Omar Nelson Bradley (1893 - 1981)
The United States provided aid to the Allied Powers but remained neutral until Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. The United States then declared war on Japan and, in turn, Germany declared war on the United States. The United States joined the Allied Powers and launched an enormous war effort at home and abroad. On the home front, civilians made important contributions by helping to produce military equipment, supplies, and food in record amounts. American military forces fought in Europe, North Africa, and throughout the Pacific against the Axis Powers. By the end of the war, over twelve million Americans had served in the armed forces.
On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered, bringing an end to the war in Europe. The war in the Pacific continued until the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in early August 1945. The Japanese surrendered on August 14, 1945. By the end of the war, over 418,500 American servicemen were killed, and worldwide an estimated thirty-eight million people lost their lives during the war.
(February 15, 1867 – January 31, 1908)
John Smith Bradley was born on February 15, 1867, in Randolph County, Missouri. His father, Thomas Minter Bradley, served in the Confederate army during the Civil War and married his mother, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, shortly after the war ended. John was the eldest of nine Bradley children.
Traditionally, the Bradleys were farmers. John was an exception. By attending a country school in Clark, Missouri, and by learning on his own, John Bradley became a teacher. Starting in 1888, he taught in several rural schools over the next twenty years. His salary was never more than forty dollars a month. During school breaks, John Bradley earned much-needed income by working for local farmers.
Omar Bradley described his father as a combination farmer, sportsman, intellectual, and frontiersman. John Bradley was physically strong and was reported to be the best shot in the county. He taught Omar how to hunt and shoot. Baseball was one of his favorite pastimes. Known to carve his own bats, John Bradley taught himself to throw a curve ball and organized local leagues.
John Bradley married Sarah Elizabeth Hubbard on May 12, 1892. “Bessie” lived with her family on a forty-acre farm near Clark, Missouri. She had been one of John Bradley's students and was sixteen when they married. Exactly nine months later, Omar Nelson Bradley was born. Bradley became a father a second time in 1900, but his infant son Raymond Calvert died of scarlet fever in 1902.
Too poor to afford a horse and buggy, John Bradley walked to work. During the winter of 1907-08, while teaching at a school six miles away, he developed a case of pneumonia. He died in his bed on January 31, 1908. John Smith Bradley was a few days short of his forty-first birthday.
(April 18, 1875 – June 23, 1931)
[SHS detail from family portrait]
Sarah Elizabeth Hubbard was one of five children. Her father, Henry Clay Hubbard, had served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He married Mary Elizabeth Spurling after the war. The Hubbards lived in a three-room log home on a small farm near Clark, Randolph County, Missouri.
Sarah, known as “Bessie,” attended a rural school near Clark. The one-room school’s teacher was John Smith Bradley. The two fell in love and were married at the Hubbard farm on May 12, 1892. Bessie gave birth to their first child on February 12, 1893. They named him Omar after a local newspaper editor. A few years later Bessie’s sister, Emma, the mother of two, died of tuberculosis. The Bradleys opened their home to their nieces Nettie and Opal. In 1900, Bessie gave birth to her second child and named him Raymond Calvert. He died two years later of scarlet fever.
In 1908, John Smith Bradley died at the family home in Higbee. A few months later, Bessie moved to Moberly. She became a professional seamstress, took in boarders, and enrolled her son in high school. On Christmas Day 1910, Bessie married John Robert Maddox. Maddox was a poor farmer and father of two boys whose wife had died. The two remained married for the next twenty-one years. On June 23, 1931, Bessie suffered a fatal stroke. She was buried next to her first husband and infant son in Log Chapel Cemetery, Higbee, Missouri. Omar Bradley wrote of her: "My mother, blue-eyed, strong-minded and entirely gray-haired before she was twenty, was an unfailingly cheerful and resourceful women."