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Minnie Winsor Bradford (1850-1931)

Voyages: c. 1853-1882

Ship: Continental, USCS Marcy, USCS Yukon and USCGS Palinurus

Minnie Granville Winsor was born in Duxbury, MA to Capt. Charles F. Winsor and Mary Ann Fearing Weston. As a child, she voyaged with her parents to England where she met author, Nathaniel Hawthorne. As a young woman she learned navigation while sailing aboard the Winsor Line’s clipper ships with her father. In 1866 she sailed with her family aboard the steamship Continental from New York to San FranciscoThe ship was carrying women to become brides in the Northwest Territory. These women were known as the Mercer Girls and have an interesting history all their own.

While in San Francisco in 1871 she fell in love with Gershom Bradford, II (1838-1818). Gershom was no stranger to the Winsor family: his and Minnie’s grandfathers (Capt. Gershom Bradford and Nathaniel Winsor, Jr.) had been best friends in Duxbury, and his mother, Maria Weston Bradford, was born and raised in the Bradford family home at 931 Tremont Street (today, the DRHS’ Bradford House Museum). Although as a child, Gershom, II had visited Duxbury often, he had never met Minnie before.

When they married, Gershom Bradford, II was an Assistant in the United States Coastal Survey aboard the schooner, Marcy.  Minnie joined him when he was in the field surveying shoals and coastlines on the western and eastern seaboards. In 1872, while aboard the Marcy, Gershom wrote to his sister, We are living on the schooner now, and Minnie is becoming so accustomed to it, that I guess she will get quite attached to the vessel after a while.” Minnie also lived aboard the Yukon and Palinurus. During winter months, or when Gershom was awaiting orders, the Bradfords lived in comfortable boarding houses.

Minnie died in 1931 at the age of 81 and is buried in Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, MA.


Bradford, Gershom. In with the Sea Wind: the Trials and Triumphs of Some Yankee Sailors, Barre, MA: Barre Gazette, 1962.

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

Stebbins, Ellen Bradford. A Home on the Rolling Deep: Seen Through Journals, Letters, and Mists of Memory, [West Roxbury], 1939

Minnie Winsor Bradford. Collection of the Drew Archival Library, DRHS.
Minnie Winsor, c. 1860. Pastel drawing in DRHS collection, 1968.001.135. Gift of Gershom and Edward Bradford.
“Marcy.” Image collection of the Drew Archival Library, DRHS.