P. G. Bradbury - Crawford Co., IL Biography

History of Crawford and Clark Counties, Illinois, Vol. II.

William Henry Perrin, ed.

(Chicago: O.L. Basking & Co. Historical Publishers)


P. G. Bradbury--State’s Attorney, Robinson, one of the most distinguished and successful young attorneys in this part of Illinois, is the gentleman whose name heads this biography. He is a native of Crawford County, Ill., being born October 6, 1847; is a son of John S. Bradbury, whose portrait appears elsewhere. He was the second of three children by his father’s union with Jemima Buckner, who died when our subject was quite small. His father’s business being that of a ruralist, from early boyhood until he reached the age of twenty-one, P. G. worked on the farm with unceasing industry, the only relaxation being his attendance at the York schools from five to six months during the winters, until he was twenty years old. He had the advantage of the Normal Schools of Bloomington and Carbondale, Ill., a short time. At the age of fifteen, he formed a dislike for farming and decided upon a broader field of labor. His ambition did not slumber, and his zeal for his anticipated profession, that of law, did not abate; and, of course, prosperity crowned his efforts. So anxious was he to gain the knowledge requisite to his future prosperity that he carried his history and algebra to the field with him, and while the horses were resting, he applied himself vigorously to those two studies. Soon after attaining his majority, he passed an examination and was awarded a certificate to teach in the common schools of both Clark and Crawford Counties. He at once began teaching in the Mail neighborhood, in his native borough at $33 1/3 per month. He continued the labor of a pedagogue for ten consecutive years, receiving for his last term a compensation of $110 per month. During his labor in the schoolroom, he saved $1,700, a portion of which he loaned and the remainder was used to defray necessary expenses. His reputation soon became widespread, and every year increased the demand for his services and added laurels to his professional career, and accordingly, in 1873, he was elected Superintendent of schools of Crawford County, which position he resigned within about three years to accept the office of State’s Attorney, which was tendered him in 1876, which position he has held ever since. He began reading law with Judge Robb, of Robinson, in 1874, and was examined by the Supreme Court at Mt. Vernon, Ill., and was admitted to the bar in 1876. He at once formed a partnership with his preceptor, which still exists. During his first term as State’s Attorney, he turned over to the school funds $1,859 as fines. Before this time, the records don’t show one cent every having been reported by any previous prosecutor. He has been very earnest as an official, and has convicted nearly 300 persons for felonies and  misdemeanors. It is not often we find in one man such a devotion to his profession and to science, and at the same time such an undaunted public spirit as we find in Mr. Bradbury. In his profession he is possessed of a firmness, a calm, cool brain, a quick, unfailing eye, a steady nerve, a strength of will, and a physical endurance, which give him so much distinction as a prosecutor. He performs a prodigious amount of professional labor – enough to bankrupt the physical system of any man of ordinary
endurance – but yet he finds time to attend to scores of enterprises of a local but important character. Everything he undertakes bears the unmistakable impress of his energy, sound judgment and genius. In addition to all this, he is a thorough scholar, and a true gentleman, and enjoys the abiding confidence and respect of the people for his manly character and unimpeached integrity. He is an energetic Democrat, and labors ardently for the success of the party. He was married December 31, 1879, to Jennie
Kelley, born December 5, 1855, in Sullivan County, Ind. Her father, James Kelley, was a native of Ireland, and came to Sullivan County, Ind., when a boy; started there with nothing, and at his decease in 1861, was worth $50,000. Her mother, Melinda (Johnson) Kelley, was a native of Sullivan County, Ind., and blessed Mr. K. with three children, viz.: William, John
and Jennie. The mother was married after the decease of Mr. Kelley to Dr. Van Vleck, of New York, who is also deceased. She survives on the old farm in her native county. Mrs. Bradbury was educated at the State Normal School, Terre Haute, Ind.; is a very pleasant, affable lady, and belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. B. is a member of the A., F. & A. M. Lodge of Robinson.

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