Descendants of David Cutler Braddock and his son John Cutler Braddock abound in the Southeast, especially Florida. Both men were mariners of considerable note in Colonial and Revolutionary times. Their renown as iron men sailing wooden ships is not surprising. They came about their extraordinary skills as mariners honestly. John had acquired his while toiling on the decks of his father, David’s, ships. David had served his apprenticeship under his father, Captain John Braddick.
Captain Braddick’s last name is not misspelled. In almost all old public records mentioning him, including his will, it is spelled with an "i" instead of an "o". All his children spelled it that way except, for some unexplainable reason, his son David.
Captain Braddick lived in Southold, Long Island, NY. The house, or a many times renovated version of it, he lived in as early as 1700 still stands in Southold and is commemorated with a historical plaque listing the families who had resided in it—including Braddick. The town, considered to be the oldest community on Long Island, was settled in 1640 by Puritans from the New Haven Colony of Connecticut who had come from England earlier. Predicated on the fact that his first child was born in 1701, Captain Braddick was born around 1675, much too late to have been part of the New Haven Colony. However, he did come from England. An old genealogy of the Christophers family of Connecticut, into which his oldest son married, has the comment about the son: “He was a son of Capt. John Braddick, late of London, Eng., and later of Southold, N. Y.” The comment is also in History of New London. The fact that Captain Braddick had a sister, Grace, who married John Vail in Southold, raises the possibility that the two were brought to America by their parents.
According to several old genealogies, Captain Braddick married Mary Dyer around 1700. Their first child, John Henry, was born in January 1701. On June 9, 1702, Captain Braddick was declared a freeman—one who has full rights as a citizen—for his service as a mariner at Fort William Henry in upper Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River, not to be confused with the later built upstate New York fort of the same name. He received payment February 17, 1704 from the governing council of New York “...for use of his sloop in the revenue service.”
On July 27, 1711, during Queen Ann’s War with Canada, the governing council of Connecticut ordered “...that 500 barrels of wheat, or more, aboard Capt John Bradick’s [sic] ship, now in this harbour, be forthwith bought or impressed to make bread for the sustenance of the men belonging to this Colony, now going to the expedition against Canada &c.” The next day, the council ordered that Capt. Braddick be paid 183 pounds, 19 shillings for the seized wheat. The fact that the ship he owned and commanded would hold 500 or more barrels indicates it was no small vessel.
Captain Braddick’s wife, Mary Dyer, died sometime before 1715. By then, she had given birth to two more children, Mary and Alice.
While Captain Braddick operated out of Southold, most of his shipping business came from coastal Connecticut ports such as New London, which was 30 miles across Long Island Sound from Southold, and from Boston and foreign ports. Few records of port arrivals and departures from the Colonial era exist to indicate the degree of his shipping enterprise. Of those, only a few have been found having mention of him. The earliest found concerned a 150 mile trip up the Hudson River to Albany, which required a pass from New York’s governing council. He applied for the pass April 21, 1710. The Council granted it April 28th. It is not known when he departed on the long trip; however, the book, History of New London, mentions his arrival in New London September 8, 1711 on his return. Albany, which would become New York’s state capital in 1797, was founded in 1614 as a Dutch trading post.
The book, Records Relating to the Early History of Boston mentions two arrival in that city. In the first, he arrived in Boston March 17, 1715 from New London on the sloop John & Mary with passenger Col. Joseph Whieam of Southold aboard. In the second, he arrived in Boston June 28, 1716 on the sloop Revenge from New London with passenger Hannah Goodale, a spinster. In addition, “John Braddick for New York,” appeared in the outward bound column of the February 5th - February 12th 1722 issue of the New-England Courant. James Franklin, Ben’s older brother, founded the newspaper a year earlier. Ben, who was only 15, worked on the newspaper at that time. A few more of Braddick's maritime arrivals and departures, along with numerous other mentions of him and some of his family members, are recorded in the Diary of Joshua Hempstead.
Despite so few records of his maritime activities, the statements in his will, “I leave to my wife Mary 1/3 of all my estates during her life,” and “I leave to my son John all my lands and tenements,” would indicate that Captain Braddick prospered economically in his thirty-plus-years as a mariner
Sometime after Mary Dyer’s death, Captain Braddick met Mary Cutler on one of his trips to Boston. She was the daughter of John Cutler, a noted surgeon in early Boston. When Dr. Cutler arrived in America from his native Holland around 1670, he changed his name from Johannes Demesmaker to its English equivalent. Historical records give no hint of how Captain Braddick met Mary. The meeting may have been arranged by her brother David, who was also a mariner. Romantic that I am, I like to imagine that David, on returning home one evening, told his sister, “I met the nicest man down at the waterfront today, a real gentleman. He captains his own commercial vessel. I’d like for you to meet him? Oh, and by the way, he is a widower.” Regardless of how they met, John Braddick and Mary Cutler were married April 24, 1715 by Reverend Sam Miles in the Presbyterian Church in Boston. The public record of their marriage spelled his name as “Braddock.” Mary was 32 at the time, having been born in 1682.
