Sunday, February 20, 2011
John Rowan Bradley, 1850-1919
Past and Present of Appanoose County, Iowa
Volume II, Pages 402-404
[Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1913]
Through well-directed activity and enterprise John R. Bradley has gained a high place in the business circles of Centerville, where since 1892 he has been engaged in general contracting and building. He was born in Morgan County, Indiana, August 9, 1850, and is a son of William H[enry] and Martha [Ann] (Elliott) Bradley, the former born in Clark County, Indiana, January 30, 1826, and the latter in Kentucky, February 20, of the same year. Mr. Bradley's paternal grandfather was Benjamin [Franklin] Bradley, a native of the South [Maryland]. His wife [Elizabeth Keynon] was born in Ireland [or Pennsylvania]. The mother of our subject removed from Indiana to Kentucky when she was still a child and there her marriage occurred. Immediately afterward Mr. and Mrs. William H. Bradley came to Iowa, locating in Appanoose County, where they purchased eighty acres of land in Vermillion Township, adding to it from time to time until the farm comprised six hundred and eighty acres. Upon this the father engaged in general farming but later gave much attention to buying and shipping stock, carrying on an extensive business along this line for a number of years. His wife passed away in 1881 and six years later the father sold the farm and went to Numa, where he engaged in the mercantile business. He remained there for eight years and then sold his business interests and moved to Centerville, where he made his home with the subject of this review. Later he moved to Mount Pleasant and there his death occurred at the home of his daughter, Melvina Boydston. For many years he was active in the Masonic order, holding membership in Centerville Lodge, No. 42, F. & A. M.
John R. Bradley acquired his education in the district schools of Appanoose County and in the Centerville High School. After he laid aside his school books he helped his father with the work of the farm until he was married, after which he moved upon a portion of the homestead, which he developed and improved for some time. In 1884 he learned the carpentering trade and worked at it for wages for eight years, after which he established himself independently as a contractor and builder, in which work he is still active. He has erected some of the finest and most attractive business houses and residences in Centerville and the surrounding district and has handled much valuable property, doing a very extensive and profitable business.
Mr. Bradley has been thrice married. His first wife was in her maidenhood Miss Mary [Ann] Crist, a daughter of John [G.] and Mary Ann [Coffman] Crist, the former a farmer in Appanoose County. The first Mrs. Bradley died one year later [was buried in the Jerome Cemetery] and in 1884 the subject of this review wedded Mrs. Martha C. Brown, a daughter of Addison and Rhoda (Bryant) Veach, the former born in West Virginia and the latter in Galesburg , Illinois. Both came to Appanoose County in the early '50s and there the father learned the blacksmith's trade, later opening a shop in Centerville. Afterward he removed to Numa and engaged in the same business until his death, which occurred in 1895. His widow returned to Centerville and died in that city at the home of the subject of this review. Mrs. Martha Bradley passed away on the 11th of February, 1902, and on the 29th of December, of the following year, Mr. Bradley was again married. His third union was with Miss Ann Spooner, a daughter of James B. and Catherine (Bryant) Spooner, the former a native of Indiana, born in 1828, and the latter of Galesburg, Illinois, where her birth occurred in 1833. The father came to Iowa in 1846 and entered eighty acres of government land in Center Township, Appanoose County. A few years later the mother came and in this section their marriage occurred, after which they settled upon the farm, where they passed the remainder of their lives, the mother dying in 1898 and the father on the 29th of April, 1905. Mr. Bradley had one daughter by his second marriage, Martha, who was born May 10, 1890, and who died October 9, 1911. During her life she was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star at Centerville. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley are devout members of the Methodist church.Mr. Bradley gives his allegiance to the Republican Party and has held various responsible township offices, for he never seeks to avoid the duties of citizenship. Fraternally, he is connected with Centerville Lodge, No. 42, F. & A. M. Throughout his business career he has always faithfully discharged any obligation devolving upon him and has thus established a reputation for integrity and reliability, his name being an honored one wherever it is known.
Note: The notations in [ ]s were made by the editor of The Jerome Journal.