Monthly Archives: February 2008

Edwards Company, circa 1940

Edwards Company was located on the southwest corner of Block 9, for the most part between where the Bradley City Hall is now located and Fourth Street/Highway 160.  At one time, Edwards Company was in the dry goods, grocery, and hardware businesses.  Below is an image of the Edwards Company building, taken about 1940.


The picture is obviously taken in the late afternoon.  The sign near the top of the building on the left side of the picture says “Westinghouse” and “Edwards Company.”  The sign hanging from the awning in front of the left entrance to the building says “Dry Goods,” and the sign to the middle entrance to the building says “Groceries.”  There is a vertical sign behind the car on the right side of the picture that says “Mansfield Tires.”  The hardware part of the business was located in the right side of the building.  The identity of the woman in the picture is not known, but she appears to be in something of a hurry.

Below is a photo taken from approximately the same place and angle on the afternoon of February 26, 2008.


Edwards Company, of course, is no longer in business.  I don’t know the dates on which the Dry Goods and Grocery stores ceased business, but did find an old advertisement where the remaining stock of the hardware business was sold at public auction on January 23, 1964.

Walnut Hill Telephone Company: The Early Years

In this age where large telephone companies change their names at a dizzying rate, the name of the company that sends monthly bills to phone customers in Bradley has never changed:  the Walnut Hill Telephone Company.  How did a wide place in the road, like Walnut Hill is today, produce a company which has lasted for over a century?  With help from some of the public records in the Lafayette Circuit Clerk’s Office, we can reconstruct some of the details of the beginnings of the Walnut Hill Telephone Company.

The “Articles of Agreement and Incorporation of Walnut Hill Telephone Co.” are dated April 24, 1901, and can be found in Record Book E-3, at pages 354 to 358.  On that date, at 2:00 P.M., in the office of someone named “S. Hacker” at Walnut Hill, the incorporators of the company held their initial meeting. The incorporators were J. F. McKnight, S. Hacker, D. D. Hamiter, Eugene Hamiter, L. Herndon, Canfield Colbert, J. B. Maryman, Jr., G. M. Lee, R. R. Lee, T. H. Dismukes, and Frank Arline.

The corporation’s proposed business was “…to erect, construct, operate and maintain a local Telephone line and exchange, at and in the vicinity of Walnut Hill, and to erect, construct and maintain a Long Distance Telephone Line and Exchange from Walnut Hill, via Bradley, Frostville, Canfield, and Bolinger, to New Lewisville in Lafayette County, Arkansas.”

 J. F. McKnight was elected President, S. Hacker was elected Vice-President, and D. D. Hamiter was elected Secretary-Treasurer.  The other directors elected were L. Herndon, J. B. Maryman, Jr., G. M. Lee, and T. H. Dismukes.

The capital stock of the corporation was to be $2,500, of which $900 was actually initially paid in by the incorporators.  The value of each share was to be $25. The initial issuance of stock was as follows:  8 shares:  Frank Arline; 4 shares:  J. F. McKnight, S. Hacker, L. Herndon, and T. H. Dismukes; 2 shares:  D. D. Hamiter, Eugene Hamiter, Canfield Colbert, J. B. Maryman, Jr., G. M. Lee, and R. R. Lee.  Ironically, although Frank Arline owned the most shares, he was not elected either as an officer of the corporation or as one of its directors.

A little more than a year after the corporation was formed, on May 17, 1902, it amended its “Articles of Agreement.”  (Record Book H-3, at page 95)  The amount of the capital stock was increased from $2,500 to $5,000, enabling a fresh infusion of capital.  More importantly, however, for the long term future of the company, its purpose underwent a subtle change: “…to own, construct, purchase, operate, and maintain [a] local telephone system in the Town of Walnut Hill and New Lewisville, LaFayette County, Arkansas, and to connect the same by long distance wires, to operate a long distance system between said stations, and to extend and connect it [sic] lines from said points to any points or towns in said county as shall be determined by the directors of said company….”  In other words, instead of one local exchange at Walnut Hill with out-reaching long distance lines, there would henceforth be systems in both Walnut Hill and New Lewisville, which is known today simply as Lewisville.

On August 15, 1905, Walnut Hill Telephone Company filed an “Annual Statement” listing its condition as of July 1, 1905 (Record Book L-3, at page 435).  The Statement reflects $3,700 in “Capital Stock paid in,” “Accounts on hand” of $763.00, and “Cash on hand” of $251.44.  Stock was still valued at $25 per share, but it had undergone a significant growth and redistribution:  G. M. McKnight, 40 shares; J. F. McKnight, 38 shares; T. H. Dismukes, 34 shares; A. H. Hamiter, 22 shares; J. W. Warren, 7 shares; Josie McCormick, 5 shares; and Mrs. C. C. Hamiter, 2 shares. The Statement was signed by J. F. McKnight as President, and by G. M. McKnight as Secretary.

Another “Financial Statement” was filed on August 15, 1908, listing the company’s condition as of July 1, 1908.  (Record Book N-3, at page 585).  Total assets had risen to $7940.96, and the amount of capital stock actually paid in had risen to $4,550.00.  Debts were $3,154.00 and undivided profits of $236.96 were listed.  Stock distribution had changed, but not as drastically as in the previous statement.  G. M. McKnight owned 50 shares; J. F. McKnight and T. H. Dismukes each owned 42 shares; A. H. Hamiter owned 27 shares; J. W. Warren owned 8 shares; C. C. Hamiter owned 7 shares; and Josie McCormick owned 6 shares.

