Bradford Denton House History

The Bradford Denton House is an important historical structure. It was built near Enfield and Fishing Creek. If it were an obscure 18th century dwelling, it would fully warrant being preserved and restored, simply because it is a rare architectural example of an early, middle class Halifax County home. However, this house represents much more. The local, state, and national history this structure personifies is broad reaching and significant: ranging from politics to religion.

Col. John Bradford, presumably having built, and lived in this house, was an important figure in the shaping of Halfax County and the state of North Carolina. Having served in many capacities in local goverment, Bradford was elected as a delegate from Halifax County to the 4th Provincial Congress, which met in the spring of 1776 in Halifax, N.C. Here, the entire delegation took a unanimous stand to instruct North Carolina's delegates to the Continental Congress to support separation from British rule. This brave and patriotic stance was the first such action taken in any of the 13 colonies. The Bradford Denton House is our connection to a time when men risked all for the idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are recipients today of these God given rights, and are a free and independent nation because of the courageous actions of these brave American patriots.

Col. Bradford's son, the Reverend Henry Bradford, inherited this house and property at his father's death. Henry Bradford lived in this home until his own death in 1833. After serving in the Revolutionay War as a private, Henry turned his attentions and efforts toward the educational and spiritual needs of his fellow man. He established and operated Bradford's Female Academy. There, under the tutorship of Mrs. Maria Robinson, as many as twenty young women per semester received an education.  Rev. Bradford was an early Methodist minister. He and his wife often hosted Bishop Francis Asbury in his home. One cold damp Sabbath morning, desiring not to venture out to Bradford's Chapel nearby, Bishop Asbury held services in the Bradford house. Asbury noted in his journal that the congregation "filled both rooms" of the small dwelling.

The house retains much of its 18th century fabric. It is a living canvas where many of our nation's founding principles were discussed, debated, and formed. There, too, our early religious heritage was practiced and recorded. Through the restoration and interpretation of this structure, our county, state, and national Colonial History will come to life in a rare, early American structure, known as the Bradford Denton House.

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