Appointed: June 9, 1856 – August 8, 1857
William C. Bradly was elected the first Sheriff-Tax Collector of Fresno County on June 9, 1856. Sheriff Bradly was responsible for maintaining peace in a sprawling eight-thousand square mile county. The rivers were filled with miners seeking their fortune in gold, and farmers taming land never before placed under cultivation. Stockraisers had their livestock beset by wild animals, harsh climate, and thieves ready to steal the fruits of their diligence. The people, who inhabited Fresno County in 1856, were generally inclined to take care of whatever situation they found themselves in, and notify the authorities after the fact.
Fresno County did not have a newspaper of its own until the 1860s; consequently, the events that occurred within the county were reported in papers printed in far off Mariposa and Stockton. These papers speak of the extra-legal proceedings in which rustlers, thieves, and murderers were brought before Judge Lynch with sentences summarily executed. Gun battles were often the means by which disputes were resolved.
In September of 1856, the Board of Supervisors selected Henry Burroughs as the lowest responsible bidder to erect a jail in compliance with the plans and specifications. The sum for the construction of this jail was $6,000.00 dollars. The jail was built and accepted by the county in February of 1857.
William Bradly, also the county's Tax Collector was another matter. Sheriff-Tax Collector Bradly was called before the Board of Supervisors in August of 1857 to have his books examined and reconciled by the auditor. Bradly testified that he did not have the books that the Board desired. Further testimony revealed that statutorily mandated procedures were not being adhered to. Sheriff-Tax Collector Bradly was without excuse and after a vote by the Board of Supervisors, he was declared guilty of a misdemeanor in office.
Sheriff-Tax Collector William Bradly tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the County Judge on August 8, 1857.