W. BRADSHAW was born in Sheffield, England on October 29, 1835. His
parents came to American in 1840, and after three years in Philadelphia
settled in Camden in 1843.
receiving his education he pursued the wood turner's trade. He married
Eliza Jane Marks, the County Clerk has the dates recorded twice, as
December 25, 1858 and as January 30, 1859. Eliza Marks' sister
Sophia married Isaac McKinley,
and at the time of the 1860 Census the Bradshaws and the McKinleys lived
next door to each other in Camden's South Ward.
an interest in civic affairs, Claudius Bradshaw served as a volunteer
By the time of the 1880
census Claudius Bradshaw had been elected mayor. The Bradshaw family at
that time included five children, Claudius E., Clara, Charles H.,
Florence M., and Milton R. Bradshaw.
Reeser Prowell wrote the following about the
two companies in his History of
Camden County, New Jersey, published in 1886:
Independence Fire Company No. 1, organized with Lambert F. Beatty, president;
William S. Frazer, secretary ; and Joseph Wagner,
treasurer. Among the early members were Jacob Prettyman, David Page, Thomas
Stilwell, Francis E. Harpel, Restore Cook, John
Wallace, Claudius W. Bradshaw,
William H. Hawkins,
Mines, Henry Bradshaw,
William E. Walls, William Howard, Albert Dennis, Elwood Bounds, Samuel H. Stilwell, Albert
V. Mills, Robert S. Bender, Lewis Yeager,
McCowan and William W. Mines. The company
met in a building at Third Street and Cherry for
a year, when it was burned. Lewis Yeager gave
the company free use of a lot on Third Street,
above Cherry, where an engine-house of slabs,
donated by Charles Stockham, was built. In 1853
a lot on Cherry
Street, above Third, was purchased
and on it a frame house was built. This was
used until 1859, when, owing to a defect in the title, the sheriff advertised the property for sale.
When he reached the ground on the day of the
sale he found the house, with its contents, and a number of the members of the company, on an
adjoining lot belonging to James B. Dayton, who
permitted the action. The following year, 1860,
they bought and built, on the north side of Pine
Street, above Fourth, a three-story brick, then the
most complete fire-engine house in Camden, and
which was sold for four thousand five hundred dollars to the city. The Independence was a
company until June 4, 1864, when they secured an
Amoskeag engine, being the first fire-engine in
use by the fire companies of Camden. Early in 1869 they purchased a larger engine and when
the volunteer firemen were scattered, in the latter
part of that year, they sold the Amoskeag to Millville, and the later purchase was kept until 1874,
when it was sold to the city. Lambert F. Beatty, John Wallace, William H.
Hawkins, J. Kelly
Brown, William W.
and Edward Gilbert were presidents of the Independence, while its secretaries have been
William L. Frazer, William W.
Mines, Mortimer C.
Wilson and Thomas
McCowan ; and the treasurers Joseph Wagner and
Robert S. Bender, who,
elected in 1854, served until October 13, 1874,
when, with a roll of sixty members, they met.
President Gilbert in the chair, paid all claims
against them and formally disbanded.
Bradshaw became active in politics as a Democrat, and was made city
marshal in 1870. He was elected to city council in 1872, and was made
Chief of the Camden Fire Department in 1876, serving a three year term.
He was succeeded by Samuel S.
1880 Claudius W. Bradshaw was elected mayor, defeating Benjamin F.
Archer by 31 votes. He was re-elected in 1883, defeating Henry H.
for whom the Davis School in East Camden is named.
Mayor Bradshaw's term in office, improvements were made to Federal and
Cooper Streets, and the Board of Health was organized under his
direction. Several companies that were a part of Camden's commercial and
industrial scene for many years were founded, including J.B.
Van Sciver & Company, the Linden Worsted Mills, and the Lace and
Embroidery Manufactory. Mayor Bradshaw also had to deal with an
earthquake in August of 1884. Running for a third term in 1886, he was
defeated by Jesse Pratt.
leaving office Claudius Bradshaw operated a confectioner's business at
528 South 3rd
Street, the corner of 3rd and Clinton, where he also made
his residence, in the late 1880s. By 1890 he had moved to 520 South 2nd
Trenton Times newspaper reported Claudius Bradshaw as being very ill in
its March 21, 1899 edition. He died not long afterwards, survived
by his wife, son Charles, daughters Leonia and Florence, and at least