Thursday, May 8, 2014


When 4th Great Grandfather Bradford Peck was born the American Revolution was not yet being fought but anti-British sentiments were brewing. The Boston Tea Party occurred just a month after his birth. George Washington became the first president of the United States when he was just sixteen.

Bradford was born November 5, 1773 in Norwich, New London Co., CT to Darius Peck and Hannah Warner. He was baptized Feb. 6, 1774 according to Norwich First Congregational Church records.[1] Bradford was the oldest of his siblings—Darius, John, Joseph, Henry, Bethia and Warner. He was about 16 when his mother died in 1789 shortly after the birth of youngest brother Warner.

Bradford married Lydia Barstow July 24, 1794[2] in Franklin, New London Co., CT. The marriage is included in the Franklin Congregational Church records[3]. Lydia was the daughter of Yetonce Barstow and Esther Wood born March 2, 1774. Lydia and Bradford both were 20 years old when they married. Their family came soon—Nancy born in 1795, Clarissa about 1797 and Barstow (also known as Bester) March 7, 1798.

Four years later Lydia died. The Franklin Vital Records from the Barbour Collection contained a death for Lydia, wife of Bradford, daughter Yetonce Barstow, died June 6, 1798 age 24[4].  She left a 3 year old daughter, a 2 year old daughter as well as a 3 month old baby boy.

The Courier published in Norwich, CT included her death notice June 14, 1798:

Died.—At Franklin, June 6, Mrs. Lydia Peck, consort of Mr. Bradford Peck, age 25
     June 8, in going to the funeral of Mrs. Peck some horses taking fright at a carriage, four persons were thrown to the ground; one of which (Mrs. Priscilla Barker, of Lebanon) was very much hurt, but is in a fair way to recover.

Sometime after Lydia’s death in June 1798, Bradford encountered financial difficulties. A probate record exists for the estate of Barstow Peck, minor, dated May 3, 1805[5].  (Barstow was Lydia and Bradford’s son.) Nathaniel Hyde of Franklin, Barstow’s guardian, petitioned the Honorable General Assembly in October 1804 for permission to dispose of land belonging to Barstow for debts accrued for his support and his future support. The “Connecticut Archives Index Estates of Minors 1715-1820”[6] and “The Public Records of the State of Connecticut”[7] both contained references to Nathaniel Hyde’s petition revealing more details about the family.  Public records stated Barstow’s mother died in June 1798 “when said Barstow was a sucking child”. It further revealed his father was bankrupt and absconded leaving no relatives of ability to care for him except his grandfather, Yetonce Barstow. It’s hard to say when Bradford ‘absconded’. It sounds like it might have been after Lydia’s death and before Yetonce Barstow’s passing Dec. 28, 1799. When Yetonce Barstow’s estate was administered, money was allotted to Asahel Ladd for the keep of one of Lydia’s children dated Oct. 14, 1800.

“The History of Enfield, Connecticut”[8] revealed Bradford’s 2nd marriage to Mindwell Prior:

     April 20 1800 were joined together in marriage Mr. Bradford Peck of
     Franklin and Miss Mindwell Prior of Enfield

“Bradford Peack” was enumerated as a head of household in the 1800 federal census living in Enfield, Hartford Co., CT. Only two people were in the household—Bradford and his new bride.[9]

Ira B. Peck’s “Descendants of Joseph Peck”[10] state Bradford was a “son of Darius Peck and Hannah Warner (of Franklin, Connecticut) born Nov. 5, 1773 and died in the U. S. service”.  That was all Mr. Ira B. Peck wrote.  A ‘google’ search for Bradford Peck pointed me to Evergreen Cemetery, Lee, Oneida County, New York where Bradford Peck’s tombstone read “Bradford Peck, War of 1812, died 1813, aged 40 years”[11].

