HON. CHARLES MINER BRADSHAW. – The present efficient collector of customs of the Puget Sound district, a portrait of whom appears in this work, is a gentleman who has worked his way from the lowest rung of the ladder until he now stands at the front rank in his chosen profession, as well as having acquired a recognized position among the men who lead public opinion and form institutions and states. Mr. Bradshaw was born in Bridgewater, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, August 9, 1831, – the son of Salmon and Sarah F. Schurz Bradshaw, and is a lineal descendant of John Bradshaw, who presided at court at the time of the trial of Charles I. when that usurping king was executed by Oliver Cromwell; and now, as relics of great interest, he has in his home some of the effects of the old regicide.
Mr. Bradshaw resided in his birthplace until 1839, when his parents removed to Dryden, Tompkins county, New York, where he was educated at the Dryden High School. On the completion of his school life in 1852, the ambitious young man started west, coming to St. Joseph, Missouri. He then fitted out, with another of his own age, an ox-team, and crossed the plains to Oregon, making the journey hither in the year 1852, when the pestilence of cholera, often joined with famine, was abroad. The thousands of graves that dotted the plains testified to the hardships and the dangers endured. He, however, arrived safely in Portland August 26th, and a few days later came to Washington territory, stopping at the present site of Port Townsend. He was obliged to accept the first work that offered, which proved to be employment in a logging camp. A short time afterwards he became proprietor of one of these camps, and remained in the logging business until 1854. He located in that year a Donation claim as a farm near the present site of the town of Dungeness, and following farming until 1867.
Even before leaving school Mr. Bradshaw had begun the study of law; and now, in his Washington Territory home, as he found opportunity in the interims of work, continued the same, and in 1864 was admitted to the bar. In the fall of 1867 he came to Port Townsend and opened a law office, and at that early date laid the foundation of his future success. In 1857 and 1858 he was elected to the territorial legislature to represent Clallam county, and filled the same position again in 1863. He was elected to the council in 1867, and was re-elected in 1869, serving four years, acting a portion of this time as its president. Again in 1875 he was re-elected to represent Jefferson, Clallam, Island and San Juan counties in the council. He was twice elected prosecuting attorney of the third judicial district from 1869 to 1873, and was again elected to the same office for the years 1883 and 1884. The latter year he was also elected mayor of Port Townsend, and was re-elected in 1885. In 1878 he was elected to the state constitutional convention of Walla Walla.
In 1886 he received the Republican nomination as delegate to Congress from Washington Territory, but was defeated, as is well remembered, by a complication of circumstances, not the least among which was the then recent extension of the franchise to women. The positions he has filled, as stated above, are evidence of his ability and of the confidence reposed in him by the people of Puget Sound, a confidence that has never been misplaced, as Mr. Bradshaw’s voice and influence have been used to further every legislative enterprise, and to support every public measure that would in any wise benefit his constituents or the territory at large.
In 1889 Mr. Bradshaw was appointed, by President Harrison, collector of customs of Puget Sound district; and in his appointment the people of the territory have been exceeding well pleased, all concurring that it would have been difficult to have advanced to this position anyone more worthy or capable.
Mr. Bradshaw was united in marriage in 1870 to Miss Florence Holmes, a daughter of Samuel Holmes, a well-known resident of Olympia. They have an interesting family of three children.