Adventurer from Kentucky who first came to Texas in 1817 with an expedition seeking to expel Spain from North America. Bradburn served in the Army of the Republic of Mexico in the 1820s, and in 1830 was sent to establish a military post at the mouth of the Trinity. He imposed on colonists by refusing to pay for supplies and labor used in building Fort Anahuac, and in 1831 arrested Mexican commissioner sent to issue land titles, thereby alarming settlers, who feared to lose their homes and improvements. His troops were convicts whom he could not control, and after civilians began to curb soldiers' outrages, he arrested several men, including Patrick C. Jack and William B. Travis, who were held 50 days awaiting a military trial. Approached by William H. Jack and others, Bradburn agreed to release the civilians in return for soldiers held by the colonists. After he received his men, he refused to keep his promise. In fighting that ensued, several lives were lost. When fellow officers deposed him, Bradburn escaped from Anahuac on July 13, 1832, pursued so closely that at the Sabine he lost his horse and swam the river.
In Texas War for Independence (1836), he returned in rear guard of Santa Anna's army — again to be a loser. (1973)