THE BRIEF LIFE OF SGT. JONES BRADBURY
by Andy Lefko
Our Camp's namesake, Jones Bradbury was born in 1838, in Otsego County, New York. His father was a laborer, born in England, and his mother was born in New York State. The family of nine moved to Rockdale, Delaware County, PA in 1855. Unfortunately, by 1861, the tragic death of his father left 23 year old Jones the principle financial supporter of the family. Jones earned $7 per week as a weaver in the Callaghan's Mill in Parkmount. At this point in his life, Jones was probably thinking about marriage, and settling down to start a family.
In 1861, Jones was a six foot tall, blue eyed young man, with auburn hair and a dark complexion. When the guns of Fort Moultrie sounded the beginning of the War of the Rebellion, at 4:30 am, on April 12th, the country was thrown into chaos. Soon after, Jones and a few friends felt their patriotic duties call and went to Philadelphia to enlist. They were soon members of Company B, 26th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Jones regiment was in the Army of the Potomac, and he fought in almost every major encounter that the army was in. At Gettysburg, his regiment was in Major General Sickles' III Corps, Brigadier General Humphrey's 2nd Division, Colonel Carr's 1st Brigade and the regiment held the extreme right flank of the III Corps line just south of the Codori Farm. Sergeant Bradbury came through all of those campaigns unscathed until November of 1863, when he was wounded in the foot during the Mine Run Campaign. He spent the next 3 months hospitalized in Philadelphia and was released, at which time he went home for a short furlough.
In late May of 1864, his enlistment was completed and he reenlisted for the duration of the war and was transferred to the 99th PVI. However, while with his new unit, he was captured at Mechanicsville, VA in June of 1864 and imprisoned at the infamous Andersonville Prison in Georgia. After 6 months there, he was paroled due to illness.
Convalescing in Philadelphia until March of 1865, Jones was then called back to his regiment, and little did he know, that would be the last time that he would see his family and friends. For on April 6, 1865, while the 99th PVI was chasing the retreating Rebels away from Sailor's Creek, Jones was mortally wounded. He hung on to life for two hours and had time to write a letter to a friend named Hattie Smith. The contents of the letter is unknown, but was said to have been stained with his blood. The gallant Sergeant Jones Bradbury was buried at the Calvary Episcopal Church, in Rockdale, Aston Township.
To honor the memory of their fallen comrade, the Union veterans living in Delaware County named their Grand Army of the Republic Post after him. Since 1880, Jones name has been memorialized through the deeds of his G.A.R. Post, and most recently through the Sons of Union Veterans Camp that bears his name.