Gustine Standard [Merced County, CA]
Friday, September 7, 1923


Pioneer John D. Bradley Quietly Passed Away

This community was shocked and grieved last Thursday evening when the word was spread around town that Mr. J. D. Bradley, father of Postmaster W. A. Bradley, had passed to the great beyond. It was not altogether an unexpected blow as the old gentleman had been in failing health for the past two years, although he was able to be around the house and yard with the help of his devoted wife who kept him constantly in mind and sight. On Thursday afternoon he was sitting out on the lawn seemingly as well as he had been for several days, but suffered considerably from the heat of the day. He expressed a wish to go into the house and Mrs. Bradley and Mrs. Hardman, who was calling, help him part way in when he seemed to give way and they could not support him. Mrs. Hardman ran across the street for Mr. Morris who came and Mr. Bradley was placed on the bed and Dr. Stagner was summoned, but when the doctor arrived he pronounced him dead. His passing was easy and apparently painless as he gave no indication of any distress, he just simply stopped living and passed on.

His son W. T. Bradley, of Riverside, was at once notified and he and his wife arrived the next morning.

The funeral was held Saturday afternoon and was very largely attended by friends of the family and many old time friends who had known Mr. Bradley for half a century. The entire community has great sympathy for the wife, who is left behind after sixty-nine years of wedded life, the greater part of which was lived right here in this neighborhood and in constant companionship. She could not make up her mind that her partner had gone.

John Daniel Bradley was born on October 24th, 1833 near Nashville, Tennessee. When quite small his father moved to Missouri and took up land where Kansas City is now located and where part of the same land is now owned by [?] nephew, W. P. Bradley.

At the age of 16, in 1850, young J. D. set out by ox team with an emigrant train bound for Oregon. They were six months on the road and settled at Corvallis, Oregon, where he lived for a number of years. He enlisted to fight Indians in one of the many wars of that period and served until the Indians were quieted, serving in an artillery company.

When barely 21 years of age, on October 19, 1854, he married Miss Sarah A. Harmmon, a young lady of Corvallis, and they made their home there until 1859, when they moved to California and settled first at Walnut Creek, in Contra Costa county where they lived several years, and where W. A. Bradley was born. In 1867 Mr. Bradley came to the West Side and took up some land near where the Occidental school house is now located, and in 1868 he moved his growing family here. He has lived here since that time and he has seen the West Side develop from a naked plain where the antelope and coyote wandered at will, where fences or trees were not, and where section lines were guessed at where the only dependence of the farmer was the rains which often did not come and he was forced to live as best he could in hopes that next year would bring him a crop. The change to the present irrigated alfalfa land was slow in coming but he saw it all and he and the faithful wife of his youth who was always at his side to help, to encourage, to share with him all the hardships which are inseparable from pioneer life, and to sit down and rest with him and care for him when he finally had to give up and do no more work and finally to close his eyes and compose him for the sleep that has no ending. She survives him, to mourn his departure, to trace back thru almost seventy long years the course of the true love which she pledged at the alter when they were youths.

To live again with the five babies that blessed their union, three daughters, all passed on, and two sons splendid men who have won for themselves the respect and honor of their neighbors, men whom it can be said 'here are true American nobility,' men of whom their mother may well be proud that she gave them birth and training. Eight grandchildren and fifteen great-grandchildren are living to bring comfort and pleasure to the sorrowing heart which so brave;y bears up under her great loss.

Her sun is drawing to the west and the shadows are longer and it will not be a great while before that brave soul will retire to rest with the one just gone, but when the summons does come it will find her ready to go to meet the bridegroom of her youth who has only gone on ahead to prepare a place for her. She is bright and active now and her mind is keen as that of a young girl, but she knows, she has lived her life, she has fulfilled her duty, there is nothing left undone. She will go out to meet that future as she always has, with no fear, knowing that she has well earned her right to all that is beyond that vail.

Contributed by: Alma Stone