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Frank J. Bradley |
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John Hoyt |
Jerry Litton |
1913 Biographies |
Reverend Frank J. Bradley
compiled by W. N. Bate
Francis Joseph Bradley was born September 25, 1860, at Lafayette, California. His father, Christopher Crigler Bradley, died at Lafayette, Jan, 29, l963, and was buried there, His mother, Jane Ballew Bradley, married John Rector Faubion on July 25, 1864 and the family moved to Missouri in 1869 by railroad only a short time after the Union Pacific was completed. It was the first railroad across the plains. They went to Bedford. to live as that was where Jane was living before she went to California in the 1850's. Frank Bradley grew up in the Bedford vicinity and attended higher school at the college at Avalon Missouri. He was a college graduate and studied law and later practiced law for about a year. He told his half-brother, Harvey Faubion, that law practice was too crooked for him and he soon decided he wanted to be a preacher. This is what he did.
For a time he stayed at the home of his sister, Mrs. Dora Cox, while he was preparing to preach. But her husband, Joe, decided that since he had his two aged parents there, and his farm was small, not large enough to properly many extras, he told his wife to have her brother, Frank, go somewhere else to stay. This hurt Dora and she was so embarrassed with the situation that she broke the news to Frank by leaving a note at his plate telling him to locate elsewhere. This note also hurt Frank but he did as instructed. He was soon living at the home of Rev. W. W. Walden a Baptist preacher who had assisted in organizing five Baptist Churches, at Fairland, Chillicothe, Parsons, and two other locations. He also owned and operated a farm near Bedford.
This Rev. Walden had a good study room and a library and this was the main reason that Frank stayed there. Another reason was the fact that the Walden family liked Frank Bradley and welcomed him gladly. The Rev. Walden died about 1886 and his son Jesse Walden continued to operate the farm. Jesse had seven children, 3 girls, and 4 boys; Belle, Vern, Nannie, Jim, George, Lewis and Wade. All were friends of Bradley. They made him feel at home. In fact, they made it his home. George Walden and Frank Bradley were pals. Bradley wanted to be near the books left by Rev. Walden and this living arrangement was to his liking. He was generally to be found in the hallway or the front room studying faithfully.
Sarah Catherine Walden was the wife of W. W. Walden and was now the owner of the farm. She approved this situation of having Bradley as one of the family. They all encouraged Bradley in his work and was glad to see him make progress. They were well adjusted to having preachers around. It was a jolly group. They had their pranks and fun. Bradley liked to tease Nannie, who was just a kid at the time. He sometimes would grab her and throw her in the middle of a nicely made feather bed, then yell to her mother that Nannie was romping on his bed. Jokes and games and the usual country parties were the rule of life during those times. It was a time when people made their own amusements and were glad to see each other. This continued for a number of years and Bradley became a preacher and was sent to a number of places to preach.
He preached at Fairland, Jacksnipe, Breckenridge, Jamesport and other towns and in schools. Mr. W. Boone Saunders of Gillette, Wyoming and formerly of Bedford, stated that he recalls hearing Bradley give a sermon at Jacksnipe School and what the text was: "What shall it profiteth a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul?"
Scott Boyd stated that Bradley was a good man, well thought of, and an interesting preacher to listen to, but he was hard on his horse. Scott always had a great respect for horses.
Joe Faubion said that Bradley kept busy in community affairs, such as singing practices, the singing of hymns, and in general the promoting in a vicinity that generally occupied the time of a preacher. He also heard Bradley preach on several occasions.
Alice Bate, his sister, had heard him preach a number of times and had complimentary things to tell about him.
In general, wherever he went, he had a vast amount of good friends and lived the life of a good citizen, honest and upright. In those days, room and board for a preacher was free. Bradley was not permitted to pay anything for his room and board at the Walden home. It was not proper to take money from one studying religion or a preacher. He was permitted to work in the field occasionally, but only when extra help was needed.
In 1956, Nannie Walden Jacobs recalled that "he sat in the front room, in Grandmother Walden's home and studied Grandfather's books hour after hour."
In keeping his numerous preaching appointments in different places, he did his traveling by horse and cart. The name of the horse was "Billy Bascom." When Bradley preached in Breckenridge he usually stopped at the home of a family named Butchli. In this vicinity he usually preached in schools. In this Butchli family was a daughter by the name of Delia. She was rather fond of Bradley, for she wrote him frequently. It seemed that Bradley did not take the matter very seriously for he showed her letters to the Walden family and discussed them in a joking manner.
In October, 1895, Bradley was holding meetings in the vicinity of Jamesport, when he became ill with typhoid fever. He started home with his horse and cart but stopped at Bedford, at the home of Elbert Campbell. From there he sent word to the Walden folks of his illness and location, and Jesse Walden went to Bedford and took him home to the Waldens in a buggy. He was quite ill for twenty-one days. Here he received visitors, who dropped in frequently to see and encourage him. During all this time he had all the medical attention thought to be necessary, and all the personal care possible to render him by these people who had adopted him. They kept him in a bed in their front room and in the hall, and watched over him constantly. Harvey Faubion, stated that he visited him and talked with him during this illness. While he was ill he was asked if he wanted Delia Butchli to come and see him, but he did not send for her.
Bradley did not get well. On November 2, Nannie was the only was the only one in the house and Bradley wanted to sit up in bed. She attempted to help him, but he broke out in a sweat and Nannie let him down and ran to get her father, who was working in a field nearby, to come and help Bradley. When Nannie and her father arrived back at the house Bradley had passed away.
After Mr. Walden recovered from the surprise and the shock at seeing Bradley dead, he sent Nannie to bring a young man to shave him and also sent for Bradley's sister, Dora Cox and other relatives and friends.
He was buried in Fairland Cemetery about two miles southwest of Bedford. His resting place is marked by a small monument on which he is referred to as Reverend Frank Bradley. On the monument is a Masonic emblem of the square and compass. relatives and friends furnished the burial and the monument expenses.
After his burial at Fairland, Delia Butchli was notified of his death. She came to the Walden's place on a visit and stayed in that vicinity two weeks, claiming that she was engaged to Bradley. But some doubted this and claimed that the refusal by Bradley to notify the girl of his illness and ask her to come and see him was ample proof that he was too much interested in her. At the same time, others have stated a belief they were engaged.
Dora and Joe Cox went to the Walden's home and took away Bradley's belongings. It was probably an extreme punishment that Dora received on going to collect the belongings of a dead brother whom she had once invited out of her house.
by Nannie Walden Jacobs
Chillicothe, MO, June, 1956
He was a good man. To know him was an inspiration to all who cared to do right. He did not speak harm to anyone and all that knew him loved him. Frank was greatly missed in the community and especially at the Jesse Walden home. Not many men ever had his patience of love and respect for all he chanced to meet. They all spoke highly and kindly of him. I know he rests in peace, and his soul is with the heavenly Father upon the Great White Throne, which awaits all who will only believe and trust in Him , God Our Eternal King.