Trumbold Families

Elmer Ellsworth Bradney


Elmer Ellsworth Bradney was born January 3, 1864, on the "Old Bradney Place"1. He was the second child and first son of John William and Caroline Long Bradney.  In the summer of 1865 when he was just over 1 year old, his parents took him and his older sister back to the Minnesota Territory (near Minneapolis).  By October 1866, they had returned to Brown County, Illinois where he was to spend most of his life.


Elmer grew up on his father's farm south of Timewell, Illinois. Along with the usual farming activities, they had a large apple orchard, shipping apples in barrels by rail to several places in Illinois as far away as Rockford.


There is some evidence in letters we have from James O. Linn, his cousin, to Elmer that Elmer went to Currinsville, Oregon in 1883 or 1888 (the postmark and references are unclear).  E. E. seems to have enjoyed school and excelled at reading. He started several "literaries" (reading groups, I presume) in Brown County and in Oregon. 

Elmer was also keenly interested in photography and had an early camera using a tripod, black curtain, and glass plates.  He took photos of the family from 1880-1905 occupied in daily work (gathering and sorting apples in the orchard, sawing lumber at the mill, threshing wheat, farming, stacking wood), splashing in the California ocean, gathering at family get-togethers.  Those early photos and glass plates still exist 120 years later.

On the 28th of September, 1888, John and Caroline Bradney sold 50 acres of their farm2 to their son, E. E. Bradney, for $1000.  Don Trumbold was told by Dona Bradney that John's son, Elmer Ellsworth, helped his father pay off the farm and, therefore, received this 52.5 acres from his father.  We have an 1889 tax receipt showing that John W. Bradney paid the taxes on this land.


Elmer Married Dora May Nokes


E.E. and Dora May Nokeswere married on September 4, 1892, at the home of J. D. Bowen (husband of Dora' sister, Josie) in Lee Township3.  Jimmy D. Bowen and his wife, Josie, were witnesses to the marriage.


Dora May Nokes was 4 years old when her mother died and 6 years old when her father died.  Her older sister, Josephine ("Aunt Josie"), raised Dora May.  These two were the only siblings out of 8 in the Alonson Nokes family to reach adulthood.


The 1880 census for Brown County, Lee Township (page 6 taken June 5, 1880 lists

             James Bowen, 26, farmer, born Ind., father born Ky., mother born Ky.

                         Josephine, 23, wife, born Ill., father born Ill., mother born Ill.

                        Nova, 3?, son, born Ill., father born Ind., mother born Ill.

                        Arthur, 6/12, son, born Ill., father born Ind., mother born Ill.

                        Nokes, Dora, 8, sister, born Ill., father born Ill., mother born Ill.


The Bradneys set up housekeeping across the creek from his parents who lived in "the old Bradney Place" south of Timewell, Illinois.  There they had their three children : Ruth in 1894, Opal in 1895, and Wendell in 1897.


The 1900 Federal census shows Elmer and his family in Lee Township, Brown County, Illinois.  His occupation is shown as farming and they lived near his parents.


Elmer - born in 1863, now 36 years old

Dora - born in 1872, now 27

Ruth - born in 1894, now 5.5

Opal - born in 1895, now 4

Wendell - born in 1897, now 2


In 1901 - 1902 he took his family by train to Oleander, California, where they stayed for a couple of years.  He found work in a fruit packing plant.  They returned to Brown County, Illinois, by way of Olathe, Kansas, where he worked as a carpenter until 1904.


E.E. owned a J. I. Case steam engine and grain separator and did custom threshing for other farmers in the Timewell community. He also used the steam engine to power a saw mill which he owned and he was an accomplished sawyer.  He also operated the Fargo store sometime between 1904 and 1914.


On September 7, 1905, Dora May Nokes Bradney died of tuberculosis at the age of 32 and is buried in the Fargo cemetery.


Published in Mt. Sterling's Democrat Message, Saturday, September 16, 1905


"Dora May Nokes died Thursday, September 7, and the funeral took place Saturday afternoon at the Fargo church, with services conducted by Rev. Thomas Campbell.  Deceased was born January 2, 1873, and became the wife of Elmer Bradney September 4, 1892.  To this union were born three children, viz: Ruth, Opan(sic)  and Wendel (sic), who are left with their father to mourn her loss.  She also leaves, besides her husband and children, a sister, Mrs. J. D. Bowen, the only surviving member of a family of eight, with other relatives and a host of friends.  Deceased was converted and became a member of the Methodist church at the age of 16, and was a good wife, a loving mother and a kind neighbor."



In the same newspaper


"Mrs. Elmer Bradney, who has been sick for some time, died Thursday night and was buried Saturday at 2 pm in the Fargo cemetery."



In the same newspaper


"Mrs. Dora Bradney, wife of Elmer Bradney, died last Friday, September 8, and the remains were interred in the Fargo cemetery on Saturday, followed by a large concourse of sorrowing relatives and friends who gathered to pay their last tribute of respect to a kind and loving neighbor."


On May 21, 1907, E.E. mortgaged his 50 acres for $800 to William A. McPherson4.


Elmer and the three children are shown in the 1910 Federal census as still living in Lee Township, Brown County, Illinois.


