Sunday’s Obituary: Amaziah (Amzi) Bradford

Through the generosity of fellow family historian, Doug Kreis, I have the following obituary for my great-great-grandfather, the fiddle-playing man of my grandmother’s youth. Amaziah Bradford was the son of John R. and Hannah Geyer Bradford of Highland Township, Muskingum County, Ohio.  This life synopsis originally appeared in The Adamsville Register, Adamsville, Ohio.

A. G. Bradford Called By Death Last Thursday

Amaziah Bradford, aged 81, died at his home in West Lafayette, Ohio, Thursday 18 October (1928) of heart trouble and infirmities.  He had been in poor health for some time.  Several years ago Mr. Bradford had conducted a confectionery store in West Lafayette and was later employed in the enameling plant in that village.  Mr. Bradford had been a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge in West Lafayette for several years.  He was a member of the M E Church.  He had been a resident of West Lafayette for 30 years.  He formerly lived near Bloomfield.  The deceased was united in marriage with Miss Julia McCall 53 years ago who together with one son and two daughters survive; Charles of Coshocton, Mrs. Samuel Bell of Cincinnati and Mrs. E. A. Robinson of Walhounding.  The funeral was held Saturday afternoon at the M E Church in West Lafayette and burial was made in the cemetery at that place.  The following nephews and nieces attended the funeral :  Mr and Mrs. J. A. Bradford, Harry Bradford, John Kay, Ray Bradford, Isaac Bradford, W. R. Bradford and Mrs. W. D. Brannon of Adamsville and daughter Mrs. Myrville Truax of Zanesville.

Surname Saturday: Minor Details

This is the year, I thought, of the De-Clutter Project, as I surveyed each room’s crammed shelves and drawers.  Impose a fifteen minute limit and voluntarily suffer a daily dose of sorting, storing and recycling, and by year’s end I will have managed 5,475 minutes of life simplification.  Resolutely, I reached for that first stack of books, envisioning an clean and orderly home in just ninety-one 2013 hours.

If today is any indication, the 3.8 days I committed to de-cluttering will only get me to the bottom of one pile.

I started the resolution with a photograph album; more journal than photo-document, this book chronicles an eleven day visit south of the Mason-Dixon line.  I didn’t make it past the second page before deciding that I couldn’t give this to my daughter, or store it in an safe place.  I had to reread it, and keep it within arm’s length for future reference and rumination. In other words, there was not one jot of de-cluttering in today’s 15 minutes of suffering.

Blue skiesIn my mind I’m going to Carolina… March 22-April 2, 1989

Aw, I thought, I was such a sweet young mom, wanting to record my first mother-daughter trip. I kept reading, not sorting. The second page opened with an entry in my grandmother’s hand:

“She has grown so much. And she is talking- hurrah. Caitlin calls me GG for Great Grandmother. I love the name.” 

What followed her note was a forgotten Story Moment, in which some minor details of my grandmother’s family were recorded.

Kerma Pauline was born to Charles Ross and Katherine Roahrig Bradford in 1905.  In 1989 Kerma sat in my mother’s home, watching my toddler play, and recalled:

Grandpa John Roahrig (1849-1919)

One day, my grandmother recounted, she sat in the dining room playing paper dolls with her sister Thelma, her Grandpa Roahrig asleep in a nearby chair.  Thelma talked incessantly and presently Grandpa, always a stern man, spoke up and said, “Thelma, your mouth moves as fast as a goose’s ass!”

The two girls decided to leave the fireside and play in the next room.

Grandpa Amaziah Bradford (1847-1928)

Kerma recalled that her Grandpa Bradford played the fiddle and clogged and played horse with his grandchildren.  His son, Charles Ross, must have inherited his gifts, since Kerma recalled that her dad could play any stringed instrument–guitar, banjo and fiddle.

De-clutter to Discover

I may not have accomplished much in the way of de-cluttering, but I DID discover a treasure, hidden within the minor details of an old photo album, a side benefit of my daily fifteen which is sure to be repeated often in 2013.

HELP! I Need Somebody!: wordless wednesday

 

"2nd row 3rd from right"

Help, I need somebody,

Help, not just anybody,

Help, you know I need someone, help!

~~the Beatles

Found among my grandmother’s treasures, this photograph presented a family mystery. Where is this taken? What oaths bound these men together?   Who is “2nd row, 3rd from right?”

HELP!

Clues emerged–just since the New Year–from my Kerma Bradford surname research.  My Roahrig connection, Doug Kreis of Zanesville, Ohio, became my Bradford connection from Zanesville, Ohio.  Opening that PDF , I quickly scanned the Register Report for new information.  This passage from an obituary for Amaziah George Bradford, Adamsville Register, Adamsville, Ohio, dated October 1928 grabbed my attention:

Several years ago Mr Bradford had conducted a confectionery store in West Lafayette and was later employed in the enameling plant in that village. Mr Bradford had been a member of the Odd fellows Lodge in West Lafayette for several years. He was a member of the M E Church. He had been a resident of West Lafayette for 30 years.

The Odd Fellows Lodge leapt off the screen, grabbed me by the neck and dragged me to the box of Kerma treasures.  The photo is mounted on a hard cardboard, with no identification other than those words of inscription.  Directed to that man in the second row–third from the right–I compared his face to that of Kerma’s brother, Carlos Bradford.

Carlos Leroy Bradford

The resemblance is striking!

Square face. Cleft in chin. This guy is a Bradford.

The words Odd Fellow Lodge became google keywords over the course of the next couple of days.  Armed with the research I went back to the photo and found identification staring me in the face.


I believe I have an image of my grandmother Kerma’s grandfather Amzi Bradford!!!

I Need Somebody! Not just anybody!

My detective work continues to turn this hunch into a solid, positive identification.  The hats, mustaches, suits and shoes of these men offer clues as to the date this gathering took place.  The building’s windows and door moldings may hold clues as to where the photograph was shot.  If I could confirm either of those facts, then I could–with much greater certainty– state that I do, indeed, have an image of my great-great-grandfather Bradford.  This is where I need help, and not just from anybody!  Photo detectives: can you shed some light on these lingering questions?  Do you have sources you could recommend for a novice photograph historian?  Leave your ideas in the comments–I look forward to hearing from you!