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Bradford, James M. (IL State Representative)

Born: 1795-09-28 Culpeper County, Virginia

Died: 1852-03-03 Sangamon County, Illinois

Flourished: Sangamon County, Illinois

When he was twelve years old, James M. Bradford moved to Kentucky with his parents. As a young man, he served as a soldier in the War of 1812, later traveling on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for business. On July 4, 1820, he married Ann Barnes in Mississippi. Three years later, the couple moved to Kentucky, where they had four children. In 1834, the family moved to Sangamon County, Illinois, where he went into business with his cousin's husband, Joseph Smith. The two formed the mercantile firm, Bradford & Smith. After the death of his first wife in 1835, Bradford married Arsonath Talbett on December 28, 1836, and the two eventually had six children together. A leading member of the community, he became a trustee for McKendree College. In 1840, he won election as a Whig to the Illinois House of Representatives, serving alongside Abraham Lincoln in the Twelfth General Assembly. Bradford received the most votes of the five candidates elected from Sangamon County that year. He was active in the temperance movement, and the Sons of Temperance eulogized his good works upon his death in 1852.

John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 129-30; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 28 December 1836, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Dorothy Brown Thompson, “'James M. Bradford, Secretary,' Pages from an Old Franklin County Minute-Book,” The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 48 (October 1950), 295-97; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 344; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 5 March 1852, 2:1; 15 March 1852, 3:1; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.