Bradley descendants prosper in Conecuh and surrounding Counties

Published 3:48 pm Friday, December 11, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Members of the Bradley family which settled in Conecuh and Covington Counties were introduced, and some of their descendants were reviewed in last week’s column. Samuel Bradley, son of James Bradley Jr., was born 1760 in South Carolina and migrated to Belleville, Conecuh County, Ala., in 1820. His first cousin, Matthew Brandley Jr., son of Matthew Bradley Sr. settled in the Loango community of Covington County, Ala., about the same time. They were the grandsons of James Bradley Sr. who was born in Ireland.

This Samuel Bradley’s son, Ely Bradley, was born in 1796 and was married in 1827 to Allie Clotilda Simpson, daughter of Thomas Simpson and Rachael Horger. They reared a large family of 11 children who married and reared their families in Conecuh County and surrounding areas such as the Town of Furman in Wilcox County, Pineville and Orville. Ely and Allie were the parents of the following children: Samuel, b. 1828, d. 1889, m. (1) 1854 Nancy Jane Nettles (2) 1878 Mary Alabama Robbins; Barbara, b. 1829, d. 1906, m. 1848 Daniel Robbins; Thomas, b. 1831, d. 1850; Ely II, b. 1833, d. 1914, m. ca 1900 Viola Beatrice Harris; John, b. 1835, d. 1867, m. 1861 Martha Ophelia Nettles; Mary Prestwood, b. 1837, d. 1895, m. ca 1856 Osborne Crook; Rachael Ann, b. 1839, d. 1870, m. 1858 William Palmer; Allie Clotilda, b. 1841, d. 1912, m. 1860 Elijah King Robbins; Catherine Elizabeth, b. 1843, d. 1918, m. ca 1865 Jay A. McCondichie Jr.; Frances Amanda, b. 1845, d. 1915, m. 1871 George Edwin Suddith; and Nancy, b. 1851, d. 1920, m. 1871 Will Etheridge.

The oldest son, Samuel Bradley was born in 1828 a few years after the family settled in Belleville, Conecuh County, Ala. He was married first in 1954 to Nancy Jane Nettles, daughter of Joseph Nettles and Mary Andress, but he lost her after five children. Nancy Jane was buried in the Methodist Church Cemetery in Belleville as Samuel would be later at his death in 1889. After Nancy Jane’s death, Samuel was married in 1878 to Mary Alabama “Bama” Robbins, daughter of James Robbins and Elizabeth Lewis. They had two children before his death in 1889.

Samuel and Nancy Jane were the parents of the following children: Thomas Ely, b. 1855, d. 1875; Mary Allie, b. 1857, d. 1941, m. John Samuel Watson; William Joseph, b. 1859, d. aft. 1900, m. Clara W. Bradley; John Samuel, b. 1861, d. 1930, m. Mattie Eugenia Etheridge; and Lawrence C, b. 1865, d. 1894. Samuel and his second wife, Mary Alabama Robbins, were the parents of two children: Jane Nettles, b. 1879, d. 1967, m. Robert Henry Gaston; and Mattie Sam, b. 1885, d. 1984, m. 1904 John A. Millen.

The oldest daughter, Mary Allie Bradley, was born in 1857 In Belleville. When her father was married again, she was only six years younger than her stepmother, Mary Alabama Robbins. It is believed they had a good relationship, and Mary Allie has been remembered as a good cook. She was married in 1874 to John Samuel Watson, son of William Watson and Ann Samply. They became the parents of the following 10 children: William Samuel, b. 1876, d. 1947, m. Minnie Sophie Smith; Daisy, b. 1878, d. 1970; Mabel, b. 1880, d. 1950, m. Robert Jackson Allen; John, b. 1883, d. 1961, m. Sarah Renfroe; Lawrence Ely, b. 1886, d. 1970, m. Nannie Bell Hancock; Mary Allie, b. 1889, d. 1981, m. Newman Evins Gentry; Drucilla, b. 1892; Eugene Albert, b. 1895, d. 1976, m. Jessie Lee McKenzie; Ruby, b. 1898, d. 1987, m. William Edgar Diamond; and Annie J., b. 1901, d. 1923.


The second son, William Joseph Bradley, was born in 1859 and married Clara W. Bradley (no relation) in 1886. They were the parents of the following three children: Annie B., b. 1886; John S., b. 1888; and William E., b. 1895. William was enumerated in the 1900 federal census, but the date of his death is not known.


