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Samuel Brady

Disclaimers:

1.   This is a historical story told in the oral tradition as recorded early in the history of our nation. As is often the case, the storytellers likely embellished the story to make it more entertaining. Enjoy it in that sense!

2.   By retelling this story, I do not intend to express any disrespect for my native American friends. It was a time of war. Encouraged by British agents like Simon Girty, the Indians were supporting the British war effort by harassing the settlers in the west.

3.   Although various Internet artist renderings of Sam Brady depict him with red hair, my research has indicated that he was a somewhat tall, thin athletic dark-skinned Caucasian man with black hair and blue eyes.

Although William Brady was only ten years old when his father died, he described his father as a tall athletic man with dark hair and beard and blue eyes.  His father was the famed Indian fighter and scout, Captain Samuel Brady. Thanks to descriptions from others who knew Captain Brady, we know that William’s description was accurate although Brady was actually only 6’1” tall!

Samuel Brady was born in 1756 in south central Pennsylvania near the location of the present day city of Shippinsburg. He was one of 12 children born to Captain John Brady and Mary Quigley Brady. When Washington put out the call for troops, Sam and his younger brother James accompanied their father to serve as scouts for Washington’s army. The record shows that Sam and James enlisted into the Continental Army as privates on August 3, 1775.

Captain Samuel Brady – Hero of the Revolution

During the Revolutionary War, the most well known and respect individual in the Upper Ohio Valley was not named McCullough, or Zane, or Wetzel. The most famous hero of the day was Captain Samuel Brady. I hope you enjoy this storyteller’s account of the life and times of Captain Samuel Brady.

Sam Brady was born at the Brady farm near Shippensburg, PA on May 5, 1756. His parents were Captain John Brady, of the Pennsylvania Militia, and his wife Mary. Sam was the oldest of 12 children two of whom died in infancy. When George Washington put out the call for troops in 1775, Captain John Brady and his two oldest sons, Samuel and James, headed east to join the Continental army.  Sam was 19 and James was 16. The brothers entered the army as privates and John kept his rank of Captain. They were assigned to the 8th Pennsylvania under the command of General “Mad” Anthony Wayne where they eventually became spies and scouts working out of General Wayne’s headquarters.

The Bradys participated in the battles of Boston, New York, Trenton, Princeton and Brandywine Creek. At the Battle of Brandywine Creek, they became part of some 400 or more American fighters who were taken prisoner. The British put the prisoners into a stockade with walls consisting rows of poles sunk into the ground. The walls were some twelve feet high or so, so the British assumed that escape was impossible. Some of the Americans noticed that the British guards were lax about checking the back side of the stockade where a small Sally port consisting of a small log gate bolted from the outside was located.

Sam Brady was known for his athletic abilities especially when it came to running and jumping. When the all-clear was given, shortly after dark, Sam mad a run for it. With a boost from James and some of the other men, Sam jumped up and grabbed the top of the stockade. He waited for the all-clear again and then quickly dropped down on the other side. The back side of the stockade faced the woods only a few feet away, so Sam hid in the bushes until the British were out of sight at which time he quietly unbarred the Sally gate. Before the British guards realized that anything was up, more than fifty of the Americans including the Bradys had escaped into the swampy woods.

The Bradys rejoined Wayne’s troops in time to participate in the Battle of Germantown. By this time, Lieutenant Samuel Brady was working out of Wayne’s headquarters as a spy and scout. As the real historians will recall, the Battle of Germantown did not go well for the Americans. It also did not go well for the Bradys. During the foggy battle, a musket ball struck Captain John Brady in the mouth knocking out his front teeth and leaving an exit wound in his cheek the size of a man’s thumb. The wound became infected and the infection spread to Captain Brady’s lungs giving him a bad case of pneumonia. Assuming that John was going to die, General Wayne gave James, who was also wounded, leave to take his father back to their home in Shippensburg. When they recovered, they were to report to Fort Pitt to assist with the efforts to deal with the Indian problem in the west. Samuel Brady spent the winter of 1777-1778 with the army at Valley Forge. The VAlley Forge Roster lists him with the rank of Captain.

