MORE ABOUT THE IRON MEN
My five years worth of research having uncovered enough exploits and information about the four heroes of Wooden Ships - Iron Men to fill up 300 pages, I assumed I had found every historical record in existence concerning them. I have learned in the twelve years since the book's publication that I assumed wrong. Several historical records, some startling and some that further enhance their reputations as Iron Men have been brought to my attention. So that you will know as much about our illustrious mariners ancestors as I do, the information from these records is presented below in chronological order:
|On page 26 of my book, in speculating about the
father of David Cutler Braddock's father, Captain John Braddick, I made the statement
, "No records linking John to his father could be found. It is
likely he was Nicholas Braddock, another mariner." I
have since learned that Captain John Braddick's father was also a Captain John Braddick
who came from England in the mid-1600's.
David was born in Southold, Long Island, the oldest English town in New York state, having been founded in 1640 by Puritans from New Haven colony in Connecticut. Braddock descendant Dorothy Preslar, who directs the animal and zoonotic disease surveillance project and its operational program known as ILIAD (International Lookout for Infectious Animal Disease), sent me a photo of the site on which David's family lived and an old plat of the town which shows the house. It is located at 600 Tuckers Lane. There is indication that at the time of the Braddicks, a tavern or inn stood on the site. Dorothy, who visited the site and took the picture, says, "The house is, of course, not the original tavern, but there are in the cellar some portions of the original."
A plaque to the right of the door (visible over the top of the bush) indicates the Braddicks resided there:
Here is another view of the house:
I suspected Captain John Braddick, father of David Cutler Braddock, to be
from England, I had not seen a record substantiating my suspicion until
recently when I found mention of his origin in a Christophers genealogy
published in The New York Genealogical and Biological Record, Vol. LI, Issue 1,
dated January 1920 ( a transcript of the genealogy can be found at:
Christopher Genealogy Page 151 of the book mentions the marriage of Captain John Braddick’s son, also named John Braddick, to Lucretia Christophers June 19, 1726 in New London, CT. In describing John Braddock II, the genealogy says:
|June 2, 6, and 8, 1719
At the time of publishing Wooden Ships – Iron Men, the only information I had connecting Captain John Braddick to John Cutler, the noted Boston doctor, was a record of John Braddick’s April 24, 1715 marriage in Boston to Mary Cutler I found in the LDS International Genealogical Index, and mention in A Cutler Memorial and Genealogical History of the marriage of Mary Cutler, daughter of John Cutler, a surgeon, to Capt. John Braudick of Long Island. I later learned the record originally came from Records Relating to the Early History of Boston, published in 1898.
Three historical records, two in Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, 1718 – 1720, which can be seen at JOURNALS,, and the third in The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of Massachusetts, which can be seen at ACTS and RESOLVES, establish beyond a shadow of a doubt a connection between Doctor John Cutler and Captain John Braddick.
The first record, dated June 2, 1719:
The second record, dated June 6, 1719:
The third record, dated June 8, 1719:
|November 10, 1728
Lyford researcher Ann Higham of England sent me a copy of custom house records which Governor George Phenney of the Bahamas sent the Council of Trade and Plantations in England. She found the records in Colonial Papers at the British Public Records Office. As if Captain William Lyford Sr. did not already have enough credentials to more than qualify him as an Iron Man, an entry in the records revealed the amazing feat of his escaping from the Spanish in Havana, Cuba and making his way over 300 miles across Caribbean waters to Nassau in a dugout:
Last night Mr. William Lyford mariner and one of our inhabitants arriv'd here having privately got away from the Havana in a small piragua who gives me an account that the admirals Castiagnetto and Serrano are in the harbour with ten ships of war from 70 to 50 guns and about 14 merchant vessels from 36 to 24 guns; and that a Barbadoes sloop commanded by one Craggs sending in her boat to the Havana they sent out and brought in the sloop and detained her in that port when he came away; and that the Bellamont and Success English vessels are also detain'd there where they have made a new chain for the entrance of the harbour and are mounting cannon on new batterys on both sides to secure the port, etc."
In reporting the death of Captain John Braddick, father of David Cutler Braddock, in my book, I used the only mention my research found, an item from Genealogical Data From Colonial New York Newspapers quoting an item in the 2/18/1734 issue of the New York Weekly Journal: Bradock, Capt. and Son--killed on board ship by an Indian. At the 2004 Braddock/Higginbotham reunion in Callahan, FL, Cousin Pat Goodbread Smith, who is descended from John Cutler Braddocks daughter Ann, gave me several pages of information that appeared in Ben Franklins Pennsylvania Gazette. The pages included several items relating to Captain John Braddicks death.
