As much as William Bradford Jr. was known for bringing Fort Mill readers today’s news, he also devoted a good deal of his life to documenting the town’s history.
On that account, he literally wrote the book. Bradford’s “Out of the Past,” first published in 1980 and updated periodically until 2008, is often cited as the go-to source for Fort Mill facts. It tells the story of the town, from the Catawba nation that first inhabited the area, to the first European settler, Thomas “Kanawha” Spratt, to whom the tribe gifted a large piece of land that included present-day Fort Mill.
It chronicles a long cast of characters and heroes, notable events and the Springs textile plant that become the town’s epicenter.
The book tells the story of the entire Fort Mill Township, including the growth of Tega Cay and Indian Land, and mentions many notables from those communities.
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Bradford was deeply involved in Fort Mill life, in everything from Scouting to the Fort Mill School Board. He also was a charter member and director of the Fort Mill Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, past president of the Fort Mill Loins Club and from 1954 to 1968, he was the voice of the Fort Mill Yellow Jackets football team.