Some of the Indians in Pennsylvania, Western Virginia, and the Ohio country were supporting the British war effort by waging a terrorist was against the homes of the men who were back east serving in the Continental Army. During our American History classes, we learned about the men who deserted from Washington’s army to go home to harvest crops. However, we were never told that many of the deserters went home to protect their families from the Indian raiding parties who were raping, torturing, and killing the family members who were defenseless because the men were away in the army. The level of brutality of the raiding parties varied widely, but some of them were very brutal. One of the Indians who participated in raids on the homes of soldiers during the war recalled his experiences to an interviewer in the early 1800s. He said that the raiding parties in which he participated especially targeted farms where there were daughters for them to enjoy. In addition to raping and killing the families, those raiding parties would take anything of value before burning the buildings. By the time the raiding party got back home, they were loaded down with livestock, clothing, cook pots, tools, and anything else that could be used or sold. There were traders who were more than willing to buy any of the plunder that the Indians were willing to sell.

Chief Bald Eagle was responsible for many of the Indian raids in central and southern Pennsylvania.  James Brady was very well known for his long red hair. Shortly after James arrived home in late October, 1777, Bald Eagle heard about his long red hair he declared that he was going to have that scalp.

Before continuing the story it is worthwhile to note that some Internet sites depict Captain Samuel Brady with red hair. Sam Brady did not have red hair. His hair was jet black. Sam was six feet tall with jet black hair and blue eyes. His skin was somewhat fair but was tanned as dark as an Indian because of all the time he spent outdoors. He had a thin lanky muscular build and was known for his athletic ability.

On August 8, 1778 Bald Eagle and his men surprised James Brady while he was helping one of his neighbors hoe corn. The other two men were able to escape, but all of the Indians converged on James. He was struck on the head with the flat side of a tomahawk. Then, Bald Eagle scalped him and left him for dead. James later regained consciousness and stumbled to the cabin of a neighboring farmer where he lingered for several days before dying.

Captain John Brady recovered from his wounds and rejoined the army in Pennsylvania. However, he was killed in an Indian Ambush on April 11, 1778.

Shortly after his father’s death, Sam Brady and two companions were sent home to central Pennsylvania. After visiting his mother, Sam had orders to report to General Hand at Fort Pitt to assist with the effort to deal with the Indian problems  in the west. On the way to Fort Pitt, Sam and his companions learned that an Indian raiding party had recently attacked the home of a soldier named Frederick Henry. The Indians raped and killed Mrs Henry and killed four of their seven children. After burning the Henry home, they took 14 year-old Peter Henry, 12 year-old Elizabeth Henry and their six year old baby sister captive.

Sam and his companions followed the trail of the raiding party. After several miles, they discovered the body of the five year old girl thrown into a thicket. She would not stop crying for her mother, so Bald Eagle killed her with a tomahawk blow to the head. Then, he picked her up by an ankle and tossed her body into the weeds as one might toss a fallen limb off of the trail. After tracking the raiding party for two weeks, Brady and his companions came upon them as the Indians were preparing to make camp along the Allegheny River in a place northeast of Pittsburgh that is now known as Brady’s Bend. The Allegheny makes a hairpin turn in that location. The party consisted of seven Indians including Chief Bald Eagle. The party had a goodly number of animals laden with packs containing all of the plunder from their raids. The two Henry children were each tethered to an Indian by ropes tied around their necks. 

The three men watched silently as the Indians made camp and settled down for the evening. Late into the night, the three men slipped silently into the encampment. Each man had a cocked and loaded rifle in one hand and a tomahawk in the other. At the signal, three Indians were killed by rifle shots and three others were killed by tomahawk blows as they arose. One of the Indians Killed by Brady was Chief Bald Eagle. The seventh Indian escaped by running into the woods.

After being untied, Peter Henry picked up a tomahawk and hacked off the head of Bald Eagle and threw it into the fire announcing, “He killed my mother and sister.” The long red haired scalp on Bald Eagle’s belt also went into the fire. The next morning, the party made their way toward Fort Pitt. Before they reached the fort, news of their success against the raiding party and impending arrival reached General Hand who commanded the fort.

