Biography of Clement Adams Bradbury

CLEMENT ADAMS BRADBURY. – Of all the romantic and adventurous ways in which the early settlers found their way to Oregon, this now venerable pioneer may perhaps claim a manner as exciting as any, – that of a world-wide career on the ocean, and, finally, shipwreck. He was born in York county, Maine, March 18, 1819. As a boy he learned to labor, belonging to one of those hardy New England families whose lot was cast in a forest country, and in hard times. But by this very discipline young Clement acquired strength of body and of mind, independence, self-reliance and energy. At the age of thirteen he went to a new home in Aroostook county, in the midst of the deep pine woods.

At the age of twenty-five, – now a brawny, fearless, and ambitious young man, – he went to sea, following the example of the many wonderfully hardy young New Englanders, who learned how to chase the sea monsters at either of the Polar circles. Off on a whaler he went to the South seas, fishing on the St. Paul ground. Crossing the equator and dipping in the northern waters, he was at Petropaulovski, and down to the station at the Sandwich Islands. The ship also went down to Syndey in Australia; and here, in company with another young man, Bradbury left the whaler, passing some time on the great Southern island and encountering a host of serious and comic adventures. Shipping however on another whaler, he took a second cruise north, arriving in Behring Sea some time in June, when all those Arctic waters were shrouded in fog and white chilly mist. It was the old ship Baltic on which he sailed, a decayed vessel; and her course was apparently directly towards Behring Island. At last, one afternoon, when the fog was just thinning away so as to make a gleam of sunshine flash on the water, the rocky front but sandy beach of shore appeared out of the vapor, showing also a white top of snow; and the ship was run directly on the beach. It was a good wreck, no lives being lost; and plenty of barrels of biscuits and other provisions were on deck for the sailors to carry through the breakers to the little covers they made by turning the ship’s boats, bottom up on the upper portion of the beach. here, after munching biscuit, and living on sea-bird’s eggs and shell fish, and even trying to eat eagles, the crew was picked up on the Fourth of July and carried off to the Sandwich Islands. Here Mr. Bradbury found the bark Toulon, Captain Crosby, ready to start for the Columbia river; and, seeing no easier way of getting back to the world, boarded her at Honolulu and was on the way to the land that he never afterwards abandoned. He was treated with the utmost consideration, but was overtaken by a very severe attack of fever on the voyage, which for a time deprived him of all remembrance of his past life.

On reaching the Columbia in December, 1846, he found employment at Hunt’s old mill on the Oregon side of the Columbia opposite Cathlamet. In 1848 he went to the mines of California, with such old pioneers as Mercellus, John and Richard Hobson, Robb and Jeffers. He was successful in this undertaking, making a pile of dust, and being the fortunate discoverer of a nugget of gold worth six hundred dollars.

Returning to Oregon he settled in 1851 on the old Oak Point on the alluvial land opposite the present Oak Point Mills, at the site of the settlement made in 1809 by Major Winship of Boston. This is on the Oregon side of the river. He speaks of finding here the stumps of oak trees cut forty years before by the Major’s axemen. This place is now called Bradbury, a steamboat landing, and is a handsome riversite. He bought it in the first instance from one Charles Adams, a Hudson’s Bay man. In 1884, after more than forty years of hard and successful work, he sold the farm to advantage, and spent a year visiting at the East, and in 1885 took up his residence with his son at a beautiful spot on the banks of the Nekanikum river near the seaside in Clatsop county.

Mr. Bradbury was the first permanent settler on the middle portion of the Lower Columbia below Sauvie’s Island and above Astoria; and he has ever been a most industrious, enterprising and honorable man. Now in the gloaming of life he is genial, hearty and mentally vigorous. He was married in 1850 to Miss Annie the daughter of William Hobson, of the immigration of 1843. There were born to them four children, two of whom are living; The daughter Bethemia A., wife of John Quigley, resides with her husband near Bradbury’s Landing, Columbia county, and the son Clement on a farm in Clatsop county.

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