinement of four months. Your petitioner further states that on the first opportunity he joined his countrymen and assisted in the capture of Congaree Fort; after which he never left the service as a Volunteer under Capn.[sic] John Gray, in a company of Cavalry, until the close of the War...." John further stated that he was "...now in the 68th year of his age, and in circumstances of indigence, and iinfirmity; and by reason of age and bodily decline [was] candidly unable to provide himself by manual labor with a competent support...." Notice that he made no mention of needing to support anyone other than himself. Therefore, one might assume that he was living alone, his children grown and gone, and his wife already deceased.
In a separate affidavit, John L Bradford "...appeared before me the Subscribing Justice on his oath sayth that the following goods is [sic] all that he is worth —his wearing apparel — and further swears that he has not disposed of property in any was [sic - way] to reduce him to the necessity of Calling on the State Legislature for aid."
NOTE: The SC Legislature Committee On Pensions approved John's petition and in December 1829 granted him a pension of $60 per year. John signed receipts for his pension in each of the next four years, i.e., 1830-1834. No other records for John Lemon Bradford were ever found.
John's statement in his pension application that he was age 68 in 1829 translated into a circa (hereinafter ca) birth year of 1761. One may safely assume that John died sometime during 1834 at about age 73 since his final pension receipt was dated 23 Jany [sic] 1834. John's wife's name is unknown, but her age can be estimated as similar to John's since they both appeared in the same age brackets on the 1790 and 1800 census reports. Their marriage date may be estimated as ca 1783 since their first child was born ca 1784 per the 1790 census data.
Because of the paucity of public records pertaining to the life and times of John Lemon Bradford and his family, the assignment of children to the couple must be based on a detailed analysis of evidence contained in the extant records and documents currently available to genealogical researchers. Unfortunately, finding additional direct documentation will be extremely difficult because John Lemon Bradford left almost no records of his life and family. The only records on him that this writer has found to date are the 17901 and 18002 Fairfield District, South Carolina census reports, and his military service records and pension application to the State of South Carolina dated 22 Nov 18293 for his service in the Revolutionary War, none of which named his wife or children.
However, the limited census data documented that by 1800 John Lemon Bradford had at least 8 children, 4 of them sons. After the 1800 census, neither John nor any of his sons were ever again listed on a census report in Fairfield District or elsewhere in SC. But, in Gwinnett Co., Georgia records there are several names of potential sons to be considered. Sadly, it is unlikely that we will ever know the names of any daughters. This writer searched every Online database available from the South Carolina State Archives but has found nothing else on John Lemon Bradford or his descendants.
So what sparked the belief that Isaac, Nicholas and Charles (d 1847) were related and descended from John Lemon Bradford? One strong indication was that on the 1850 Gwinnett County, Georgia census for Harbins GMD4
all of these families were listed in contiguous households:
464 – Rebecca Bradford and 5 children (Charles’ widow)
465 – Sarah Bradford, age 56, and 2 of her daughters (Isaac’s widowed mother)
466 – Nicholas Bradford age 60, his wife Elizabeth and 4 children
Another indication of family relationships was the fact that on that same census report, The Rev Joshua Bradford, youngest son of Charles Bradford, Sr., [listed incorrectly as Richard J], lived in household 468 with wife Mary and 5 of their 6 children. Johsua officiated at the marriage of his daughter Cynthia to Isaac Bradford in 1847 (they were 2nd cousins).
Present-day Y-DNA testing helped to answer other questions and cconfirm blood relationships. To determine if Isaac Bradford was actually a descendant of the Charles Darnell and Mary Lemon Bradford line, a documented descendant of Rev. Joshua Bradford (kit 20877 - known to descend from this line) and a documented descendant of Isaac Bradford (kit 212548) submitted DNA samples for testing at 111 markers. The results showed them to be a 107/111 match, which is a statistically significant match, made even more significant because both men still had the BRADFORD surname. The test participants descended through two sons of Charles Darnell Bradford [John Lemon Bradford (b. ca 1761) and Charles Bradford, Sr.(b. ca 1765)]. That confirmed blood relationship means the two men (one still-living the other now deceased) were 3rd cousins once removed.
