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Friday, April 23, 2010


Frances Aikin Bradfield, her niece Harriet McKechnie (Mary Aikin's daughter), Bessie, Mabel



In 1830 Isaac Newton Bradfield was born in Milton, England.  His mother Jemima Bradfield named him after Sir Isaac Newton, famous English philosopher and mathematician.   When he was young, Isaac lost his father. His mother married again and had several children.  Isaac told Hazel, his granddaughter, he was close to his mother and siblings. He spoke respectfully of his stepfather, a miller, and had fond memories of playing around the old Mill with his sisters and brothers. 
Isaac also had another favorite person in his early life. This would be Sarah Bradfield, his grandmother (widow) who use to take him by the hand and walk about her home and the surrounding land with cottages and told him that when she died it would all be his.  Whether this happened or not we cannot be certain. What he did say however, there was a terrible fire and all the cottages were burned to the ground. Sarah's home remained standing because there wasn't a thatched roof.  Isaac said Sarah wrote this in a letter  after his emigration to the United States. He also told Hazel he did not write back and did not know when she died.  It is difficult to tell what his emotions were since Hazel did not write whether he was happy, sad, or angry while relating these stories. 
Isaac was between 17 and 19 when he came to America. The age shows up differently on the paperwork he needed for the voyage. Also his birth year is not consistent so we cannot be sure except we know he was young.  It is reported he came over with an Aunt, Mrs. Turck on a sailing vessel known as a packet ship, taking six weeks to make the trip. After landing, Mrs. Turck set out for Windsor, Ontario, Canada and Isaac headed for Canandaigua.  He never said why he came to this beautiful place or if he knew the family that took him in.   

Sample picture of the Margaret Evans Packet Sailing Ship

Packet (sea transport): A Packet service is a regular, scheduled service, carrying freight and passengers. The ships used for this service are called Packet ships or Packet boats, the seamen Packetmen and the business is called Packet trade.

Checking the ship's passenger list, Mrs. Turck's name is not listed. There could have been a mistake or Mrs. Turck did not make the trip.  We will never know.  He said he had several letters from Mrs. Turck but Hazel reports he never answered them. His mother also kept in contact with him and we understand he threw out all his personal mail. Fan would write to his mother Jemima making sure she knew he was all right and also to let her know about her grandchildren, Ida, Nellie and Joe. Even when Mrs. Turck wrote a card to tell him she received pictures of the old mill, the church and the homestead, he never replied.  Wish we had those pictures.  
There was still another relative, a Bradfield, who was a cousin of his. This cousin was the Superintendent of the New York Central Railroad.  Isaac never contacted him.  He wrote to no one. Perhaps he could read but not write.  He also worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad in the freight office. Before that he worked for a bakery that made Smith Crackers. These crackers were famous throughout the world.  Japan was one of the major importers of them. 

When Isaac came to Canandaigua he lived with none other than John Aikin's sister Betsy Lampman (the spiritualist). The Lampmans took in many young people, probably for the farm.
The 1850 census shows him living there. If you look it up, the name was mistaken for Grace and put on other documentation but on the census it is Isaac.  How he came to Betsy's home is unknown but that is how he met Saphrona.  He spent as much time as he could with the Aikin family and as we said before, he was a constant visitor when Saphrona was dying. Although there is nothing to indicate that he had feelings for Frances, he did promise to marry her.  But first. after Saphrona passed,  he went out West until 1860.  We have no idea why except to see if it was as wild as they say.  It is possible he heard of the terrible uprising of the Sioux Nations beginning in the Dakotas and spreading East. Fan may have written him regarding the horror that had entered the Aikin household.  He returned and the 1860 census shows him at age 27 and Fan at 23. They are married and Charles Aikin is living with them.  Remember none of the Aikin Children were welcome in John and Almira's home except John Jr. and Almira's son Levi Conger.  There are boarders also on the Census form.  We also spoke of Libby running away from the home in Phelps and going to live with Isaac and Fan until she got caught. All indications are Isaac and Fan became the surragate parents for the Aikin children. 

Their home was a happy and welcoming one.  Fan was known to help anyone who expressed a need and some who needed but did not say a word.  She just seemed to know.  There was always something good to eat.  The hobos' had her home marked and they knew they would get a good meal there. 

The first child William died early in his first year. Great Grandmother Ida was born in 1862.  Great Aunt Nellie was born in 1864 and Great Uncle Joseph was born in 1869.  Chances are there were either miscarriages or still borns in the 5 years that separated Nellie and Joseph.  All we have on record are the four mentioned above.  Fan loved her children but it became obvious Joseph was her personal favorite and would do anything for him.  Ida was the smallest of the siblings and had Fan's facial features.  Fan did not have a strong constitution so she relied on Isaac to help with the home and raising the children, tasks he seemed to enjoy.

