JAMES RADFORD - James Radford, well known as a labor leader, is a man of broad intelligence and practical ideas, who has made a close study of the "signs of the times" and has thorough understanding of business conditions, the needs and the possibilities of the laboring men. He has put forth strenuous effort for the improvement of existing conditions and because of the practical and beneficial results which have felt his labors he has won the confidence, the approval and trust of the laboring man.
Mr. Radford, now residing in Springfield, was born in Nottingham, England, January 30, 1867, a son of Henry and Mary (Searson) Radford, both of whom were also natives of England. In 1871 they crossed the Atlantic to America, settling in Braceville, Illinois, where the father began mining, but he was not long permitted to enjoy his new home, for after a residence of eighteen months in America he was called to his final rest in 1873. His widow still survives him and now resides in Divernon, Sangamon county. Mr. Radford was a Republican in his political views, and while residing in England was identified with the Odd Fellows Society. In his native country he belonged to the Church of England, and in America he attended the Methodist church. In the family were twelve children, eleven of whom were born in the mother country, but only three are now living: William and Eliza, who reside with their mother in Divernon, the former now engaged in mining; and James.
Mr. Radford, of this review, was a little lad when brought by his parents to the new world. He attended the public schools at Braceville, Illinois, until twelve years of age, and then went into the mines, where he remained for four years. He was afterward employed as a salesman in a drug store for two years, but on the expiration of that period returned to the mines. Later he was employed in the same capacity in the Indian Territory, but when eighteen months had passed he returned to Braceville. Because of a strike there, however, he went to Trinidad, Colorado, where he began mining. Suffering from an attack of mountain fever, however, which almost terminated his life, he determined to again establish his home in Illinois, and located in Spring Valley. Later he went to Chicago, where he obtained work in the mechanical department of the World's Fair, assisting in the building operations of the great White City. He was made a foreman and continued his employment at Chicago until after the closing of the World's Columbian Exposition, when he returned to Braceville and again worked in the mines until March, 1898. He was then appointed assistant secretary and treasurer of the United Miners of America, district No. 12 - this number indicating the state organization of Illinois. Mr. Radford has continued to occupy this position and not a little of the success in the growth of the organization is due to his work and his untiring efforts in its behalf. In company with Mr. Ryan they have made the order what it is today and have done effective service in promoting the interests of those who labor in the mines.
Mr. Radford votes for the men and measures which he deems will promote the best interests of all people. He was reared in the faith of the Republican party, but has largely supported the Democracy. He is identified with several social organizations, having been made a Mason in Braidwood, Illinois, in 1899, while in the Knights of Pythias lodge of Braceville and of the Odd Fellows lodge there he was also initiated. In the latter he has filled all of the chairs. In town affairs in Braceville he was also active and influential and served as clerk for one term, but resigned in order to remove to Springfield at the time the headquarters of the miners' union were removed to this city.
On the 17th of November, 1895, in Chicago, Mr. Radford was married to Miss Bertha Peck, who was born in Bloomington, Illinois, a daughter of Solomon and Carrie (Brown) Peck, the former a native of New York. They were married in Wilmington, Illinois, whence they went to Bloomington and afterward to Braceville, where the mother died. The father afterward went to Chicago, where he married again. He was a conductor on the Chicago & Alton Railroad for many years. His political allegiance was given to the Republican party and he served his country in the Civil war as a defender of the Union cause. Mrs. Radford was one of a family of three daughters and one son, all of whom are yet living, namely: Mabel, who is engaged in teaching school in Montana; Mrs. Radford; Maggie, the wife of Henry Heckford, a machinist and expert scale tester of Chicago, by whom she has three daughters; and Howard, who is foreman for the Armour Packing Company, who married Maria Jones, of Braceville, Illinois, by
whom she has two sons. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Radford has been blessed with five children: Lorene Mary, born October 13, 1896; Reta Carrie, born September 2, 1898; Norman Henry, born April 19, 1900; Melva Margery, born January 13, 1902; and James, May 9, 1904. Mr. Radford owns a nice residence at 1111 Patton avenue, which is a modern home that was erected in 1899, the family occupying the home on the 15th of January, 1900. He also has other property in Springfield, showing the judicious investment of his means. His life is characterized by untiring industry and is now devoted to the betterment of mankind and to a solution of the great labor problems which are agitating the entire country. In his work he manifests an unselfish spirit and a keen insight into conditions, and he has justly gained the good will and confidence of those whom he represents.