BRADBURN, CHARLES (16 July 1808-12 Aug.1872) was a merchant and a leader in the organization and development of CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS, called the "Father of Cleveland Schools", who worked from 1841-1861 as a member of the school board and/or City Council to establish Cleveland schools.
Born in Attleboro, Massachusetts, to Sarah Leach Hovey and cotton manufacturer, James Bradburn, Charles graduated from the Middlesex Mechanics Association and attended a classical school at Ashfield, MA. Coming to Cleveland in 1836, Bradburn became a pioneer in the local wholesale grocery business, building the first riverfront grocery warehouse on St. Clair St. in 1843.
In 1841 Bradburn was elected by City Council to the first Board of School Managers and served until 1853 when Council replaced school managers with a board of education. In 1854 Bradburn was elected to City Council, becoming Council president in 1855. Bradburn returned to the board, serving as president in 1856 and 1858. On 5 Apr. 1859 Bradburn won election to the first board of education elected by the public.
Bradburn devoted one-fourth of his time to provide free secondary education at public expense. He chaired the committee on schools in City Council and greatly influenced public-school development. He helped to establish Cleveland's first public high school, CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, which opened in 1846. He was concerned with the physical requirements of schools and even created the "Bradburn schoolhouse", a simply designed building equipped with the furniture and heating a proper school required.
Bradburn married Eliza Stone of Lowell, Mass., in Jan. 1831. They had 6 children, Charles Jr., George, Sarah Eliza, Helen E., Anna M., and Lydia. Bradburn is buried in ERIE STREET CEMETERY.