According to the newspaper items, the brigantine Recovery, with Captain John Braddick in command, sailed from Boston in late 1733 for the Island of Madera near Portugal. Later, while returning to the Western Hemisphere, several crewmen, Ziggey John Witness, John Smith, master caulker John Main, and Thomas Parker, mutinied as the Recovery neared Salt Island in what is now the British Virgin Islands. In the mutiny, Captain Braddick and his son, Peter, were murdered.. 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, 1733. Their dying confessions exonerated Smith and Main of taking part in the murders, sparing them the gallows.
The articles provided the added information that Witness was an Indian from Long Island and 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, having arrived there on a merchant ship from London by way of Lisbon.
Another account--a gruesome one--of the incident, provided by Ellen West, 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."|
I also found the full text of the confessions in the June 29, 1734 issue of the English Observer. The confessions can be seen at: Confessions of two of the men who murdered Captain John Braddick and others at sea
March 21, 1743
In retaliation for the invasion of St. Simons by the Spanish in the summer of 1742, General James Oglethorpe, Georgia's founder and its political and military leader, led an expedition against the Spaniards in St. Augustine in March 1743. He had led one against them three years earlier. It had failed. This one would also fail.
One of his soldiers, Edward Kimber, kept a journal of the expedition. The journal was published in 1744 under the title, "A Relation or Journal of a late Expedition to the Gates of St. Augustine, on Florida." Florida State University published a digital versions of the book on a web site containing several other interesting old books pertaining to Florida:
The March 6, 1743 entry on pages 58-59 of Wooden Ships - Iron Men indicates that the HMS Rye, commanded by Captain Hardy, accompanied William Lyford Sr. and the Charles Town galley on a prisoner swapping mission to St. Augustine. Page 29 and 31 of the journal relate that on March 6th the two ships were spotted off the St. Augustine Bar and a boat was sent out to request the vessels' help in landing troops. The request was refused, The writer referred to Lyford as "Capt. Lightfoot."
|February 5, 1744
As recorded in my book, the largest British man-of-war in America at that time, the Loo, with 44 guns, arrived on the Carolina station in mid-October, 1743; that Captain William Lyford Sr. was appointed her pilot; that almost simultaneous, Lyford was charged with trading with the enemy, the Spanish at St. Augustine, while on a prisoner swapping mission; that he was to be sent to England to be tried for treason; that Ashby Utting, commander of the Loo, wrote a letter to South Carolina's governor declaring that no other man in the province but Captain Lyford was capable of piloting the Loo in and out of Carolina harbors and, without him as pilot, the Loo would have to return to England; and that as a result, the charge was apparently dropped. And as recorded in my book, the Loo, on a cruise down the southern coast, ran aground and was lost on a Florida Key that has borne the name Looe Key ever since: Looe Key. Having found no records to indicate otherwise, I assumedthere's that word againLyford was no longer her pilot.
Recently, I received an inquiry from Florida Keys historian Gail Swanson, author of Documentation of the Indians of the Florida Keys & Miami (1513-1765) and numerous articles on the Keys, asking if William Lyford were aboard the Loo when she ran aground. I replied that he wasn't. She replied that there must have been two William Lyfords. I replied there was, father and son. She replied that in a book written in 1955, The Last Cruise of the H.M.S. "Loo," by Mendel L. Peterson, a William Lyford was listed as a crew member of the Loo and that he had made a deposition to be used in the court martial of Captain Ashby Utting, commander of the Loo, for the loss. She sent me photocopies of the book's pages along with photocopies of numerous other items relating to the Loo's demise, including minutes of Utting's court martial .
In addition to James Oglethorpe, who recognized David Cutler Braddock's skills as a mariner after his escape from the Spanish in St. Augustine and placed him in command of one of Georgia's fighting vessels, Ashby Utting should be a hero to all descendants of David Cutler Braddock. Had Utting not written a letter in 1745 that helped exonerate David of a charge of trading with the Spanish, David may have been sent back to England, changing the course of history that led to his descendants being who we are and where we are.
