Ancestor Sketch – Arthur Wilson Bradley

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-23
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.It is interesting to encounter the event that suggests the rule. Arthur Wilson Bradley’s probate is probably an example of what not to do. On the other hand, it might be a great example of karma reaching out from the grave and making things better for the abused. Family oral history says that Arthur was a mean and abusive man. His wife, Magdalen [i], suffered with him for 27 years.  Then in March of 1937, the two divorced.  The following month Arthur and Rose Taucett took out a marriage license.  I can’t find any evidence that Arthur and Rose married, however, later in 1937 Arthur did marry again, this time to Alice M. Kneipp. Arthur died the following January (1938). Apparently, Arthur didn’t change his will when he remarried. In any event, his first wife, Magdalen became the Executrix for his probate and received $5000 in personal and $3000 in real estate holdings from the estate. Well, good on her, that the abused wife received the estate.  On the other hand, I’ve long heard, if you don’t want the ex to get your stuff, update your will.

Bradley-Hingston 2018 – Ancestor #4

List of Grandparents

  • Grandfather: Arthur Wilson Bradley
  • 1st Great-grandfather: William C. Bradley

Arthur Wilson Bradley (1887-1938)

Arthur Wilson Bradley was born 23 May 1887 in Philadelphia, the fifth child of William C and Emily (Earle) Bradley.

William and Emily Bradley’s known children

Name Birth
William C. Bradley Apr 1873
David C Bradley Mar 1875
Marion Bradley Nov 1877
Walter C Bradley Apr 1879
Arthur Wilson Bradley May 1887

The long, eight-year, gap between Walter and Arthur suggests there may be additional siblings, heretofore unknown.  However, I expect to be able to know more when I research his parent’s lives further.

Thaddeus Stevens School promoted Arthur to Central High School in 1902.

Boys Central High School, Philadelphia, 1904 – Source: Hidden Philadelphia via Wikipedia

He then graduated from Central High School in 1906 with a Bachelor of Arts.


The big news the day Arthur turned 21, on May 23, 1908, was about a big storm that hit the area. Tornado and cloudburst struck Camden, which flooded the streets and tied up traffic. In Philadelphia, the Old Christ Church was struck by lightning, as was the steeple of the Baldwin Memorial Presbyterian Church in West Philadelphia.  On the political scene, Senator Foraker, of Ohio, attacked President (Theodore) Roosevelt for declaring that the “colored soldiers discharged without honor by him [Roosevelt] in connection with the ‘shooting up’ of Brownsville were in the same class with the assassins of Presidents McKinley and Garfield.”[ii] [Good on Senator Foraker.]


On April 4, 1910, the 22-year-old Arthur married 20-year-old Magdalen Polk Taylor. The two had three children.  The young couple had three known children:

Name Birth
Christian Bradley 1911
Miriam Bradley 1912
David Tasker Polk Bradley 1918

Immediately after their marriage they lived with Arthur’s widowed mother, Emily, her spinster sister, Emma, and Arthur’s brother, William. Also, in the household was a 22-year-old Irish immigrant servant. They lived at 4073 Powelton Ave. That address does not appear to exist today. Arthur was working as a Linotype Operator, an occupation he would have for many years.

Image of a linotype machine.
Linotype Machine – h Century by James Penny Boyd, page 590, via Flickr

Sometime before 1915 the couple moved across the Delaware River to Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. The couple moved back to Philadelphia before 1917 and were living on Verree Road when Arthur registered for the draft. His physical description was given as medium height, slender build, gray eyes, and light hair.

On 27 September 1919 eight-year-old Christian was hit by a truck while playing in the street; he died.

The 1920 Census shows the family, living on Verree Road. Residing with Arthur, Madeline, and the two children (Miriam & David) is a 17-year-old maid from Bohemia named Frances Corbel.

Arthur’s mother died in 1927 and in 1928 Arthur sold his mother’s house and property at 57 West Greenwood Avenue in Lansdowne to Elizabeth Bradley Belcher.

