The original land that modern day Bradley County covers was inhabited 5,000 years ago by the Caddo Indian tribe. There are nearly 200 sites in the area where evidence of their fishing camps, villages, plazas and other structures have been discovered by archaeologists.
The 17th century and the Europeans
In the 17th Century, the area was controlled by the Mississippi Company. They were given large tracts of this land to pay off debts in Europe. During this time, many French, German and Swiss people immigrated to Louisiana.
It was one day, in 1718, that over 800 people arrived in the area. Their arrival meant the doubling of its population. After the Louisiana Purchase, many people from neighbouring states began heading to Arkansas into what is now known as Bradley County, to settle the area in the 1800s.
The formation of the county
Bradley County was not officially formed and recognised until December 18, 1840. The area was originally part of the nearby Union County, which covered a huge tract of land. At the time, the Union County covered what are now Ashley, Drew, Lincoln, Dallas, Calhoun, and Cleveland Counties.
The splitting of the county into seven counties
Between 1845 and 1873, six of the counties, which included Ashley, Dallas, Drew, Calhoun, Lincoln, and Cleveland Counties were detached from Bradley County and formed into, separate counties. The land that remained became the core of the modern day Bradley County.
The naming of the county
Bradley County was named for Captain Hugh Bradley who fought in the War of 1812. It is widely believed that the County Seat of Warren was named after Captain Bradley’s most trusted slave.
Pennington Township, the location of the City of Warren, was named after the Captain’s son-in-law. All towns are individually named and are each classified as an individual township. This is the case whether they are incorporated or unincorporated.
Historic Bradley you can visit today
There are many historic places in Bradley, including the courthouse, the 1920s brick streets of Warren, the Adams Leslie House of 1903 and the Davis-Adams House of 1860. The 1860’s Doctor John Wilson home is, today, a popular tourist destination.
The agriculture and industry of Bradley County
This is the largest tomato-growing area in all of Arkansas. The county’s pink tomato is the world’s best tasting around. Be sure to schedule your visit during the summer harvest and enjoy the famous pink tomato festival that takes place every year in June.
A trip to Bradley County gives you a chance to see and experience real history and taste those delicious pink tomatoes. For outdoor lovers, nothing impresses like the counties tall pines and hardwoods. These dense and varied woods are perfect places to hunt and fish, even though some of them are commercially owned.
There is also plenty of chance to camp in the area. If you prefer a solid roof over you, there are plenty of chalets and bed and breakfast accommodation scattered throughout the county. Most are located close to the towns and villages, but are remote enough to let you enjoy the beautiful countryside.