As soon as they reached the fort with the load of animals and plunder from the Indians, General Hand sent for Brady. Hand commissioned Brady to raise an independent detachment of rangers of his choosing. Their orders were simple. They were to pursue the Indian raiding parties and kill them thereby putting an end to the terror in the west. Brady was to headquarter the rangers at Fort McIntosh located up on the junction of the Beaver and Ohio rivers. Brady liked the idea of being stationed at Fort McIntosh because he his good friend Van Swearingon lived at Catfish Camp (Now known as Washington, PA) which was only a one day ride away. Van’s brother, Andrew, commanded Holliday’s Fort. Brady later commanded Holliday's Fort.

During one of his visits to the Swearingon home at Catfish Camp, Sam met Van’s daughter Drucilla who had returned from being educated back east. Drucilla was called Dru by her father. Drucilla was immediately attracted to Sam and it was very clear that he was equally impressed with her. As a result, Sam’s visits became more frequent. Drucilla wanted to marry Sam, but her father was not in favor of the marriage because he was sure that Sam would be killed by the Indians leaving his daughter widowed. In spite of Van’s objections, Sam brought an extra horse with him on one of his trips to visit and the couple quietly slipped out of town. They went to West Liberty where Ben Biggs had made sure that a circuit rider was waiting for the couple. After spending their honeymoon night in a room at Biggs’s Ordinary, the couple returned to Catfish Camp where Van did what any loving father would do in that situation. He threw the biggest wedding celebration that the town had ever seen! Sam and Dru were married in 1785. It is worth noting that Van Swearingon later moved to a 300 acre tract of land at Wellsburg that he had purchased from one of the Cox brothers.

After living at Catfish camp and at a cabin in Wellsburg for a period of time, Sam and Dru obtained property in West Liberty, with assistance from Van Swearingon, where they built a large frame house. One of the photos with this story is believed to be of the Brady house in West liberty which stood near the current location of the old West Liberty Cemetery. While they were still living in Wellsburg Sam and Dru had three sons. William was born in 1785 followed by Van in 1786 and John in 1790.

Because of his black hair and darkly tanned skin, Sam Brady could easily disguise himself as an Indian. When he was on the trail, he usually dressed as an Indian. During one of his trips back to Fort McIntosh from Catfish Camp, Sam noticed an Indian on horseback riding toward him. They were about ten miles from the fort. Sam was dressed as an Indian and had his gun loaded with his last rifle ball hoping to see some game that he could take home for dinner. As the Indian got closer, he noticed a small white child and a white woman riding behind the Indian. The woman was tethered to the Indian with a rope around her neck which was tied to the Indian’s waist and the boy was between her and the Indian. Although the woman’s face was badly bruised to the point where her left eye was swollen shut, Brady recognized her as Jenny Stupe who had been taken captive by the Indians, along with her six year old son, about a month earlier. Jenny’s left arm seemed to also be hanging limply by her side.

Brady cocked his gun, calmly rode up beside the Indian, and shot him through the head causing Jenny and the boy to fall off the horse with him. According to most accounts, Jenny thought Sam was another Indian and asked, ”Why did you shoot your brother.” After Sam showed her who he was, he took Jenny and her son to Fort McIntosh with him.

Another Brady exploit of note was the rescue of the family of Albert Gray. Brady was in the company of Benjamin Biggs and Thomas Bavington as they set out from Fort McIntosh headed to Fort Pitt. After some discussion, the trio decided to follow the trail on the Pennsylvania side of the Ohio River. The Virginia side trail was shorter, but it had rained recently and trail on the Virginia side was muddier. Another reason for using the Pennsylvania trail was to visit a friend named Albert Gray who had a home about ten miles south of Fort Mcintosh along a part of the river known as The Narrows. A few miles before reaching the home of the Gray family, there was a river crossing. The three men immediately noticed a large number of tracks in the mud coming up from the crossing. Some were from horses, and some were human. Because of the nature of the tracks, they knew that it was a large Indian raiding party.

