This week we take a look at the life and accomplishments of Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley.
Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley
Date of Birth: August 14, 1796, Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York
Death: October 8, 1880, West Greece/Parma Townline
Year of First Marriage: 1817, with Cornelia
Second Marriage to Sarah “Sally” Bartlett Bradley
Children William Bradley (1838–1907), Sarah Bradley (Cromwell) (1840-1930 (aged 89–90)), and a twin sister.
1823 served a term in the New York State Assembly
Greece Supervisor (1836-38), Postmaster (1828-1838), assessor (1841), and Commissioner of Common Schools (1825-1830) and (1830-1836) Then in he served as the Town Superintendent of Common Schools from (1844-1852) which he gave 19 years to the different roles in supporting education for the youth in the town of Greece years during the first two terms as Commissioner of Common Schools would be for District 6 which would later be known as District 13 at the Greece Parma border.
Samuel Beach Bradley was born on August 14, 1796, in Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York, to Reverend Joel Bradley and Mary Anne Beach Bradley. In 1814, Samuel, graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and after college, he went to study Medicine, with Dr. Seth Hastings of Clifton, Oneida County. In 1817, at the age of 21, Bradley married 18-year-old Cornelia Bradley, but she died just a few months later, “a sorrow that shadowed his life for many years” and although he later remarried, he wrote in his diary of his “dear Cornelia” until the day he died.
Samuel started practicing in Eaton, New York, and in 1820 moved to Parma, New York; in 1823 he settled in West Greece, Monroe County, which became his home for the rest of his life. Samuel expanded from just practicing medicine to being a botanist as well.
He is cited as an authority in Gray’s Botany (5th ed.); in Paine’s “Catalogue of Plants of Oneida County and Vicinity” (1865) he is given as the sole authority for twenty-one species of plants found in the neighborhood of Rochester; and in the “List of Plants of Monroe County, New York, and Adjacent Territory,” published by the Rochester Academy of Science (1896), he was credited with eleven species not hitherto reported. A close and accurate observer, his work along the lake shore, inlets, and ponds was particularly thorough.
It is quite common here at the Greece Historical Society to receive a phone call or email asking a local history or family-related question, which we are always happy to help with. We also get calls about donating some precious antiques, family heirlooms, or other objects. With storage space at a premium and keep ing in mind the cost of caring for these items, we insist that any object or document we acquire will help to tell the story of Greece.
Then there is that odd call that just does not fit into any category. Last summer someone called who was remodeling their home in Greece and wanted to know if we were interested in what they found inside one of its walls. My curiosity got to me and off I went to see what they had. It was a small handwritten note and some old deteriorated 1938 newspapers. Old newspapers are fun to look at, but of no real value, as they are nearly all available online, or on microfilm, but the handwritten note sent me on a quest to find out who it was that hid these items in the wall.
The note read:
“These papers were put in this wall by John J. Walsh who built this house and this year 1938 I am 47 years old and am employed as a printer and run a linotype on the Times-Union, and the Democrat & Chronicle are printed in the same building. Not knowing when these papers will be taken out of this wall, I wish the papers be shown at the Times to members of the Typographical Union men.”
John J. Walsh
With my connections in town, I did find one man who remembered John at the paper, but he was a very young Times-Union employee at the time and John was on his way to retirement, so he was no help.
Then I was off to search the website, NYS Historic Newspapers, with its treasure trove of old local papers. I found that John J. Walsh grew up in the City and moved to Greece in 1937 with his wife Julia and two daughters. He was a member of the Inter national Typographical Union No. 15 and as his note said, he was employed at the Times-Union.
John was highly active in the Greece Democratic Party, including serving as its chairman for a number of years. He even ran against Gordon Howe for Supervisor in 1939 and for Justice of the Peace in 1943. According to newspaper accounts, he spent quite a bit of time vociferously attacking the Republican majority in Town but still cooperated with them in promoting the sale of war bonds.
In 1944 he was recognized for his contributions to a military club that was operating a service center. He was active in St. John the Evangelist Church and on the committee to raise funds for their new school in 1946, while also serving on the Rochester OPA (Office of Price Administration) Control Board. John died of a heart attack on August 23, 1952, and was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Unfortunately, I was not able to share his old newspapers with the guys at the Times-Union. I am sure John would never have imagined that the Times-Union would stop publishing in 1997 and the profession of linotype operator would vanish with the advent of computers. l was, however, able to find stories about his life here in Greece because of the advent of computers. After finding out who John J. Walsh was, I visited his grave; l felt the need to let him know that someone did eventually find his note and those old newspapers some 82 years after he hid them in that wall.
Today there is truly little in newspapers that record the stories of local events or people. This is one reason why the NYS Education Department at the NYS Library has organized the COVID-19 Personal History Initiative to record and preserve the unprece dented historical events currently unfolding around us. They encourage all New Yorkers to keep a journal documenting what their daily lives are like during this pandemic: the challenges they face; the obstacles they have to overcome; and the creative ways they found to connect with family, friends, and community.
Consider documenting your story and donating it to the Greece Historical Society or any other historical society or municipal historian where it will be archived locally with copies sent to the State Library, which will preserve all the journals and stories from New York State for future generations to study and learn from.
Coming to Monroe County in the early 1800s, the Britton Family were early settlers in what was then called Rochesterville.
Alanson Phizarro Britton, the ninth child of thirteen, was born in the tiny village in 1820. While in his teens he ran a line boat on the Erie Canal and later he managed a Toll Gate on the plank road in Brighton which became East Avenue. While boarding at the Toll Gate house he met and later married, in 1849, a school teacher named Laura Lewis. By 1853 he became interested in a plot of land in the town of Greece. The first dwelling, on about 1.02 acres he purchased from John and Lydia Beal, was a log house. A small portion of this land had already been deeded for use as a schoolhouse to Greece Common School District #9 by the Beals. Shortly after the Civil War, Alanson began building the present Italian ate style home on the property. The timbers were cut from trees on the property, hauled to a sawmill, cut into useable lumber, and brought back to the building site.
The Britton farmstead, completed about 1870, was well known for its Hubbard Squash. By 1875 the Brittons had sold about an acre of the southern portion of the land near Maiden Lane to the Methodist Church for $700. Laura and Alanson raised four children, of which the two eldest died fairly young.
Mr. Britton was the Town of Greece Supervisor five different times from the late 1870s until 1901. By mutual agreement, elected supervisors only served a two-year term and retired but could run again after a two-year gap. Of all the 19th-century supervisors, Britton seems to hold the record for the number of times served. Alanson had a long life, dying at the homestead in 1912; Laura preceded him in 1910 with an equally long life. They are buried in the Falls Cemetery on Ridge Road. The Britton homestead is now about 140 years old and is again up for sale with 1.6 acres of the original 102 acres from 1853 remaining. House # 1066 is listed on the “101 historic sites in The Town Of Greece” and awaits a new owner who loves being surrounded by “friendly ghosts” of an important Greece family!
Photos, Data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office, Greece Historical Society