Isaac's parentage was further supported by the extant Georgia records found to date. We know that his mother was Sarah (age 70 and living in Isaac's household on the 1860 Gwinnett County census report)5. Sarah first appeared on the 1840 Gwinnett County census6 as the head of household, age 40-50, and with 5 males ages 5-20, and 4 females ages 5-20. Isaac was not listed as a head of household and might still have been in Fairfield District with his first wife and their two oldest children, or living with his mother; but, there is no direct documentation of his whereabouts in 1840 in either GA or SC.
Based on the ages of the children in Sarah Bradford's 1840 household, her youngest child was born ca 1838-39, so one might surmise that her husband died in Fairfield District at about the same time, leaving no known will or estate documents. Based on Isaac's known birth date of 8 Dec 1818 (from his tombstone7), we know that Sarah had to have married about 1817-1818, which fits with her birth date as estimated from census data of ca 1795-1800. Therefore, one might postulate that her husband was also born ca 1785-1800.
Reviewing the birth dates of the sons of Charles Darnell Bradford showed that none of them could have been Sarah's husband because they were born either too early, too late, or because records exist documenting those sons married to other women. Next, careful review of the children born to the sons of Charles Darnell Bradford revealed that only the first son, John Lemon Bradford, had any sons born in the correct time frame (1784-1800) to have married Sarah or to have been one of the Bradford men mentioned above. John Lemon Bradford’s 2nd son, born ca 1787, seemed the best choice to have married Sarah, based on their respective ca birth dates.
Nicholas Bradford was enumerated on the 1850 Gwinnett County census as being 60 years old and born in South Carolina.8 That translated to a ca birth date of 1790, which exactly matched the ca birth date of John Lemon Bradford’s third son as found on the 1800 census.
Rebecca Bradford’s husband Charles died in Fairfield County, South Carolina in 1847 and left court records of a very small estate.9 Rebecca was listed as age 40 on the 1850 census, which translated to a ca birth date of 1810.10 Given the trend in that era for men to marry much younger women, as well as the fact their first child was born in 1832, made John Lemon Bradford’s youngest son, born ca 1795, the most logical to be Charles.
After close examination of all known extant census data, court records and other evidence, the only available candidate to have fathered these men was John Lemon Bradford, or one of his sons in Isaac’s case. Should any documentation proving otherwise become available, this writer will be happy to make any necessary changes in these parentage assignments to reflect new documentary evidence.
1. 1790 Camden District, South Carolina, United States Federal Census. [Ancestry.com electronic database: images of original documents],
line 26; Page: not given; Image: 0111; Roll: M637-11
2. 1800 Fairfield District, South Carolina, United States Federal Census. [Ancestry.com electronic database: images of original documents],
line 6; Page: 197; Image: 0376; Roll: M32_47
3. “John Lemon Bradford, Revolutionary War Military Service File RW2696, AA#689½,” Accounts Audited for Claims Growing Out of the
American Revolution. [Photocopies of original records produced from microfilm.] South Carolina Department of Archives and History,
4. 1850 Gwinnett County, Georgia Census, Lawrenceville, Georgia, 1850 [Ancestry.com electronic database: images of original
documents], Harbins GMD, LN 9-11, HN 465, FN 465; Page: 161; Image: 0323; Roll: M432-71.
5. 1860 Gwinnett County, Georgia Census, Lawrenceville, Georgia: 1860 [Ancestry.com electronic database: images of original documents],
GMD 478, LN 15-23, HN 849, FN 849, Page: 716; Image: 0267; Roll: M653-125.
6. 1840 Gwinnett County, Georgia Census, Lawrenceville, Georgia: 1840 [Electronic database on Ancestry.com], Roll: M704_42; Image: 146;
Line 21, Page 73.
7. Gwinnett County, GA, Deaths (1818 - 1989), Updated Through 2002 [Online], Lawrenceville, GA: Gwinnett Historical Society,
© 1991-2003. Cemetery database on the Gwinnett Historical Society Web site (Member Center - members only)
8. 1850 Gwinnett County, Georgia Census, IBID.
9. “Charles Bradford Estate File,” Fairfield County Estate Papers Apt. 87, Pkg 253, Frames 234-236. [Photocopies of original records
produced from microfilm.] South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, SC.
10. 1840 Gwinnett County, Georgia Census, IBID.
August 13, 2019 4:42 PM
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