Family Histories
of the Swan River Valley
Manitoba, Canada
Pioneer Centennial
History Book
100 Years in the
Swan River Valley
1898 - 1998

Harley and Iva Bradley

Harley E. Bradley was born in Whitehouse, Ohio, U.S.A in 1892. As a young man he worked as a telephone operator and on the Great Lakes. In 1913, he with three friends went to see the Canadian Land Agent in Toledo, Ohio. He told them about homesteading. In August, 1913 they arrived in Swan River, then travelled to Bowsman (also by train) and thence to Section 21-38-25. Swamps, bush and trees with many signs of wildlife. They put a small stake in the ground and threw coins. Harley’s quarter came the closest and he chose the N quarter of the section. He paid his ten dollars for his permit to homestead a few days before he was twenty-one years old and began the task of building and clearing to prove on it.

Frances Iva Epler Bradley was born at Bellaire, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. in 1898. She and her mother Catharine visited brother Elmer Epler in Toledo, Ohio and decided to come with him to Canada. They came in 1913, Elmer homestead SW 27-38-25 and Catharine took out the permit for the NE quarter. The Pelly trail ran through their property so they saw many travellers who stopped to get fresh water from their flowing spring.

Harley and Iva were married in 1919, living in a log house and being good neighbours to many. They returned their land and went back to Whitehouse with their three children but after three years, returned to Bowsman and their farm with their children, Henry, Naomi, Irene and William (Bill) in 1929.

The children attended McKay School. Harley and Iva took part in District Events. Iva’s garden, shrubs and flowers were her joy and many neighbours had plants from her perennial beds. Harley maintained an active interest in Farmers Union for many years. In 1943, they moved into a new log home, squared logs covered by stucco, Harley was very proud of the results.

Henry enlisted in the Army serving in Europe and Holland. Home again, he farmed but in winter lived in the woods he loved, as a trapper. He died in 1982 and at Elbow Lake (his last trap line) where his friends erected a cairn. The plaque reads “Veteran, Trapper and Outstanding Conservationist. Lived Harmoniously with Man and the Environment he loved.”

Naomi married Daniel Tennison, Irene married Allan Glashan, Bill married Cassie Rosteski. Bill and Cassie had four children. Harley, Dianne, Vern and Twila. Cassie passed away, Bill still lives on his farm. His son farms the original Bradley homestead farm N 21-38-25.

Iva passed away in 1982 after a full, rewarding life of many interests. Harley in 1985, until the last able to tell his favourite stories of hunting, fishing, travelling and his work.

And so, another pioneer era was ended.

Submitted by: Irene Glashan


Manitoba's Swan River Valley is an area rich in history. These family histories were a part of the 1998 Pioneer Centennial History Book project. If you would like the history of your area available online, have your historic group contact the Key Rock Group for information on electronic publication. We offer publication free of charge and also provide the option for making your history book available on CD.