Bradley, Bruce Foster (1890 - 1969)
Inducted: November 29, 1989
Mr. Bradley was born in Toledo, and studied agriculture for two years at the University of Wisconsin before he moved to some 1655 acres of marshy wasteland at the mouth of the Thames River on Lake St. Clair in Dover Township.
In his third year there, he grew seed corn, tobacco, red beets, carrots, hay, sugar beets, late potatoes, onions, beans, peas, buckwheat, barley, millet and oats. His 1000 pigs included pedigreed stock for both bacon and lard.
The Bradley Fertile Meadows Farms were at the low end of Dover Township; and Mr. Bradley pioneered in the centrifugal and propeller pumps which enabled him to drain some lands, and to flood others. He was a conservationist as well as a farmer, and he wanted to maintain optimum marsh conditions as a habitat for wildlife.
Mr. Bradley grew onions, and pioneered in bulk handling and in the use of windrowers and mechanical harvesters. He built the first forced air system in the area for the bulk storage of vegetable crops; and he was a founding member of the onion pool, to help growers develop orderly marketing.
Mr. Bradley was one of the first in Ontario to grow flue-cured tobacco, and he was active in a series of court actions to get proper compensation for growers. His flax crop was well received until his flax processing plant was destroyed by fire.
When Mr. Bradley started growing sugar beets, barges were used to transport them on the Thames River. He was still a grower when the industry closed in 1967.
Mr. Bradley was a vegetable grower through the transition from shipment by scow to horse-drawn wagons and to motorized trucks. Carrots were a major crop, and were bulk stored with forced aeration.
Mr. Bradley was an active livestock producer, raising beef cattle and eventually Landrace hogs.
He was a member of the Sugar Beet Growers' Association, the Burley Tobacco Growers' Association; and was the first Canadian member of the American Christmas Tree Growers' Association, the American Onion Growers' Association and the North American Game Breeders' Association.
By the time Mr. Bradley died, the family was farming more than double the original acreage, and he had managed one of the largest farming operations in the province for over 50 years. He became a naturalized Canadian in 1920; and was a dedicated humanitarian all his life.
It was singularly appropriate that he died on a marathon walk to support a humanitarian cause, his grandchildren with him.
He was inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1982