The three men left the trail and went around through the open woods until they reached the ridge above the bottom where the Gray home was located. It was a warm bright peaceful sunny day. They could clearly see the gray farm. Beyond the cornfield and garden, they could see a smoldering pile of ashes where the Gray cabin once stood. They moved down the ridge and watched for any sign of movement. Then, Biggs stayed on the ridge with the horses while Bavington scouted the woods to the left and Brady scouted the woods to the right to see if the Indians had left behind any snipers. Biggs was chosen to stand lookout because of his well-known expertise with the rifle. If he saw any Indians near the farmstead, he would fire a shot to alert the others. Eventually, Brady had gone about a mile south of the cabin when he heard someone coming. When he realized it was Albert Gray, he sprang from cover and yanked Gray from his horse. After explaining the situation at the farm, Brady and Gray returned to the farm where they were joined by Biggs and Bavington. When they went in to look at the farmstead, they expected to find the bodies of Mrs. Gray and Albert’s two teenaged daughters. Since no trace of them was found, they knew that the girls and Mrs. Gray had been taken captive by the Indians. Bavington informed the others that the raiding party had taken a trail that branched off to the northeast about a quarter of a mile below the farm. Gray said that he was going to track the Indians and try to shoot his girls to prevent the Indians from doing to them what he knew that they would do to them. The other three men joined him. From the trail that the Indians had left, it was clear that it was a large raiding party with quite a few horses and a number of people on foot. Biggs and Brady decided that the Indians would likely take a trail that went to the West a few miles northeast of their location. They expected the Indians to cross the Beaver River about ten miles north of Fort McIntosh and overnight at a popular camping location where there was a sandy spot surrounded by a creek with a spring coming out of the hillside. The location had plenty of water and tall grass for the livestock. The men decided to risk taking a shorter route that was more difficult to travel. When they arrived at the location in question, they discovered that they had guessed correctly. The raiding party consisted of thirteen Indians. The two Gray daughters were mounted on horses behind two of the Indians to which they were tethered with ropes around their necks. Mrs. Gray another white woman and a young boy were on foot. Each was tethered to one of the Indians with a rope around the neck. The Indians made camp on the sandy clearing. As darkness fell, Brady, Bavington, Biggs, and Gray made plans for keeping the Indians from having the girls. Biggs and Bavington agreed see to Gray’s two daughters. Brady would take care of Mrs. Gray, and Albert would take care of the unknown white woman. Since Biggs was the fastest reloader, he would attempt to get off a second shot to take care of the boy. To us, this plan seems very wrong, but the brutality of the raiding parties in that region when it came to the rape and torture of their female captives was well documented and the four men were badly outnumbered, so the men took up positions in the tall grass as darkness began to fall. From their firing positions, they watched the Indians and waited for Brady to give the signal. But the Indians did move toward the captives and began to settle down for the night. 

The four men withdrew to the trees and Brady suggested that they use their knives to try to kill as many Indians as possible while they slept. All four men had been trained to kill by thrusting the knife under the ribcage at a slight downward angle so as to sever the aorta and other major blood vessels under the heart. If done properly, death is almost instantaneous.

After the Indians were asleep, Biggs slipped over to where the Indians had propped their guns against a sycamore tree and hid them in the tall grass. At Brady’s signal, the killing began. All went well until one of Bavington’s victims managed to get to his feet awakening the camp. Gray put the Indian down with a tomahawk, but the frightened captives ran into the woods followed by one of the Indians. Benjamin Biggs had married a girl named Pricilla Metcalf in West Liberty. His wife sometimes had a loud temper, so he named his rifle Pricilla! As the Indian ran after the girls, Pricilla spoke up with a loud voice and the Indian fell into the creek. Then all was suddenly very quiet. Albert Gray began shouting for his family members telling them that he was with Ben Biggs and Sam Brady.

After the freed captives returned, they immediately took advantage of the full moon to follow the trail down the Beaver River to Fort McIntosh. Brady rode ahead to alert the sentries at the fort and a group of men quickly mounted and went out to assist the party. The next day, a company of well-armed men rode up to the area of the rescue and counted thirteen dead Indians. They named the area “Bloody Spring.” Today, the creek is known as Brady's Run and there is a city park there now!

