WILLIAM A. BRIDGES, SR.
It is with pleasure that the biographer has an opportunity to place before the readers of this work the life record of the honorable gentleman whose name initiates this paragraph, for he is deemed eminently worthy of representation along with the best and most industrious citizens of Johnson county, owing to the fact that he belongs to the energetic and enterprising class that has made this favored section one of the most noted and richest in the great Hoosier state. Enjoying distinctive prestige as a farmer, he has achieved marked success, while his practical intelligence, mature judgment and sound business principles have had much to do in moulding public sentiment in the community where he has long maintained his home.
William A. Bridges, Sr., who, after a life of unremitting activity, is now living retired from active labor at his pleasant and attractive home in Franklin, was born on October 11, 1850, in Hensley township, Johnson county, Indiana, on farm owned by his parents, George and Martha (Clark) Bridges, both of whom were natives of Kentucky. George Bridges came from Shelby county, Kentucky, to Johnson county, Indiana, in 1827, locating in Hensley township. He was born in May, 1800, and his entire life was spent in connection with agricultural pursuits, in which vocation he achieved an eminent success, owning eight hundred and twenty acres of land in Hensley township at of his death, which occurred on August 22, 1872. In addition to the cultivation of the soil, he gave considerable attention to the raising of live stock, giving particular attention to Shorthorn cattle and to mules. Martha Clark also came from her native state to Indiana in an early day and her marriage to Mr. Bridges occurred after her arrival in this state. Mr. Bridges, however., had previously been married to a Miss Forsythe, by whom had seven children, only one of whom is now living, and he married for his third wife a Miss Prather, to whom six children were born.
The subject of this sketch, who was born and reared on a farm, procured his education in the common schools of his native township and followed agricultural pursuits continuously until 1892, when he relinquished active labor for a while and moved to Franklin. In 1895 he returned to the farm and gave it his attention until November, 1900, when he again decided to relinquish the labor to which he had been accustomed and came to Franklin where he has since lived. As an agriculturist Mr. Bridges was numbered among the best in the county, his thorough methods and up-to-date ideas marking him as a man of mature judgment and wise discrimination. A man of good business principles, he so conducted his affairs as to reap a gratifying return for his labor and now, in evening of life, he is enabled to quietly enjoy the fruits of his former labors.
Mr. Bridges has for many years taken an active and intelligent interest in public affairs, and in 1886 was elected county commissioner from the first district which position he served a full term and a half term, amounting to four and one-half years, his additional service being because of the fact that one member of the board died and he was appointed to fill the vacancy. In 1900 Mr. Bridges was elected county treasurer, and was elected to succeed himself in 1902, thus serving two terms to the entire satisfaction of his fellow citizens. In 1906 he was elected mayor of Franklin, serving continuously until 1910. He has been a staunch supporter of the Democratic party ever since attaining his majority, and has contributed materially to the success of his party in local elections. Fraternally, he is a member of the Masonic and Odd Fellows orders and has taken a deep interest in these societies. Religiously, he and wife are members of the Baptist church, as are all of their children and most of their grandchildren.
On October 11, 1870, Mr. Bridges was united in marriage to Alice M. Hunter, daughter of Singleton Hunter, of Hensley township, this county, and they have become, the parents of three children: Otis Bridges, who lives on the home farm in Hensley township; Harry Bridges, county treasurer, and Dell, the wife of Wiley Waggoner, of Franklin, who clerks in the store of M. G. Voris.
Mr. Bridges is the owner of one hundred and thirty acres of fine land in Hensley township, the tract also extending over into Nineveh and Union townships. The place is well improved in every respect, its general appearance reflecting great credit on the owner. Mr. Bridges is a man of genial nature, unassuming in his relation with others, and because of his genuine worth and high qualities of character he has deserved the high regard in which he is held by all who know him.
Branigin, Elba L. History of Johnson County. Indianapolis, IN: B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., 1913. pp 642-644
Transcribed by Lois Johnson