Wager Bradford, mine manager, was the son of Judge Abraham C. Bradford of California and his wife Elizabeth Wager. After a private education he graduated as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) at Hamilton College, Clinton, in the state of New York in 1885 and then took post graduate courses in mining at the University of California during 1886 and 1887. He subsequently worked as assistant to the superintendent of the North Star Gold Mining Company in California and as surveyor and dealer in timber, land, etc. From 1889 to 1896 he was in business on his own account. After marrying Allis K. Ballon in California in 1896 he came to the South African Republic (Transvaal) that same year. In August 1896 he was living in Klerksdorp. That same year he became manager of Buffelsdoorn Estates and Gold Mining Company, and Buffel A Gold Mining Company. From 1897 to his death in 1909 he was manager of Langlaagte Deep Gold Mining Company, Johannesburg. He was also General Manager of Paarl Central Gold Mining Company in 1898.
In 1899 Bradford was a member of the Chemical and Metallurgical Society of South Africa, and during 1905/6 and 1906/7 was one of the society's two vice-presidents. He contributed a paper, "Notes on stope box sampling" to the society's Journal (Vol. 6, pp. 103-109) in 1905.
Bradford was a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers and of the (British) Institution of Mining and Metallurgy. In South Africa he joined the Transvaal Institute of Mechanical Engineers (so named in 1905). In 1906 he was a member of the Geological Society of South Africa, and of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as president of the Association of Mine Managers of the Transvaal.