The subject of this review enjoyed distinctive prestige among the enterprising men of Marion county, having fought his way onward and upward to a prominent position in industrial circles and in every relation of life his voice and influence were on the side of right as he saw and understood the right. He was always interested in every enterprise for the general welfare of the community and liberally supported every movement calculated to benefit his fellow men; and although the last chapter in his life drama has been brought to a close and he has been called to a higher sphere of action, his influence is still felt for good in his community and he is greatly missed by hosts of friends and acquaintances.
Frank Bradford was born in Weymouth, Medina county, Ohio, August 10, 1852, where he spent his boyhood days and attended the common schools. About 1865 he came with his father, George Bradford, and family to Flora, Illinois, where the father conducted the old Buckeye House and where Frank engaged successfully in farming and trading until 1879, in which year he was happily married to Mary E. Hull, the only daughter of the late Erasmus Hull, and to this union a son and a daughter were born, the former having died in infancy; the latter is now Mrs. Roland C. Brinkerhoff. Of Mr. Bradford's own family but two sisters survive in 1908, namely: Mrs. Minnie Bettis, of Arkansas, and Rose Lebus, of Ardmore, Oklahoma. Mrs. Bradford, a woman of many fine traits, is living in Salem in the cozy, substantial and well furnished Bradford residence. Frank Bradford was a descendant of the ninth generation of Gen. William Bradford, of Revolutionary fame. George Bradford, father of our subject, was born in Rowley, Essex county, Massachusetts, and he was called to his rest while living in Arkansas. The mother of the subject was known in her maidenhood as Abalinda Russell, who was born in Hartford, Connecticut, April 10, 1823, and she was called to her reward while living in Flora, Illinois, February 27, 1872, at the age of forty-eight years. The subject's parents were of the best blood and reputation and were much admired in whatever community they lived for their honest and hardworking lives.
When but a mere lad Mr. Bradford united with the Methodist Episcopal church at Flora, Illinois. He was received into the Methodist church in Salem by letter on December 12, 1879, under the pastorate of Rev. Fred L. Thompson and he remained in that faith, an ardent supporter of the church until his death.
Soon after his marriage, Mr. Bradford located in Salem and entered upon a long and honorable business career of which all speak with words of praise. Being of a jolly disposition and having a kind word for everyone, he commanded, perhaps, the largest patronage of any single salesman in the community. His scrupulously honest methods and his natural ability also attracted scores of customers. He first entered the mercantile establishment of Hull and Morris. In 1880, Mr. Hull having purchased the interest of Mr. Morris and also the interest of Scott Muggy in the firm of Atkin & Muggy, the two stocks were combined under the firm name of Hull & Atkin, and Mr. Bradford took a position with this firm which soon became E. Hull & Son, changing later to the Hull Dry Goods Company and then to C. E. Hull. Mr. Bradford remained through all these changes, having been regarded as indispensable to the firm's business, until he went as manager for the firm to Kinmundy, where he remained for a short time building up the trade in a very substantial way, and later he was manager for Hammond & Hull in Salem. While conducting the latter business Mr. Bradford suffered an attack of nervous prostration and was very sick for a time. Both for recreation and as a means of regaining his health he began managing his farm, spending only an occasional day in the store; but improvement was not so rapid as was expected for the long and strenuous life in the commercial world had undermined his health so extensively that rapid improvement and even recuperation could not be expected, consequently on Wednesday night, February 6, 1907, when he was planning to attend a meeting of the Pythian Sisters in company with his wife, about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon, he was seized with an attack of apoplexy while at his home. This soon developed into paralysis of the left side which soon became complete. He remained in an unconscious state until 6:50 the following morning, when the white winged messenger came. The funeral services were conducted at the residence Saturday afternoon following, by Rev. J. G. Tucker, of the Methodist Episcopal church and interment was made in the family lot in East Lawn Cemetery. The floral offerings were beautiful and elaborate from the many friends of the deceased and also from the Knights of Pythias and Independent Order of Odd Fellows lodges, the Pythian Sisters and the Rebekahs, of which orders either he or Mrs. Bradford had been consistent members. And the great throng of sorrowing friends and acquaintances that came to pay a last tribute to their much loved friend attested as fully as was possible the love and high esteem in which Mr. Bradford was held by every one who knew him. Public-spirited and liberal he was ever in the forefront of all plans for improvement and the betterment of Salem and his sudden calling away was a distinct loss to the entire community, for his life had been industrious, scrupulously honest and kind.
Extracted 05 Jun 2017 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 259-261