Bradford Brinton, born on June 26, 1880 in Tuscola, Illinois, was the son of a prosperous family. His sister Helen was born on September 29, 1874. Their father, Col. William B. Brinton, owned the Peru Plow and Wheel Company and the Grand Detour Plow Company, which was later sold to the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company.
Bradford attended Yale University and graduated in 1904 from the Sheffield School of Engineering. After graduation he joined his father in the farm implement business; later he became a director and manager of the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company. In 1916 he served under General Pershing in Mexico and in World War I (1918 to 1919) in France. On September 2, 1916 he married Catherine Bell Metcalf. Their twin daughters Pat and Barbara were born in 1926.
He bought the Quarter Circle A Ranch from William Moncreiffe in 1923, extensively remodeled the Ranch House in 1927-28 and added the Horse Barn across the creek and Little Goose Creek Lodge. He died in February of 1936 while in Florida and left the ranch to his sister Helen Brinton, who used it as a summer home.
Helen Brinton wintered at Ahwatukee Ranch in Arizona (near Phoenix), which she purchased in the early 1930s. When most of the livestock was sold after her brother’s death she kept the cowboys employed building rock walls like the ones she had seen on her travels in Norway and New England. She died in 1960 and left the ranch in trust with the Northern Trust Company of Chicago, who administered it as the Bradford Brinton Memorial & Museum until 2013.
Helen’s vision continues to serve as a guidepost for the staff and advisory council as they seek to enhance The Brinton Museum’s cultural impact on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West.