|Birth: ||Feb., 1830|
County Clare, Ireland
|Death: ||Oct. 17, 1914|
New South Wales, Australia
Edward John Brady, son of a "gentleman of no profession", Edmund Brady, and his wife, Anne Molony, was born on February 12th or 14th, 1830, at "Kielty", the home of his parents, in the parish of Tomgraney, County Clare, Ireland. Edward, who was, at the time, described as weak and sickly, was baptised as an Anglican, by the family clergyman, the Reverend Thomas B. Brady, on February 26th, 1830. From an early age Edward attempted to avoid schooling as much as possible, but was quite enamoured with tales of adventure and courage, often getting his elder sisters, Christine and Isabella, to read to him the adventure tales written by Sir Walter Scott and James Fenimore Cooper. The Last of the Mohicans may have served as an attraction that eventually caused Edward to leave for America. Fishing was one of his passions and, on being presented with a flintlock musket for his twelfth birthday, he also took to game hunting quite eagerly. While on a visit to Limerick, a short time later, he witnessed a public execution of four criminals, then made his way to the waterfront, where he stowed away aboard a brig, hoping to work his way to America, but was instead taken to Glasgow, and then back to Ireland. He had to work his way on board the vessel, assisting the cook in the galley. After reaching home, his father, who was then concerned with a Chancery suit, only reprimanded him and gave him a brief lecture before turning his attention back to the problems at hand. Brady, in his youthful exuberance, was involved in a number of other activities, including, at one time, accompanying his father on a raid upon an illegal still. Sometime in the 1840's, his sisters Christine and Alice left for Australia, followed, shortly after by another sister, Isabella.
In the summer of 1849, Edward received a draft from his sisters in Australia, and, using that source of income, he decided to leave for America, there to seek his fortunes. Shortly after he boarded a vessel at Liverpool, heading for New York, and, five weeks later, he found himself, with just four pennies left, in America. On arrival he decided to seek out some folks whom he had known in Ireland, and with some assistance from these kind souls, he was able to find a job picking apples for a prosperous farmer, on the Hudson River, with his wages being four dollars a month, as well as lodging, board and washing. By 1850 he had left his job, and proceeded, through Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and several other smaller towns, to Cincinnati, where he engaged in brief employment before shipping, as a deck hand on a steamer on the Mississippi River. For about two years he remained in this occupation, travelling to several towns and cities on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, including New Orleans, before he shipped aboard a schooner bound for Texas. He later returned to New Orleans, and then made his way to St. Louis, but not before brief bouts with malaria and yellow fever. He was then employed as a wagon driver and aboard a steamer on the Osage River for a brief period, before making the decision to join the United States Army.
On June 3rd, 1854, Edward John Brady enlisted in company A of the 6th United States Infantry Regiment, for five years, at Jefferson Barracks, situated some twelve miles below St. Louis. After a few weeks of training at the barracks, his recruiter, Lieutenant Winfield Scott Hancock (later to become famous in the Civil War), sent him on recruiting duties to St. Louis, where he worked with Sergeant Finnegan, who was in charge of the recruiting office there, and who was to become a true comrade in arms, both assisting each other during the trials of military life, as well as in their personal lives. Later, they were to be involved in a number of campaigns and marches in the west, being based at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Kearney, and had fought against the Native Americans at Ash Hollow, along the Platte River, in Nebraska, in September, 1855. They then headed for Fort Laramie, and, about a month later, marched on to Fort Pierre, where they remained for about nine months, during which time Edward John made acquaintances with quite a large number of characters who seemed to literally jump out at him from the stories of Fenimore Cooper and others. By September of 1856, the company had returned to Leavenworth, where they remained for a brief period before being sent on to Lecompton, Kansas, and then to a point twelve miles out of Lawrence, where they established a camp. They then moved to Tecumseh, in November, 1856, and remained there until March of the following year, when they returned to Leavenworth. In June, 1857, company A was assigned as an escort to accompany Lieutenant F. J. Bryan, of the Topographical Engineers, to Bridger's Pass, and from which expedition they returned more than a month later. However, it is without doubt that Edward John Brady was never with this expedition, as the United States Army Register of Enlistments shows that he had deserted from the Army on December 19th, 1856, but was apprehended some months later, on July 16th, 1857. Throughout these years in the west and mid-west Edward John marched countless miles, and was involved in a number of expeditions and campaigns. On or about November 1st, of 1858, while hauling wagons over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, en route to Benicia Barracks, California, his left leg was permanently injured in the line of duty, with resulting inflammation and enlargement of the bone, and necrosis. Edward, on reaching Benicia Barracks applied for a disability pension and was eventually discharged there on August 4th, 1859, the additional months of service being a direct result of his brief desertion.
