Fort Brady, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania
Fort Brady was the dwelling house of Capt. John Brady, at Muncy, stockaded by digging a trench about four feet deep and setting logs side by side, filling in with earth and ramming down solid to hold the palisade in place. They were usually twelve feet high from the ground, with smaller timbers running transversely at the top, to which they were pinned, making a solid wall. Capt. Brady’s house was a large one for the time; he had been a captain in the Scotch-Irish and German forces west of the Alleghenies under Col. Henry Bouquet in his expedition, which Dr. Egle tells us composed the Bouquet expeditions, and had received a grant of land with the other officers in payment for his services. He was a captain in the 12th Pennsylvania regiment in the Revolution and was wounded at the battle of the Brandywine. His son, John, a lad of fifteen, stood in the ranks with a rifle and was also wounded. Sam, his eldest son, was in another division and assisted to make the record of Parr’s and Morgan’s riflemen world famous. The West Branch, in its great zeal for the cause of the colonist, bad almost denuded itself of fighting men for the Continental army. Consequently, on the breaking out of Indian hostilities a cry for help went up from these sparsely settled frontiers. Genl. Washington recognized the necessity without the ability to relieve them. He, however, did all in his power by mustering out such officers as would be likely to organize such defense and restore confidence to these justly alarmed communities, distributing the men among other regiments. Capt. John Brady was one of these officers; he was mustered out soon after the battle of Brandywine, came home and in the fall of 1777 stockaded Fort Brady. He was active, energetic, honest, devoid of fear and kind. A man of prominence and a natural leader of men. Fort Brady at once became a place of refuge to the families within reach in times of peril and continued so until after the death of the valiant captain and the driving off of the inhabitants. Capt. Brady was killed by the Indians at Wolf run, above Muncy, April 11, 1779. Meginness, in his History of the West Branch, says: “One of the saddest incidents of these troublesome times was the assassination of Capt. John Brady by a concealed foe on the 11th of April, 1779. He was living with his family at his fort, as it was termed, at Muncy, and was taking an active part against the Indians. On this fatal day he made a trip up the river to Wallis’ for the purpose of procuring supplies. He took a wagon and guard with him, and, after securing a quantity of provisions started to return in the afternoon. He was riding a fine mare and was some distance in the rear of the wagon. Peter Smith, the same unfortunate man who lost his family in the bloody massacre of the 10th of June, and on whose farm young James Brady was mortally wounded and scalped by the Indians on the 8th of August, was walking by his side. When within a short distance of his home, Brady suggested to Smith the propriety of his taking a different route from the one the wagon had gone, as it was shorter. They traveled together until they came to a small stream of water (Wolf run), where the other road came in. Brady observed: This would be a good place for Indians to hide; Smith replied in the affirmative, when three rifles cracked and Brady fell from his horse dead. As his frightened mare was about to run past Smith he caught her by the bridle and, springing on her back, was carried to Brady’s Fort in a few minutes. The report of the rifles was plainly heard at the tort and caused great alarm. Several persons rushed out, Mrs. Brady among them, and, seeing Smith coming at full speed, anxiously enquired where Capt. Brady was. It is related that Smith, in a high state of excitement, replied: “In Heaven or hell, or on his way to Tioga,” meaning he was either killed or a prisoner by the Indians. The Indians in their haste did not scalp him, nor plunder him of his gold watch, some money and his commission, which he carried in a green bag suspended from his neck. His body was brought to the fort and soon after interred in the Muncy burying ground, some four miles from the fort (now Hall’s station, P. & E. R. R.) over Muncy creek.” His grave is suitably marked at Hall’s, while a cenotaph in the present Muncy cemetery of thirty feet high, raised by J. M. M. Gernerd by dollar subscription, attests the lively interest still felt by the community in one who devoted himself to the protection of the valley when brave active men and good counselors were needed. Of his sons, Capt. Samuel Brady, a sharpshooter of Parr’s and Morgan’s rifles, fought on almost every battlefield of the Revolution, from Boston and Saratoga to Germantown, can speak of his deeds as a scout and Indian fighter Western and Northern Pennsylvania, which West Virginia and Ohio attest. To the Indian he became a terror, and he fully avenged the blood of his sire shed at Wolf run, on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, that beautiful day in April, 1779, at the bloody fight of Brady’s Bend, on the Allegheny, where, with his own hand, he slew his father’s murderer and avenged his brother James, the “Young Captain of the Susquehanna,” in a hundred other fights. Of his second son, James, killed by the Indians at the Loyal Sock, whose career bid fair to be as brilliant as his elder brother’s but unfortunately cut off at his commencement. John, who, when but a boy of fifteen, going with his father and oldest brother to the battlefield of the Brandywine to bring back the horses, finding a battle on hand, took a rifle and stepped into the ranks and did manful duty, and was wounded. He is said to have served with Jackson at New Orleans in the War of 1812. William Perry Brady served on the northern borders in the same war, and at Perry’s victory at Lake Erie, when volunteers were called, was the first to step out.
Hon. John Blair Linn, at the dedication of the Brady monument in 1879, one hundred years after the death of John Brady, said: “To the valley his loss was well nigh irreparable; death came to its defender, and ‘Hell followed’ hard after. In May, Buffalo Valley was overrun and the people left, on the 8th of July Smith’s mills, at the mouth of the White Deer Creek were burned, and on the 17th Muncy valley was swept with the besom of destruction. Starrett’s mills and all the principal houses in Muncy Township burned, with Fort Muncy, Brady and Freeland, and Sunbury became the frontier.”
And, in speaking of the fall of Capt. Evan Rice Brady at South Mountain, in the war of ’62, said: “Four generations of the Brady’s fought for this country, yet he was the first to fall in action.” The site of Fort Brady adjoins the town of Muncy, on the south side of and near the built up portions of the town on lot owned by Mrs. Hayes. Until late years, a flag staff has stood, marking the site, Mr. J. M. M. Gernerd, the well-known antiquarian of Muncy, keeps a good lookout for the site. No question as to its genuineness.