Their first child, Elizabeth, was born July 11, 1716, in Boston. Captain Braddick may have taken Mary there for her father to deliver the baby. Their second child, David, who was given the middle name Cutler, was most likely born in 1717. David was followed by Peter and Abigail, whose birth dates are not known.
Captain Braddick was to appear before the Court of General Sessions of the Peace in Boston in October 1718 for a hearing on a charge brought by Sarah Salter, a single woman, that he had fathered her child out of wedlock. He failed to appear for the hearing. The court rescheduled the hearing to the following November. After failing to appear for that hearing and giving the same reason, the court forfeited his bond. The reason he gave was he was hindered from attending “by the Providence of God.” He brought his relatively new father-in-law, Dr. John Cutler, with him to court June 2, 1719, to stand surety for him. Dr. Cutler also testified on Captain Braddick’s behalf that he had been prevented from appearing the previous two times due to reasons beyond his control. The reasons given by Captain Braddick were that while on his voyage from New York to Boston for the earlier hearing, his vessel ran ashore and was stuck for fourteen days before he could get it off, and that it being the winter season, it was extremely difficult to come from Long Island to Boston by land" with his evidences, who were with him in his vessel, by whom he could prove that the said Sarah Salter had had carnal knowledge of several persons about the time that she pretends that the petitioner lay with her;" In the June 8 session, the court ruled in Captain Braddick's favor, finding that he had been prevented from appearing “by the Providence of God.” No record of the final disposition of Sarah Salter's charge has been found.
In April 1721, Captain Braddick became entangled with pirates. In January, Bartholomew Roberts, who is considered to have been the most successful of all the pirates, captured a New England trading brigantine commanded by Benjamin Norton of Newport, Rhode Island at St. Lucia in the Caribbean. Some records infer that Norton’s ship was not captured, but that he was working in collusion with Roberts. Some weeks later Roberts, who was also known as Black Bart, captured a 250 ton Dutch vessel Porto Prince. He loaded it with large quantities of sugar, cocoa, other goods, and about 30 slaves and turned it over to Norton to sail back to New England to vend the cargo. Reaching Tarpaulin Cove on Naushon Island in Martha’s Vineyard in late April, Norton sent word out that he had goods to sell. Numerous New England vessels showed up at Tarpaulin Cove to purchase items from aboard the ship. Captain Braddick was one of them. In addition to goods he may have purchased, he came away with a 12 to 13 year old slave. He took the boy to New London, where he delivered him to a Dr. Acourt of Saybrook, Connecticut. The New London County sheriff, enforcing a law against bringing anything from a pirate ship into the colony, took the boy into custody. The law had been enacted to prevent bringing smallpox into the colony.
The governing council of New York seized Captain Braddick’s vessels and charged Braddick with complicity with pirates. In his deposition to the Council on June 19th, he said he had received ten Negroes, sugar, and cocoa from Norton but had made no bargain with him, and that he had reported the Negroes to Southold authorities and quartered them at his house in Southold. Depositions given by four of Norton’s crewmen painted a different picture. They deposed that Braddick had also purchased off Norton’s ship six hogsheads of white sugar, large quantities of cloth, apparel and all the slaves and that he had since sold the slaves. The Counsel ordered him committed to jail. Apparently he did not serve long or the Counsel later reversed the order, as Joshua Hempstead’s diary has an entry of his sailing in 1723.
Captain Braddick, in command of his brigantine Recovery, sailed from Boston in late 1733 for the Island of Madera near Portugal. Later that same year, on December 24, while returning to the Western Hemisphere, several crewmen, Ziggey John Witness, who was an Indian from Long Island, John Smith, master caulker John Main, and Thomas Parker, mutinied as the Recovery neared Salt Island in what is now the British Virgin Islands. Witness was an Indian from Long Island. Parker was a 16 year old youth from England who had previously served on two British men-of-war and had come aboard the Recovery at Madera. Captain Braddick and his son Peter were murdered in the mutiny. The mutineers were tried at Barbados. Based on the testimony of second mate Henry Peck, who took no part in the mutiny, the mutineers were found guilty. Two of them, Witness and Parker, were hung February 23, 1734. Their confessions are at Confessions of two of the men who murdered Captain John Braddick and others at sea
A gruesome account of the mutiny appeared on page 4 of The American Weekly Mercury issue of Feb. 5 - Feb 12, 1734:
Philadelphia, Feb. 12. We have advice from Barbardos, That Capt. John Braddock in a Brig. bound from Madera to the Cape de Verde Island, was barbarously murder’d, together with his Chief Mate and Boy, by his Vessels Crew. The Brig. was afterwards met off of St. Lucia By Capt. Walter Pemerton in a Sloop belonging to Barbados, who upon Information of the Fact from one of their Men, took the Brig. and brought up two of the Men Prisoners to Barbados, who were committed to the Goal there, and left some of his Men to bring up the Brig. and the other two, which were all the Men on board (one being shot in taking her). The Brig. was not arriv’d when this Account left Barbados, she not going so well as the Sloop. The Person who cut Capt. Braddock's Throat was an Indian who had been some time with him; ‘tis said he was so strong that three Men could not bind him, and they were forced to Hamstring him before they could Master him. They put the Boy's Eyes out and flung him over-board, but he swimming took hold of the Vessel and they cut his Hands off.
