The Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Sally Drew Bradford

Ship “Hercules” dismasted during a storm in the North Atlantic in 1809; original painting in the collection of the DRHS, 1968.1.106, gift of Gershom and Edward Bradford.

Sarah Drew Bradford (1772-1823)

Voyage: 1809        

Ship: Hercules

Sarah Drew was the daughter of shipbuilder, Rueben Drew, and Mercy Clark. In 1797 she married Capt. Daniel Bradford (1771-1838). Together they built a house at what is today 251 Harrison Street in Duxbury, MA. By 1809 they had two children, 10-year old Emily and 3-year old, Sarah.

Sarah accompanied her husband on a voyage aboard the Hercules in 1809. Their ship was dismasted in a hurricane, but the Bradfords and all hands survived the storm. They jury-rigged a mast and began making their slow trek toward France. Of the harrowing event, Sarah wrote her sister, “No words can express what I have undergone with fear…When I heard the masts go I had not the least idea of living but a few minutes…” They were eventually taken as a prize by the British ship, Ramilies, and brought to England. Once home in Duxbury, the Bradfords, perhaps having enough of the sea, sold their house and moved to Keene, NH. Daniel became a gentleman farmer and the Bradfords had five more children. Their two sons, Daniel Jr. and William, both retuned to Duxbury and became mariners. Sarah died in Keene, NH in 1823.

Home of Capt. Daniel Bradford & Sally Drew Bradford, Duxbury, MA

Home of Capt. Daniel Bradford & Sally Drew Bradford, Keene, NH













Bradford, Gershom. “For Better or for Worse,” in In with the Sea Wind: the Trials and Triumphs of Some Yankee Sailors, Barre, MA: Barre Gazette, 1962.

Browne, Patrick. “Sarah Bradford and the Dismasting of the Ship Hercules.”

Bradford Family Collection, DAL.MSS.024, Drew Archival Library


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