Woman of the Century/Amy Morris Bradley
BRADLEY, Miss Amy Morris, educator, born in East Vassalboro, Maine, 12th September, 1823. She is a granddaughter of Asa Bradley, a soldier of the Revolution who gave his life for his country. She was educated in her native town. In 1840 she began co teach in country schools, and four years later was appointed principal of one of the grammar schools in Gardiner, Me. In 1846 she came assistant teacher in the Winthrop grammar school of Charlestown, Mass. and taught until the autumn of 1849, when, prostrated by pneumonia, she was compelled to seek a milder climate. The winter of 1850-51 was passed in Charleston, S. C., but with little benefit, and. advised by her physician to seek a country entirely free from frost, in 1853 she went to San Jose, Costa Rica, whose climate proved a healing balm to her lungs. In three months after her arrival she opened a school. It was a success. She quickly mastered the Spanish language, and her pupils rapidly acquired the English. For nearly four years she continued her educational work in San lose, and in the summer of 1857 she returned to New England to her early home in East Vassalboro. where her venerable father died in January, 1858. The thorough knowledge of Spanish acquired bv Miss Bradley in Costa Rica led the New England Glass Company, of East Cambridge, Mass., to seek her services in translating letters. She was in Cambridge in 1861. when the first gun was fired at Fort Sumter, and immediately after the battle of Bull Run she offered her services as nurse to the sick and wounded soldiers. On the first of September, 1861, Miss Bradley entered the hospital of the Third Maine Regiment, encamped near Alexandria, Va., but was transferred to the Fifth Maine Regiment, and a few days later was appointed matron of the Seventeenth Brigade Hospital, General Slocnm's Brigade, of which she had charge during the winter. In the spring of 1862, after the Army of the Potomac went to the Peninsula, Rev. F. N Knapp, head of the relief department of the United States Sanitary Commission, telegraphed to Miss Bradley to report immediately to him at Fortress Monroe, and she went in the same boat with Miss Dorothea L. Dix. All through the Peninsular Campaign she was on transport boats, which brought the sick and wounded from the battlefields. After the Seven Days Battles she returned to Washington and helped to organize a home for discharged soldiers. In December, 1862, she was sent to Convalescent Camp, Alexandria, and remained in charge of the Relief Department until the close of the war, when, her special work for country and humanity being ended, her heart and mind turned anew to her original calling. In 1866, at the request of the Soldiers' Memorial Society, of Boston, Mass., and under the auspices of the American Unitarian Association, she went to Wilmington, N. C, as a teacher of poor white children. Her position at first was a trying one, for she was a stranger and a northerner. Modestly and firmly she took her place and began her work. She opened her school 9th January, 1867, with three children, in a very humble building. Within a week sixty-seven pupils were enrolled, and soon two additional teachers were engaged by her, and, as the number of pupils rapidly increased, new schools were opened, the "Hemenway," the "Pioneer" and the "Normal," and the corps of teachers increased accordingly. Such was the character of the instruction given, such the tone, spirit and influence of the schools, that within a few months, instead of being regarded with suspicion and aversion. Miss Bradley and her co-workers had the confidence and the grateful affection of the community, and large-minded citizens co-operated with the trustees of the Peabody Fund and other benefactors in erecting the needed buildings and forwarding the work. On the thirtieth of November, 1871, the corner-stone of the Tileston Normal School was laid, and it was opened in October, 1872. This building was the gift of Mrs. Mary Hemenway, of Boston, Mass., who had been deeply interested in Miss Bradley's wurk from its beginning, and whose appreciation of its importance and beneficence found expression in the annual contribution of $5,000 toward the support of the Tileston Normal School, from its opening in 1872 to its close in 1891. Failing health led Miss Bradley to resign her position in 1891.