John Bradford - Lexington Ky
Excerpts from Perrin's History of Fayette County page 364
JOhn Bradford came to Fayette County. Ky in 1785 and at first settled on Cane Rune on the land afterward owned by Alexander Brand, but removed into Lexington the following year. He was born in Fauquier County. Va in 1749 and married Eliza James, of the same county in 1771, by whom he had five sons and four daughters. He was not only a printer himself and a descendent of printers, but he brought up his sons to the same business which they continued and trained their sons in. Before he came to Kentucky, he had taken part in the Revolutionary war, and had also served in a campaign against the Chillicothe Indians. He founded the Kentucky Gazette in 1787 and published the next year the Kentucky Almanac, the first pamphlet of the kind printed west of the mountains, and continued to publish it annually for twenty years after. He was Chairman of the Board of Trustees, which welcomed Gov. Shelby in 1792 to Lexington then the capital of the State. He was the first State Printer, and received from the Legislature 100 sterling. He printed books as early as 1794 and some of them of theat date are still to e seen in the Lexington Library. He was at one time Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Transylvania University, was long Chairman of the Democratic Committee and filled many places of honor and trust. he was shrews, sagacious and ingenious, a strong, clear writer, a fine mathematician and something of an astronomer. He was so uncommonly well informed that he was considered the town oracle and was often admiringly spoken of as "Old Wisdom". After leading a life of much usefulness, he died in March, 1830 at his residence on the corner of Mill and Second streets the same one now occupied by Mrs. Ryland. At the time of his death he was Sheriff of the county and court being in session the distinguished Jesse Bledsoe alluded to the sad event in eloquent terms, after which the court was adjourned in respect to his memory.
JOhn Bradford continued to conduct the paper with energy and success until the 31st of March, 1802, when he put his son Daniel in possession of the office, while he proceeded to absorb and run the Kentucky Herald, the first rial he ever had in Lexington. This arrangement did not prevent him, however from watching over the interests of the Gazette, which he subsequently, became the editor of again. His son, Daniel Bradford, conducted the Gazette for over seven years when he served his connection with it. On the 26th of SEptember, 1909, having again become editor and proprietor, he sold out his irrepressible old Democratic paper, to Thomas Smith, afterward editor of the Reporter. Smith ran it for five years, assisted part of the time by John Bickley, a man of superior ability. In 1814, the interminable Bradford again apeared in the shape of Fielding, Jr. a brother of Daniel Bradford. Fielding, Jr. was in charge part of the time alone, and for a while in conjunction with John Norvell until 1825 when his father, John Bradford, the old wheel horse and founder of the paper took it again. It was while connected with the GAzette this time that John Bradford wrote and published his notes on early Kentucky history, which are now so highly regarded from the fact that he was not only an actual participant in some of the events he narrated, but was personally acquainted with nearly all of the prominint men who made the history of that time. The office of the Gazette at this time was in a two story brick building which stood on the site of the present Scott Block. It was in this office that Thomas R Benning, who succeeded Mr. Bradford as editor, met his tragic death. AFter his death, Gen Johm M McCalla, long a prominent citizen of Lexington, a lawyer, vigorous writer and a very ardent Democrat politician, acted as temporary editor of the Gazette, and in the summer of 1829, its editorial duties were assumed by George J Trotter, a native of Lexington and son of Col George Trotter. In 1829, the feeling in Lexington was bitter and intense between the recently defeated National REpublicans or Whigs and the triumphant Jackson Democrats and the excitement ran still highter after the death of Benning, an event which occured through strong political feeling and excitement. The editorials of the Gazette which was a most decided Democratic paper, were hot and fully in keeping with the feeling of that turbulent time. Trotter was a vigorous and rather dramatic writer, and continued to conduct the Gazette for several years. In 1835 Daniel Bradford, to a share in the business which they continued until March 1840 when the establishemnt was sole to Joshua Cunningham, a native of Maryand, who had settled in Louisville and was the foreman of the Advertiser, a paper then edited by the brilliant Shadrach Penn.
more details on the Newspaper history in Lexington can be found in Perrins History of Lexington