Monthly Archives: January 2009

Retirement of County Clerk Diane Fletcher, 12-30-08

A month ago today, an event occurred in Lafayette County that cannot allow to pass unremarked upon.  County Clerk Diane Higdon Fletcher, a member of the Bradley High School class of 1963, retired after thirty years of service as Lafayette County Clerk (1979–2008).   A well-attended reception in Diane’s honor was held in the main courtroom of the Lafayette County Courthouse at 4:00 P. M. on December 30, 2008.  All but one of the photos below were taken at that reception.

First, a photo of Diane and her family.  From left to right, daughter Philesha Southern, husband Henry Fletcher, Diane, and son Neal Fletcher:

090130 Diane Fletcher family, 300 pixels

Diane was presented with recognition awards by State Senator Barbara Horn and State Representative Bruce Maloch.

090130 Diane Fletcher with Barbara Horn, 300 pixels

090130 Diane Fletcher with Bruce Maloch, 300 pixels

Diane is shown below with retired Lafayette County Treasurer Lanie Sue Ormand.

090130 Diane Fletcher with Lanie Sue Ormand, 300 pixels 

Of all the people who transacted business in the County Clerk’s office for those 30 years, there were probably very few who realized that Diane was an All-State player on Bradley’s very first basketball state championship team, the Senior Girls of 1961–1962.  Some may remember that the late Bradley School Superintendent E. V. Powell dubbed Diane as “Heavy” Higdon due to her diminutive stature.  Diane, already married to Henry at the time, was the Bradley High School homecoming queen for the school year of 1962–1963, the first year of the then-“new”, now current, gymnasium.

And, finally, Diane says that the photo below, taken from the 1961 Bradley High School Yearbook, is proof positive that she did not always have gray hair.


Fourth Street/Highway 160, circa 1951

The photo below depicts Fourth Street/Highway 160, looking west, about 1951.  The building on left front of the photo is the predecessor to the building in which are now located Bradley Ag Supply and Kevin’s Kitchen.  The lettering on the window of the building on the right side, which is where the car wash is now located, says “U. S. Post Office, Bradley, Ark.”

Bishops 081028 from 007-1 B

The photo is courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bishop, and thanks go to them for sharing it with

Still More on 1930s Bradley High School Football

Some of the most visited posts on this site continue to be those regarding the early 1930s Bradley High School football team (posts dated 10/1/08 and 10/6/08).

I recently came across a more-or-less first hand account of a 1932 football game.  It is part of a letter that Frank M. Cochran, Jr., then 11 years old, wrote to a cousin on November 3, 1932.  Bradley was scheduled to play Stamps in Bradley the next day, and had played Hope in Bradley the previous week (October 28, 1932).  The excerpt from the letter reads:

“Stamps plays ball here tomorrow.  They are going to bring a band and a lot of people.  Bradley has a good team.  They held Hope to a 12–6 defeat for Bradley.  It was Bradley’s ball on the 50, 4th [down] and about 8 [yards to go for a first down].  Thomas Williams punted to Hope’s 2 yard line.  They tried to throw the ball.  It was third [down] and about 5 [yards to go for a first down].  They punted to Pat Coker on Hope’s 30.  He got the ball and ran for a touchdown.  Bruz [Hamner] tried for point but failed and got knocked out.  Sims went in.”

– – –

For a point of historical reference, it can be noted that on the following Tuesday, November 8, 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover in the election for President of the United States.

Bradley Boy Scout Troop No. 72, 1957

In 1957, Bradley had an active Boy Scout Troop (No. 72), which was described in the 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook as follows:

“Highlights of Boy Scout Troop No. 72 during 1957.

Feb-1957.  The Scouts distributed the posters of the Special Clean Up drive sponsored by the B & P W Club.  The Scouts celebrated the 47th Birthday of Scouting in the U S A with an open house and family night dinner at the American Legion Hut.

June-1957.  Seventeen Scouts spent one week in June at Camp Pioneer, near Hatfield, Arkansas.  Two Scouts were inducted into the Order of the Arrow at this Camp.

July-1957.  Two scouts went to the National Jamboree at Valley Forge.

During the year of 1957 a total of 300 Boy days and nights were spent in camping.

Four Scouts advanced to Tenderfoot.  Two Scouts advanced to Second Class.  Two Scouts advanced to First Class.  Two Scouts advanced to Star Scouts.  Mack Jackson advanced to Life Scout.  A total of twenty merit badges were passed.