When I first heard of The Last Cruise of the H.M.S. "Loo," I set about trying to find a copy. Immediately, I found one advertised on the Internet for $65. However, when I inquired about it, it had already been sold. Shortly afterward, I received the photocopied one from Gail Swanson and was delighted to get it. Several days later, at Christmas, I was shocked and delighted to open a present and find it to be a copy of the book. One of my sons had found it on the Internet for $25.
The story The Last Cruise of the H.M.S. "Loo" relates of the man-of-war's demise, briefly, is as follows:
She sailed from Port Royal, SC December 30, 1743 on a southward cruise against Spanish shipping. On February 4th, 1744, while in the Florida Straits off the coast of Cuba, she encountered the Betty, a bilander type English vessel the Spanish had earlier captured. She seized the Betty and began escorting her northward. Shortly after 1 AM the morning of February 5th, the Loo ran aground on what is now known as Looe Key, damaging her beyond use. The Betty was also lost in the same manner.
After setting fire to and blowing up the shattered Loo on February 8th, 274 men, the entire crews of both vesselsnone was lostset out for the Bahamas, 60 in a longboat, 10 in a yawla double-ended rowboat20 in the captain's barge, and 184 in a small, less than 30 ton Spanish sloop captured two days before by men in the longboat and yawl.
During that night, the overloaded sloop, on which were Utting and Lyford, became separated from the other boats. The sloop being too top-heavy with men to raise sails, Utting decided the safest course would be northward along the coast for "...any port of Carolina even for St. Augustine (If I could fetch nowhere else) rather than all be drowned..."
Aided by the Gulf Stream, the schooner arrived in Port Royal the night of February 13th, five days after setting out. The book says:
Upon their arrival at Port Royal Utting began immediate steps to assemble evidence to protect himself in the court martial that he had to face for the loss of the Loo. His first step was to send one of his pilots, William Lyford, to the town of Beaufort 6 miles north of Port Royal to give a deposition before Robert Thorpe, justice of the peace. In the deposition Lyford stated that in his opinion the course the Loo had steered before she ran aground "was the best through the Gulph (and is generally allowed so to be) and was then of the opinion that such course would carry the said ship nearer the Bahama shore than the Florida; and the deponent further deposeth and makes oath, that he is well acquainted with the Gulph of Florida having used it these thirty years past."
However, Utting's letter of February 15th (Utting's letter) informing the Admiralty in England of the Loo's loss, which the deposition accompanied, is included in its entirety. In it he twice pays compliments to our ancestor's skill as a pilot. The first read:
I had two of the best pilots on board for the Gulph of Florida in all America who insist there could not be a better course steered...
Captain William Lyford Sr. was one of those two pilots. The second compliment is in the last sentence of Utting's letter:
|* The book's footnote for the
word "corretor" says, "Recommendation of Lyford." However, it could
also be Utting's misspelling of "character."
Thanks to Ann Higham in England, I have a copy of William Sr.'s deposition, which reads as follows:
Beaufort So. Carolina, to wit,
William Lyford, Pilot of his
Majesties Ship Loo, Deposeth and maketh oath, that at the time of seizing the Snow
Prize, the Mattancos [Mantanzas], (to the best of his judgment) bore South and by East,
distance six Leagues, and that the Course steered by his Majesties Ship Loo was
North East and by North, till twelve of the Clock, and then hauld up North East,
till such time as the Vessel was ashore. And this deponent further declares, (that to the
best of his Judgment) the said course so steered was the best throh the Gulph
(and is generally allowed to be) and was then of Opinion that such Course would carry the
said Ship nearer the Bahama Shore than the Florida; And this Deponent sayth, that he
cannot account for the said Ship being on the Florida shore, but from some very uncommon
and unusual Current. And further this Deponent sayeth not.
The deposition and testimony from the Loo's crew cleared Captain Utting of any wrong-doing, and he was placed in command of the British man-of-war Aldborough, on which he returned to the Carolina station.
Since we know that Braddock Point on the southern tip of
Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and Lyford Cay on the western tip of New
Providence Island in the Bahamas, two of the most popular resort islands in Southeastern
waters, bear the names of brothers-in-law David Cutler Braddock and William Lyford Jr., it
is nice to learn that their father-in-law and father, respectively, played a role in the
naming the most popular diving spot in the Florida Keys.
Pictured below are several metal fragments from the Loo's anchor Ms. Swanson was kind enough to send me.