Elmer Married Florence Tice Nokes and Moves to Timewell


On March 25, 1914, after his two daughters had married, Elmer Ellsworth married Florence Tice Nokes5 in Keokuk, Iowa.  His sister and brother-in-law, Everett C. and Anna Bowen witnessed the marriage performed by Ezra B. Newcomb, the pastor of First Westminster Presbyterian Church 


On March 28, 1914, he sold the 50-acre farm to Charles E. Harrison for $25006 and moved to Timewell where he acquired two lots from John Garner for $15007.  On one lot he built a two-story frame house (in which his son, Wendell and family, later lived throughout his life) next to his plumbing business from which he also sold, installed, and repaired Meyer pumps and windmills.  In the November 12, 1913, Democrat Message it says that "Elmer Bradney and Walter Robison have rented the building formerly used as a restaurant.  They have been stocking up on pumps and tanks and working at plumbing."


The second lot (50' by 90') had a one-story 5-room frame house which he sold to Anna E. Trumbold on November 30, 1917 for $8508.  It was in this house that his daughter, Ruth Bradney Trumbold, and her husband, Leslie Trumbold, raised their family from 1917 - 1963.


The 1920 Federal census shows Elmer and Florence living in Lee Township (in the town of Timewell) and his occupation is listed as plumber owning his own shop.  Florence's three children with Albert Nokes (Gladys, 19; Reta, 16; Mary, 14) are living with them.  E. E.�s son, Wendell (now a widower) and his son Virgil C., 6 months old, are living next door.


He still maintained a saw mill on his brother's, Humbert Bradney's, farm.  Don Trumbold can remember the activity of watching the logs being drug in on the running gears of a wagon and stacked up to be sawed.  He also had a saw mill just to the rear of his shop in Timewell which he later sold to Charles Norton.  He was a good carpenter and woodworker, making several pieces of furniture of walnut and cedar.


Elmer Bradney was a member of Kendrick Lodge No. 430 AF & AM in Timewell, Illinois, and a charter member of the Timewell Order of the Easter Star No. 700 established on September 11, 1911 and was its first Sentinel.


He died in Timewell at 9am on January 12, 1931, of organic heart disease and an infected gall bladder9.  He is buried in the Fargo Cemetery in Brown County, Illinois, with his first wife, Dora May.




"Elmer E. Bradney, son of John and Caroline Bradney, was born January 3, 1865, and died January 12, 1931, at his home in Timewell, being 66 years and 9 days old.


On September 4, 1892, he was united in marriage to Dora May Nokes who preceded E. E. in death September 5, 1905.  To this union were born three children:  Mrs. Ruth Trumbold, of Timewell, Mrs. Opal Shields of Mendon, and Wendell Bradney of Timewell.


In March 25, 1914, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Florence Nokes, of Timewell.  Besides the widow and children, he leaves to mourn three sisters:  Mrs. Clara Nokes of Tegarden, Oklahoma; Mrs. Anna O'Connor, of Mt. Sterling; also one brother, Humbert Bradney of Timewell and ten grandchildren.


He was a faithful member of the Christian church, also of Kendrick Lodge No. 430 A. F. and A. M. and was a charter member of the Eastern Star."





published in the Democrat Message, Mt. Sterling, Illinois, Wednesday, January 14, 1931




"Elmer E. Bradney, 66, one of Timewell's highly esteemed citizens, who had been critically ill for the past several weeks, passed away Monday morning about 10 o'clock in the family home.  He leaves to mourn his wife; two daughters, Mrs. Ruth Trumbold of Timewell and Mrs. Opal Shields of Mendon; son, Wendell E. Bradney of Timewell; a brother, Humbart of Timewell, and three sisters, Mrs. Clara Nokes of Teagarden, Okla., Mrs. Anna Bowen of Clayton and Mrs. Mabel O'Connor of this city.


Funeral services will be held this afternoon at two o'clock and burial will be made in the Fargo cemetery.  The A.F. & A. M. lodge, of which Mr. Bradney was an active member, will have charge of the services."



In the same newspaper


"E. E. Bradney's funeral was held in the Christian church Wednesday, January 14th, conducted by Rev. Elmer Lowe, aided by the Masonic order and Eastern Star. Interment was made in the Fargo cemetery. It was well attended and the floral offerings were beautiful."


Source Notes

1.      Note: his death certificate completed by his son, Wendell Bradney, says that his birth date was 1865, but this is not correct.

2.      Brown County Illinois Deeds, (NW1/4 of SW1/4 of Section 30 in Lee Township).

3.      Brown County Illinois Marriage Records, Book 1A, page 157, license #1889.

4.      Indenture from E.E. Bradney to William A. McPherson, Brown County, Illinois, Filed May 21, 1907.

5.      Marriage Records, Lee County, Iowa, March 25, 1914.

6.      Brown County Illinois Deeds, #54803, Filed March 11, 1915 from Elmer E. Bradney to Charles E. Harrison (NW1/4 of SW1/4 of Section 30 in Lee Township).

7.      Indenture, Brown County Illinois Deeds, #53715, page 332, E. E. Bradney and Florence M Bradney to John H. Garner, April 6, 1914, First lot - beginning of the SW corner of Lot 21 running 50�south, thence East 90�, etc..  Second lot beginning at the SW corner of Lot 7 and running North 802.5� then running southeast across Lot 7 and Lot 6, etc.  Paid mortgage and released on December 4, 1915.

8.      Brown County Illinois Deeds, #58053, Filed January 8, 1918, from Florence Nokes Bradney and Elmer E. Bradney to Anna E. Trumbold.

9.      Brown County Illinois Death Certificate, Filed January 14, 1931.

Elmer Ellsworth Bradney
Dora May Nokes Bradney
E. E. and Dora May Bradney
Bradneys in Oleander CA
Bradneys in Oleander, CA
Bradney saw mill