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Linnie Gilmore Bradley, a legend

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Linnie Gilmore Bradley was born Sept. 20, 1845, the youngest of Thomas and Caroline Hill Gilmore’s seven children. Linnie became a beloved Grimes County legend, living a year shy of her 100th birthday.

Linnie’s parents were married in Alabama in 1830. They came to Texas that same year, settling near what is now the town of Richards in Grimes County. Gilmore, who would serve at the Battle of San Jacinto, received a land grant in 1848.

In 1936, Linnie, in her early 90s, sat down with a close friend, Mrs. Maude McAlpine Siddall of Anderson, and dictated a ‘Memoir.’

“My Mother died when I was about eighteen-months-old,” the ‘memoir’ begins. Her father died when she was about 10-years-old. She was then “sent” to live with an aunt, Nancy Gilmore Gay, at Montgomery, Texas.

Linnie’s first school was the Gilmore School on the Gilmore land about two miles northwest of the present town of Richards. The log building served both as a church and school house. At Montgomery, Linnie had what she called “a better school,” where “she studied the dictionary … and went to dancing school.”

On July 4, 1857, (or 1858) Linnie remembered a barbecue at Montgomery when Sam Houston made a speech, “I can’t remember anything about the speech Houston made except he kept saying, ‘Stick to the Union, stick to the Union.’”

When Linnie was a teenager, she went to live with an older sister, Melissa, who was married and living near Huntsville in Walker County.

“It was in this house that I married John I. Bradley, the brother-in-law of sister Melissa,” said Linnie in her memoir. “I was just sixteen-years-old.”

Linnie described her wedding day in detail including an outdoor supper and the dance to the “music made by a fiddler.” They set up housekeeping in a “one room and shed log house. I had a negro woman to cook and do my work.”

“Eighteen months later, ‘Pa’ was called to the war between the states. I went back to live with sister Melissa. A few months later, my son was born Aug. 4, 1862.”

Linnie described in detail how she and her sister coped during the war with their husbands away. She told of caring for the cows and the calves, of milking and branding the calves, and how a faithful dog, when hearing the wolves at night, would go and herd the calves into the barn and calf pen. She spoke of an old man she thought was named Oliphant, who “cared for the widows and children while the men were away at the war.”

Linnie also related the overnight trek from Anderson to Navasota with young son Johnnie and friends to see the Mollie Bailey Circus.

One thing Linnie does not tell about is the death of her son, Johnnie, who operated the Roan Mercantile Store in Anderson. He died of a bullet wound in the crossfire of the shooting incident of Anderson’s Sheriff Scott in November 1900. Johnnie had married June 1, 1895, to Grace Buffington of Anderson. They had two children … a son, Irvin, and a daughter, Lillian, who grew up with four grandparents.

Linnie died March 26, 1944, and was buried next to her husband, John, at the Anderson Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Written by Betty Dunn, Two Rivers Heritage Foundation. For more information on the Two Rivers Heritage Foundation or to become a member, go to