The historical date given for this county's formation is 1836 but in truth parts of Bradley County as well as parts of Hamilton County were still in Cherokee Territory until 1838. The Ridge Treaty of 1835 ceded the land but many Cherokee families still lived on the land until the forced removal of 1838. This treaty gave the Cherokee inhabitants 3 years to leave the land. The Great Removal was to vacate those who remained. It is legend that the land that originated the city of Cleveland was donated by a Cherokee family. Bradley County also encompassed, in part and for a short time, the land that later became Polk County.
Southern Bradley became an important geographical location as the history of Red Clay & the Cherokee Indians will reveal. Several 1817-1820 Cherokee Reservations were located along Chatata Creek Valley and throughout Bradley County.
The county has a good library system. Cleveland / Bradley Family History Library is on North Ocoee Street in the Old Craigmiles home. They have printed resources for many of the surrounding counties as well as Bradley Co. One of the drawbacks is that much of the primary resource information is still on microfilm which makes it time consuming and difficult to research. Just about all the resources are there. The Family history library is well equipped with microfilm readers, printers and computerized systems.
They also have an archives which is located in the basement of the courthouse. These archives will hold the original county records such as Chancery Court Minutes, Circuit Court Minutes, Deeds, Wills & Estates, marriages among other things. Cleveland Bradley County Public Library - History Branch www.clevelandlibrary.org/services/history_branch.php
Bradley County Historical Society
P. O. Box 4845
Cleveland, TN 37320-4845
Meetings held quarterly on the 4th Sunday in January, April, July and October
at 2:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Public Library - History Branch
Bradley County Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 1384
Cleveland, TN 37364-1384
Meetings held monthly , except May and
December, on the 2nd Sunday of the month
at 2:30 p.m. at the Cleveland Public Library - History Branch Individual Membership Dues are $10.00 per yearA Newsletter is published quarterly. Non-members may submit queries,
Bradley County has a few donated collections. Among those are the Clemmer Collection and the Rymer Family Photo collection. These are housed at the Family History Branch of the library. More information can be gotten from the link above. Look for their 'manuscript' link. You'll also find their hours and other info.