The Captain Bartlett Bradford House

16 Main Street


The following is taken, with permission, from South Shore; Seasoned Timbers, Vol. 2, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, 1974:

Mrs. John Day. whose family owned this cottage for 139 years, used to say that it dated back to about the year 1767, a tradition very close to a record in the Queens County Registry of Deeds. The deed records that on September 10, 1765, Cyrenus Collins of Liverpool, Gentleman, sold to Samuel Mack of East Haddam in the County of Hartford, Colony of Connecticut, Trader, in a certain dwelling house being and standing on the Fish Lot Letter A, Number 4, being the same in which 1 now dwell".

Before 1784 this fish lot had had various owners. Then Capt. Bartlett Bradford bought the piece which began at "the road that leads from Fish Point to the Town" and ended at the river. One local historian holds that Capt. Bradford had a new house built on his land. New or not, he continued to be away from it much of the time fishing off Labrador, catching salmon by the hundreds of barrels in St. Margaret's Bay and making winter voyages to the warmth of the Caribbean.

Bradford is best remembered for being the commander of the Lucy, Liverpool's first privateer, a ship fitted out in 1779 when Liverpool men determined to strike back at their former fellow New Englanders, now attacking and robbing ships and homes along the South Shore. After the peace, Bradford moved into the cottage which still bears his name. Its four downstairs rooms were well furnished with a sofa and six green Windsor chairs in the parlour, a large table and half a dozen yellow Windsor chairs in the dining room and an eight day clock in the central hall. On his death in 1801 his body was laid out in the east parlour.

The house was sold at auction in 1802, the highest bidder at 350 being Joshua Newton, the young Collector of Customs whose efforts to put down serious local smuggling put him in some tight spots. He knew the house well, having put up at the Bradford's, which was then licensed as a tavern, when he arrived in Liverpool in 1795. He installed his Customs Office in the house level of the old ell which has since been replaced.

He also insulated the upstairs with copies of his old Royal Gazettes (one of which, with the date 1804, can still be seen through an opening left by the present owner when restoring the house in the 1950's).

In 1813 Joshua Newton moved to a new house next door to his father-in-law, Simeon Perkins, Esq. The cottage was sold to the former privateer owner and prize master, Thomas Freeman, whose descendants owned it until 1952, adapting it over the years to suit their needs.

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