Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jumpin' Samuel Brady


 Nice to be back with you good folks for another post. We've experienced quite an arctic freeze and are now, hopefully pulling out of it. Spring is NOT too far distant. Though, this subject is a fair ways from our regular insular comfort zone, the story, which naturally includes the heroic Brady family of Pennsylvania, is just too good to pass up. I expect visitors will find some enjoyment in this, as I did researching the subject.


 The adventures of Samuel Brady surely should start with his birth in the old Scotch-Irish community of Shippensburg on the border of Cumberland and Franklin counties on May 5, 1756. From what I have learned from various sources, Edward Shippen's grand daughter, Peggy, was married to Benedict Arnold and was influential in encouraging him to defect to the British cause during the Revolution. This was very near to an all time low point for the British position in the colonies, a year after the defeat of General Edward Braddock's forces.

 Samuel Brady was the son of Captain John Brady a great patriot of the 2nd Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiments. He had fought bravely in the French and Indian War in Bedford County and was a part of the force organized under General Forbes and expedited by Henry Bouquet to relieve the siege of Fort Pitt in the autumn of 1764.

  He had manned the stockade, or 'Brady's Fort' in Lewisburg on the western side of the Susquehanna River in the old, and then large, county of Lycoming. This was near where he was eventually killed in the line of duty near to Muncy, named after the 'Munsee' wolf tribe, in an Indian attack in 1779, but I've read conflicting accounts. His brother was General Hugh Brady with whom he moved to Washington County. Hugh Brady had served under General 'Mad' Anthony Wayne's Legion of the United States created just to the south of  Pittsburgh. He had also fought at Fallen Timbers.

  Brady's Career and the Death of his Relatives

courtesy of Wiki Commons uploaded by springfieldohio

  Samuel Brady had fought under Washington with his brother James with his father, John Brady, seeing early action in the Battle of Boston. he was all of 19 years old in 1775 and "behaved most gallantly", according to Lewis Wetzel in a book of sketches by Cecil B. Hartley. He also fought at the battles of New York, Long Island and the Battle of Trenton and others.

   George Washington, acting Commander of the Revolutionary forces, wrote a letter, still preserved, to his commander. Col. Daniel Brodhead, commending his gallant services to the new Republic. He was promoted to Captain on August 2, 1779.

  James Brady was killed near Fort Muncy defending himself alone against three Indians when he was viciously scalped and later died at Sunbury in 1778, practically in the arms of his mother. Some traditions claimed the chief who, Bald Eagle's Nest was named after in Milesburg, (of Colonel Samuel Miles), was actually responsible.

   On April 11, 1779, the father, Captain John Brady was killed in an Indian ambush on the West Branch of the Susquehanna. As described by author Belle Swope, when Samuel heard of this most tragic setback, he explained, in the heat of the moment  "Aided by Him who formed yonder sun and heaven, I will avenge the murder of my father, nor while I live, will I ever be at peace with the Indians of any tribe."
   So, with these close deaths of his brother, followed on it's heels by the killing of his own father, Samuel surely became a man obsessed with vengeance. Later, he was involved with the defense of Fort Pitt and Fort Mcintosh at Beaver, the county seat of Beaver County, PA.

    Above is the location of the important, though lesser known Treaty of Fort Mcintosh and the historic 'Old Guard' and First American Regiment of 1874, was formed on the edge of the known frontier. This exclusive military group are known to do the famous honors at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. By the way, so near to where my two maternal uncles are buried, at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia after their tragic deaths in World War Two.

   I don't mind saying, this brand of patriotism has a way of leaving me feeling smaller and more humble. It just brings a lump to my throat.

   The story went round that while at Fort Pitt in June of 1779, when discovering the attack and killing of a family with their four children by some Seneca and Mun-see Indians, Captain Samuel Brady was the first to rush to their defense and boldly attempt a rescue. Thus, with his guide, near what is known as Brady's Bend on the Allegheny River in Armstrong County, he came upon their campfire in the night and attacked and scalped eight Indians, including cutting off the head of the Munsee Chief. This was only one of his many famed exploits.

courtesy of explore pa history

    In the area near Sandusky in the year 1780, Brady bravely spied out the Indian towns and rescued the captive Jenny Stupes at that time.

   Brady's Famous Leap

    While it might seem you are hearing tall tales here, it is said that Brady's Leap occurred about 1780 on the Cuyahoga River near Kent, Ohio.

  After a failed ambush a larger band of armed Indians ended up chasing him after killing most of his party and he somehow escaping their clutches after being captured while nude and defenseless, was successful in getting away. Here, in the only available avenue of avoiding capture, he surely avoided a horrific torture and grisly death jumping, unceremoniously, over a whopping twenty two foot gorge. He accomplished this impressive feat and hid himself in what is known as Brady Lake which up until recently, held it's "Captain Brady Days" festival.

traditional river gorge of Samuel Brady's famous leap

   There is a story, again told by Belle Swope, that in 1782 Brady and the wild Indian fighter of West Virginia, Lewis Wetzel, were chosen by Daniel Brodhead, the commander of Fort Pitt, to infiltrate the Shawnee Indians Ohio, which they promptly did. They impersonated members of that tribe to the point of brazenly disguising themselves as such and joining in a Grand Council and while spying for the American forces, learned many strategic secrets. When suspicions arose they began a daring shootout and successfully escaped capture, though nearly freezing in a dangerous crossing of the Ohio River. On the return, Brady and Wetzel were was said to of been highly commended, which certainly would of been well deserved!

   Samuel's mother, Mary Quigley Brady, died after much hardship and illness in 1783. She was able to see the defeat of the hostile tribes and the winning of our Independence from the British.

