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Sally Drew Bradford (1772-1823)

Voyage: 1804, 1805-1806         

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.

Sarah accompanied her husband on a voyage aboard the Hercules in early September 1805, leaving her 6-year-old daughter, Emily, in the care of her parents. Their ship was dismasted in a hurricane 15 days out to sea, but the Bradfords and all hands survived the storm. They jury-rigged a mast and began making their slow trek toward Antwerp. 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. Capt. Bradford had to fight for the return of his ship and cargo and then conduct repairs. It was not until the early spring of 1806 that the Hercules made its return voyage – at which time Sarah was pregnant with her second child. 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 returned to Duxbury and became mariners. Sarah died in Keene, NH in 1823.

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