The Early Years (1860-1880)
The story of Bradford Woods began long before written records of the region were kept. The earliest recorded people to live in this area were the Algonquins, a group of Native Americans that was part of the Miami Confederacy. For the most part, these people were semi-nomadic hunters that roamed the woods and the river valleys, making their livelihood from the forest.
The arrival of the first settlers in what is now known as Morgan County started around 1818. Documents reveal that fifteen families came into the area and settled in the flats of the White River, just beyond the southeast boundary of Bradford Woods. While the river was being used for transporting goods and furs, the land was being cleared for farming and small villages.
In 1855, Martha and Joseph Bradford and Marcia and Joseph Campbell journeyed from Chillicothe, Ohio to Morgan County (Marcia was Joseph Bradford’s sister). The two couples settled in the area; the Campbells here at Bradford Woods and the Bradfords seven miles away in Green Township. After the Bradfords established a home they had five children: James (Perry) in 1859, Eliza in 1860, John in 1864, Clara in 1865 and Albert in 1868.
For nearly twenty years, the Bradford family farmed the land and raised animals. Joseph died of unknown causes in 1873, leaving Martha alone with five children. For the next few years, the family lived in Indianapolis, where Perry sold newspapers to help support the family.