A BRADLEY Family Biography

The Richard T. Bradley Family
Gerald S. Bradley
Last Rev. April 11, 1995

     Richard T. Bradley was born in 1765, the same year England passed the Quartering Act that allowed British soldiers to be billeted in the homes of American colonist. We know nothing of his childhood. Earlier researchers believe that he was related to a William Bradley, who came to Georgia from England, along with his family, at the direction of the founder of Georgia, James Oglethorpe, to improve agricultural techniques in the colony. William was Overseer of the Trust's servants. When the First Continental Congress met, in 1774, Georgia was not represented but drafted her own letter of grievances with essentially the same content and tone as the Declaration of Independence.

     It has been established through the Georgia State Archives, that Richard served three years in the Revolutionary War aboard the Georgia State Galleys and was entitled to bounty land. Although Richard was only about eleven years old in 1775 when the "Shot heard 'round the world" was fired, the war dragged on eight bitter years until the treaty of peace was finally signed in September of 1783. In 1784 Richard sought two separate bounty warrants for 100 and 287 1/2 acres of land in Washington County, Georgia. These warrants could be either converted into acreage or sold for cash by the bearer.

     We don't know where or when Richard met Abadiah Tompkins (or Abadiah Dickey) but they were married, we assume in Georgia, and their first child John Dickey Bradley was born in 1788. According to census records their first four children were born in Georgia, John Dickey, Susan Bradley, Richard Dickey, and James Harvey. In the 1850 Census, Susan Bradley McMinn Mayo claimed to have been born in Florida. In a 1930 letter by Ethel Bradley Jarman, she says that her great uncles spent time as young boys on a small island near the mouth of the Altamaha River in Georgia. This coastal delta is about midway between Savannah, Georgia and the Florida state line, in Glynn County. A Richard Bradley did pay taxes on 287 1/2 acres of land on St. Simons Island in 1790 and 1794 in Lt. Bradley's District. St. Simons Island was colonized by James Oglethorpe to protect the colony from the French and Spanish shortly after he founded Savannah. There was a Fort Tompkins located, nearby, on the Altamaha River. The Indian wars in Sumner County had ended around 1791 and Sumner County was the fastest growing county in central Tennessee. The gospel was being spread throughout the Cumberland frontier by horseback, circuit riding, Methodist and Presbyterian preachers. In 1787 the Cumberland circuit included western Tennessee and Logan and Warren Counties just across the Kentucky border. In that year there were 63 members and it took a month to ride the circuit. By 1792 there were over 400 members in the Cumberland circuit and the meetings are said to have been very emotional events lots of foot stomping and shouting. Until about 1789 the meetings were mostly held within the various forts of the area because of fear of the Indians.

     In 1799 (the year George Washington died) Richard bought 50 acres of land from John Wethers (Withers) on Station Camp Creek, located north east of Nashville, Tennessee and just west of Gallatin. The land was part of a 640-acre parcel granted Withers for service as a private in the Revolutionary war by the state of North Carolina. The deed states that Richard was already a resident of Sumner County. A year earlier a James Bradley had purchased 367 acres on nearby Dry Creek from William Sanders (Saunders). This James is very likely a relative. He was, also, a Sumner County resident. Richard T. and Abadiah raised 9 children, seven sons and two daughters, in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

     Tompkins Bradley was Richard and Abadiah's first child born in Tennessee in 1801. And, the next year they bought 200 acres from Starling Brewer on the Barren fork of Drake's Creek that is just west of Station Camp Creek. This period was the beginning of a great religious revival in the Cumberland and the Bradley family was, no doubt, swept up in it. The County Seat city of Gallatin was first organized and lots went on sale in January of 1802. Andrew Jackson was among the first to purchase a lot. One famous Methodist preacher of that area and period was Hubbard Saunders. Saunders had a racehorse nursery on his farm and was a strong supporter of horse racing, as were, Andrew Jackson and Richard T. Bradley. In 1806 Richard bought another 24 3/4 acre parcel from John Withers. In 1802 Richard bought 200 acres on the Barren Fork of Drake's Creek.