Thomas Burks and Don Barnett are the two Boy Scouts that attended the National Scout Jamboree in Valley Forge.

The Boy Scouts are sponsored by the American Legion.

Mr. J. M. Drake [shown below] is the Scoutmaster for Troop 72.  He was the assistant Scoutmaster for several years.

DSC02037 A

The American Legion Hut [shown below] where the Boy Scouts hold their meetings.”

DSC02038 B

– – – – –

The American Legion Hut had fallen into disrepair and was demolished several years ago to make way for the construction of a baseball/softball field.

A previous article on this site has mentioned that George W. Bell was Scoutmaster of Troop No. 72 at one time.  In the early 1960’s, when I was of Scouting age, Glen Ruth was the Scoutmaster.  Perhaps some reader(s) can recall the names and approximate tenures of other Bradley Scoutmasters.

I was one of a very few people who attended the ceremony at the Legion Hut where Mack Jackson was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, so I have personal knowledge that Bradley had at least one Scout to reach the highest rank in Scouting.  Perhaps some reader(s) have knowledge of others to accomplish that feat.

Old Elementary School Building, circa 1930

In the previous post, reference was made to the disassembly and move of the Walnut Hill School building to Bradley.

The 1963 Bradley School yearbook says that the old elementary school building was originally built in 1934.

In 1997, Frank M. Cochran, Jr., wrote the following short piece on that building which places a different date on the construction of that building:

“[This] building … was built in the summer of 1929 to prepare for students added by the consolidation with the Walnut Hill, Hackney, Canfield, Arkana and possibly other small districts.  The lumber used was salvaged from the old Walnut Hill building, a three room structure built about the turn of the century.  The doors and windows were also salvaged and used (notice the transoms above the doors).  The walls were covered with beaded ceiling.  There was one electric light in each room.  The old roof was unusable and was replaced with asphalt shingles.

The southeast room was for the first and second grades with Ray Crabtree as teacher.  The southwest room was for the third and fourth grades.  This room was so crowded that most of the students had to sit two in a single desk.  Donnie Marie Cheek Collins was the third and fourth grade teacher.  She got married at Christmas and had to resign because of a rule that there could be no married teachers.  This was my room and was very hot on fall afternoons.  I think that [in] the first year, the fifth and sixth grades were in the northeast room.  After the first year, the seventh and eighth grades were sent to the high school building, [but] may have been sent to the brick building from the start.  After a very few years, the teachers taught certain subjects and the students moved from room to room.

In 1946, the State Line district consolidated with Bradley and the two north rooms of the building were added.  These were built of newly purchased lumber, doors and windows.”

This is how the building appeared in the 1956 yearbook:

 1956 Bradley Yearbook 009-1 A

And this is a slightly different view of the building from the 1961 yearbook:


The building has recently undergone a remodeling.  The photo below was taken earlier this week.  The sign on the right (north) side of the building says, “Bradley Head Start Center.”

IMG_0177 A

Walnut Hill School, circa 1910’s

Photos of Walnut Hill in the early twentieth century are quite rare, but below is a photo of the Walnut Hill School. 

Walnut Hill School, 300 pixels

This building was located on the northwest side of the intersection of what is now Highway 160 and the old Washington (Arkansas)-to-Shreveport Road.  It was probably taken on or close to what is now Highway 160, looking north.  Judging from the shadows and the clothing worn by some of the students in the picture, it was probably taken in the early to mid-afternoon of a relatively cool day, although some of the students are indeed barefooted.

Glynn McCalman, in his book Bradley Connections, says of the Walnut Hill School:  “A new building with two large rooms was constructed in 1900, and after consolidation into the Bradley school the white frame school building was disassembled and reassembled in Bradley.  It has continued to serve after having been expanded and remodeled.”  (More on the reassembly, expansion and remodeling will follow in a future post.)

At great magnification, the American flag in this photo appears to have six rows of eight stars each, which would mean that this photo was taken sometime after July 4, 1912, when the number of stars in the flag was expanded to 48 to reflect the admission of New Mexico and Arizona to the Union.

This photo is courtesy of Nancy McGee Ward, and many thanks to her for sharing it with  On the back of the photo is written:  “Walnut Hill School, Walnut Hill, Ark.” and “Photo belonged to William Alford (Dick) and John Blanton Martin McGee.”