John Bradley

Taken from Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Western Arkansas

Capt. John Bradley, one of Union Township's sturdy and well-to-do farmers, owes his place to White County, East Tennessee, and is the fourth of a family of five sons and three daughters born to Hon. Jonathan T. and Rhoda (Smith) Bradley, who were born respectively in Rutherford County, N. C., in 1800, and Bradley County, Tenn., in 1802; married in White County, Tennessee, where they resided till 1848, when they moved to Van Buren County, Arkansas, and settled in Greasy Valley when that section was almost a wilderness. Here Mr. Bradley improved a good farm and spent his remaining years, dying in 1864. Mrs. B. died in 1880, both members of the Christian Church. Mr. Bradley's was the seventh family that settled in Greasy Valley, which now has a voting population of about 100. Mr. Bradley was a self-made man, and a man of no little prominence. He was for four years Sheriff of White County, Tennessee, and once represented that county in the Legislature. He was also Circuit Clerk of Van Buren County for about thirteen years, beginning about 1849, making one of the most efficient Clerks that county has ever had. His father, Anselam Bradley, a North Carolinian by birth, but a very early settler of White County, Tennessee, came to Van Buren County about 1850, and died in 1852. He was a soldier in the war of 1812; Mrs. Bradley died in Tennessee; both were Primitive Baptists. Benjamin Bradley, the great grandfather of Captain John, was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Grandfather John Smith, who was of German origin, was born in North Carolina, but an early settler of Bradley County, Tennessee, where he died; his wife died there also, both Primitive Baptists. Capt. Bradley's paternal grandmother, formerly Mary Hampton, was a daughter of Col. Andrew Hampton of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Bradley received a country school education, and since eighteen has been on his own resources. He came with his parents to Van Buren County, and in July, 1859, married Nancy E., a daughter of Judge Robert S. and Elizabeth Hill, who were born in Virginia and in Rutherford County, Tennessee, respectively; married in Tennessee, and in 1852 removed to Van Buren County where Mr. Hill died in 1858; Mrs. H. died in 1864, both members of the Missionary Baptist Church. Judge Hill was a mechanic by occupation, a soldier in the Seminole war; was Justice of the Peace many years, and for two terms was County Judge of Van Buren County, prior to the war. Mrs. Bradley was born in Rutherford County, Tennessee, in 1840, and is the mother of six children: Dr. Adam R., William T., John H. and Rhoda E., Frank S. and James A. (both deceased). Mr. Bradley resided in Van Buren County till 1887, when he moved to his present farm of 200 acres three miles southwest of Springfield. His principal occupation has been farming, but from 1858 was for three years merchandising at Clinton. At the breaking out of the war he joined Company B, First Arkansas Cavalry, as a Lieutenant, but was afterward promoted to be Captain of his company, in which capacity he served till the war closed, although he was in different regiments, mostly on detached service, operating in Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, etc., and participating in the battles of Elk Horn, Oak Hill, Prairie Grove, Helena, Poison Spring, Mark's Mill, Mansfield, and on the Price raid through Missouri and Kansas, and again into Arkansas, surrendering at Jacksonport in June, 1865, after four years' active service for the cause of the Confederacy. Mr. B. was Justice of the Peace two years, and is a member of the A. F. and A. M., now of the Springfield Lodge, No. 127, formerly of the Clinton Lodge, No. 111. He and Mrs. Bradley are members of the Missionary Baptist Church.