  According to legend, this was the same Chief who killed his brother James. However, according to 'The History of Lycoming County' of 1892, Bald Eagle should already of been deceased by this time, so that is very unlikely.

  In 1783, Samuel Brady married Drusilla VanSwearingen after an elopement at Weirton, south of Wheeling.
  Controversy did not escape him though. He and possibly some of his Virginia Rangers, were held at Pittsburgh on charges of killing Delaware Indians after the American victory of Independence. Apparently, Brady freely admitted to this, but was still acquitted.

   Samuel Brady ended his career as avidly as it began fighting in the Northwest Territory in the early 1790's against Blue Jacket and Little Turtle.

  And Now, A Formal Request:

  This is where I want to invite all veterans, or if you happen to be a child or grandchild of a war veteran who had seen action, to send in any story, newspaper article or anecdotes, with any accompanying photos of heroics in the heat of battle that I can add to a future post on this special subject. It is in the planning stages only, more of an idea I have been fiddling with, and would include some experiences of what I am aware of from my surrounding family to get the ball rolling.

  This is designed, only to keep these eras of patriotism from being forgotten, so please, don't be shy people. Although, it would be difficult to ascertain every submission will be published with a guarantee, whether this gets the proper treatment, mostly will depend on you good folks. One should be justly proud of the exploits of a father, brother, mother, uncles, and grand fathers that supported the war efforts.  I will greatly appreciate whatever responses you can muster in this call to action!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lost Toll Houses

  Once again, Blogger 'thinks' I published this new post when I first entered part of it into draft form!

  SO folks, here is a proper link to FORGOTTEN TOLL HOUSES OF WESTMORELAND COUNTY. I hope you enjoy it!

  ~  Histbuffer

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Little Recognition

  No, this isn't directed at me. Not in the usual sense, anyway.

  Although I might only be flattering myself for doing most of my own (often) research as much as is possible, the original design of "Fayette/Westmoreland Forgotten History" was envisioned to let my profile stay in the background. Honestly, I still feel much the same way.

   I've been accused in the past of being somewhat of a loner. Fair enough. Well, no man is an island and all that, but here I mean to point the way 'down the road and up around the bend'. I hope this has been achieved to a meaningful extent. There are more levelheaded historians out there and I'll grant that at times I can be a bit dogged, perhaps a little hot headed, though few have seen that side of me. I guess we all have a few faults.

  Lately, there were a few revelations sort of whispered by a passing bird, or maybe a healthy little twist of conscience. Whatever I wasn't just wool gathering. This lead naturally to the insight that certain people brought a touch of influence to make the site just that much more meaningful. I felt I could share that outlook. Occasional offers, poignant moments, a little gentle goading and a piece of info well placed and rightly timed. This shined a fresh light on my shadowy domain.

  You know, I was thinking. Lannie Dietle has been a helpful, considerate guy and a good author...Kim Brown is such a nice, encouraging woman and a great asset as President of the Bullskin Township Historical Society...Keith Romesburg a cousin I finally got in touch with, has helped me to some extent with ancestral memories and locations...and Nancy Sova, always so nice and thoughtful with those hints she gave me,  the scans from a rare book, etc....Jeff Hann and his insights and discoveries are such a bonus. And I could go on. (Anthony, Scott, Wayne, Heather...). To all of these, I have real pride in association.

   If you wish to 'join the club', (yes, I'm being slightly facetious), by all means, do get more involved. Anonymity is, of course, allowed!

  Those with tidbits of info and memories of this or that, possibly a photo of something, can contribute greatly toward furthering our understanding the history of this region.

  Well, you know what? I decided to give them a place of  Honor HERE. Where else? A very simple gesture, really.

  That is just what I have done. I sincerely appreciate any back links too!

  They have in common their collaboration with me and this site, from time to time and sometimes,  vice versa to one degree or another, in mutual exchange. Beyond that, they are valued friends and some are genuine colleagues. There are days when I am writing and bugging them a lot. Then there are moments we all can relate to, when you are pressed to keep up with a discussion and almost find yourself picking and choosing what is the heart of quite a few e-mails to best comment on and respond to. Some people don't always show their feelings, that is a personal choice. Certainly many treat each other, most often regularly, in a quite professional manner, which is fine. Occasionally, we do relate more informally and share a few laughs and rarely, a little secret. As a matter of course, most of these persons have your own involved situations in life and busy schedules, like anyone else.

A term that mirrors in my mind, is this one: survivors. They, somewhat like myself, have run the gamut, all dealing with this world and various ups and downs in their own unique fashion, doing the best they can. That was what my Mom use to say to me, "We're survivors, don't forget that." She certainly was and I sure won't! I believe that saying was inspired by my grandmother, Ida Hoover and some of her hardships, including losing two sons to World War Two in a very small amount of time, experiences she rarely spoke of publicly. We all associate with people that have different degrees of problems on their plate, right? Many of them are deserving of true respect, and I am particularly concerned with their accomplishments, friendships and who they are. Their personal tastes, interests and various concerns intrigue me. What a blessing many of these people are in my life.

  No, it's not a holiday or anyone's birthday. I haven't been drinking, either, just wishing those comrades a personal thanks for being there.

  I am proud I am not just a lone wolf, although some aspects of going it alone do have a glamorous appeal. Wisdom tends to refine ones connections by encouraging us to value others and assess our lives with a broader outlook, thus enhancing our own worth through reciprocation and interaction. I myself have been on the receiving end of just this quality of experience, adding extra color and texture to my world and I only hope to return the favor.

   I wish the best to everyone that visits the website, reads a few pages and picks up something that they enjoy.

   ~  Histbuffer

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