Monday, May 2, 2016

BRL 8 Bracken Ridge - A reminder of Scotland?

Years ago, we were searching for something on the internet, when it had just begun, and typed in Brackenridge.  Up popped this town in Ohio..  From there we started some conversations with a local resident.

In 1988, we travelled to USA and visited his family in Brackenridge.  My memory is of a beautiful conservatory in the Public Gardens, and a building that well known producer Mr Heinz, built for his son, who was going to college.  It was the Heinze Chapel.  The area was the home of medical technology.
What was the reason that a town in Ohio, and San Antonio, were called Brackenridge?

They were named after Hugh Henry Brackenridge.  This Hugh Brackenridge was born in Campbeltown in Argyle on the Scottish West.  

Brackenridge was born in Kintyre, Scotland, a village near Campbeltown. In 1753, when he was 5, his family emigrated to York County, Pennsylvania, near the Maryland border, then a frontier. At age 15 he was head of a free school in Maryland. At age 19 he entered the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, where he joined Philip Morin Freneau, James Madison, and others in forming the American Whig Society to counter the conservative Cliosophic, or Tory, Society. (Today these are conjoined as the American Whig–Cliosophic Society.)
Freneau and Brackenridge collaborated on a satire on American manners that may be the first work of prose fiction written in America, Father Bombo's Pilgrimage to Mecca . They also wrote The Rising Glory of America, a prophetic poem of a united nation that would rule the North American continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Brackenridge recited it at the commencement exercises of 1771.

Hugh married and had a son, Henry Marie Brackenridge.   

Henry Marie Brackenridge (1786–1871) was an American writer, lawyer, judge, and Congressman from Pennsylvania.

He was born the son of the writer and judge Hugh Henry Brackenridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1786. Educated by his father and private tutors, he attended a French academy at St. Genevieve, Louisiana (now Missouri). He studied law and was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1806, then practiced in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

He moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was a lawyer and journalist. In 1811 Brackenridge was the first recorded tourist to present-day South Dakota, hosted by fur trader Manuel Lisa. Henry was appointed deputy attorney general of the Territory of Orleans (Louisiana), and district judge of Louisiana in 1812.

He played an intelligence role during the War of 1812, and in 1814 published a history of the war. In 1817 he was appointed secretary of a mission to South America. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1818. Brackenridge in 1821 entered the diplomatic service of General Andrew Jackson, who was the new commissioner of Florida. Through Jackson's influence, he served as U.S. judge for the western district of Florida 1821–32.

Brackenridge returned to Pennsylvania in 1832 and became owner of a large tract of land upon which he founded the town of Tarentum, 22 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River. The adjacent Allegheny County borough of Brackenridge is named for him.

Brackenridge is a borough in Allegheny County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, along the Allegheny River. It is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area.

The town is named for Henry Marie Brackenridge. The borough once had glass factories. An Allegheny Technologies steel mill, Allegheny Ludlum Brackenridge Works, plays a prominent role in the community, although most of the facility is located in Harrison Township. The population stood at 3,421 in 1910 and at 6,400 in 1940. The population was 3,260 at the 2010 census

Information from Wikipedia.

Once again there are Scottish links back to the region that many of the Bracken Ridge families came from.  From the Google maps this is Bracken Ridge Road, in Scotland!  

It is quite ironic, that everything comes back to one small country!

The bracken fern growing in Scotland.  The description below tells its usage.  Today apparently it harbours ticks, and grows in conjunction with the heather.

The surname origins.

The Brackenridge surname can be traced back to the fifteenth century in lowland Scotland and northern England where it appears in a variety of private papers and public records. Most frequently, however, it is associated with Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, and the environs of Glasgow. 

Variant spellings are common: Brackenridge, Breakenridge, Breakinridge, Breckenridge, Breccinridge, or Breckenridge. The earliest spellings, however, end with “rig” rather than “ridge,” suggesting an agricultural context: Brecenrigg, Brecenrig, Breckinrigg, Breconrig, Breconnrigg, etc. 

(A rig is the space between the furrows in a plowed field and by extension refers to the field itself.) 

Bracken is an undesirable wide-leafed fern that flourishes in the moist Scottish soil and is eaten by animals only as a last resort. Before Scots adopted modern agricultural practices, fields were broken up in medieval fashion into small plots separated by built-up rigs or mounds (ridges)on which weeds such as bracken proliferated. “Bracken rigs” possibly described the fields in which our ancestors labored and eventually became a family name

Named for the similarity with the Scottish bracken fern?  A good possibility

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