Bradfields Were Early Settlers At Dallas

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - by John Wilson
John Bradfield was a pioneer circuit-riding minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was a justice of the peace in the county's early days and was one of the organizers of Jackson's Chapel at Hixson.

Bradfield was born Jan. 12, 1791, in Prince William County, Va. That year, John Hooe rented 200 acres to Moses Davis that was "now occupied by Zachariah Bradfield Sr. and James Bradfield.'' It was at the parish of Dittengen in Prince William County.
The rent was 40 bushels of merchantable wheat per year that was to be delivered at Ocroquan Mill or at Dumfries. George and Samuel Bradfield of Prince William County fought in the War of 1812.

John Bradfield was admitted to the Tennessee Conference of Methodists in 1819 and assigned to the Little River circuit. For the next four years, he traveled in the Tazewell, Ashe and Lee circuits. He went with the Holston Conference in 1824 and was assigned to the Sequatchie circuit.

It was in the Sequatchie Valley in Bledsoe County where he met Susannah Thurman, daughter of the Revolutionary War soldier Phillip Thurman and Kesiah Kirkland. Susannah was born along with her twin brother, Elijah, in 1805 when the Thurmans were in Anderson County. John Bradfield and Susannah Thurman were married in March 1825 and a son, Elijah Lewis, was born that November. Their other children were James D.H., the twins John H. and Asahel, Phillip Thurman and Daniel Butler.

The Bradfields made their way in the late 1820s to Hamilton County along with three of Susannah's sisters and their husbands. Those were Asahel and Phoebe Rawlings, Elisha and Sarah Rogers and George W. and Mary Sawyer. The Bradfields paid Asahel Rawlings $92.50 for 370 acres in 1837.

The Methodist Episcopal group organized Jackson's Chapel at Dallas in a small log cabin. George Sawyer in 1831 transferred half an acre for the church to John Bradfield, Burrell Smith and Houston Hixson. Asahel Rawlings gave another half acre for a burial ground. John Bradfield was the preacher at Jackson's Chapel, and he also was involved in county government. However, he died Sept. 27, 1840. He was buried at the Jackson Chapel grounds.

Asahel Bradfield died the next year at the age of 10 and was laid to rest near his father. James D.H. Bradfield died young and is also buried at Jackson's Chapel, which is near the entrance to Chester Frost Park.

Elijah Lewis Bradfield married Elizabeth Evans, but he transferred his Hixson property to his brother, John H., in 1860. He is apparently the same E.L. Bradfield who enlisted in the Union army's 7th Cavalry at Jackson, Tn., on Sept. 5, 1862. He was captured at Trenton, Tn., by forces of GeneralNathan Bedford Forrest on Dec. 20, 1862. E.L. Bradfield was paroled, but he again fell into Confederate hands and was sent to the dreaded Andersonville prison in Georgia. He died there of "unknown causes'' on July 31, 1864.

John H. Bradfield married Sarah E. Burnett on Sept. 10, 1857. Phillip Thurman Bradfield married Elizabeth Smith. Daniel Butler Bradfield and his wife, Louisa A., also resided here before and after the war. John and Phillip Bradfield, like their father, were justices who served on the County Court. John was "reared a farmer and made that his life's work. A man of common school education, for years he held the position of magistrate, being a Democrat politically but not an enthusiast.'' John Bradfield was postmaster at Dallas in 1866 and was succeeded by his brother, Daniel, in 1869.

John and Sarah Burnett in the winter of 1871 chose to cast their lot across the Mississippi. They went by rail as far as Memphis, then took the steamer Thomas H. Allen along the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers, landing at Little Rock on Feb. 20. They lived two years at Shaw Township in Saline County, then bought 182 acres at Jefferson Township. This was eventually expanded to include 253 acres. John H. Bradfield was preparing to build a new residence when he died in 1881. His son, Phillip J. Bradfield, was a well-known farmer and merchant. He married Faithie A. Roberts in 1884. Other children of John H. Bradfield included Susan E., James N., William C., John L., Louisa E. and Leon L.

Daniel B. Bradfield also made his way to Arkansas after selling 200 acres to William R. Puckett in 1882. He was reported living in Hot Springs in 1917. His children included Mary E., John H., Frances A., Alice M., Susan E. and Sarah M.

Susannah Thurman Bradfield was living with her son, Daniel, at Dallas in 1870. She eventually made the trek to Arkansas also. She died Jan. 5, 1887, and was buried at Wesley Chapel in Saline County.

The Phillip T. Bradfields remained here, and Phillip lived until 1916. He left the homeplace near the Hixson mill near Boy Scout Road to his daughter, Sarah Emeline, who had cared for her parents in their old age. His other children were Mary Leona, Nancy Ann, Susan Isabella, John Fletcher, George Alexander, Sophronia Adaline, Laura Ellen, Ida M. and Granville Louis. Mary married Jackson Pryor Kelly, and Susan married Ben Condra. Laura married Alva P. Rogers, and Ida married Heber H. Dowlen. Sophronia married Felton Hatfield. Granville died in 1894 when he was 11. George and his wife, Elizabeth, lived at Whitwell. Mary Bradfield Kelly died in childbirth in 1906. The twins born then lived at Dunlap. They were Era who married Steve Hixson and Vera who married Lawrence Honey.

June Kelly Milburn, a descendant of Mary Bradfield Kelly, lived in Spring Valley at the foot of Signal Mountain. Lola Johnson, a daughter of Laura Ellen Bradfield Rogers, also resided here.

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