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David Bradley (November 8, 1811 – February 19, 1899) was a "Pioneer Plowman".

David Bradley was born in Groton, New York on November 8, 1811. After working with his brother, C. C. Bradley, for several years in Syracuse, he relocated to Chicago in 1835. Initially he was in the employ of Jones, King & Co. and helped to build the first foundry in Chicago, known as the "Chicago Furnace".

From the late 1830s until the 1850s David Bradley farmed in Lake County, Illinois, made bricks, and later farm machinery, in Racine, Wisconsin, and was a lumberman in Michigan. In 1854, he returned to Chicago and purchased a plow company from his brother in law. Later that year he partnered with Conrad Furst to create the firm of Furst and Bradley.

Furst and Bradley eventually grew to occupy an entire city block at Fulton and Desplaines Streets in Chicago. In 1884 David Bradley and his sons purchased Furst's share of the business, and the company was renamed the "David Bradley Manufacturing Company".

In 1895 the company was relocated to North Kankakee (about 50 miles south of Chicago), which was later renamed "Bradley, Illinois" in honor of the man and the company.

In 1910, the Bradley family sold the factory to Sears, Roebuck and Co., at which time it was renamed the "David Bradley Manufacturing Works". The name was subsequently changed to David Bradley Manufacturing Company and in 1958 the company introduced the Garden Riding Tractor and David Bradley became the largest manufacturer of garden riding tractors in the world. Sears also owned the Newark Ohio Company and in 1962 David Bradley Manufacturing Company and the Newark Ohio Company were merged into a single unit under the name Newark Ohio Company. The new company manufactured power lawn mowers, among other products. In 1964 another merger took place and the Newark Ohio Company was merged into the Geo. D. Roper Corporation with the plant in Newark, Ohio continuing to manufacture outdoor power equipment including riding and single power lawn mowers.[1]


On 25 Feb 1838 in Chicago, David Bradley married Cynthia Abbott (1817–1895) of Barre, Vermont. They had six children:[2]

  • Byron Chapman Bradley, b. 1 May 1839 Libertyville, Lake County, IL, of Kankakee, IL, m. Alice M. Wilbur. Their son B. Harley Bradley built a house called Glenlloyd, or the B. Harley Bradley House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Kankakee, IL.[3]
  • Edgar Bradley, b. 15 Jan 1841 Libertyville, IL; d. there 18 Sep 841.
  • Mary Ellen Bradley, b. 14 Sep 1842 Racine, WI; of Chicago, IL; d. 1 Oct 1899 Mt. Vernon, Westchester County, NY; m. Chicago 10 Oct 1865 George Cadogen Morgan (1834/35- ).
  • Joseph Harley Bradley, b. 30 Sep 1844 Racine, WI; of Chicago, IL; m. Brooklyn, NY 1 Mar 1871 Margina J. Richards (c1846-1896) of New York, NY.
  • Adelbert Bradley, b. 15 Apr 1847 Racine, WI; d. there Sep 1848.
  • David Bradley, b. 15 Feb 1849 Chicago, IL; d. there 15 Feb 1849.

David Bradley died on February 19, 1899.


  1. ^ “Arnstein & Lehr, The First 120 Years”, (Louis A. Lehr, Jr.)(Amazon), pp. 39-40
  2. ^ "Descendants of George Abbott of Rowley, Mass.", L. A. Abbott, 1906.
  3. ^ U. S. Census 1880

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