     The rest of Richard and Abadiah's children Elizabeth, 1805; William, 1806; Charles E. (?); and George W., 1812 were born while they lived in Sumner County. The previously mentioned James Bradley died in Sumner County in 1806. Then, in June of 1814,just after Andrew Jackson, with the help of the Cherokee Tribes, defeated the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend, Alabama, Richard sold the two parcels of land, for $500.00 and moved his family north to Logan County, Kentucky. On September 1, he bought 213 acres on Whipperwill Creek. His oldest son was now 25 years old and his youngest 2. Their son Richard Dickey Bradley served with Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. By some accounts, Richard T. Bradley also served in that war and, also, in putting down the first Seminole uprising of 1818.

     Tax records of Logan County, Kentucky between 1815 and 1831 indicate a fairly prosperous and stable family with their sons owning land and households on the neighboring Red River. The land holdings were not large by southern standards where plantations were measured in thousands of acres. Richard T. Bradley was engaged in breeding and raising horses and owned around ten slaves. They probably lived in a log cabin about 20 feet by 24 feet that was typical on the Cumberland frontier. Sometimes two such cabins were connected, with a space between, and called double-logged cabins. Richard and the first four sons appeared as heads of households in 1830.

     John Dickey Bradley owned only 50 acres of land on Whipperwill Creek, near Richard, and by 1832 had moved into the city of Russellville, KY where he probably started a grocery business. He married Patsy D. Trice. They had 2 sons and 2 daughters. In the 1840 census he is listed with his family in Clarksville, Tennessee (just across the border) as a grocer. He died there in 1868 at age eighty.

     Susan Bradley probably married Jediah McMinn in the early 1820's. We know little about Susan but Jediah died in 1835 or 36 and she married H. D. Mayo. She was widowed in the 1840 census for Jackson Township in Johnson, County. After Richard T. and Abadiah died she donated the land on which the Blackwater Methodist Episcopal Church Graveyard stands southwest of Columbus.

     Richard Dickey Bradley married Colena Baker in 1819 and paid taxes on about 100 acres of Logan County land from 1819 through 1830 when he moved to Johnson County, Missouri. According to family legend he had been there earlier on a scouting expedition. On his land, near Pittsville, he became quite a wealthy rancher raising horses, mules and hogs. He drove his mules and horses to markets in Louisiana. Seth Briggs Bradley mentioned this in a letter of 1930 to the chairman of the Blackwater Centennial Celebration. Richard and Colena raised 10 children, 7 sons and 3 daughters. Some of his children are mentioned in the 1881 History of Johnson County. Richard Dickey and Colena are buried at the Blackwater Cemetery.

     James Harvey Bradley didn't show up as a taxpayer until 1824, the same year he married Lucy Violett. He had only two acres on the Red River and probably moved to Lafayette County, Missouri in 1830. Johnson County wasn't founded until 1835 and was formed from part of Lafayette County with the new County Seat located at Warrensburg in 1836. An 1881 history of Johnson County says that he was a saddler by trade, in his early years, and in Johnson County he manufactured tobacco products and clay bricks. James and Lucy raised 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. James and Lucy are buried at the Blackwater Cemetery.

     Tompkins Bradley married Mary Fugua. They owned 150 acres on the Red River and paid taxes in Logan County until 1835 when they moved to Johnson County near Pittsville. Tompkins bought 80 acres of land in Johnson County from his brother George in 1838. His brother-in-law Zachariah T. Davis recorded the deed. It has been said that Tompkins was the strongest churchman of the family but they were all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mary died in 1845 and is buried at the Blackwater Cemetery. Tompkins then married Grizelda Underwood. Tompkins' and Grizelda's house was burned out in 1863 by Kansas's red-legs and they moved, with the younger children, to Ukiah, California in 1865. He died there in 1886 and is buried in the Russian River Cemetery. Also, close by, are the graves of Rice families and Fine families, children of Tompkins and Mary and descendants of the very first settlers of Johnson County. Tompkins had 9 children through his first marriage and 4 through his second.

