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Richard Bradshaw

The first black entrepreneur was Richard Bradshaw. Born in 1879 of mixed parentage, he came to the Fairmont area around 1900. In 1902 he married Delia Ashley of Nash County, NC. A sharecropper, he became a jack-of-all trades, developing a reputation as a hard worker. No job was beneath him. From slaughter pen to logging, he did whatever he had to do to support himself and his family. By 1906 he was able to purchase a farm from Robert Inman, builder of many downtown Fairmont buildings.

He subsequently purchased a farm from Dr. John P. Brown in 1907. Neither of the deeds indicate a mortgage on the properties so I assume that he paid cash for them. The 1920 US Census showed that he owned his home without a mortgage. Other properties were purchased along the way and in 1927 he purchased properties and houses from the Beaufort County Lumber Company after they moved their operation to Columbus County.

This property was where mill workers lived and encompasses many of the parcels on Jackson and Bradshaw Streets. Bradshaw rented the houses and sold the lots as time went by, earning himself a comfortable living in the Jim Crow South which was Fairmont before World War II.

Bradshaw and his wife had six children -- Marie (married to a Fairmont undertaker named Robert Alston), Daymon, Lelon, Presava, Louise and Richard Jr. He died in 1953 at age 73. The gymnasium at Rosenwald School is named "Bradshaw Gymnasium" in his memory.


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