David Bradley was born in Groton, New York on November 8th, 1811. After working with his brother, C. C. Bradley, for several years in Syracuse, he relocated to Chicago in 1835. Initially he was in the employ of Jones, King & Co. and helped to build the first foundry in Chicago, known as the "Chicago Furnace".
From the late 1830's until the 1850's David Bradley farmed in Lake County, Illinois, made bricks, and later farm machinery, in Racine, Wisconsin, and was a lumberman in Michigan. In 1854, he returned to Chicago and purchased a plow company from his brother in law. Later that year he partnered with Conrad Furst to create the firm of Furst and Bradley.
Furst and Bradley eventually grew to occupy an entire city block at Fulton and Desplaines Streets in Chicago. In 1884 David Bradley and his sons purchased Furst's share of the business, and the company was renamed the "David Bradley Manufacturing Company".
In 1895 the company was relocated to North Kankakee (about 50 miles south of Chicago), which was later renamed "Bradley, Illinois" in honor of the man and the company.
David Bradley died on February 19th, 1899.
In 1910, the Bradley family sold the factory to Sears, Roebuck and Company, at which time it was renamed the "David Bradley Manufacturing Works". Sears operated the factory until 1962, when it was sold to the Newark Ohio company. Between 1910 and 1962 many of the farm and garden related items sold by Sears carried the trade name "David Bradley".
Most of the factory in Bradley was destroyed by fire in 1986.
On 25 Feb 1838 in Chicago, David Bradley married Cynthia Abbott (1817-1895) of Barre, Vermont. They had six children:
i. Byron Chapman Bradley, b. 1 May 1839 Libertyville, Lake County, IL, of Kankakee, IL, m. Alice M. Wilbur.
ii. Edgar Bradley, b. 15 Jan 1841 Libertyville, IL; d. there 18 Sep 841.
iii. Mary Ellen Bradley, b. 14 Sep 1842 Racine, WI; of Chicago, IL; d. 1 Oct 1899 Mt. Vernon, Westchester County, NY; m. Chicago 10 Oct 1865 George Cadogen Morgan (1834/35- ).
v. Adelbert Bradley, b. 15 Apr 1847 Racine, WI; d. there Sep 1848.
vi. David Bradley, b. 15 Feb 1849 Chicago, IL; d. there 15 Feb 1849.
(Genealogy from "Descendants of George Abbott of Rowley, Mass.", L. A. Abbott, 1906.)