     Elizabeth Bradley married Zacharia T. Davis in Kentucky in 1827 and probably moved to Johnson County (then Lafayette County) in the early 1830's. They originally settled in the Blackwater Church area, at that time called the Fine neighborhood, but later moved to Warrensburg where they owned the second hotel in the town. Warrensburg became the County Seat of Johnson County in 1836. Zach was the first schoolteacher in Johnson County and the County Clerk. He had 45 students listed on the 1840 census. Zach was elected Commissioner of Schools in 1860. At the end of the Civil War they moved to Lee's Summit, Missouri. Elizabeth died there around 1882. Elizabeth and Zach raised 9 children in Johnson County, 5 sons and 4 daughters.

     William Franklin Bradley probably went to Johnson County with his parents in 1831. He married Caroline Shelton in Lafayette County in 1836. He entered a land grant near Pittsville, not far from the Blackwater Community. Family lore says that William carried General Lyon's body from the battlefield at Wilson's Creek. William was a charter member of the local Grange Society. William and Caroline raised 6 children in Johnson County, 2 sons and 4 daughters.

     Charles E. Bradley probably moved with his parents to Johnson County. He married Elizabeth Mock in Lafayette County in 1836 but died there in 1846. We have little information about Charles. He is supposed to be one of the first buried at New Hope Cemetery but no marker has been found. Charles and Elizabeth had 1 son and 3 daughters. After his death Elizabeth married Franklin Winkler. Some details are given in the 1881 History of Lafayette County.

     George W. Bradley was only 19 years old when his parents settled near the Blackwater Community in Johnson County. In 1835 he bought land from the Federal Government which is (today) one mile east of Pittsville and married Sarah Ann (Elizabeth) Davis. They bought and sold a number of tracts of land in Lafayette County until they finally moved into the city of Lexington. They raised 9 children in Lafayette County but became embroiled in economic difficulties, just before the Civil War. Their property was auctioned for debts in 1858 and the family migrated temporarily to Arkansas, and then, into the Indian Territory, Chickasaw Nation toward the end of the war. Elizabeth died I in route. George was the superintendent of the Chickasaw National Academy just after the war. Many of his children settled in the Indian Territory following the Civil War. Some of them married into prominent Indian families.

     Richard T. and Abadiah Bradley raised their family in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, a strong southern background. They were in their 60's when they followed their children to the frontiers of Missouri but were among the first settlers there. Richard T. Bradley purchased 240 acres of land just South of where the Blackwater Church and Cemetery still sit. No doubt family and the Methodist Episcopal Church had a large influence on their lives. They had both passed away before the North-South split in the church that occurred in 1844 over the slavery issue. No doubt, they would have had some of the same emotional problems which many Missourians had when called upon to choose their loyalties between the Union and the Confederacy when the Civil War engulfed this country. Many of their grandsons fought in that conflagration. The war split and scattered many families and the Methodist Episcopal Church was not reunited until 1939?on the eve of the Second World War. Both Richard and Abadiah are buried at the Blackwater Church Cemetery alongside many family members and friends. It has been said that Richard was a strong churchman but also enjoyed horse racing and made his living by raising horses and mules. After Richard and Abadiah died their children deeded the campground and campground spring to the Blackwater M.E. Church. Annual gatherings are still held there. In 1992 the Sons of the American Revolution replaced Richard's broken headstone. The inscription on the original stone was

"A Revolutionary Soldier gone
Capt. Richard T. Bradley
Died April, 1838 aged 73 Years."

     Abadiah rests beside him.

The descendants of George W. Bradley are grateful to the following people,
without whose help and earlier research we would know little, in deed, about Richard, Abadiah, and their large family:
Ethel Bradley Jarman, Seth Briggs Bradley

Katherine Howry, Karen Bradley Lindsley, Wendell and Ruth Jarman, James K. Anderson, Robert and Betty Murray,
and especially Pauline Oleinik who opened the first door to reestablish the connection
between the George W. Bradley family of the Indian Territory and the Richard T. Bradley family of Johnson County, Missouri.

