Our subject early learned the exciting “way of the west” and is a typical frontiersman, having done his part in opening for settlement California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Aaron Bradbury was born in New York City on April 9, 1831, being the son of Lewis and Maria (Smith) Bradbury. The father, who came to Illinois in 1836, was born in Ulster County, New York, on June 6, 1804, and died in 1838. His grandfather, Amirhuhama, was born in Maine on March 11, 1762, and served two years and eight months in the Revolution, enlisting in July, 1781, in a Massachusetts regiment under Captain Leonorde and Colonel William Shepard and was in the siege of Yorktown and at the surrender of Cornwallis. His ancestors settled in Biddeford, Maine, in 1638. The mother of our subject was born in New Jersey in 1807 and died in 1898. Her ancestors were of the Holland Dutch stock and were very early settlers among the colonists. Our subject’s parents removed to Ogle County, Illinois, when he was a lad, in 1836, and they were among the very first settlers there. There he grew to young manhood and received his education in the district school.

He was a studious youth and gleaned much information from reading outside of the school course. He also learned the carpenter trade and studied law. He also gained good training in the post office at Oregon, Illinois. He was at home much of the time, but really independent action for him began at the age of fifteen. In 1850 he was taken with a severe attack of the gold fever and no cure was found but a trip across the plains and years of delving for the precious metal in the mines in different parts of California. Ten years were spent in this way and he then came to The Dalles and joined an expedition for exploration into central and eastern Oregon under Captain Smith. Many encounters with the Indians were participated in and then he returned to the Willamette valley and taught school and followed other vocations until 187S, in which year a journey was made to Whitman County.

He took lieu land below Pullman and lived on it until 1897, when he made his way to the reservation and secured his present claim, live miles southeast from Melrose. Mr. Bradbury married in 1866 and three sons were born to him: John W., in the Lewiston National Bank; Edward G., a school teacher m New York City: Lewis, at Walla Walla. Mr. Bradbury has one brother living, Lewis, of New York, and one sister, Mary Mitchell, also in New York.

Mr. Bradbury was justice of the peace in Whitman County for fifteen years and is a staunch and active Democrat. He was made a Mason in California in 1855 and has a dimissory letter dated 1857 from his home lodge. A typical pioneer, a genial companion, a well informed man, a sturdy and patriotic supporter of the government and withal one esteemed and highly respected by his fellows, Mr. Bradbury is justly worthy of the encomiums he enjoys and the prestige granted him.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903