It seems that Isaac came from a caring, religious, and just plain nice people. He had a thorough knowledge of the Bible and his children and grandchildren remember him telling them Bible stories. This was our indication that Isaac could read but did not write. The children looked forward to this time with him. He made no secret that he adored his little ones, took them out for walks, putting all his love into his family.  When his granddaughter Florence was a tiny baby Isaac would put her in a doll carriage and push her up and down the street.

It appears that the marriage was a good one. Fan and Isaac looked after one another and the children. They were family oriented not only with their own but with their extended family. It was said that Isaac missed his mother terribly and found comfort in knowing Saphrona and Fan.  It is written that Fan and Isaac made a good looking couple. They were approximately the same height but Fan was thin and stood erect so with that and her notable beautiful hats, she always looked the taller of the two. Fan was a wonderful cook and excelled at sewing. There was a matter of her not being very healthy. Isaac would sweep and clean up the house, take breakfast to Fan before leaving for work to help her keep up her strength.

Fan and Isaac made sure their children attended Sunday School every week at the Baptist Church. That explains how the Baptists entered into the history of our Family. This development of a spiritual life was etched in stone on both the Catholic and Protestant side of our family.

Fan had a special place in her heart for her son Joseph, the baby of the family. Unfortunately Joe inherited the gene for alcohol addiction. In the early history of Canandaigua we mentioned Phineas Bates clearing the land and being the seventh family who settled the Village.  When he planted his crops and built his house, he built a Tavern.  He went to Buffalo to pick up his inventory.  His plan was to bring it down the Oswego River.  There was a terrible storm and the boat tipped over with all the inventory.  Phineas jumped in the River and found every bottle and keg. Pack them on a cart and took the Indian Path from Buffalo to Canandaigua.  So you can see, there was great importance placed on alcohol from the beginning.

By the time Joe was old enough to drink, the problem had increased in town because of the advent of affluence and too much free time. The following article was in the Canandaigua Messenger:

                   Canandaigua Daily Messenger 1894

Joseph Bradfield, 25 years old, of Canandaigua met with a serious and perhaps fatal accident near the main Street crossing in the latter village yesterday forenoon. He is the son of Issac and Frances (Aikin) Bradfield. It is believed that Bradfield attempted to catch the 11:15 a.m. passenger train at the crossing yet no one can be found who know whether he was attempting to get on or off. The first to notice him was Greeley Cavin, the switchman who says that he fell with great force against the switch. As he did so, Cavin grabbed for him, just as he was rebounding under the cars. When the train had passed Bradfield was picked up and carried into the Miar Laundry. Dr. Beahan made an examination and found that the man's left foot had been crushed below the ankle. All of the bones of the foot were broken and it was swollen with blood. Bradfield's shoulder was also injured. The wounds were dressed and Bradfield was taken to his home on Niagara Street. The foot will probably have to be amputated. Bradfield was considerably intoxicated at the time the accident occurred. He has been employed off and on in the railroad yards in Canandaigua. The doctor pronounced the injury very dangerous, especially in Bradfield's case, he being a hard drinker.

A year later he made news again. Joe was in a truck with a friend, both of them drinking. When the truck left the road and went over into a ditch. Joe was flung out of the truck but could not get up, "again". This also made the Canandaigua Daily Messenger much to Isaac's and Fan's distress.
The drinking continued and he was unable to keep his marriage together. We find no record that he ever left home. It appears he did not find recovery from the alcoholism. You know this had to strike at Fan's heart. She had the reputation for helping everyone but was unable to help her son. Joseph died in 1931 at the age of 62 and is buried with Isaac and Frances in West Avenue Cemetary.

Charles enlisted in the army around 1862. By 1866 Charles had come home from the Civil War. He was welcomed to again live with Frances and Isaac. He is there at the time of the 1870 and 1880 census. He apparently worked as a laborer and in the clothing industry.  It is unknown if he ever married.

Frances Aikin Bradfield was born in 1839 and died at 58 years old in 1897.  Isaac Newton Bradfield was born in 1833 and died in 1911 at 78 years old.  Isaac lived with his daughter Nellie who was the owner of the Boarding House at 84 Pleasant Street. This boarding house plays and important part in the life of Ida E. Bradfield Bates and her three children, Florence, Harry and Will.

Our history continues with the story of the Bradfield/Bates Family.


1 comment:

  1. Great chapter, Aunt Eileen! I'm eager to learn about the Baptist to Catholic change in the family ... bet that was a time!