Born Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
An ambitious British army officer, John Bradstreet was a conspicuous figure in the contest between the English and French for control of the North American continent. Participating in various military events, ranging from the capture of the French fortress at Louisbourg in 1745 to the campaign against the Ottawa chief Pontiac in 1764, Bradstreet distinguished himself particularly during the French and Indian War in the capture of Fort Frontenac along the St. Lawrence River. Falling out of favor after negotiating a soon-to-be repudiated peace treaty with several tribal nations, Colonel Bradstreet nonetheless achieved the rank of major general in 1772. He had hoped to succeed General Thomas Gage as commander-in-chief in America, but his health failed. Bradstreet's likeness (in its original carved gilt frame) is one of forty-six known portraits painted by Thomas McIlworth, a Scottish artist who arrived in America in 1757.