The 1930 Census indicates that Arthur gave up linotype operations and moved to the country to work a truck farm. They lived out in Warminster, on Davisville Road. By the way, the word ‘truck’ in “truck farm” does not refer to a truck used for transportation, rather it comes from the old French word troquer, which means “barter” or “exchange.”[iii]

Death & Burial

1937 was an awful year in many ways. First, in March 1937, Arthur and Magdeline divorced. In April, Arthur received a marriage license to marry Rose Taucett. That marriage does not appear to have occurred. However, later in the year he married Alice M Kneipp. Arthur was very sick during the latter part of the year because he died from bladder cancer on 5 January 1938.

Arthur’s death certificate indicates he was buried at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia. I have been unable to find a marker for him. This cemetery is closed, locked up, apparently abandoned, and sadly overgrown. There is a video on Vimeo that shows the state of the cemetery in 2016 – Heartbreaking.

Mt Vernon Cemetery from nilkin67 on Vimeo.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Find a copy of the 1906 Central High School, Philadelphia, Penn., yearbook and look for Arthur’s interests and photo.
  • Find Arthur’s burial location and possible stone at Mount Vernon Cemetery.
  • Get copy Arthur’s will from Bucks County.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


  • 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, 1900 Census – William Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), William Bradley, Philadelphia city Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 268, sheet 4.
  • 1910 Census (FS), Family Search, 1910 Census – Emily E Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Emily E Bradley, Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 513, sheet 6A, family 122, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1398; FHL microfilm 1,375,411. Accessed 29 May 2018.
  • 1915 New Jersey state census, population schedule, Arthur W Bradley – Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. “New Jersey State Census, 1915,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 March 2018), Arthur W Bradley, Pennsauken Township, 1 district, Camden, New Jersey, United States; citing sheet #12B, household 282, line #77, New Jersey State Library, Trenton; FHL microfilm 1,465,511.  Accessed 1 Jun 2018
  • 1920 Census (FS), Family Search, Arthur W. Bradley – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 May 2018), Arthur W Bradley, Philadelphia Ward 35, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States; citing  ED 1238, sheet 1A, line 30, family 7, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1637; FHL microfilm 1,821,637. – Accessed 29 May 2018.
  • 1930 Census (FS), Family Search, Arthur W Bradley – Warminster, Bucks, Pennsylvania. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 May 2018), Arthur W Bradley, Warminster, Bucks, Pennsylvania, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 75, sheet 10B, line 82, family 251, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2008; FHL microfilm 2,341,742. Accessed 29 May 2018.
  • Bristol Daily Courier, Bristol, Pennsylvania ( 09 Mar 1937, Tue · Page 4 – Divorce – Anson W. Bradley Magdalen P. T. Bradley.

  • Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013, Ancestry.Com, Marriage – Arthur Wilson Bradley & Magdalen Polk Taylor. Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 242.
  • Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966, Ancestry.Com, Arthur Bradley – Died 5 Jan 1938.
  • Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Ancestry.Com, Arthur Wilson Bradley – 1938. Orphans Court Records, 1683-1866; Index, 1683-1958; Author: Pennsylvania. Orphans’ Court (Bucks County); Probate Place: Bucks, Pennsylvania
  • Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993, Ancestry.Com, Arthur Wilson Bradley – Case Number 37383. Wills, 1713-1906; General Index, 1682-1939; Author: Bucks County (Pennsylvania). Register of Wills; Probate Place: Bucks, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1902-05-29, Page 6 – Central High School – 15th Sec.}
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1906-06-15, Page 4 – “HIGH SCHOOL BOYS ARE GIVEN DEGREES” – List of Graduates – Bachelor of Arts—Classical Course—… Arthur Wilson Bradley, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1937-04-03 – Marriage License – Arthur W. Bradley & Rose Taucett.
  • United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 , Family Search, Arthur W Bradley “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 March 2018), Arthur W Bradley, 1917-1918; citing Philadelphia City no 34, Pennsylvania, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,907,756. Accessed 30 May 2018.


[i] Madeline and Magdalen are used interchangeably in various documents. I have settled on using Magdalen because that is the spelling of her name on her tombstone marker.

[ii] The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Sat, May 23, 1908, Page 1, Via

[iii] Internet:  Online Etymology Dictionary: Truck (n.2) and Truck (v.1)

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