On July 25, 1908, the City of Bradley passed “An Ordinance to Grant Street Privileges for Telephone purposes to Walnut Hill Telephone Co.”  The company received the right for 50 years to “…erect and maintain on the streets, alleys and public way of Bradley, Arkansas, posts, fixtures and wires necessary and convenient for the purpose of supplying to the citizens of said town and public communication by telephone or other electrical device….”  This Ordinance is recorded in Record Book S-3, at page 201, and recites that it was “…passed by the Council, J. W. Barker, Mayor, J. M. Perry, Recorder.”  There is no mention of rates for telephone service in this ordinance.

A similar ordinance was passed by the Town of Lewisville about a month and a half later, on September 7, 1908, although its duration was only for 12 years.  It was recorded in Record Book S-3, at page 202, and was signed by W. J. Harrington, as Mayor, and L. D. Rogers, as Recorder.  The ordinance specified a maximum monthly rate for telephone service of $1.50 for residential customers and $2.50 for business customers. 

Fourth Street, late 1930s

Below is a photo taken on Fourth Street/Highway 160 in the late 1930s.  That approximate date is attributed to the photograph because of the album from which it was taken, and because of the state of the buildings in the photograph.

Gray 2-inch 051 F

Note the orientation of the buildings on both the north and south sides of the street toward the railroad, and not toward Fourth Street/Highway 160 itself, as they later did or as the structures which replaced them did.  The street has obviously not been paved.  The railroad depot can be seen in the distance, just to the left of the kneeling man.

While this may appear at first glance to be a color photograph, it is not.  It a black and white photo which has been “tinted,” a procedure common at that time.  In the interest of full disclosure, however, I have removed some writing that appeared in the shadows on the right side of the photo.  The essential nature of the buildings shown and the man and the dog he is holding have not been changed, though.  I’m not entirely certain of the man’s identity, so I won’t give a name.

Below is a photo taken from approximately the same place and angle in the late afternoon of February 10, 2008. 


The building on the north (left) side of the earlier photo was demolished in 1978 and that site is now occupied by R. B.’s Car Wash.  The building on the south (right) side of the earlier photo has been replaced by the one which now houses, on the far side of it, Bradley Ag Supply.

Walnut Hill Bank, 1907-1913 (Part 2 of 2)

A recent post (1/7/08) provided some details concerning the incorporation and financial operations of the Walnut Hill Bank.  It also left unaddressed two questions concerning that institution: 

(1) Where was the Walnut Hill Bank?  I can’t say with 100% certainty, but I found some clues in the deed records of the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk.  I can find only one parcel of land owned by the Walnut Hill Bank, and would speculate that was the location of the Bank.  It is a very small tract, only about one-fifth of an acre (50 ft. x 165 ft.).  When plotted on contemporary plats of the Walnut Hill area, that tract is located on the east side of the old Washington-to-Shreveport road, just north of where the road to the Walnut Hill Cemetery diverges off to the northwest.  That tract was deeded to the Walnut Hill Bank by J. B. Herndon and Lola Herndon, his wife, on June 6, 1908 (Deed Record O-3, page 273).  The consideration for the transfer of this small tract was $563.54, indicating that there was probably a building already located on the tract.  J. B. Herndon was one of the incorporators of the Walnut Hill Bank, its first president, and it was in his office that the initial meeting of the incorporators was held on December 11, 1907.

(2)  What became of the Walnut Hill Bank?  Again, public records provide some clues. 

In Deed Record W-3, at page 530, there is an interesting document, copied here verbatim:


At a meeting of stockholders owning a majority of the Capital Stock of Walnut Hill Bank, a corporation organized under the laws of Arkansas and having its place of business at Walnut Hill, Arkansas, held at Walnut Hill, Arkansas on March 27th 1913, the following resolution was adopted :-

‘Resolved, That, Whereas, the Walnut Hill Bank has disposed of its banking business, building and fixtures, and discharged all of its obligations in full, we hereby surrender its coporate charter and declare the said corporation dissolved.’

We, the aforesaid stockholders, hereto attach our signatures this 27th day of March, 1913.

J. F. McKnight, Pres.

J. B. Herndon

T. H. Dismukes

R. H. Duty”

The resolution recites that the Walnut Hill Bank “…has disposed of its banking business, building and fixtures….”  About five months earlier, on October 5, 1912, the Walnut Hill Bank had sold its small one-fifth acre tract of land for the sum of $500.00.  The buyer?  None other than the “Bank of Bradley, Arkansas.”  (Deed Record W-3, page 244)

I’ve heard on many occasions that the Walnut Hill Bank “became” the Bank of Bradley.  The actual documents by which this metamorphosis took place are no doubt private, if they even still exist. This 1912 deed is probably the best evidence available in public records of the eventual fate of the Walnut Hill Bank.

For some historical perspective, the time between the deed to the Bank of Bradley and the resolution of dissolution would have seen the presidential election of November, 1912, a landmark three-way race between incumbent President William Howard Taft, former President Theodore Roosevelt, and New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson.  Wilson was inaugurated as president on March 4, 1913, 23 days before the Walnut Hill Bank voted to dissolve.