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Colonel Philip Burr Bradley

1738-1821

The Bradley family came from Coventry, England in 1657. Philip was born in Fairfield, CT and graduated from Yale College in 1758. He moved to Ridgefield in 1759 and was appointed Justice-of-the-Peace in 1770 by King George III. In those times, this would make him Ridgefield’s judge. 
 
Although a loyal subject of the Crown, events leading to the Revolutionary War turned him into a patriot. He accepted a 3-year commission as a Colonel of the newly formed 5th Connecticut Regiment of the Continental Line in January 1777 and led it until January 1781. Although the 5th was not completely formed, he and a handful of his recruits joined American Generals Arnold and Silliman to help fight the British at the Battle of Ridgefield on April 27, 1777. In the summer of 1777, Bradley’s Regiment joined George Washington’s army. They were part of the lead brigade at the Battle of Germantown, PA, endured the infamous winter at Valley Forge, and distinguished themselves at the Battle of Monmouth.
 
After the war, George Washington visited Bradley at his large home on Main Street, where Ballard Park now stands. Later, President Washington and President John Adams appointed Colonel Bradley to be the Marshall (military commander) for the District of Connecticut. 
 
Besides military affairs, Bradley was prominent in local and state government. He was Ridgefield’s representative to the state legislature for 19 years. On January 9, 1788, he was one of the delegates to sign Connecticut’s ratification of the US Constitution. 
 
Colonel Bradley was wealthy and a good businessman, who acquired a lot of land in the Ridgefield area. Some of his land had been confiscated by the government from Tories and given to him as payment for his military service. Noted for his deep-set black eyes, black clothing and stern personality, Bradley was just as well known in his time as his first cousin, Vice President Aaron Burr.
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Watch for these Programs:
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  • 'CT Trail Day' Hike in June