" A personal family crisis of long ago has resulted in 128 years of caring for the needs of others", states Bradshaw & Sons Funeral Director and Owner Robert H. Bradshaw, Jr.
According to family history, Mr. Bradshaw relates, in 1885 a grief stricken Aaron Bradshaw wanted to provide a fitting burial for his wife, Laura, who had died at the age of 26 from childbirth complications. However, the village of Ewell, as well as all of Smith Island was locked in the jaws of a severe freeze and he had no lumber for a coffin.
Fortunately, a waterman in nearby Tylerton had laid in some cedar cypress in preparation for building a new boat in the spring. The man agreed to let Aaron have some wood, and the grieving widower dragged his supplies over the ice to Ewell.
During that icy journey, Mr. Bradshaw had an idea that soon would take shape and continue to grow.
127 years and six generations later, the Bradshaw family continues to serve Smith and Tangier Islands, as well as Crisfield and most of Somerset County, Maryland.
Who would have thought that sad journey across the ice 128 years ago would have touched six generations and establish a tradition that would persevere into the Twenty First century.
Aaron's son, John A. Bradshaw, Sr. was the second generation of funeral directors. His wife, Evelyn D. Bradshaw was one of the first women licensed in the state of Maryland. The third generation was John and Evelyn's sons, H. Harvey Bradshaw and John A. Bradshaw, Jr. The fourth generation was Harvey's son, Robert H. Bradshaw, Sr. Now actively serving is Robert's son, Robert H. Bradshaw, Jr., which is the fifth generation and Robert Jr.'s daughter, Mary Beth Bradshaw-Pruitt who is the sixth generation.