He then remained in the city for a few short months before shipping aboard the whaling vessel, the Fabius, in December of that same year. The vessel ran along the coast of California to St. Bartholomew Bay, and, after some period of time there, indulging in the bloody work ahead of them, they then worked their way across to the Sandwich Islands (present day Hawaii), where the vessel dropped anchor at Hilo, in April of 1860, and where the men were allowed a brief period of respite. For nearly a week the Fabius lay at Hilo, before moving on, and then coming to anchor off Honolulu for a day, then heading off to another port in the Islands. Shortly after they made their way to the Sea of Okhotsk, arriving there on May 11th, and then moving on, through the Aleutians into the Behring Sea. Later returning to the Sandwich Islands, Edward John was discharged at Honolulu, where he spent several weeks before boarding another vessel heading for New Bedford, where he arrived in mid April of 1861.
Having heard of President Lincoln's call for volunteers, he then made his way to New York City, where he enlisted, April 19, 1861, as a private in the 12th New York State Militia, a ninety day unit whose uniform was of the chasseur design. Within two days of his having enlisted, the unit made its way to Washington, and they then set up at Camp Anderson, in Franklin Square, where drill was the order of the day. Shortly after the unit boarded the steamer Baltic where they were to be transported to Fortress Monroe, but events ensued that took them, instead, to Annapolis, and, from whence they then returned to Washington, where they were formally mustered into three months service, on May 2nd, at Franklin Square. Edward John had been mustered in as corporal in company B, but was reduced in rank on June 1st, on the orders of his colonel, Butterfield. Three weeks after the muster in, they left their comfortable quarters and marched into Virginia, via the Long Bridge, over the Potomac River. It was here, that he would later boast to his family, that he had been the "furthest out man on the night the Federal Army invaded Virginia." The regiment remained in Virginia for nine days before it returned to Washington. Some two weeks before the first battle of Manassas, the regiment left the capital, and headed for Hagerstown, in Maryland, and thence on to Martinsburg. After a brief stay at this town, they then marched on to Camp Patterson, at Bunker's Hill, in Maryland, before going to Charleston and Harper's Ferry. After several further marches and camps, they returned to New York, but Edward John Brady had to remain behind, having been sent to Washington as a casualty. It was at this point in time that the Chancery suit was to cross his mind, once more. Not having heard from his father or sisters in some years, he decided to return to Ireland, after his discharge, and, some nine months later he left Washington for Baltimore, and from there he boarded a vessel for Liverpool, arriving there in about forty days, and then made his way, from this port, back to Ireland.
After an absence of nearly thirteen years, Edward found some changes at home. His mother and two brothers had long since passed away, and all his sisters, excepting Harriet, had left Ireland. His father, Edmund, had also left for Australia, and, with circumstances having decided his future course of actions, Edward boarded the Great Britain, in early 1862, to sail for Australia. By mid-1862, they had arrived off Queenscliff, in Victoria, and within a short period had landed at Sandridge Pier (present day Port Melbourne). Edward, when he had been in America, had contacted several Irish persons whom he had known from home, four of whom were sisters of a young girl who had gone to Australia to settle. Edward had made a promise to drop in and visit her, after his arrival in Australia, and thus, while in Melbourne, he made his way to the village of Werribee (now actually a suburb of Melbourne), and as such, met up with the young lady who was later to be his wife. Some weeks later, and after several more visits to Werribee, he decided to leave for Sydney, there to see his father, and to discuss certain matters. Having had the experience, during his Army service, of walking thousands of miles, Edward took the same method of travel, on his journey to Sydney. Before he had actually left the state of Victoria, he had had the bad experience of being robbed, while asleep, at a country inn, and so, had to take up a wool pressing job on a sheep station, thus earning him enough to continue his journey. By December 10, 1862, he had arrived at Albury, on the Murray River, and just across the border, in New South Wales. Like a typical bush traveller he carried the most meagre of possessions, on the trek to Sydney, including his United States Army blanket from the war he had just left. Purchasing a new pair of Wellington boots at Adelong, a small town in New South Wales, he continued his journey through Campbelltown, and finally arrived in Sydney at nightfall, some days after having left Albury, then rolled himself up in his Army blanket and fell asleep at Hyde Park. Next morning he lodged himself at a nearby inn where he had breakfast and cleaned up before taking a walk along one of main streets of the city, down to Circular Quay, on the waterfront. It was here that, just by a lucky coincidence, he espied his father, and went up to chat with him, briefly, before making a statement that finally gave a clue to the elder Brady about his exact identity. They then discussed their lives before they were later to have a family reunion at Isabella's home, at Christmas.