July 4, 1745
The Wild Heron
Plantation home, said to be the oldest standing house in
I regret not obtaining a legible copy while writing the book. Had I, I would have proudly proclaimed in Wooden Ships – Iron Men that my 5th great-grandfather had built Wild Heron . David Cutler Braddock’s descendants have the distinction of being able to say one of our ancestors built the oldest standing house in Georgia and his son, John Cutler Braddock, was married in the oldest standing public building in Georgia, Jerusalem Church in Ebenezer, Georgia in what is now Effingham County .
In a genealogical sidelight, one of the articles from Cousin Oswald, which
was dated 1933, mentions that the resident at that time, Minnie Anna
McLeod, a descendant of Francis Harris, was married to Robert Maxey Hull,
who was once mayor of Savannah. The names Maxey and Hull sounded familiar.
A quick check of my genealogy database revealed he was grandson of the
half-brother of William Berrie, who was the husband of Ann Braddock,
daughter of John Cutler Braddock.
|February 23, 1757
As most of his descendants know, Captain David Cutler Braddock married Mary, daughter of Captain William Lyford, November 7, 1742 in St. Helena's Parish, Beaufort, SC and that by him she had sons John Cutler and Peter. The last record found of her being alive was mention of her in her father's will dated December 9th, 1753. However, although I did not voice it in the book, I was of the opinion she lived at least up to the time of David death in 1769. I was shocked almost out of my senses when I received from researcher of Bahamas genealogy, Yolanda Rotondo, the following vital statistics information she found in Bahamas historical records:
David Cutler Braddock, child Sarah, b. 02/23/1757, wife Elizabeth Miller.
Philip Brickland married Sarah Braddock 5/2/1776
The first line of information implies Mary died sometime prior to early 1756. David , while maintaining a plantation outside Savannah on the Ogeechee River, was a highly active privateer in the Caribbean and often used New Providence Island in the Bahamas as a base from which he operated. In December, 1756, two months before the birth of Sarah, he made a chart of the Keys, which is now in the Library of Congress, while on a privateering expedition. It is not known where he met Elizabeth Miller, but based on Sarah being married in the Bahamas in 1776 after David's death, my bet is she was a native of the Bahamas and returned there after his death. I say "returned" because an entry on page 163 of my book, which I thought alluded to David and Mary having a third son, in reality indicates that David Cutler and his second wife and daughter had lived with him in Georgia. The entry on page 163 of my book reads:
|November 6, 1764
Having sold his two tracts on the Little Ogeechee River in 1757, David petitions for a tract on the Great Ogeechee. While prior records make no mention of David having a second child, David mentions him in his petition. However, he uses a third child, presumably born since his previous grant, and his wife as Family Rights justification for a new grant.
At a Council held in the
Council Chamber at Savannah on Tuesday the sixth Day of November 1764-
Read a Petition of David Cutler Braddock setting forth that during the Administration of the late Trustees he had five hundred Acres of Land in Right of Eight white Indented Servants and two Children That he was possessed of Nine Negroes and also a Wife and Child for whom he thitherto obtained no Lands Therefore praying for Six hundred and fifty Acres on the North Side Ogechee near or adjoining Land there granted David Murray
Resolved That on Condition only that the
Petitioner doth take out a Grant for the said Land within Six Months from the Date thereof
that his Majesty may not be defrauded of his quit Rents the Prayer of the said Petition is
So the "Wife and Child" were Elizabeth Miller and Sarah, now almost eight years old. It would be interesting to know if there were other children from this marriage.
Yolanda Rotondo is also the one who sent me the information that leads me
to believe John Cutler Braddock had a third son, Alexander: John Cutler Braddock's Third Son.
|Another item not in the book that I wanted to
include in detail here but can't is an ad David Cutler Braddock placed in the Georgia
Gazette advertising horses for hire at Savannah's Trustee Gardens, which were located
in the vicinity of where the present day Pirate House Restaurant now stands. Somehow, I
misplaced or lost the photocopy of the ad I made at the Georgia Historical Society in
Savannah a few years ago
The following receipts for provisions for the crew of the Lee galley, some signed by John Braddock, were found on the Center for Jewish History web site: Center for Jewish History
August 24, 1777
December 15, 1777
March 13, 1778
The reverse side shows that John
Braddock signed for:
August 21, 1778
August 28, 1778
September 28, 1778
October 7, 1778
|The receipt sold for $725.00.|
|December 12, 1785
A picture of the grant John Cutler Braddock received in Camden County was shown in Wooden Ships - Iron Men. Since then, a copy of the plat for the grant has been obtained. The plat shows nothing that would make possible identifying the grant's exact location.
|June 6, 1787
As outlined in Wooden Ships - Iron Men, William Lyford Jr. paid an extremely high price for his loyalty to England during the Revolution. He submitted a claim for almost £9,000 for his losses, one of the highest made by Loyalists in the South. He lost his home, his lucrative piloting trade, 2,300 acres of land, 13 slaves, numerous farm animals, and extensive crops.
