Thursday, September 5, 2019

Judge Henry Lyon Bradford (1851-1932): Newspaper editor; Attorney

Henry Bradford (Image: SF Chronicle)
Henry Lyon Bradford was born in San Francisco on June 28, 1851 and considered himself one of the first native born citizens of California born to white parents. He was educated in San Francisco and went on to study law. His grandfather William Bradford, was a passenger on the Mayflower.

He practiced law in the 1870's in Stanislaus and Mono counties before moving to the Central Valley, where he started the Modesto Strawbuck, a daily newspaper. He went on to publish the Modesto Republican, Modesto Free Press, Interior Press and the California Railroad Journal. While in Modesto, he married Mary Eva Roehrig and had two children.

In 1888, several businessmen encouraged him to move to Monterey, where he started the Monterey Cypress. The paper lasted until 1901.

At the end of the 19th century, he returned to San Francisco to practice law. Bradford, who was fluent in Spanish, dealt with many cases dealing with Mexico and Mexican land trusts. 

According to newspaper accounts, Bradford became the subject of many of Bret Harte's stories, the famous chronicler of the Gold Rush era. 

In September 1910, he married a divorced woman with two children who was 23 years his junior, a story that was significant enough at the time to warrant a news stories in the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Call.

Sources: American Newspaper Directory, Oakland Tribune,, A Memorial and Biographical History of the Coast Counties of Central California by Henry Barrows, San Francisco Call, San Francisco Chronicle

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