D.R.E.A.D.

BattleofMonmouth

“Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth” by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

David Robert Ewan Alexandre Dunn

How you carry the dead beyond their tragic end, and through the passages of time. Infused in your flesh, weighing your heart, they are the essence of your blood. Was it an unfair burden laid upon your innocent head, or an honor bearing pride? We have one thing in common, dear DREAD, neither of us might exist if not for the fate of our kin.

We come together every Memorial Day to honor the memories of our fallen soldiers. Some of us have short lists, some of us have lists that span beyond the American Revolution. I am of the latter, but this year, I would like to remember an entire family. A soldier who survived the most significant war in American history, only to lose all five of his sons – and give new meaning to the word Dread forevermore.

Revolutionary War veteran Cornelius Bradley of the Sixth Maryland Regiment under Colonel Otho Holland Williams, fought in the Battle of Monmouth under General George Washington and was discharged on March 14, 1779. Upon which time, he migrated his family into a new territory now known as Kentucky. Once they were warned about dangerous Native raids in the area, Cornelius left his wife and children in order to prepare for an immediate move into the secured Block House, where they would be safe.

His unfortunate timing put him too far away to save his family, but not far enough away to miss the fact that they needed saving. Desperate, he went after the nearest help, but by the time they arrived at the cabin, Cornelius’s tragedy had already been dealt. All five of his sons, from his eldest boys to his babe in arms had been brutally cut down by the invaders. His wife lie scalped, stabbed and barely breathing after being forced to listen to her infant son being murdered right beside her, unable to stop it from happening.

Mary Bradley was slowly nursed back to health. A silver plate was placed in her head to protect it due to the scalping. She and Cornelius eventually had three more sons following that horrific day. And the first was designated with the death of his five fallen brothers: David, Robert, Ewan, Alexandre and Dunn.

It is significant that the initials of this son’s name spell “Dread,” a word which seemed to describe the tale of horror that had befallen the family. — History of the Bradley Family, Daughters of the American Revolution Library

D.R.E.A.D. (David) Bradley is my great x5 grandfather. He was the son of a Revolutionary War veteran tasked with the burden &/or honor of ensuring that his brothers were never left behind with their massacred bodies, but carried forth into our family history. Children and grandchildren who had their own families in turn. Bloodlines still thriving two hundred plus years later and going strong.

Entire generations that came within a shallow, faint breath of never existing.

This Memorial Day, I don’t just remember the soldier, Cornelius Bradley, who fought for my freedom alongside our Nation’s founding fathers – I give thanks to those whose lives, choices, sacrifices and tragedies enabled each and every breath I take – and those of my children. Be it for your freedom or your life, somewhere in history a soldier deserves your gratitude, whether you realize it or not. Today, I give thanks to all of mine.

In Memory of the Bradley Family

Cornelius Bradley
Mary Bradley
David Bradley
Robert Bradley
Ewan Bradley
Alexandre Bradley
Dunn Bradley
D.R.E.A.D. Bradley
John Bradley
Hiram Bradley

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