The history of the McBride family begins not with a family member, but with a landowner from times past. The McBride home place, better known today as Rip Raps, is the oldest and best known of the homes at the Crossroads. It is located on lands owned originally by Peter Mellet, who received the land through a land grant from King George II of England. That land grant still hangs in the hallway of the home today. James Bradley purchased 500 acres of this land from Peter Mellet in 1750. James Bradley was an original settler in the Salem Black River Community, and one of the first elders of Salem Black River Presbyterian Church (Brick Church).
When James Bradley died, his 500 acres of land was inherited by his daughter, Sarah Bradley. Sarah Bradley married John Ervin James, a state legislator, who died on November 1,1803, and is buried at Brick Church. They had no children. Due to her inheritance, Sarah Bradley James (also known as The Widow James) now owned large farm acreage and needed assistance in this regard. After the death of her husband, a man named Samuel McBride moved to the Salem Community and made a business arrangement with The Widow James to run her farm in return for room and board and an agreed-upon stipend.
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