After reading my book, Lyford family researcher Ann Higham in England sent me numerous documents relating to both Lyfords, William senior and junior, she had copied at the British Public Records Office. One is a petition William Jr. wrote June 4, 1787 while in England pursuing his claim. A sentence in the petition reveals William Jr.'s indirect role in one of the more significant events in America during the Revolution, the capture of Savannah in December 1778 after a British fleet landed an invading force of 3,000 Redcoats at Tybee. Note the last sentence of the the following image of the paragraph from his petition. The sentence reads: "And one of the Petitioners Negro Pilots, was the person who conducted into Savannah River the Fleet that carried Colonel Campbell there in 1778, when he reduced Georgia to the kings obedience."
|Aprill 1, 1788
Pages 248-249 of Wooden Ships - Iron Men contain an Indian depredation claim filed by John Cutler Braddock July 15, 1788. I recently discovered a letter he had written on the subject two and a half months earlier. The letter is in the Telamon Cuyler Collection at the University of Georgia's Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. At the time he wrote the letter, John was commander of the Glynn County militia protecting the area from Indian attacks. The letter was to General James Jackson, commander of Georgia's militia in the 1st District. Jackson included John's letter and one from Israel Bird of Effingham County in a letter he wrote to Georgia Governor George Handley seeking more resources for the militia units.
|A transcript of the letter
I am informed that some of the Inhabitants of Camden County have had a treaty with the Indians on the South side of St Marys river & that the Indians have promist [promised] not do anything any mischief to those Below Great Satilla & St Marys and that some of the People have moved of [off] Cumberland to their places on the Main. I wish to hear from you by the first opportunity as our situation at this time wants your advice from it.
Yr Hble St [Your Humble Servant]
|May 19, 1789
A picture of the grant John Cutler Braddock received in Glynn County on this date was shown in Wooden Ships - Iron Men. Since then, a copy of the plat for the grant has been obtained.
The plat indicates the grant is 100 acres of marshland between Jekyll and Jointer Islands and the three islets encompassed within it Each islet has "humk," the abbreviation for hummock--a tract of forested land that rises above an adjacent marsh--written in it. The plat shows a creek by the middle islet, making it accessible by water. The grant can be generally located using modern maps. As seen on the map below, Jointer Island, consisting mostly of marsh, is off to the right of the road to Jekyll Island after turning onto it from US17. There's no way of telling which islets John Cutler Braddock owned.
Who knows, his descendants may be driving over his grave on our way to an outing on Jekyll.
I recently was given by the president of the St. Simons chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution a map of Glynn County made c1790. I was surprised to find on it the marking "Col. Braddock's," along with the image of a house, at Reids Bluff across and down the Altamaha River a short distance from old Fort Howe. Some of the Revolutionary War's expeditions emanated from Fort Howe. The road from Savannah to Florida crossed the Altamaha at Fort Howe.
Grants and other records found while researching Wooden
Ships - Iron Men indicated that John Cutler Braddock had resided at three places, St.
Simons Island, Jekyll Island, and on the Great Satilla River, at one time or another.
However, this was the first indication I have seen that he lived along the
He did not attain the rank of colonel until 1790, so the spot marked on the map is
probably the place where he was residing when he died. He may even be buried there.
|I recently happened to read a footnote about John Braddock
at the bottom of a page of Gordon Smith's book about the Georgia Militia
that said, "His residence is shown on a map of the area around the
mouth of the Altamaha River made about 1786 as Col. Braddck." Map
found at Call No. 658.751.1786?:G293argSmall, American Philosophical
Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I ordered a digital image of the
map from the Library for $15. The map, which is of St. Simons and surrounding areas as
far north as the north side of the Alatamaha and as far west as about
where I-95 is located, is large and highly legible. John's house is
clearly marked on it, as can be seen on the following segment excerpted
from the map.
J. G, (Jerry) Braddock Sr.