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Bradford Protects Neighbor: Milestones Special Issue

Milestones Vol 30. No. 2

The following story illustrates the tensions in quiet communities occasioned by the slavery question.

During the Civil War some people in the North sympathized with the South. Such sympathizers were called Copperheads, and those who had lost family members fighting for the Union especially hated them and at times attacked them. In Darlington Township there was one Copperhead family, the Douthitts of Douthitt Inn.

One afternoon Arthur Bullus Bradford's son, also Arthur by name, rode the family horse, Old Morgan, to Enon, where he spent some time racing with other young fellows and often winning, for Morgan was a very fast horse. But as evening approached, he went to the local store for the groceries his mother had asked him to pick up. It was raining by then and very foggy.

As he was about to start for home, he overheard some men forming a plan to ride, under cover of the fog, to Douthitt's Inn, where they would attack and kill that family.

Arthur Jr., knowing that his strongly anti-slavery father nevertheless was totally opposed to violence, rode home as fast as his horse could go.

When the boy told his father what he had overheard, Arthur Bullus Bradford grabbed his gun from the study, leaped onto Old Morgan, and headed for Douthitt's Inn, where he arrived just ahead of the mob.

When the men appeared, Bradford rode toward them, calling out the leader's name and stating that he would shoot the first man who dared to cross the road toward the inn. The mob dispersed at once, and no attack on the Douthitts ever took place.

After the excitement was over, Bradford looked more carefully at his gun. Wasps had filled the barrel with mud. There was no way he could have fired it, but of course the mob had not known about that.