March 21: 1918: Death of Henry M. Bradley

On this day in Duluth in 1918, lumberman Henry M. Bradley died in his home at 701 West Second Street. He was 93 years old. Bradley was born in Lee, Massachusetts, on May 7, 1824. He left school at 16, when his family moved to Ohio, and apprenticed in the wool-carding and cloth-dressing trade. He didn’t got to work in the trade, and instead learned to run a hardwood sawmill. By 1855 he had relocated to Bay City, Michigan, to run the Frost & Bradley Mill. He stayed in Bay City for 35 years. There he was the first street commissioner, the chief of the fire department, president of the board of education, and organized the Madison Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church of Bay City. In 1860 he purchased the Catlin Mill, renamed it Bradley Mill, and ran it successfully until the Panic of ’73 bottomed out the economy; in 1877 he was forced to close the mill. He became a timber cruiser and iron ore speculator in northern Minnesota and by 1880 he had teamed up with Heber H. Hanford to form Duluth’s Bradley-Hanford Lumber Company. Two years later his sons Edward and Alva moved to Duluth to operate the firm. Henry himself retired from the firm in 1883 and didn’t move to Duluth until 1890. His mining speculation paid off when property he owned on the Vermilion Range was developed as the Chandler Mine. In 1890 he moved to Duluth, a wealthy man in retirement, and became involved with the Methodist Church. In 1909 historian Dwight Woodbridge said he had been called  “the poor man’s friend and the young man’s guide.”

Henry Bradley. (Image: Zenith City Press)