A descendant of Zeno Bradley has been in touch in recent days and much progress has been made on her story. Be sure to check it out. From James Banks Bradley’s children we are only missing two daughters now – Elizabeth and Mariah.
The records of Antioch Baptist Church exist in several formats. First, the church appears to have kept the records in a bound volume. Where this volume is or if it still exists, I do not know. However, at some point it was photo copied as well as copied to microfiche. There is also a short book written about the history of the church which includes some of the pages from the church record. The microfiche is available for viewing in the Camden Archives. It is a single roll and appears to contain every page of the record starting with the church’s founding. I cannot recall the end date of the record, but it was quite late – early 20th century? Someone sat down with the photo copy at some point and made notes from it. These notes are now attached to the photo copy and also available in the Camden Archives. However, there are pages missing from the photocopy. The microfiche has a considerable number of pages that are too blurry to read due to poor work by the person transferring them to microfiche. This is established by comparing them to the photocopy, in which the pages are clear. However, pages that are blurry on the microfiche, and missing from the photocopy, leave us without any clear copy of the page. With all of that in mind, the church record is basically organized this way: There is a record of the organization of the church, including who was there and involved. Then each month the church met and conducted business. These meetings are recorded in brief paragraphs that are dated. Once a year (although they don’t appear each year) a list was made of the membership. Sometimes notes were made next to members’ names indicating that they had died, transferred membership, were excommunicated and in some cases restored. Membership rolls are divided into males, females, and blacks. Here are all the records we could find related to Thomas and Sarah Bradley. The images will be attached to their page. Here I only note them.
Oct 10 1828 – Thomas and Sarah are listed as members. They are both noted as “excomm” and both relisted at the bottom as “Restored”. Sarah is twice listed as restored. Other Bradleys in membership at this time are: Samuel Bradley and Mary Bradley. Since ages and relationships are provided, we have no way of speculating whether or not Samuel and Mary are married, and in what relation they might stand to Thomas.
Oct 10 1848 – Thomas and Sarah have disappeared from the roll until this point. Thomas never reappears. Sarah is here listed.
Sarah appears on all of the membership records that follow, which includes: 1849-51, 1853, 1855, and 1858. On the 1858 membership list she is marked “dead”. This roll was recorded in November and the next roll was recorded in Nov 1858 and she is not on it. So this Sarah died between November of 1858 and November of 1859.
These rolls are consistent with what we believe to be the narrative of Thomas and Sarah. Having had James Banks in Kershaw Co, they appear on the census there through 1830. However, based on James Banks’ children’s birth places, it is clear that JB moved his family to Alabama between 1831 and 1834. It also appears in the 1840 Alabama census as though his father Thomas is right next door with his wife and children. However, sometime between 1841 and 1843, James Banks moved his family back to SC. Shortly afterward Sarah rejoined Antioch Baptist Church. So this Thomas and Sarah fit quite well. Additionally, Antioch Baptist Church sits near the Kershaw-Sumter Co line. From land records and census records, it is clear that our people lived near and on both sides of this county line. So the church was located near their homes.
There are two further matters of interest in the record. Thomas Bradley appears in the record with a Sarah Turner. It is very difficult to make out, but this is my best attempt to transcribe:
“Oct (7th?), 1827 The Antioch Church met agreeable to appointment and after Divine Service the church formed herself and a door was opened to receive experience of grace. Thomas Bradley came forth and Sarah Turner also came forth and (was received also on Sunday?) Bryant Spradley (and was received and?) baptized (?). John Barnet, Pastor”
It is difficult to tell if this is a record of Thomas’ baptism, or simply of his being received into the church. The Sarah Turner is surely not our Sarah. James Banks was 11 years old by this date, and it is difficult to see why they would have used a maiden name for Sarah after being married for that long.
There is also the matter of the excommunication. Here are the records transcribed in recorded order:
“Saturday before the past Lord’s Day in January 1829 the church met agreeable to appointment and after service formed in church order a door was opened to receive experience of grace. Gatsy Davis came forward and was received was moved and that Brother Spradley and Sister (?) Marsh come under censure of the church for attending a Night Frolick second & past it was moved that Brother B Paine and Brother T Bradley come under a church censure for having transgressed against each other and refusing to talk with each other Second and past. J Barnet Moderator, D Scarborough Clerk.”
“Saturday before the first Lord’s Day in April, 1829 the church met agreeable to appointment and after prayer was offered the church formed in order moved that the censure of Brother T Bradley and Brother Paine be continued moved that Brother Samuel Bradley be laid under censure with Sister Bradley. Moved and past that Brother John Barnet and Brother Joshua Davis and Brother Scarborough be appointed a committee to with Sister Bradley and Brother Bradley [ed – this is the Samuel and spouse mentioned immediately above, not Thomas and Sarah] and report next meeting. Brother Barnet Moderator of the day. D Scarborough Clerk”
“Saturday before the first Lord’s Day in May 1829 met agreeable to appointment and after Service the church formed in order for business and and Brother Benjm Paine was excommunicated Brother Thomas Bradley Restored the committee report that they attended to the case Sister Bradley and Brother Bradley and that a reconciliation was made between them and a full satisfaction was given to the committee so they were both restored also Sister Sarah Bradley and Sister Paine was laid under censure for not fellowshipping the precedance of the church on that day. Brother Barnet Moderator. D Scarborough, Clerk.”
