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George C. Bradley

Early pharmacist and druggist in De Smet.

‘Tis said a bottle and a glass / Will make a fellow mellow, / But Rocky Mountain Tea’s the drink / That livens up a fellow. – Bradley’s Drug Store advertisement, 1904

One of the early townsmen to arrive in De Smet in the summer of 1880 was George Bradley and his wife, Hattie. Bradley’s Drugstore was built in May 1880 and stood between the Loftus Store and Fuller Hardware on the west side of Calumet Avenue, what Laura Ingalls Wilder called Main Street. Not only did Mr. Bradley sell drugs and medicines, but watches, jewelry, photo albums, books, toys, glassware, and stationery. He later stocked De Smet souvenir dishes, with paintings of many important town buildings. These are collector’s items today.

Bradley Drugs was one place the men in town congregated to play checkers during the Hard Winter. Mrs. Bradley was a gifted singer, often performing at local events, which Wilder includes in Little Town on the Prairie. At the Old Settlers’ celebration in 1890, De Smet merchants gave an entertainment at Couse Opera House. As part of the well-known “De Smet Quartet,” Mrs. Bradley performed with her sister-in-law (wife of businessman Fenn Bradley) and two men familiar to the Little House world: Charles Trousdale and Willard Seelye.

George Clayton Bradley was born in Fall River, Wisconsin, on November 26, 1855, the son of Fernando Bradley and Olive (Randolph) Bradley. At age 17, he began studying the pharmacy trade and worked as a registered pharmacist in Fall River for three years. He married Hattie Suffron on August 14, 1878; she was the daughter of Rev. and Mrs. J.T. Suffron of Fall River. The Bradleys settled in Luverne, Minnesota, moving to De Smet in 1880, when Mr. Bradley was not yet 25 years old. They had four children, two dying in infancy, and son Gene (born in 1879) and daughter Fanny (born in 1882).

George Bradley was a druggist in De Smet until his death on March 7, 1904, with burial in Fall River. The first drugstore building was only used until the end of 1880, when Bradley purchased the Fuller Hardware building and had it moved next door; Mr. Fuller was building a larger store building. This second building was replaced in 1910 by George Mallery and W. Ellwyn White, who took over the business after Mr. Bradley’s death.

THE DRUG TRADE of De Smet is unusually well represented, and as the leading house in that line we are pleased to refer to the handsomely appointed establishement of G.C. Bradley. This house, established seven years ago, is the pioneer of its class in the county, and undoubtedly one of the oldest unchanged drug houses in Dakota. Mr. B. is the occupant of a store 22×65, all of which space is well filled with an excellent stock. Pure drugs, medicines, paints, oils, books, stationery, toilet and perfumeries, and the thousand and one articles of use and ornament, found only in the first houses of the larger cities. Mr. Bradley is an experienced druggist, and it is no exaggeration to say that his house offers every facility in business matters as could be found in similar stores of cities several times larger than De Smet. – March 1887, De Smet Leader

Hattie Bradley remained in De Smet after the death of her husband in 1904. She married De Smet dentist Leroy F. Straight in August 1905; they were later divorced and she moved to California, where her daughter Fanny had settled. Around 1910, Hattie married C.F. Lindau in California, then a Mr. Jones. Hattie Bradley Jones died in 1937.

The following biography of Mr. Bradley was published in 1898:

GEORGE C. BRADLEY is a well-known and popular druggist of De Smet, Kingsbury county, South Dakota. In addition to a fine stock of drugs, chemicals, etc., Mr. Bradley handles jewelry, books, stationery, paints and kindred supplies. He is one of the pioneers of Kingsbury county, and his pharmacy was the first ever established within its confines. Mr. Bradley is a native of Wisconsin, and was born in Columbia county, July 2, 1856. His parents, Fernando and Olive A. (Randolph) Bradley, were both natives of New York, where they were married. In 1855 they removed to Columbia county, Wisconsin. They have since resided there. George was the eldest of three children, the others being Fenimore C. and Clarence M. He obtained his education in the common and high schools of Columbia county, Wisconsin, and at the age of seventeen engaged in the commission business at Fall River, Wisconsin, which he continued for upwards of two years. He then accepted a position in the drug department of O.B. Prime & Co.’s store at Fall River, remaining with the firm during the following three years. Meanwhile he had studied pharmacy, and become a registered pharmacist. In September, 1878, Mr. Bradley went to Luverne, Minnesota, and took charge of a general store for William H. Glass until May, 1880. He then resigned his position and came to South Dakota, starting the business which he now owns at De Smet. Mr. Bradley has been a member of the school board of his city for a number of years. He is also a member of the city council. He is prominent in civic affairs, and is one of the public-spirited men of the community, ready at all times to aid in any movement or project which will aid De Smet or Kingsbury county. He is a member of the state pharmaceutical associations of both North and South Dakota, and also of the M.W.A.

Mr. Bradley married Miss Hattie L. Suffron in Fall River, Wisconsin, on the 14th of August, 1878. Mrs. Bradley was born in Greene county, Wisconsin, November 28, 1858, and is a daughter of Rev. James T. and Sarah (Carr) Suffron. Mr. and Mrs. Bradley are the parents of four children, Clarence E., Fannie B., and two others who died in infancy.

Memorial & Biographical Record, An Illustrated Compendium of Biography (Chicago: George A. Ogle & Co., 1898), 362, 365.


Bradley family
     George (TLW 9; LTP 21, 24; THGY 4; PG)
     Hattie (LTP 17, 18, 19, 24; THGY 4; PG)
     Bradley’s drugstore / the drugstore (TLW 8-9, 26, 29; LTP 17; THGY 17; PG)