John Guy Bradley was born on Jan. 8, 1793, in the state
of Maryland. he was the oldest of five children of James and Jane McField Bradley. The parents were Scotch-Irish
and were married in Dublin, Ireland, in 1791. After eating their wedding dinner they said good-by to their relatives and set
sail for America. It took nine weeks to cross during which they went through a terrible ocean storm. They were followed for
days by sharks. They finally landed in Baltimore, and the family lived in Maryland for several years. Then
the family moved to Huntington County, Pa., remaining there a few years.
In 1815 the father bought a 200-acre tract located in plum Township, Venango County,
for $400 in silver money from Samuel Maxwell of center County. The Bradleys moved on their new farm the following year, 1816.
Their tract was situated immediately east of present Bradleytown
and it included just the eastern edge of the later community which took its name
from the Bradley family. The Jennings tract was west of the Bradley tract and it included the
main portion of the community. The John Davison tract joined the east side
of the Bradley tract.
While in Huntington County, John G. Bradley, the subject of our sketch, had learned
the trade of millwright. After moving to Plum Township he built a combination grist and sawmill on what would be the present
Norman Jennings property in Bradleytown. There was a good sized milldam. This mill site, however,
was situated on the Jennings tract where the creek flowed through. So John traded a five-acre piece of land situated on the
western side of his tract to Jacb Jennings for the mill site of five acres. The deeds were not drawn up until many years
later, in 1855 to be exact, with Morgan Jennings as signer for the Jennings party. Ten years later, in 1865, the deed of the
mill was redrawn because the line distances, courses and angles were wrong on the first deed. The last deed, called for six
acres instaed of five.
He had three Wives.
On Feb. 17, 1825, John married Mary Jennings, a daughter of the neighbors, Jacob
and Mary Jennings. John and Mary were the parents of five children: Mrs. Harriet Hays, Mrs. Martha Foster, John Jackson Bradley,
Jacob Guy Bradley and Oliver Perry Bradley. Mrs. Bradley died Sept. 1, 1837 and was probably the first person to be buried
in the Sunville Cemetery. After her death the children were taken into the home of their grandparents, James and Jane Bradley.
In 1841 John married Margaret Bowman, and by this union had three children: Mrs.
Eliza Jane Minnigh, Charles Bradley and Mrs. Dilley. The second Mrs. Bradley died June 15, 1848. After her death a step-daughter,
Martha took charge of the home. Then when Martha married, little Jane, only 9 years old, served as mistress of the home until
her father married a third time, the new wife being Amelia Vogan. There were no children to this last marriage. She too, died
on Aug. 28, 1859 - just one day after noted Drake Well was brought in.
John G. Bradley had once been a land surveyor. He also held many township offices.
In 1819 he was a supervisor and also an overseer. He was a supervisor again in 1828. In 1824 he served as township clerk.
He was township assessor in 1822 and 1841. In 1840 he was a tax collector.
In 1834 an act was inaugurated in Pennsylvania which is distinctively known as
the public school system. All property was made taxable for the support of the schools, and their local management in each
district was placed in charge of a board of six directors. One of the six directors in Plum Township was John
G. Bradley. Thus he was a member of the first township school board.
However, his principal office was when he served as a county auditor in Venango
for a three-year term, from January, 1847, to January, 1850. The duties of the county auditors were, of course, to audit the
accounts of the county commissioners and the county treasurer. John thought nothing of walking the 11 miles to Franklin for
The earliest effort to organize an agricultural society in Venango County was
made in 1838 with a meeting held in the Court House. A committee prepared subscription papers to be circulated in the different
townships, and for the latter service a committee of two was appointed for each township. The two men for Plum were
James Cooper and John G. Bradley. But this attempt by the county for a permanent organization came to naught.
Home Near Bradleytown
Mr. Bradley's home was half a mile southeast of the main corners at
Bradleytown. He was very hospitable and no one ever turned away from his door. Once a strange woman
came. While there she developed typhoid fever. The Bradley family cared for her for weeks until her recovery.
The members of the family were most courteous and polite to each other.
There was no complaining, arousing tempers, and such the like.
After his aged father died on dec. 17, 1839, John owned the Bradley
farm. However, his varied activities left him little time for the manual labor of farming. He employed a tenant to operate
the farm, and also hired a miller to run the mill.
John and his parents were character members of the Sunville Presbyterian
Church which organized on June 12, 1839, The father died just six months after the organizing. John's third wife was also
a member of this church. When the church was without a pastor for a time during the 1860's, John who was an excellent reader,
would read a sermon to the congregation from a book of sermons which he had. This book is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Robert
H. Shriver of near Petrolia, Butler County. John G. Bradley was Mr. Shriver's great grandfather. Mr. and Mrs. Shriver compiled
much information years ago regarding the family history.
Mr. Bradley was at last afflicted with cancer. He required a great
deal of care. His son and daughter-in-law, Jacob and Mandie Bradley, stayed at the old home and took care of both the old
gentleman and the son, Perry, who was incapable of earning a living for himself. Mr. Bradley died March 28, 1869, aged 76.
He was buried with his three wives at Sunville.
He had owned a number of valuable books, and many of these were stolen
from the home years after his death.
The two sons, Jacob and John, inherited the farm. Each son got 100
acres or one-half of the farm.
The present site of the old homestaed is grown over with brush.
Originally transcribed by Penny Haylett Kulbacki
Disclaimer: There may be errors due to
transcription of information from both
early and late (current contributors) work.