References Research by Karen Lindsley, 1981. Abstracts of Colonial Wills of the State of Georgia 1733-1777 Department of Archives and History, Office of the Secretary of State, State of Georgia.
A Journal of the Proceedings in Georgia, 2 Volumes by William Stephens; reprint March of America Series No. 37 Ann Arbor University Microfilms, Inc.
Emigrants from Great Britain to the Georgia Colony, Jeannette H. Austin, Sutro Library, S.F., CA.
Georgia's Roster of the Revolution, pages 22, 34, by Lucian L. Knight.
Certificate #139 for two hundred acres of land, issued 1784, Georgia Dept of Arch & Hist.
Carrie McGrew 1939 DAR Application.
Ibid. Laura Booth 1917 DAR Application claims Abadiah TOMPKINS. Most of the family in 1930 believed Abadiah's maiden name was Dickey.
1850 Census, Montgomery Co., TN, The Chronicle Clarksville, TN April 17, 1868; Obituary, J.D.
1850 Census, Johnson County, MO
1850 Census, Platte Co, MO
Letter from Ethel Jarman to Seth Bradley, 1930. Letter in possession of Wendell Jarman, Johnson County, Missouri.
Glynn County, GA 1790, '94 Tax Digest. Substitutes for Georgia's Lost 1790 Census, Delwyn Associates, Albany, Georgia. Our Todays and Yesterdays, Margaret D. Cate
"History of Sumner County, Tennessee", W.T. Durham
Deed, John Wethers to Rich T. Bradley, Sumner County, (117) reg 1799
Deed, Wm. Sanders to James Bradley, Sumner County, (06)? Page 269, reg 1799
Tennessee Cousins, page 674, Map of the Nashville Settlement
Deed, Starling Brewer to Rich. T. Bradley, Sumner County, page 333 (see old book no3, p 329)
"A History of Sumner Co." W.T. Durham
Deed, Starling. Brewer to R.T. Bradley
Trail of Tears, page 106, The Creek War
Sumner Co., TN Deeds, 50, 51 reg 1814
Logan County, Kentucky Deeds 1814, Book D, page 219
"The History of Johnson County, Missouri", 1881, Kansas City Historical Company. The Trail of Tears, 1988, John Ehle
Obituary for Benjamin A. Bradley, Warrensburg-Standard Herald, Sept. 5, 1919, See Seth B. Bradley to Hon. O.G. Boisseau, May 20, 1930
Logan County Tax Records, 1812-36
1830 Census, Logan Co., KY
Clarksville Weekly Chronicle, 17/Apr/68
Deed, Johnson County, MO, 1838, Book E, page 545
"History of Johnson County", 1881
Records, Russian River Cemetery District, Ukiah, CA
"History of Johnson County", 1881
"Hist. of Johnson Co.", 1881. History of Lafayette County, 1881, St. Louis Missouri Historical Society. Young's History of Lafayette County, Missouri, 1910, B.F. Brown & Company
"Missouri Marriages to 1850". "History of Johnson County.", 1881.
1840 Census, Lafayette County, MO.
U.S. Land Grant, Certificate #5473, 1838, Bureau Of Land Management
Deeds, Johnson County: Book G, page 457; Book E, page 527
Deeds, Lafayette County: Book Q, page 437; Book Q, page 438; Book Q, page 253, 254; Boo T, page 274; Book X, page 249,250; Book D1, page 378; Book R1, page 338
Censuses 1840,50 Lafayette County, MO.
Census 1860, Washington County, AR
The Chronicles of Oklahoma Vol. 20, page 154, Pontotoc Co. Quarterly, Vol 1, #1
Certificates from the Lexington Land Office 1832?835, #'s 2835, 2970, 3023, and 5275
Letter from Karen Bradley Lindsley to Pauline Oleinik, 1981
Final Settlement, Richard T. Bradley, 1838, Johnson County, MO
Deed, Johnson Co., Mo., 1838, Book E, page 527
Article, The Daily Star-Journal, Oct. 29, 1992

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This biography is the copyright of Gerald S. Bradley and has been reproduced here with his express written permission. This page may not be reproduced in any format or presentation by other organizations or persons without express written consent of the copyright owners.

This page revised December 18, 2001.

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