Portrait from the History of Tama County, Iowa, Volume II, published 1910.
The following profile examines the life of a man with a truly bizarre name....Centenary Bangs Bradshaw. Without a doubt one of the few people in recorded history to have had "Centenary" as a given first name, Mr. Bradshaw was a native Ohioan who would find distinction in Iowa, being for many years an attorney based in Tama County. Bradshaw would go on to serve that county as its District Attorney and later was elected as an Iowa District Court Judge for the 17th district.
One of two sons born to the Rev. Harvey and Susan Sullivan Bradshaw, Centenary Bangs "C.B." Bradshaw was born in Richmond, Jefferson County, Ohio on December 26, 1839. His early education occurred in schools local to Jefferson County and in 1858 relocated to Iowa with his family. Shortly after his removal Bradshaw began studying at the Grinnell College and remained here until 1862, when he enlisted for service in Company F. of the 24th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He participated in the Battles of Champion Hills and Port Gibson, Mississippi and would also see action at the Siege of Vicksburg in May 1863.
Discharged from duty in July 1865, Bradshaw had attained the rank of Captain and within a few months of leaving the service went to enroll at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Here he began the study of law and after graduating in 1867 returned to Iowa, settling in the town of Toledo in Tama County. Bradshaw would establish a law practice here in 1867 with attorney George Rix Struble (1836-1918), later to serve as a state circuit judge and Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives. Their partnership lasted until 1870, whereafter Bradshaw continued operations alone.
On his 28th birthday in 1867 Centenary Bradshaw married to Mary Ann Hayzlett (1846-1892), with whom he would have two children, a daughter, Alice (1869-1942) and a son, Charles Sullivan Bradshaw (1871-1952), later to follow in his father's footsteps as a Iowa district court judge from 1911-12. Bradshaw would remarry following Mary Ann Bradshaw's death to Rachel Morrison in 1904.
Centenary B. Bradshaw during his Civil War service, courtesy of Find-A-Grave.
With decades of legal practice in Tama County "C.B." Bradshaw became acknowledged as one of that county's sterling legal minds, with the Iowa Bar Annual Report of 1916 describing him as:
"A lawyer of the old school who scorned to solicit business or permit anyone else to solicit business for him. He was a capable trial lawyer and always courteous to his opponents. He won high repute as a lawyer and was regarded by the profession as one of the ablest judges of the state."While he may have been a prominent member of the Tama County bar, Bradshaw was firm when it came to refraining from political activity, refusing to become a candidate for public office. This changed in 1885 when he was appointed by the county's board of supervisors as the Attorney for Tama County, serving until 1887. After the position of ccounty attorney was made elective, he was elected to another term as attorney in 1892, serving another two year term. He was defeated for reelection in 1894 by his Democratic opponent Ezra C. Ebersole. Following his defeat Bradshaw returned to his practice in Toledo until 1906, when he was nominated for District Judge for Iowa's 17th District, comprising the counties of Tama, Marshall and Benton. Bradshaw won the election and entered upon his duties in 1907. He was reelected as judge in 1911 and retired from the bench in 1915 due to health concerns.
After resigning Judge Bradshaw spent the last year of his life practicing law in Toledo, dying there on January 11, 1916 at age 76. He was survived by his wife Rachel and was later interred alongside his first wife at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo, Iowa.