On the way back to Fort McIntosh, they learned that the unknown woman and her son had been captured by the Indians during a raid on their home in Northern Virginia. Brady and several other men took the woman from Virginia and her son back to her home not far from the crossing near the Albert Gray farm. She was reunited with her overjoyed husband who had assumed that his wife and son were dead.

Brady’s Rangers were very effective in their pursuit of the Indian raiding parties. Numerous times, they rescued women and children who had been taken captive by the Indians. When Brady’s Rangers attacked an Indian raiding party, they usually killed all or nearly all of the Indians. Because of the success of the Brady’s Rangers, the Indian raids in the region diminished rapidly until they nearly ceased in Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia. As a result, Brady’s rangers were spending more and more time in the Ohio territory chasing down raiding parties and mapping Indian villages.

One of Brady’s most famous exploits took place around the year 1780. General Broadhead sent Brady and a small force of rangers into the region of Ohio around the Sandusky River to scout the Indian villages and get an idea of the number of Indians in that area in preparation for launching a military campaign against the Indians in that region. As you may recall, Colonel Crawford led a failed attack on the Indians in that part of Ohio territory in June of 1782.

Around the year 1780, Captain Brady led a small force of rangers into the Sandusky region. The Indians discovered their presence and launched a surprise attack on the rangers killing most of them and taking Brady prisoner. He was taken into an Indian village where he was stripped naked and sentenced to be tortured to death. At dusk, Brady  was being restrained by four Indians who were gripping his arms as the women and children tormented him with burning sticks from the fire. Brady forced himself to relax his struggles against the men who were holding him. In response, they loosened their grip enough that he was able to suddenly rip himself free. Before they could react, Brady grabbed a baby from the arms of its mother and threw it into the blazing fire. The mother was the chief’s daughter, so the baby was the chief’s grandson. The horrified Indians let go of Brady and dove after the baby.

Brady immediately sprinted for the woods and was out of sight before the Indians could react. The Indians were quickly in hot pursuit. Rounding a bend in the trail, Brady spotted a large chestnut tree off to the side. He jumped up and caught the lowest branch about ten feet above the ground. In one motion, he  swung himself onto the branch and pasted himself onto the back of the tree as the Indians ran by. Since the deepening dusk has already begun to darken the woods and his body was painted black with soot from the fire, Brady was virtually invisible to the pursuing Indians. When he was sure that the pursuing Indians were all well past his hiding place, he carefully climbed into the upper branches of the tree until his location was invisible from the ground below.

Brady wedged himself into a space in the branches where he could watch the village. He waited until well after midnight when the forest and the village were both fast asleep.  Then, he silently descended from his hiding place  and slipped unseen into the village where he recovered his belongings that were still piled where they had been thrown when he was stripped. Then he started running east.

Brady knew that the Indians would be on his trail at first light, so he ran all night and all of the next day stopping only to grab some berries or to drink form a brook or spring. By the evening of the next day, he had reached the Cuyahoga River near a place know as “Standing Rock” where the city of Kent’ Ohio is now located. The nearest crossing was about a mile to the south, so Brady headed south. However, he soon spotted a party of Indians in front of him, so he reversed his direction and headed toward a crossing a few miles north of Standing Rock. Unfortunately, the pursuing Indians from the Village caught up with him as he neared Standing Rock trapping him against the river.

At that location, the river flowed through a deep and somewhat narrow gorge. The bank on the west side where Brady was trapped consisted of a rocky cliff some twenty or so feet above the water. The bank on the east side consisted of a rocky outcropping above which was a steep muddy bank. With no other option, Brady ran toward the cliff and jumped. He landed on the far side about ten feet below the rim of the bank. He began to claw his way up the muddy bank. Just as he was reaching the top, one of the pursuing Indians took careful aim and shot him through the thigh with the goal of slowing him down enough to allow the Indians time to go down to the crossing and then recapture him so that they could finish the torture.