“Saturday before the first Lord’s Day in June 1829 Brother Barnet moderator Sister Sarah Bradley and Sister Rebecca Paine was excommunicated. D Scarborough Clerk.”
What we have in these paragraphs is the record of a disagreement between Benjamin Paine and Thomas Bradley – what the “transgression” between them was is not stated. They are censured. Paine is eventually excommunicated. Thomas is restored. It is not clear that Thomas was excommunicated from these minutes, but he is marked as such on the membership roll. In any case, he was restored. However, in this same meeting, his wife Sarah and the wife of Mr. Paine are now not fellowshipping and so they are both brought under censure. In June they are excommunicated. I did not find any record of Sarah being restored, but the membership roll indicates that she was and she continued on the roll.
This is everything I was able to find in the Antioch Baptist Church records for Thomas and Sarah Bradley. There is a Sarah Ann Bradley that appears on the membership roll beginning in 1850 and continues beyond the Sarah Bradley who is married to Thomas. It is not at all clear who she is or if there is any relation.
Next up are the land records discovered in Sumter Co, SC.
Well, as I might have expected, there was work to do when I got home from our trip to South Carolina. I apologize for not getting things posted more quickly. Beginning here, I am going to going to spend my day off today trying to get all the documentation noted and uploaded. First up are the 1810, 1820, and 1830 federal census records from Kershaw Co, SC. Of course these are available online, particularly if you are on ancestry.com. But the kind folks of the Kershaw County Historical Society have typed them up for easier reference. I’m uploading the pages for the 1820 and 1830 census records that I believe indicate our Thomas. As a reminder, we know our Thomas was in Kershaw Co in 1816, since this is when and where his son James Banks was born. On the 1820 and 1830 census records, there is only one Thomas Bradley head of household. I also purchased the 1810 census and will list all Bradley heads of household on that census. Since James Banks was born in 1816, perhaps our Thomas and Sarah were there in 1810, living at home with their parents. Tracing each of the Bradley heads from 1810 may result in finding our Thomas and his father. So here is the 1820 census image:
Thomas is half way down the bottom page.
Here is the 1830 Kershaw Co SC Federal Census:
Thomas is halfway down the “B” list on this page.
In 1810, we find the following Bradley heads in Kershaw Co, SC (as they are enumerated, spelling and all):
- Hope Bradley
- John Bradley
- Cornl Bradly
- John Bradly
- Joseph Bradly
- Judy Bradly
- Samuel Bradly
- Solomon Bradly
The “Bradly” spelling was either an enumerator error or the family was inconsistent on its spelling of the name. Some of the same Bradley’s appear on the 1820 and 1830 census with the more common spelling. A list of manufacturers of homespun cloth includes the following:
- S. Bradley
- P. Bradley
- H. Bradley
- J. Bradly
- John Bradly (1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-26)
- Samuel Bradly (1 male 10-16)
- Cornl. Bradly (1 male 10-16)
- Hope Bradley (1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-26)
- John Bradley (1 male 16-26)
- Joseph Bradly (1 male 10-16, 1 male 16-26)
So perhaps one of these is Thomas’ father or mother?
The day is done. I have a lot of little things to report, but no major break throughs.
It’s been a long day, so I’m going to summarize it and then I’ll have to post the details tomorrow when we get back to Nashville.
We departed Bloomsbury House (our excellent B&B) this morning and stopped first at the Camden Archives. We spent most of our time going through microfilm of the actual Antioch Baptist Church records. These were fascinating and sometimes funny. If the Thomas and Sarah in membership there were ours, then we have ancestors excommunicated from the Baptist church. Don’t be alarmed. They excommunicated everyone for the smallest things now and then. And Thomas and Sarah were pretty quickly restored. I also purchased typed copies of three federal census records for Kershaw Co – 1810, 1820, and 1830. More on these in a later post.
From there we drove out to Antioch Baptist Church and walked the cemetery. Lots of Bradleys there, but none we are yet able to connect to.
From Antioch we cut over to the Sumter Hwy to head back to Sumter. At the intersection of Sumter and the short cut we took we noticed a Boykin Cemetery on the map. We stopped and it turned out to be Burwell Boykin, his two wives, and son Lemuel with family. We took photos and then headed on into Sumter.
In Sumter we stopped at the Archives again. We were only there a few minutes. The same lady who was there two days ago remembered we were looking for Jennie Merritt and so she called someone. They weren’t able to help her. We got the phone number of the only Merritt in the phone book and will try to call her soon and see if she’s a relation. She also put us in touch with another interesting connection I will explain below. I purchased an 1878 map of Sumter county showing Bradford Springs and Rafting Creek where our family had property, and then we headed over to the courthouse.
