William A. Bridges stands among the most substantial farmers, stock-raisers and businessmen of this part of Indiana. He was born October 11, 1850, son of George and Martha (Clark) Bridges. The father was a native of Kentucky, born May 4, 1800, and departed this life August 23, 1872. He came to Johnson County in the autumn of 1829, and settled in Hensley Township, about two miles west of Trafalgar, Ind. Here he settled on a farm and engaged in the arduous duties of clearing it up. His boyhood and youth were spent on a farm. His education was extremely limited, for hard work was such a necessity in those days but little time could be devoted to schooling, but by reason of a large amount of business, and by much mingling with men, he acquired a good practical education. He was thoroughly conversant with all things that pertained to his business, and on all general affairs he was well informed. He was honorable and upright in all his dealings, a consistent member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Few men accomplished as much in life, and succeeded in establishing as complete confidence in the minds of all as he. His popularity extended to all with whom he had business connections, and he was one of those few who have the scarce and precious qualities of making a great deal of money in a way that added to, rather than detracted from, their popularity. In 1825, he was united in marriage with Matilda Forsythe. This union was blessed with seven children, four boys and three girls, four of whom are now living, two boys and two girls. The mother of these children was born June 3, 1806, and departed this life March 14, 1848. On August 16, 1848, he was united in marriage with Martha Clark, a daughter of William and Margaret Clark. This union was blessed with the following children: Marion F., born June 20, 1849; William A., our subject, October 11, 1850. The mother of these children was born June 8, 1828. She was a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, who in this, as in all the other affairs of life, has been her husband’s faithful companion, and who has always proved herself that willing helper which the true wife and mother ever is. She departed this life, July 30, 1856. On October 16, 1856, he was united in marriage with Eliza A. Prather, a daughter of Thomas and Mary Prather. This union was blessed with the following children: Dillard, Adaline, Henry, Emma, Eliza A., and Andrew. The mother of these children is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church. Mr. Bridges was always a staunch democrat, and at the time of his death was the owner of 810 acres of fine farming lands in Hensley Township, which was improved. Mr. Bridges’ position in Johnson County was a fitting reward for the work and toil of a lifetime, and shows conclusively to all beginners on life’s journey how much more honorable, useful, and satisfactory is a life of industry, exertion, and honesty. Our subject, William A. Bridges, was reared on his father’s farm in Hensley Township; he received a good common school education, and at the age of twenty-one years began the struggle of life for himself as a farmer, and has always been one of the live men of Johnson County. Improvement and progress has always been his watchword, and it has always been his ambition to keep fully up with the advancing civilization of the nineteenth century. One needs but to see his beautiful home and the many surrounding improvements to become convinced that he has kept thoroughly abreast with the spirit of the times. October 9, 1870, he was united in marriage with Alice M. Hunter, a daughter of Singleton and Harriet (Clemmer) Hunter; the father was a native of Kentucky, of German descent, born December 18, 1829; he came to Indiana in 1840, and settled in Hensley Township, where he remained until 1885, when he emigrated to Kansas, where he now resides. The mother was a native of Ohio, of German descent, was born April 11, 1830, and departed this life, December 15, 1882. This union was blessed with the following children: Otis, born July 9, 1871; Harry, December 12, 1872; Daisy, October 22, 1877. The mother of these children was born October 27, 1850. Mr. Bridges, wife, and the two boys, are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. He is a member of the I. O. O. F. lodge, No. 181, at Trafalgar, also a member of the K. of P. lodge, No. 12, at Franklin. In politics he has always been a staunch democrat, and is the recognized leader of the young democracy of his township. He is now the present county commissioner of district No. 1. After his nomination for this office, he was appointed to fill a vacancy of eighteen months in the same, caused by the death of E. W. Morgan, and was elected at the following November election of 1886, by a handsome majority. He now owns 110 acres of fine land, in Hensley Township. In connection with farming, he has given considerable of his time to the breeding of short-horn cattle. His liberal support of churches, schools, and all laudable enterprises are characteristic of the man. Such men build up a community, and erect for themselves imperishable monuments of gratitude which will live for many years after they have passed away. Socially, Mr. Bridges is a thoroughly good fellow, entertaining all at his home, with a liberal hospitality, and makes friends wherever he goes.

Transcribed by Cheryl Zufall Parker

Banta, D. D. History of Johnson County, Indiana. Chicago, IL: Brant & Fuller, 1888, page 679.