In spite of the painful wound, Brady headed for a small pond near there that is now known as “Brady’s Lake.”  A  large sycamore tree had fallen into the water near the far side of the lake. Brady hid his gun and other belongings and waded into the water. His plan was to try to hide among the branches of the tree. When he dove under the tree, he discovered that it was hollow with a large opening under the water. He was able to come up into the air pocket inside the tree. He was hiding inside the tree when the Indians arrived. They saw the tracks in the mud and drops of blood showing where he had entered the water. The Indians searched the area until darkness fell. Brady could even hear them walking on the log where he was hidden. The Indians assumed that he had drowned himself to avoid the torture since they could find no sign of him in the surrounding woods and eventually left.

After waiting several additional hours to be sure the Indians were gone, Brady emerged from his hiding place and headed east. His legs were almost numb from being in the cold water, but the cold water may have saved him from bleeding to death from the wound. Because of the wound, it took two days for Brady to reach Fort McIntosh. Brady never fully recovered from the wound to his thigh and he walked with a limp for the rest of his life.

When the Revolutionary war ended, an armistice the Indians agreed to an armistice officially putting an end to the Indian hostilities in Pennsylvania and Virginia, but not in the Ohio territory, so Brady’s Rangers continued to pursue raiding parties that were still active in the Ohio territory.

Early in the spring of 1791, an Indian raiding party struck the home of Francis Riley in eastern Ohio just across the river from Wellsburg. The Indians killed Francis and several members of the family including a two year-old child. After plundering the home, they left with one of the Riley daughters as a captive. As soon as Brady heard of the raid, he and a company of his rangers set off in pursuit of the Indians. A few miles northwest of the Riley homestead, the raiding party split into two groups. One group headed west and the other continued to the north. Brady split the group of rangers to pursue the two groups of Indians. Brady followed the larger group of Indians who had gone north. Unknown to the rangers, the two Riley sisters, Abigail and Ruth, were with the Indians who headed west. After a few miles, the rangers found Abigail’s body, but they never caught up with the remainder of the raiding party. Ruth was kept captive by the Indians. She survived to tell her story many years later. 

Brady and his party pursued the Indians who went north until they caught up with the raiding party at the Beaver River near a place known as “The Red Front Trading Post.” William Wilson and John Hillman ran the trading post. In today’s lingo, they ran a fencing operation where the Indians could trade or sell the plunder they stole during their raids. When the rangers caught up with the Indians, a firefight ensued during which the rangers killed several of the Indians. Hillman and Wilson were not very happy that Brady and his men had killed some of their suppliers. Because of the armistice with the Indians in Pennsylvania, they contended that the shooting of the Indians constituted murder, so they made a complaint to the Governor of the state of Pennsylvania and to anyone else who would listen. They sent out word that Brady and his companions had murdered the Indians in cold blood so that they could have the plunder for themselves.

As the word of the killing of the Indians at the Red Front spread, some of the Indian chiefs lodged a formal complaint with the war department. Governor Mifflin of Pennsylvania put out an arrest warrant for Brady and put a reward on his head. Two bounty hunters showed up at a tavern in Wellsburg where Brady was having breakfast and asked if anyone knew where they could find him. Both men had laid pistols on the table when they sat down. Brady introduced himself. The tavern owner and several other patrons showed them their guns and advised the two men to leave Wellsburg. Both men left without their guns!

The Governor Mifflin ordered the sheriff of Allegany County to go down and arrest Brady. The sheriff and a couple of his deputies went over to Wellsburg. During the middle of the night, they kicked in the door of Brady’s cabin and barged inside with rifles cocked. Sam was out in the Ohio country on a scouting mission for General Wayne at the time. The three men scared Drucilla and the two boys and she immediately ran to her father’s house. Van Swearingon put together a party of men to go after the sheriff and his deputies, but they were long gone by the time the party was mounted. Swearingon sent word of the raid on Sam’s home to his friend, Governor Randolph of Virginia. Randolph put an arrest warrant out for the Allegany County sheriff and the two deputies. The warrant authorized anyone who saw any of the three men in Virginia to shoot them on sight.

