The Life of Bradford Shirley

Updated: Feb 5, 2019

Bradford D. Shirley, was born in Massachusetts in 1781. He was a son of Job Shirley. A short biography for him is found in History of Cayuga County under the section for Niles as follows:


The name of Bradford's first wife has yet to be found. By her he had a daughter named Nancy Medora Shirley and a son named Bradford Shirley, Jr., both said to have been born in New Salem, Franklin County, Massachusetts. A search of the births in New Salem produced few Shirleys and no matches.


Bradford and his family went to Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York, in 1813, settling on Lot 36. His father lived nearby. In 1833 Sempronius was divided into three parts: Moravia, Niles and Sempronius.


Bradford's son, Bradford Jr. was counted on the census in Moravia until 1865 and in Niles in 1870 and 1880. He owned the Shirley House on Salt Lick Road in Kelloggsville (Niles), the town in which he was also buried when he died in 1882.


It appears that Bradford's first wife died sometime before 1820, He married second to Parthenia Stanton. She was born in Bristol, Ontario County, New York, on July 27, 1798, the eldest child of Benjamin Stanton and Sarah Rood.

In 1820, Bradford's household in Sempronius contained four people, two of who were engaged in agriculture:

  • a male age 10-15, born bet. 1805-1810 (Bradford Jr, b. Oct. 24, 1808)

  • a male age 26-44, born bet. 1776-1794 (Bradford Sr, b. 1781)

  • a female under 10, born bet. 1810-1820 (Florida, b. 1820)

  • a female age 16-25, born bet. 1795-1804 (most likely Parthenia b. 1798)

The adult female must have been Parthenia because she was too young to be the mother of Nancy or Bradford (Junior). She was only ten years older than Bradford Jr and eight years older than Nancy.

In 1830, Bradford's household in Sempronius contained six people:

  • a man age 40-49, born bet. 1781-1790 (Bradford, b. 1781)

  • a boy age 5-9, born bet. 1821-1825 (John, b. 1822)

  • a boy under 5, born bet. 1825-1830 (???)

  • a girl age 5-9, born bet. 1821-1825 (Betsy, b. 1823)

  • a girl age 10-14, born bet. 1816-1820 (Florida, b. 1820)

  • a woman age 30-39, born bet. 1791-1800 (Parthenia b. 1798)

In 1840, Bradford Shirley was counted on the census in Moravia including the following:

  • a boy under 5, born bet. 1835-1840 (???)

  • a boy age 10-14, born bet. 1826-1830 (???)

  • a boy age 15-19, born bet. 1821-1825 (John, b. 1822)

  • a man age 50-59, born bet. 1781-1790 (Bradford Sr, b. 1781)

  • a woman age 20-29, born bet. 1811-1820 (Florida, b. 1820)

  • a woman age 40-49, born bet. 1791-1800 (Parthenia b. 1798)

In 1850 and 1860 Bradford and Parthenia were counted on the census in Richford, Tioga County, New York. Their son, John Shirley, lived nearby.


Bradford died between 1860 and 1865 according to the 1865 census. Parthenia was living in Summerhill in the home of her daughter, widowed. If anyone knows when Bradford died or where he is buried, please comment below or contact me!

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