His military records supplied more details.  Bradford's 2nd wife, Mindwell Peck Taylor, claimed his military pension and received a bounty warrant for his service during the War of 1812. After Bradford died, she married Anthony Taylor who died in June 1829.

A Widows Declaration dated June 6, 1855 indicates Bradford enlisted in the United States Army May 25, 1812 assigned to Captain White Young of the 15th Regiment U. S. Infantry. He was in the action at Little York under General Pike and became sick on the march to Black Rock, and died some place in-between on the 22nd of June 1813.  Pension papers and a bounty land application from the National Archives state Bradford Peck died in camp on the Niagara frontier[12]. Mindwell received bounty land warrant No. 21972 for 160 acres for Bradford's services during the War of 1812.  It was necessary for Mindwell to provide proof of her marriage and this declaration says her marriage date was April 8, 1799 at East Windsor, Connecticut. This is one year earlier than the church records stated and the location of the marriage is East Windsor rather than Enfield.  Rev. Mr. Pruden performed the marriage[13].  A treasury department official contradicted Bradford's enlistment date as May 25, 1813 in the pension application. 

The Military Bounty Land Warrant Application file from the National Archives garnered more information about Bradford and Mindwell's family[14]. The problem with Bradford's enlistment date surfaced which explains why the pension office suspended Mindwell Taylor's bounty land application on April 16, 1852.  Fortunately, the mistake was clarified and the application again reviewed. On August 24, 1852, Mindwell Taylor submitted a letter to the Commissioner of Pensions providing proof of heirship of her children, Horace, Sarah and Mary Ann along with their relinquishments of bounty land owed their late father, Bradford Peck. The children requested that the bounty certificate be issued to their mother, Mindwell Taylor. Sarah Nicholson and Mary Ann Thayer signed an Oath of Identity & Deed of Relinquishment jointly August 23, 1852 before a Justice of the Peace in Oneida County, New York. Horace Peck declared his Oath of Identify and Deed of Relinquishment in New York City, New York August 3, 1852. Gates Peck of Lee township provided a Proof of Identify and Heirship in Oneida Co., New York August 24, 1852. Gates Peck stated he was well acquainted with Bradford Peck from his childhood until his death. Gates identified Bradford as his cousin and the husband of Mindwell Prior.  He also knew Bradford and Mindwell's children; Horace Peck born in 1808, Sarah Nickelson born in 1810 and Mary Ann Thayer born in 1813. 

[1] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Church Records, Norwich First Congregational Church, page 276
[2] Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, Edited by Franklin W. Bailey, A Reprint with Additions, Corrections and Introduction by Donald Lines Jacobus.  Franklin, CT Marriages, Page 84
[3] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Church Records, Franklin Congregational Church (formerly Second Church in Norwich), page 111
[4] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Barber Collection, Franklin Vital Records, page 74
[5] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Probate Estate Papers, Estate of Peck, Barstow (minor), Town Franklin, District Norwich, Date 1805, No. 8459, 1 Bond
[6] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT, Connecticut Archives Index Estates of Minors 1715-1820, Vol. 7, page 23
[7] Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT., The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Dorothy Ann Lipson, Editor, Vol. XII, pages 172-173
[8] The History of Enfield Connecticut by Francis Olcott Allen, Page 1511
[9] 1800 Federal Census, Enfield, Hartford Co., Connecticut, page 202, line 2, Bradford Peack household
[10] Genealogical History of the Descendants of Joseph Peck, Who Emigrated With His Family To This Country in 1838 by Ira B. Peck, 1868, Page 343
[11] Web Page Town of Lee, Oneida County, New York, Cemeteries, Evergreen Cemetery, Rt. 26, Turin Road
[12]The National Archives Pension Application Files, War of 1812, Death or Disability, “Old War” Widow File No. 11588
[14]The National Archives Bounty Land Files, Act of 12-160 warrant 27768, Veteran Bradford Peck, 1812, Private, 15th Infantry, Capt. Young, Can No. 1667

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