Great-grandpa Bromley


The other day I stumbled upon Viola Bromley’s “The Bromley Genealogy,” written in 1911, with beautiful old illustrations and photos of the family dating back to the early 1800s.



This interests me because I am a Bromley myself. It was my Grandma Williams’s maiden name, and they always did say I looked like Grandma.



Luke, the first Bromley in America, washed ashore somewhere around Westerly, Rhode Island in the early 1600s. Luke begat William, who begat another William, who begat Bethuel, who begat another Bethuel. The family circulated around New England and into upstate New York over the next few hundred years. One of the Bethuels jumped the border into Canada in the late 1700s. (Presumably he was waiting out the American Revolution until it got resolved one way or the other.)



Bethuel Junior had a son named Herrick, who recrossed the border into Monroe County in upstate New York, just in time to fight in the War of 1812, presumably for the United States. He was even promoted in rank during the war.



(It’s strange to see an entire lifetime – birth, marriage, children, death – done up in a brief indexed paragraph, with maybe a few words of background to fill it out. It makes you wonder how your own paragraph will read, when your time comes.)



Herrick had a son, Herrick Junior. And this, for me, is the funniest and strangest note of all:



Herrick Jr.: Born 1827. Went to California in the early ‘50s. He married there and had children, but we are unable to trace them. It is said he went to Alaska and died there.”



I can continue the story.



Herrick did not move to Alaska. His first wife died, and he moved from California into Washington Territory, where he took a second wife named May Lunsford. They had a daughter Minnie, who had a son named Floyd.



Floyd had four children of his own, the youngest of whom is me.



So: what was your great-great-grandfather doing during the War of 1812?





About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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