Bradford County History

Bradford County History


Bradford County was created in 1861 by Act of the Legislature, the parent counties having been: Columbia County created in 1832. New River County and Suwannee County were created from Columbia in 1858. Baker County was formed from New River, and remaining portion of New River County was changed to Bradford County December 6th, 1861, in honor of Captain Richard Bradford, the first Florida officer killed in the Civil War. He fell in the Battle of Santa Rosa Island, western Florida (near Pensacola) October 9th, 1861. 
In 1921, that portion of Bradford County lying West of New River and Santa Fe River was incorporated as Union County. The present boundary lines of Bradford County are as follows: Beginning at the Northeast corner of Section twenty-four, Township four South, Range twenty-two East; thence South along dividing line between Ranges twenty-two and twenty-three East, or boundary line of Clay County, to Santa Fe Lake; thence Northwesterly across said Lake through Santa Fe Swamp to Santa Fe River; thence down the run of said River to intersection of New River; thence up the run of last mentioned River, or eastern boundary line of Union County, to the Northwest corner of Section nineteen, Township four South, Range twenty-two East; thence East along South boundary line of Baker County to line of beginning. 
The date of the erection of the first Court House for Bradford County at Lake Butler is unknown but there is record of it being burned in May, 1865, (and nearly, if not all) county records destroyed. A succeeding Court House was built, and also destroyed by fire in February, 1875, with a second loss of county records.


State Library of Florida, WPA - Historical Records Survey, County Histories


Brief history of Bradford County, Florida collected by the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey.

Note to Researchers: Though the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, it should be noted that these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.