By 1793, President Washington had asked General (Mad) Anthony Wayne to return to military service to wage a campaign against the Indians in the Ohio country who were continuing to terrorize the settlers in the west. Wayne wanted Brady and his rangers to scout for his army and provide information about the locations of the Indian villages and the strength of the Indian forces. However, the murder charge on Brady’s head was a problem, so Wayne sent word to Brady in West Liberty asking him to come to Pittsburgh and stand trial for the charges. By then, Wayne had relocated his headquarters to Fort Necessity. Wayne also sent a request to Van Swearingon asking him to escort Brady to ensure his safety. Van Swearingon hired James Ross to defend Brady. Ross later became the governor of Pennsylvania.

It was the trial of the age. Chief Justice Thomas McKean and two other powdered wigged justices from back east were sent to preside over the trial. Every man who could went to Pittsburgh for the trial. General Wayne gave leave to any man in his command who wanted to attend the trial. By the evening of the first day, more than 500 men were camped out on the hills surrounding Pittsburgh. That evening, more than one hundred men gathered around a bondfire and vowed that they would tear Pittsburgh apart brick by brick to rescue Brady if the verdict came back guilty. They would not allow him to be hanged. Many of the men gathered on the hill that night owed their lives or the lives of their loved ones to Brady and his rangers. One of the men on that hill was a young lieutenant who was an aide-de-camp to General Wayne. His name was William Henry Harrison.

So many men wanted to attend the trial that it was moved from the courtroom to a large tavern nearby. Jenny Stupes was in the courtroom.  She provided water for the jurors and the justices and provided brandy and water for Brady. Most of the jurors knew her story. She remained in the courtroom throughout the trial.

Justice McKeen was known as a hard-nosed no-nonsense judge who ran his court with an iron fist. He told the jurors that sentence would be carried out immediately if they returned a guilty verdict. If they returned a not-guilty verdict, he told them that he would not publish the verdict. Somewhere in the back of the crowd, a voice shouted out, “Then you will be a dead man.”

The first two witnesses were Wilson and Hillman from The Red Front Trading Post. Both men were clearly very nervous and uneasy. They stammered and sometimes contradicted themselves during their testimonies. As soon as they testified, they got onto horses and left Pittsburgh in a hurry. There were no other real witnesses for the prosecution. The next couple of days were filled with defense witnesses. One after another, they told of how Brady and his rangers had saved them or their homes and families from the Indians. Several women who had been rescued from the Indians testified including Jenny Stupes. Some accounts say that even Chief Guyasuta testified on Brady’s behalf.

Eventually Justice McKean told the jury that they could retire to consider their verdict. One of the jurors announced that they did not need to retire and ask his fellows what was the verdict. As one voice, the announced, “not guilty.” That anonymous voice in the back of the crowd shouted, “Now, publish that!” Brady was asked to rise. Jenny Stupes was standing a few feet behind the judge’s table as he announced the findings of the court informing Brady that he had been found not guilty and was free to go. Many years later, Jenny told her daughter that she had a tomahawk under her skirt. If the judge had pronounced Brady guilty or had not accepted the verdict, she was prepared to sink it into his skull. Messengers were sent to West Liberty to inform Drucilla of the verdict.

With the murder charge cleared, General Wayne put Brady in charge of all of his scouts in preparation for his campaign into Ohio in 1794. During the late fall of 1795, Brady and some of his scouts were crossing a stream on the way home from one of their expeditions in the Ohio country when Sam slipped on an icy rock and landed head first into the swollen creek. He almost drowned before the other men could get to him and pull him out. The fall may have been the because of his bad leg from the old rifle wound.  Sam developed a lung infection which the old timers called Pleurisy. For the next two months, he would get better and then worse. He died at his home in West Liberty on Christmas day in 1794.  He was just 39 years old. At the time of Sam’s death, Drucilla was 26 years old. When she married Sam Brady, she was just 15. Dru’s father Van Swearingon did not live to see his worry about his daughter becoming a young widow come true. He had passed away in 1793. 

Captain Samuel Brady is buried in the old West Liberty Cemetery which is located near the curve in Rt. 88 just above the firehouse. There are two markers on his grave. One of them erroneously lists the date of his death as January 1, 1795.

Earl Nicodemus

May 5, 2016


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