Friendship Maine Has A Secret – The Bradford Family Massacre
Friendship, Maine - quaint little fishing community located in the picturesque Midcoast. The village is home to many hard working fishermen, several out of staters in the summer and miles of rocky shore. But it’s also home of the Bradford family massacre.
There are several versions of the story, one of which is located in Wikipedia here but if you speak to the locals or explore the Friendship Museum you may get a slightly different story. Certain facts, however, remain the same.
Friendship, originally known as Meduncook, was settled in 1750 complete with a garrison built on an island that was accessible by road at low tide. By 1758 most of the 20+ families that lived in Friendship had moved to the garrison, especially at night, due to the start of the French and Indian War. Joshua (sometimes named as James) Bradford chose to ignore the safety of the garrison because he lived so close to it and felt he had a good relationship with the local Native Americans. Oral history suggests he saved the life of a local chief, which gave him some safety.
On May 2, 1758 a local tribe approach the village. Thinking they were friendly, Bradford did not run for shelter and continued working outside. Both Bradford, his wife Hannah and infant son were killed instantly. One daughter grabbed her little brother and ran for the garrison. She was hit with a weapon while fleeing but made it to the garrison with her brother and both survived. Several other children hid and later were saved as well but two brothers were kidnapped and taken to Canada.
This is where it gets a bit muddy. Some say Winslow was the infant killed, others say he was saved by his sister. The brothers taken to Canada were Cornelius and Joshua. It has been said that they both eventually returned to the area but others say that Cornelius decided to remain with the tribe that kidnapped him. What does remain fact is that several members of the Bradford family lost their lives that day and their family was never the same.
Please note you can see Garrison Island from the mainland but it is privately owned and there is no trespassing.