His companies, and the money they made, impact Georgia to this day.
William Clark Bradley was born in 1863 on an Alabama cotton plantation. He moved to Columbus in 1885 to work for a cotton factor. He and his brother-in-law bought the company soon after and in 1888 started the two Columbus banks that in 1930 became Columbus Bank & Trust, the ancestor of Synovus.
The W.C. Bradley Company began in 1895 and was an unrivaled commercial success. Bradley pioneered vertical integration, buying textile mills and the steamboats that moved his goods downriver, grocery stores and the farms that supplied them, real estate and investment companies, and the Columbus iron works. He served as director of the central of Georgia Railway and C&S Bank in Atlanta, and was part of the group that partnered with Ernest Woodruff to purchase Coca-Cola for $25 million in 1919.
Bradley’s philanthropy is legendary in Columbus, and the Bradley-Turner Foundation continues the legacy of the enterprising businessman born on June 28, 1863, Today in Georgia History.