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FredQuest Genealogy

Joseph Bradfield

John Bradfield Photo

John Bradfield

(Historical & Pictorial Barnesville)

Mrs John Bradfield Photo Mrs. John Bradfield

(Historical & Pictorial Barnesville)

Joseph Bradfield
Historical & Pictorial Barnesville

JOSEPH BRADFIELD:  Jos. Bradfield was born in 1777 and lived in Knavesboro, England, keeping a general store there.

In company with his wife Isabella, and his sons Joseph and John, and three daughters.  Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary, he sailed from Liverpool, Sunday, May 6th, 1827, and after six weeks and two days upon the ocean landed at Baltimore where it is supposed he met some of James Barnes’ agents, and was influenced to come to Ohio.  He and his family left in an old fashioned carry-all and followed the National turnpike out.

Then in the summer of 1827, he bought the farm on the road between Barnesville and Hendrysburg, and built the stone house by which the farm is generally known.  There he lived until his wife’s death.  After a number of years, in which his sons and daughters were all married, he sold the farm to his son John, and returned to England.

Here he met Mrs. Susan Copeland, whom he married, and came back to Barnesville, after one year’s absence.  He then bought a farm on Sandy Ridge, east of Barnesville, and lived there until his death in September 1866 at the age of 89 years.

John Bradfield was, for a long period, a resident of Barnesville, Ohio and was ever in the foreground of its business live.  In the matter of public improvements, he probably left as great an impress upon the city as any other person who has made it his home.

The birth of John Bradfield occurred in Knavesboro, County of York, England, in 1813, and in 1827, he accompanied his parents, Joseph and Isabella Bradfield, to the United States.  The little family remained for a short time in Baltimore, Maryland, but it was the father’s intention to engage in farming, and with this object in view, a suitable location was found in Belmont County, Ohio, within two miles of the growing town of Barnesville.

Although he was ambitious to learn, he enjoyed few early advantages.  His superior mental acquirements, so noticeable in after years, were gained through much reading and association with the world.  Until 1838, he remained on the farm, and then first engaged in the buying and shipping of tobacco, having built a tobacco house for packing tobacco on the farm about 100 yards north of the old stone house.  His initial ventures proved profitable, and with continued success he remained in the business for the three succeeding years.  Then, with his ambition stimulated by enlarged opportunities, he conceived and carried out the idea of buying out the large firm of James Barnes & Sons, general merchants and thus entered upon a business career in Barnesville, which resulted in the legitimate accumulation of a large fortune.  Form time to time his sons were admitted to partnership and the business was still further expanded, until the name of Bradfield became one of the leading ones in the tobacco trade throughout the State, and far beyond.  After an honorable business career of more than 50 years, Mr. Bradfield retired from active labor in 1889, resigning his large interest to his capable sons, who have followed his business methods, as they have been the fortunate inheritors of much of his sagacity.

John Bradfield, during his busiest years, however, was constantly keeping in mind the development of Barnesville, and as he was gifted with that foresight which enabled him to comprehend its needs fully, devoted himself, with his wealth and influence, in a public-spirited manner, to meet them.  The First National Bank will long be a monument to his public interest and business enterprise.  From the time of its organization, in 1864, until 1875, he was its president, and retired then on account of the pressure of other enterprises.  This bank, in connection with the mercantile firm of which he was the head, built one of the finest business blocks to be found in any city of equal size in the State, and this will stand as another monument to his public spirit.  Both gas and electric lighting received his attention, and with his influential backing became accomplished facts in Barnesville, contributing to its general prosperity.  For many years he was the president of the gas company, retaining that office until his decease, at which time the company was under contract to furnish electric light for the city.

Mr. Bradfield was a man of business and not a politician, declining offers made to him, although few men were better equipped to hold positions of public responsibility.  Mr. Bradfield led an active life that brought him prominence but it was in the line of business.  He was ever a generation contributor to the various educational and charitable enterprises of Barnesville, and so employed his wealth that his name is recalled by his fellow-citizens with feelings of the deepest esteem and veneration.

In 1843, Mr. Bradfield was united in marriage with Eliza Anna Shannon, who was a daughter of Thomas Shannon, and a niece of Ex-Governor Shannon.  To this union were born nine children, six of whom are prominent in the highest social circles of this city, Thomas and John W. Bradfield, widely known merchants; G.E. Bradfield, cashier of the First National Bank; Charles Bradfield, a teller in the same institution;’ Mrs. Otho P. Morris, wife of the cashier of the People’s National Bank; and Mrs. A Rogers, wife of a prominent hardware and lumber dealer, and president of the Eastern Ohio Glass Company.  All of these are most highly respected residents of Barnesville.  The mother of this family passed away in 1899. 

Although so much of his time was necessary devoted to his great business Mr. Bradfield never forgot the needs of the Presbyterian Church, of which both he and his wife were devoted members.  From the first beginning, he was one of its supporters, and was always ready with time, influence and means, to promote its good work.  In the death of Mr. Bradfield, on Oct. 10, 1893, the city of Barnesville parted with one of its most substantial, useful and prominent citizens.

Centennial Souvenir, Historical and Pictorial Barnesville (1808-1908)
Barnesville Hutton Memorial Library, Barnesville, Ohio