George L. Bradley, president of the Florida canal company


Born in Providence, R.I., in 1846, George Lothrop Bradley had made three fortunes by the time he had become the largest investor in the Florida waterway. Bradley made his first fortune investing in the Newport Mining Company, a square-mile iron mine property along the Michigan upper peninsula-Wisconsin border, in the late 1870s. The mine would produce ore for another seventy years. His second fortune came when he invested in the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, an enterprise based on the invention of a new method of publishing. Molten lead would be poured into an entire line of type instead of composing a line of type single letter-by-single letter. Bradley made his third fortune investing in Alexander Graham Bell’s new invention–the telephone.  Civil War financier Jay Cooke introduced Bradley to his fourth opportunity to become even more wealthy by investing in the Florida canal company beginning in the mid-1880s. Courtesy, Emma Pendleton Bradley Hospital, East Providence, R.I.