By early January of 1863, Edward had made the suggestion that he should, perhaps, return to America, since circumstances did not seem to support his stay in Australia, but his family would not hear of it. Furthermore, Edward felt that the girl residing at Werribee, in Victoria, would be the reason he would remain in Australia, and, after reading an advertisement in the newspapers for recruits to join up with the New South Wales Mounted Police, he was appointed into the force, at Sydney, by Captain McLerie, January 5, 1863, his police number being 1105. Training at Belmore Barracks, he was, on March 3, 1863, sent to Bathurst, west of Sydney, before being dispatched to Carcoar, as his final station. Here followed numerous encounters with bushrangers, and all manner of human characters, in between rides through the bush, escort duties and the usual policing of the region. It was during the period that he corresponded with the young lady at Werribee, Hanna Kenny, whom he took some time off, in July, 1868, to travel down to Melbourne, and marry on the 13th of that same month, at St. James Church, in Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne. The couple then returned together to Carcoar. Their one and only child, a son, Edwin James Brady, was born at Carcoar on August 7, 1869. Edwin was later to become well known in Australia as a writer and poet. Moving to Oberon, the family were later to shift to Condobolin, and, after two years there, returned to Oberon. On March 1st, 1874, Edward John was promoted to the rank of senior constable. Meanwhile, in 1875, his father, Edmund, passed away in Sydney, and willed the Chancery claim to Edward, which his wife, Hanna, was not too keen to pursue further. Hanna had been able to cure Edward of his tobacco habit, and had managed to convert him to Catholicism, so, with a little persuasion, she also managed to get him to leave the Chancery suit in abeyance, and would, instead, follow him to America, where he wanted to settle, once more.
Thus, on May 19th, 1881, he was discharged from the force, on a gratuity of 225 pounds, and, in July of that year, the family left Sydney aboard the Zealandia, arriving at San Francisco a short time later. They were then to head east by rail, passing many places that Edward was familiar with in his earlier years in America. Originally intending to settle in Oregon, they instead resided in Washington, and Edward was to join the Grand Army of the Republic, as well as other organisations, such as Clan-na-Gael. He marched in the Decoration Day parade, and met up with old buddies from his military service, but Hannah's memories of happier days in Australia, convinced him that he should return there. Thus it was that, in December, 1882, the City of New York brought them back to Sydney. Edward obtained Government employment policing the rabbit proof fence, but resigned after about three years of service. He then settled in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra, where he passed the remaining days of his life, dying of senile decay and exhaustion, on October 17, 1914. He was buried at the Waverley Cemetery, in Sydney. After his death, Edward John's papers and letters were intended for the fire by his wife Hanna, but, thankfully, their son, Edwin James saved these items from such a fate, and many of the accounts were used, later, in Edwin James Brady's volume, Two Frontiers.
Archives Office of New South Wales: AO fische No. 848, Police, Inspector General: Register of Police 1862 -1904.
Copies of letters of Edwin James Brady, as well as photographs of Edward John Brady, used with authorisation of the Brady estate; permission granted by Edna J. Brady in 1991.
Correspondence with the late Edna J. Brady, of Mallacoota, Victoria, the grand-daughter of Edward John Brady, dated in 1991-1992; correspondence includes an "authorisation to use" the material and photographs in the Edwin James Brady collection at the National Library of Australia, Canberra.
Correspondence with the National Library of Australia, dated in 1991.
Marriage Certificate of Edward John Brady, dated July 13th, 1868.
Military Service Record, Edward Brady, company B, 12th New York State Militia.
New York Regimental Enlistment and Muster in forms available at the New York State Archives.
Two Frontiers, by Edwin James Brady; published 1944, by Frank Johnson, Sydney, New South Wales.
United States Army, Register of Enlistments.
Original research of the late Roy Parker, Barry Crompton, Bob Simpson, Len Traynor and Terry Foenander, and published in the volume, CIVIL WAR VETERANS IN AUSTRALIA, edited by Mrs. Virginia Crocker, 2000.
New South Wales, Australia
Plot: Roman Catholic Section 17, grave no. 701.
Created by: Terry Foenander
Record added: May 15, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19390844