In the Sumter Co Courthouse we checked all the Deed indexes and were able to come up with one transaction between James B Bradley and Stephen M Boykin (son of Stephen H Boykin). I believe this is our James Banks. We also found two transactions involving “Thomas Bradley of Kershaw County”. I believe this is our Thomas, but cannot yet prove it.
From the courthouse we went up the road just a bit to “Bradley Market”. Its a little nursery and country store run by a couple named Bradley. They are actually both Bradley descendants through different lines. Someone at the archives thought they might be in our line or might have known Merritt. They were a wonderful couple, but didn’t know much about their lines. However, they have a nephew my age living in Nashville (!) who is doing all the family genealogy and they gave me his name (didn’t have his number – I will look him up). There was one interesting connection, however. Mr. Bradley had an uncle named Burwell Bradley. So they are likely descended from either our James Banks and Mahaza or Benjamin Delaney Bradley and Zeno Love Boykin (Mahaza’s sister). Perhaps we’ll find out soon enough.
We got lots of photocopies and I will share everything over the next day or so. One more thing – cousin Sherry mentioned Stephen Boykin had a medal in the Camden Archives. I asked about it this morning and they showed it to me. It belonged to Stephen M Boykin – the brother of Mahaza. They had his picture next to it. I got pictures of him and the medal.
OK – that’s it for today!
Nothing to report today. We spent the day looking for the Kirkpatricks, which are on my mom’s side. They were also in this area – Chester Co, so we spent all our time there. We found some probate documents and such. Not a bad day. But there was no Bradley work. Tomorrow we’re going back to the Camden Archives to purchase some census records (1810, 1820, and 1830 Kershaw Co Federal). They’ve been typed up and are much easier to read. We’re also going to look there for the Antioch Baptist Church book. Then we’re going to stop by the Revolutionary War Park here in Camden and get pics of the Bradley House (relocated from the land of John Bradley, who may or may not be a relation). Then we’re heading out to the Antioch Baptist Church were Thomas and Sarah were members. From there we’re going back down to Sumter to snoop around a bit more.
I’ll post again tomorrow night whether there’s anything exciting to report or not.
A couple more items…
Jennie Merritt (who apparently did a ton of research on our Bradleys in the 1970s and 1980s) left a bunch of research in the Archives in Sumter. It is all handwritten and not organized. Sometimes there is information with no reference to where it came from. It has been a great help nonetheless.
Among her handwritten notes I found this:
If you click you will see that there is a Thomas and Sarah Bradley in membership at Antioch Baptist Church. They are on the rolls as of 30 June, 1827. Then on 6 Oct 1827 Thomas Bradley is baptized.
Apparently they left, and Sarah is back on the roll in 1842. Now here is what I love about that little fact: Thomas and Sarah moved along with James Banks and Mahaza to Alabama in about 1834. But they moved back to SC, specifically Sumter Co, between 1841 and 1843. So Sarah would indeed be rejoining the church about now. She is still in membership in ’46 and ’53 as well.
The last tidbit from today isn’t new data, but a good story. Here’s a page that, once again, I believe to be written by Jennie Merritt. She is describing finding the grave of Mahaza in 1976! You’ve got to read this for yourself. It’s just a sentence, but it tells a story. My take away is this: Folks have been working on our genealogy for a long time! And they have worked harder in tougher circumstances than we find ourselves fighting. I hope to find more tomorrow and post about that as well!
Besides the family Bible discovery, we found a bill of sale for property being sold by Thomas Bradley. Now let me very quickly tell you what I think I know about Thomas. This Thomas is as far back as we have gotten. He was born about 1793 in South Carolina, married a woman named Sarah (who we think might have been a Banks), appears as the only Thomas in Kershaw County on the 1820 and 1830 census records, and is the father of James Banks (according to James Banks’ tombstone), who was born in Kershaw Co, SC in 1816. What we found today was an 1830 record, as well as handwritten references to several sales in the 1820s which I haven’t yet tracked down original documentation for. Without further ado, here is the front and back of the record…
(click on the thumbnail, then click on the word “permalink”, then click on the image to get it full sized)
In brief, here are the key bits of interest. Thomas Bradley of Kershaw Co is selling some land to a Col Thomas English. Since census records only show one Thomas Bradley in the county at this time, I believe he is the same, and is our Thomas. The surveyor for this land is Stephen H Boykin, the father of Mahaza, wife of James Banks. In the description of the land, part of it was originally surveyed for Burwell Boykin and Peter Cassity. Now James Banks will later name one of his boys Peter Cassidy Bradley – so I can’t help thinking we just found the person for whom he was named. Finally, when you look at the back, you see that Thomas’ wife also had to sign and swear. Her name is Sarah Bradley! So we have a Thomas and Sarah (the only one we can find) living in Kershaw Co in 1830 and associated with Stephen H Boykin and Peter Cassity. I think that’s a fun find and has some significance. To be honest, the only place we had Thomas and Sarah’s names together before now was James Banks’ headstone, and I was beginning to wonder if it was wrong!
More to come…