OBITUARY DATED FEB. 23, 1876
DIED in Camden, Oneida county, New York, Febíy 12, 1876, Mrs. Sophia BRADLEY, widow of the late Rev. George Bradley, of Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Mrs. Bradley was born in Camden, Oneida Co., N.Y., Febíy 22, 1809. She was the third daughter of David and Lucy BLAKESLEY, of the above mentioned place. The writer of this is not in possession of accurate data by which to fix the time of her conversion, but it is believed to have been quite early in life. Nor do we know what advantages were at hand for mental improvement; but with the endowment of good native abilities, sound judgment, strong common sense, great determination of will, and exceedingly discriminating moral perception, an immovable Christian steadfastness, and all brought to practical use by a consuming zeal for Godís glory, and the salvation of souls; she was eminently prepared for the work divinely marked out before her, to be the life companion and Christian helper of an itinerant minister and missionary in the wilds of Michigan near forty years ago.
She was married to Mr. George BRADLEY April 8th. 1832; five years later her husband was licensed as a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was received on trial in the Michigan Conference in 1838, six years from the time of their marriage. Then commenced the sacrifices and trials, privations and sufferings, incident to the life of an itinerant ministerís wife, in the wilderness of Michigan at that early day. At that time a large proportion of the older counties of the State was almost an unbroken wilderness; and the itinerantís work was not to enjoy the fruitage of the gathered harvest, but to break up the fallow ground, plant the precious see, toil in faith and often in tears, in cultivating the moral soil, and patiently wait until God should give the increase. It was not to recline upon soft cushions inside of frescoed walls, and gather inspiration from heavenís mellowed light struggling in through stained glass, or carried upward on the grand tones of the costly organ as a preparation for the morning sermon: but it was to follow the hardiest pioneer by the blazed tree or Indianís trail, into the fastnesses of the wilderness, to the rude cabin of the emigrant or the wig-wam of the red man, and there tell the simple story of the cross to the wild uncultivated sons of the forest. It was to journey with wife and little ones, for days into the deep dark wildwood, fording dangerous rivers, threading the way around the quivering morass, startling strand birds from their resting place by day, and in turn being startled by strange music from wild beasts by night, until the pale of human habitation seemed to have been passed, and retreat cut off; and there to dwell away from society, from Christian association, beyond the reach of the voices of dearest friendship and the sympathy of kindred hearts. If this in the minister was self-sacrificing and noble in his tried and trusted and devoted wife, it was the grandest moral heroism.
Such was the work to which sister BRADLEY consecrated her life. When her husband felt impelled by the voice divine, and the call of the church to undertake the arduous and yet scantily remunerative toil of an itinerant, in this then wild country, she did not hesitate to give her full assent, and lay her life with all its prospects and hopes, with his on Godís alter; nor did she fail to redeem her pledges and fulfill her consecration but with true moral heroism, an uncomplaining fortitude, and an unfaltering fidelity to duty, she went forth to share with him in his privations and crosses, conflicts and victories. And the minister and missionary found in her the companion, the counselor and the strong ally he so much needed in his often difficult, self-sacrificing and arduous toil; his home was warm with wifely sympathy and light with Christian live. Did a thousand perplexities befog his way, divide his mind and harass his soul! It was for her to look the difficulties squarely in the face, and often to quietly solve the problem. Did opposition and discouragement rear its mountain wall before him, until before its rugged steeps, and overhanging cliffs, his faith trembled and faltered; it was for her with calm, yet dauntless determination; and faith absolutely omnipotent by its connection with the infinite to scale the impending height, or hurl the mountain from the path. But perhaps there was no act of her Christian life demanding so much Christian fortitude, and devotion to duty as her entrance upon the missionary work in Isabella county.
She came with her husband to this field of labor in the autumn of 1857, and has resided in or near Mt. Pleasant until her death. The results of the abundant labors of this devoted Christian lady in the interest of the Indians and the church in this region, will not be known until eternity shall reveal them. Admonished by advancing age and failing health, she had for some time viewed the change from labor; to reward as not distant, and told to a friend, that she was only watching and waiting for the coming of the master; but she did not cease her work for Christ until he said, ďIt is enough, come up higher.Ē It may be succinctly stated that sister Bradley only lived to honor God and bless humanity.
To the truth of this hundreds of hearts will respond who have been cheered by her beneficence or blessed by the purity of her Christian example. She had learned the lesson that practical Godliness with contentment is great gain. Undemonstrative in her Christian character and work, there was yet a silent current of influence springing forth from each which bore one imperceptibly, nay almost irresistibly in the direction of the true and pure and the holy. Blessed are the dead, who died in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works follow them.
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