John William Bradley

Bradley, John William
b.8/24/1842; d.11/26/1929.
USA, 6th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment
(aka: 1st West Tennessee), Co.B; Sergeant.

Marlow cemetery; Stephens County, OK.

{ I have a special interest in the unit in which this
man served in that some of my ancestors [Beckham]
served in it, too - the USA, 6th TN Cavalry. In fact,
all the Beckhams I know of who live in the area
around Marlow, OK today have ancestors who
served in the 6th TN Cavalry. }

John William was born to John & Nancy Ann (Young)
Bradley in Limestone County, Alabama. His father died
when John was five years old, but his mother
remarried (Anthony M. Toombs).

On April 25, 1862 in Bethel Tennessee, when John
enlisted in Co.B of the USA, 1st West Tennessee
Cavalry (which later became Co. B, 6th Regiment
Tennessee Calvary), he was nineteen years old and
stood 5' 9" tall. He had a fair complexion, blonde hair
and blue eyes. He described himself as a farmer.
His region of Tennessee was a deeply divided, but
largely sympathetic to the Union. An excellent,
in-depth study of this area and how people felt about
the war penned by Peggy Scott Holley (Unionists in
Eastern West Tennessee
) can be seen online at:

D.J. Benton, the wife of a grandson of John William
Bradley, summarizes most of what we know specific
to John’s military service:
“His payroll records show he was in Bolivar, Tennessee
on 11/13/1862 and in LaGrange, Tennessee on
7/1/1863 where he participated in skirmishes. In
November 1863, he made Corporal. His payroll record
of 4/30/1864 shows he was on detached service at
Helena, Arkansas. In July 1864, he was promoted to
Sergeant. His muster out roll was at Pulaski, TN on
On several occasions, elements of the 6th Tennessee
Cavalry were engaged with Confederate cavalry under
the command of one of the Confederacy’s best known
cavalry commanders, Nathan Bedford Forrest. There
certainly was no love lost between the commanders of
these two units, Col. Fielding Hurst, the 6th Tennessee
Cavalry’s commander, and Gen. N.B. Forrest, as the
following account illustrates:
“In a report dated March 21, 1864, Lieutenant Colonel
W. M. Reed, C. S. A. charged: ‘About the 7th of
February 1864, Colonel Hurst [head of the 6th
Tennessee Cavalry], with his command, visited Jackson,
Tennessee, and announced publicly that in
consequence of the assessment by the Federal
authorities of Memphis, Tennessee, against himself and
his command of damages to the amount of $5139.25 in
favor of Mrs. Newman, he was here to demand this
amount at once of the citizens, or on refusal or failure
promptly to pay the said amount into his hands that he
would burn the town. Upon application of some of the
citizens, and the guaranty of 20 of them, five days were
granted in which to raise the sum required, to be paid
in greenbacks or Kentucky funds. On the 12th of
February 1864, the entire amount, $5139.25, was paid
into the hands of Colonel Fielding Hurst by the citizens
of Jackson, Tennessee.’

“The report continued with the charge that Hurst's
command had been guilty of the murder of several
Confederates who had been taken prisoner, and that
Hurst and his men were not entitled to treatment as
prisoners of war. General Forrest sent the report to
the Federal authorities at Memphis, with a demand for
the surrender of the guilty parties to the Confederate
authorities, and along with it, a further notice, to be
delivered if the demand for the surrender of the guilty
parties was refused, stating: ‘I therefore declare the
aforesaid Fielding Hurst and the officers and men of his
command, outlaws, and not entitled to be treated as
prisoners of war falling into the hands of the forces
of the Confederate States.’

“This was at the time of Forrest's raid, with Brigadier
General Abraham Buford's Division, through West
Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky. In connection with
this campaign, the 6th Tennessee was ordered to
Estenaula, and was attacked and whipped on March 29,
between Somerville and Bolivar by Confederate forces
under Colonel J. J. Neely. As reported by Major P.
Jones Yorke, of the 1st Cavalry Brigade: ‘He lost all his
trains, Captain Moore killed, the surgeon captured, and
a great many men killed, wounded and missing.’

“On April 13, 1864, 200 men from the regiment, with
equipment, but no horses, were ordered to Helena,
Arkansas, for temporary duty, with orders to report
to Brigadier General N. B. Buford. On May 6, General
Buford reported that four companies, 177 men,
dismounted, under Lieutenant Francis Tucker, had
arrived. He described them as ‘a raw, undisciplined,
detachment.’ On June 12, 1864 they were ordered
back to Memphis.”
John’s company, company B, was one of the four
companies on detached service in Helena, Arkansas
in the spring of 1864.

Mrs. D.J. Benton, family historian, picks up the story
of John’s life following the Civil War:
“On 12/26/1867, he married Kate M. Davidson in
McNairy County, Tennessee. Their first son was
George G. Bradley (b.11/14/1868; d.10/26/1884).
Their next child was Emma B. (b.4/22/1871;
d.12/2/1884). Their third child was John P., was
born on 5/1/1873 and their fourth was William C.
(b.7/3/1875; d.5/6/1906). They lived in McNairy
County, Tennessee until 1876 and then moved to
Arkansas. John’s wife, Kate, died in Howard
County, Arkansas on 8/26/1877.

“John William then married Amanda Gilbert Cooper,
daughter of William Harold Cooper, on 11/11/1880 in
Hempstead County, Arkansas. John and Amanda’s first
six children were born in Howard and Hempstead
County, Arkansas: (1) Thomas Edward (b.10/13/1882),
(2) Montrose G. (b.1/6/1884), (3) Paul B.
(b.9/11/1887), (4) James Richard (b.5/10/1889),
(5) Robert Daniel (b.1/18/1891) and (6) Lizzie Autry
(b.8/21/1894). Their seventh child, Callie Lena
(b.2/6/1902), was born in Bowie County, Texas.

“In 1895, the family moved from Hempstead County,
Arkansas to Bowie County, Texas and lived there
about ten years. In 1911, their address was RFD # 1,
Rosebud, Arkansas. The Bradley family then moved to
Canute (Washita County), Oklahoma and in 1918
moved to Marlow (Stephens County), Oklahoma.”
Upon John’s death on November 26, 1929, his brief
obituary, published in a Wellington, Texas newspaper
known as the Leader, read as follows:
Aged Citizen of Marlow Is Dead

“J. W. Bradley, one of the pioneers of Southwestern
Oklahoma, died Tuesday at 4 a.m. at his home in
Marlow, Oklahoma, at the age of 87 years. Mr. Bradley,
who was the father of P. B. Bradley and James R.
Bradley of Wellington, had been in ill health for the
past two months and his death did not come as a
surprise to his relatives.

“Mr. Bradley is survived by his wife and the following
children: T. E. Bradley of Marlow; M. G. Bradley of
Vernon; P. B. Bradley, Wellington; James H. Bradley
of Wellington; R. D. Bradley of Marlow; Mrs. W. A.
Benton (Lizzie) of Kansas City and Mrs. Arthur
Bockman ( Lena Backus) of Marlow.

“Funeral services were held in Marlow Wednesday
afternoon, with internment there. Both of Mr. Bradley’s
sons who reside in Wellington were present at the
Indication of John’s military service is inscribed on his
gravestone and his name is recorded on the veterans’
monument in the cemetery in Marlow, Oklahoma.