The next son, John Samuel Bradley, was born in 1861 in Belleville where he and all his siblings were born. He was married in 1890 to Mattie Eugenia Etheridge, daughter of John Etheridge. They were the parents of the following six children: Ethel L., b. 1892, d. 1938; Mary E., b. 1894, d. 1985; John Etheridge, b. 1895, d. 1974; Lonnie S., b. 1896, d. 1976; Jesse Proctor, b. 1898, d. 1970; and Bessie Lou, b. 1904, d. 1997.

The youngest son in the first marriage, Lawrence C. “Lonnie” Bradley, was born in 1865, the year the War Between the States ended. As a young adult he left home to study medicine in New Orleans. During his years there, he contracted fever from which he died, and he was buried there.

The oldest child of Samuel’s second marriage, Jane Nettles Bradley, was born in 1879 in Belleville. In 1897 she was married to Robert Henry Gaston, son of James Gaston and Mahalia Andrews. They became the parents of the following children: Infant, b.&d. 1898; Mary Linda, b. 1899, d. 1965, m. 1921 Joel Franklin Nichols (1897-1939); Mattie Hortense, b. 1900, d. 1980, m. 1924 William Earl Mengel (1894-1953) WW I; James Allison (twin), b. 1903, d. 1978, m. 1928 Willie Dent Rumbley (1906-1987); Samuel Albert Sr. (twin), b. 1903, d. 1972, m. 1929 Edith McCreary (1905-1981); Bertha Leonce, b. 1905, d. 1997, m. (1) Harvey Iver Morrow (1891-1970) (2) Elwin Robert Snider (1902-1994); Infant daughter, b.&d. 1908; Earnestine (twin), b. 1909, d. 2014, m. 1929 Elva Leroy Raines (1906-1970); and Christina “Christine” Kelly (twin), b. 1909, d. 2006, m. 1930 William Conrad Booker (1908-1959).

The oldest daughter, Mary Linda Gaston, was married to Joel Franklin Nichols Sr. They were the parents of the following children: Joel “Joe” Franklin Jr., b. 1922, d. 1974; Wilma Inez, b. 1924, d. 2003, m. Alton Nichols Thompson; Bobbie Winifred, b. 1926, d. 2006; James Albert, b. 1928, d. 1936; William L., b. 1929, d. 2014, m. Hermione ?; Mary Virginia “Ginger,” b. 1935, d. 2001, m. Jesse Cleve Baggett (1920-2003) WW II; and two additional living children. The children were born while the family was residing in the Repton community of Conecuh County.

The oldest son, James Allison Gaston, was born in 1903 in Belleville, and he eventually moved to Georgiana in Butler County, Ala., where he died in 1978. In 1928, he was married in Escambia County, Ala., to Willie Dent Rumbley. They were the parents of three children: Margaret Jean, b. 1930, single; Barbara Jean, b. 1931, d. 1933; and John Allison, b. 1947, m. Linda Sue Burkett.  John Allison “Al” and Linda are the parents of three children: James Mason, John Drew and Margaret Susanna.

James Allison Gaston relocated to Georgiana in 1948 to work as a policeman with a new administration and later became Chief of Police. His daughter, Margaret Jean Gaston, moved to Georgiana in 1951 to work at the Alabama Power Company’s local office, where she worked for 35 years before retirement. She then went in 1987 to work as the Chief Clerk for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. She retired again in 1998 and returned to Georgiana where she worked part-time from 1999 to February 2020 at the Hank Williams Museum.

James Allison Gaston’s twin, Samuel Albert Gaston Sr., and his wife, Edith (McCreary) had one son, Samuel Albert Gaston Jr., b. 1933, m. 1958 Thelma Marshall. James Allison’s younger sister, Earnestine Gaston and her husband, Elma Leroy Raines were the parents of one son, Fred Burns Raines, b. 1934, m. Polly Smith. The Raines family traveled extensively and lived in numerous locations. The other twin sister, Christina Gaston, and her husband, Willard Conrad Booker, were the parents of three children: Carole Leigh, b. 1931, m. Denton Hall; Harry Gaston, b. 1933, d. 2011, m. Sarah Bowen; and Willard Conrad Jr., b. 1943, m. 1963 Betty jean Dees.

There is a record in The Heritage of Conecuh County, Alabama, naming the two younger, twin daughters, Earnestine and Christine Gaston along with Mattie Lou Gaston as members of Belleville School’s Championship Basketball Team. So many members of the Gaston family excelled in numerous ways, and there has been considerable history and genealogy recorded for their heritage.

The source for today’s story were the genealogical records of Margaret Jean Gaston, a descendant named above. Appreciation is expressed to her for so generously sharing her research.

Anyone who finds an error in the above is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: