Editor's Note - Source: “Beginnings, From Prairie Lands to Busy Villages” and “Yesterday and Today”
It was around 1870 that the prairie schooners began making their way across what is now known as York County. Soon the dugouts and sod shanties began to appear.
The forces that brought Bradshaw into existence were rapid. In 1870, the nearest post office was in Lincoln, but in the fall of that year, McFadden’s post office was established where McCool now stands. In the spring of 1871, a post office was established at Akin’s Mills, five miles northeast on Lincoln Creek. In the fall of 1872, the Owing Brothers built a store at the northeast corner of town and the post office was moved there. In 1874, it was moved three fourths of a mile west to the farm of Mr. A.J. Robelier and was known as Plainfield. On Dec. 11, 1879, it was moved to the farm of William Morrison and called Lenox. When the B and W Railroad was extended west from York, on July 8, 1880, it was moved slightly west to the land of O.R. and J.M. Richards. Mrs. J.M. Richard’s maiden name was Bradshaw and thus the village received its name.
Mr. W.D. Post opened the first general store in Bradshaw and became its first postmaster. Mr. Post was also the depot agent and telegraph operator, as well as the druggist, elevator operator and livestock dealer. O.A. Richards began buying grain at about the same time. Soon after, Mr. Linsey opened a blacksmith shop and Lacount and Knapp began business in the hardware goods. By 1890, Bradshaw was a booming place.
But Bradshaw has also had a sad history.
On the evening of June 3, 1890, this little village the surrounding community stood helpless as two storm clouds appeared. The met at the edge of Bradshaw and not a house oa business escaped damage. Many were completely destroyed. The heavy rain and darkness made the situation most pitiable. Some residents were buried beneath the rubble, many injured.
Floyd Brumsey, the four-year-old son of J.A. Brumsey, was killed. The York Republican listed as also killed being Mrs. F. Penner and three children of the John Shaw family. Later more were listed as killed – Mrs. Penner’s child, two children of John Reagerre, Mr. Minke, his wife and hired man, and Freddy Chapin, son of the depot agent.
It was with great credit to the citizens that in the face of this great disaster, they rebuilt their homes and businesses.
At one time, Bradshaw was the second largest shipping point for cattle and hogs sent to Chicago, up to 40 carloads a day at its peak. It was also a shipping point for large quantities of grain and a receiving point for coal and lumber.