the mutiny also appeared in Peter Zenger’s New
York Weekly Journal and Ben Franklin’s Pennsylvania
Captain Braddick had written his will less than four months before his death:
In the name of God, Amen. I, John Braddick, of Southold in Suffolk County, mariner, being at this present time at Boston, in Massachusetts Bay, in good bodily health. I leave to my wife Mary 1/3 of all my estates during her life. I leave to my son John, all my lands and tenements. To my daughter Mary, £5. To Thomas Sandforth, of Southold, who is now my partner, £100. All the rest of my estate is to be sold by my executors, and the proceeds divided among my five youngest children, Alice, Elizabeth, David, Peter, and Abigail. I make my son John and Thomas Sandforth, executors. “I have hereto set my hand and seal at Boston.”
September 6, 1733. Witnesses, Stephen Boutineau, Gillam Phillips, John Payne. Proved before Brinely Silvester, Esq., September 6, 1734.
At some point after Captain Braddick’s death, his widow, Mary Cutler Braddick, went to live with one of her daughters, Elizabeth or Abigail, in New London. She died there December 6, 1739 at the age of 57.
Captain Braddick’s oldest child, John Henry, was also a sea captain. He married Lucretia Christophers June 19, 1726 in New London. She was the daughter of Richard Christophers, assistant to the governor of Connecticut. Of their seven children, only two, John and Christopher, survived to adulthood. Like all the known John Braddicks before him, John became a sea captain. He assisted John Paul Jones’ ship Alfred with prisoners during the Revolution. After Lucretia’s death in 1748, John Henry married his widowed sister-in-law Mary Christophers Coit.
Captain Braddick’s oldest daughter, Mary, married Nathan Moore of Southold. No record of children they may have had has been found. Daughter Alice married Abraham Cory of Southold. They had one child, Braddick Cory, born six month after his grandfather was murdered at sea.
Elizabeth, Captain Braddick’s oldest child by Mary Cutler, married William Salmon of Southold. They relocated to Mt. Olive, New Jersey. They had eight children: William, Peter, John who died in infancy, Elizabeth, John who survived to adulthood, Richard, Cutler, and Joshua.
David Cutler Braddock was Captain Braddicks’ second child by Mary Cutler. He may have been named after Mary’s mariner brother, David Cutler. I have no idea of how his last name ended up with an "o" instead of an "i". I’ve researched him for over twenty years, and the closest I’ve seen to his name being spelled Braddick is as Braedick in the October 3, 1743 issue of the South Carolina Gazette mentioning his leaving on a cruise in command of the Charles Town galley. Other than being mentioned in his father’s will, absolutely nothing is known of him until 1741 when he was a 24 year old mate aboard the merchant ship Ancona. The Ancona, its hold full of rice bound for Cowes, England, was captured by a Spanish privateer off the coast of Charles Town, South Carolina and carried into St. Augustine. He escaped and made his way to St. Simons, where General Oglethorpe commissioned him commander of a military schooner. As commander of that schooner, he later assisted in chasing back to Florida the Spanish fleet that had attempted to invade St. Simons.
David then commanded South Carolina’s galley Beaufort for a few years before moving to the Savannah, Georgia area and becoming commander of a privateer. While on a privateering mission, he made a well known chart of the Florida Keys, which is now in the Library of Congress. He was also twice elected to the Georgia Commons House of Assembly.
While still in South Carolina, he married Mary Lyford, daughter of his commander, William Lyford Sr., an intrepid mariner. He and Mary had two sons, John Cutler and Peter. Almost nothing is known of Peter. Son John Cutler Braddock commanded the Georgia galley Lee in the Revolutionary War and helped capture three British men-of-war at St. Simons. John married Lucia Cook. Their children are progenitors of a multitude of descendants, most of them in Florida. For a 300 page chronology of all the many exploits of David Cutler Braddock, his son John Cutler Braddock, his father-in-law William Lyford Sr., and his brother-in-law William Lyford Jr., check this out: Wooden Ships - Iron Men.
Other than being mentioned in his father's will, no further record of Captain Braddick’s son Peter has been found. Captain Braddick’s youngest child, Abigail, married Richard Coit and had daughter Martha. After Coit's death, Abigail married James Chapman.
Here are links to a few excellent genealogies of Captain John Braddick's descendants by three of his descendants: