Category Archives: Businesses

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.

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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.

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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. 

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:

“RESOLUTION TO DISSOLVE

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. 

More notes on Block 9

I remember as a young boy being sent on frequent errands to the Post Office and the Bank.  They were in close proximity to each other on the southeast part of Block 9. 

The tax assessments do not contain any record of an assessment to the U. S. Post Office, or even a notation that the federal government is exempt from real property taxes. That made me curious.  The great majority of Bradley residents who are at least my age can no doubt remember that the Post Office was in the very southeast corner of Block 9 during the 1950s.  The deed records in the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s office furnish the explanation of that conundrum.

Deed Record Book Z-6, at page 290, contains a “Standard Form of Government Lease … (As Modified For Use By The Post Office Department),” which is dated July 8, 1939.  The Lessors, i.e., the land owners, are J. B. Burton and P. D. Burton and their spouses.  The initial term of the lease was for ten years.  The lease calls for “…a room 22’ x 48’….” situated “… on the northwest corner of Pilot and Fourth Streets…,” and provides for an annual rent of $230.00.  The terms of the lease are mostly standard provisions that would usually be found in any lease of commercial property, with one exception.  Paragraph 11 states, in part:  “No Member of or Delegate to Congress or Resident Commissioner shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease or to any benefit to arise therefrom.”  The term “Resident Commissioner” is not defined.   

 The Post Office remained there until it was moved to the present location, one block south of what is now Community State Bank, in 1961. 

– – – – –

The following images are examples of stationery used  by two of the businesses located in Block 9 in days long past.

First is an invoice from Holland Hardware to the Town of Bradley, dated 5/24/1924:

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The printed part of the invoice says:

“In Account With

HOLLAND HARDWARE COMPANY

D. D. HAMITER, Manager

Hardware, Furniture, Stoves and Implements”

Holland Hardware was located on lots 9, 10, and 11 of Block 9.

– – – –  –

Next is an invoice from Reynolds-Crockett general merchandise to the Town of Bradley, dated January, 1924:

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The printed part of the invoice says:

“In Account With

REYNOLDS-CROCKETT CO.

All Bills Are Due and Payable On The First

Of Each Month Following Date of Purchase

10 Per Cent Interest Charged After Maturity”

Reynolds-Crockett was located on lot 12 of Block 9, and later became O’Neal & Crockett.

Walnut Hill Bank, 1907-1913 (Part 1 of 2)

Perhaps more surprising than the fact that Bradley once had at least one automobile dealership (see post of 11/27/07) is the fact that Walnut Hill once had a bank.

Here is an image of a counter check from the Walnut Hill Bank.

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Some of the history of the Walnut Hill Bank can be reconstructed from public records.

The Articles of Agreement And Incorporation of the Walnut Hill Bank were executed on December 11, 1907, and are recorded in Record Book N-3, at page 330 in the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s office.  The incorporators, i.e., the persons who formed the corporation were:  J. B. Herndon, J. F. McKnight, R. H. Duty, J. C. Smith, G. M. McKnight, Ida Baker, W. H. Baker, T. H. Dismukes, T. J. Dooley, G. M. Lee, P. M. Allen, R. B. Duty, and W. S. Collins.  The purpose of the corporation was “… General Banking and to buy and sell Real Estate.” 

The incorporators held their initial meeting in the office of J. B. Herndon at 2:00 P.M. on December 11, 1907.  The incorporators elected J. B. Herndon as President, J. F. McKnight as Vice President, and R. H. Duty as Secretary-Treasurer.  The other two directors elected were W. H. Baker and T. H. Dismukes. 

The capital stock of the corporation was set at the amount of $20,000.00, divided into shares of $25.00 each.  However, only $5000.00 of the stock was originally paid in by the incorporators.  The stock was originally issued as follows:  100 shares each—J. B. Herndon & J. F. McKnight; 80 shares—R. H. Duty; 40 shares—J. O. Smith; 20 shares each—G. M. McKnight & T. H. Dismukes; 10 shares each T. J. Dooley & W. S. Collins; 8 shares—R. B. Duty; 4 shares each—Ida Baker & P. M. Allen; 2 shares each—W. H. Baker & W. S. Collins.  The total number of shares was 400.

About two months later, the Walnut Hill Bank recorded in Record Book N-3, at page 396, a Power of Attorney to “G. M. McKnight of Lewisville…” as its attorney in fact “… to acknowledge payment and to enter satisfaction … of all mortgages now held by us or that we may hereafter have recorded ….”  This appointment was undoubtedly because of the fact that G. M. McKnight lived in Lewisville, in close proximity to the Lafayette County Courthouse.

In an Annual Statement of the corporation as of January 1, 1910 (about 2 years later), recorded in Record Book S-3, at page 470, the number of shares owned by each stockholder is identical, except that the shares owned by J. O. Smith have grown from 40 to 50 shares.  The “Resources” of the corporation at that time totaled $34, 810.12 and are listed as:  Cash due from banks, 22,193.57; Cash on hand 2,234.43; Due from receivers 1,366.78; Judgment in our favor 1,000.00; Loans & Discounts 6,313.34; Fixts. Sta. & Bldg 1,658.54; and Overdrafts 43.46.  The “Liabilities” of the corporation also totaled $34,810.12 and are listed as:  Capital stock 5,000.00; Surplus 274.63; Profits 194.82; Deposits 22,280.67; and Reserved for taxes 60.00.  This Annual Statement was sworn to by J. B. Herndon, President, and by R. H. Duty, as Cashier.

Another Annual Statement as of January 1, 1911, recorded in Record Book T-3, at page 558, shows total “Resources” and “Liabilities” of $31,681.51, approximately a ten percent decrease from the previous year.  The amount of “Overdrafts” had also decreased, to 41 cents.  The number of shares of stock owned by each shareholder had changed considerably, however, as follows:  50 shares—J. F. McKnight; 41 shares—R. H. Duty; 25 shares each—J. B. Herndon, R. L. Searcy, & O. D. Hinshaw; 10 shares each—G. M. McKnight & T. H. Dismukes; 5 shares—T. J. Dooley; 4 shares—R. B. Duty; 2 shares each—Ida Baker & P. M. Allen; 1 share—W. H. Baker.  The total number of shares had shrunk to 200.  The names of R. L. Searcy and O.  D. Hinshaw appear for the first time as shareholders, replacing W. S. Collins and J. O. Smith.  This statement is sworn to by J. F. McKnight, President, and by R. H. Duty, Cashier.

The last Annual Statement of the Walnut Hill Bank states its financial condition and ownership as of January 1, 1913.  It is recorded in Record Book W-3, at page 416.  The number of shares as of that date was still 200, and the ownership of those shares had not changed from the 1/1/11 statement.  The assets have declined precipitously and are listed as follows:  Amount of capital actually paid in—$5,000.00; Cash value of its real estate—None; Cash Value of its personal estate—$5,470.55; Cash value of its credits—(left blank); Amount of its debts—None.

A future post will examine the questions of (1) Where was the Walnut Hill Bank located? and (2) What became of it?

McDonald Motor Company, 1937

With the decline in the number of businesses operating in Bradley over the past several decades, it is perhaps difficult for some to imagine that Bradley at one time had at least one automobile dealership, McDonald Motor Company.  Clues to the origins of that business can be found in the real property records of the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk.

On April 2, 1925, M. M. Hamner and Ada W. Hamner, his wife, sold the East one-half of Lots 11 and 12 of Block 4 of the original town of Bradley to McDonald Motor Company.  This tract is approximately where the Community State Bank building is located today.  The deed, which is recorded in Book B-5, at page 280, recites that McDonald Motor Company was “a partnership consisting of J. D. Fenet, S. J. Caldwell, and B. D. McDonald.”  Shown below is an invoice from McDonald Motor Company for the sale of a vehicle in 1937.  A transcription follows below the picture.

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“Insist On Genuine Ford Parts

McDonald Motor Company                        Authorized Dealers

No. 13178      Lincoln  Ford  Fordson

Bradley, Ark. June 7th 1937

Sold to      F. M. Cochran, Trustee

Address     Bradley, Arkansas

1  –  1937 V-8   1 1/2  Ton Ford Truck Equipped with Governor, Over-Load Springs & 32X6 10 Ply Tires          647.62

Less Donation McDonald Mtr           25.00

                                                                 622.62

Paid June 7, 1937

McDonald Motor Company

By   /s/  B. D. McDonald

Filled by                          Delivered to

ALL CLAIMS MUST BE MADE WITHIN 24 HOURS AFTER DELIVERY”

For whom was F. M. Cochran acting as Trustee?  My suspicion, and it is only a suspicion, is that he was acting on behalf of the City of Bradley and that this vehicle was to be used as the City’s fire truck.  One clue to this suspicion can be found in the line that states “Less Donation McDonald Mtr 25.00.”  A subsequent post on this site will include another document which supports this suspicion.

Cochran Hardware

Sometime in the early 1920’s (probably 1924), Frank Cochran, Sr., resigned his position at Holland Hardware Co. (see the post from October 8, 2007) and decided to go into business for himself.  The following photo shows “Frank M. Cochran Hardware Co.” as it looked about 1928 or 1929.  And, yes, for those of you who are wondering, the boy on the horse is, indeed, Frank M. Cochran, Jr.  A close look at the right-side window pane reveals a gentleman standing inside the building wearing a white or light-colored shirt and a tie.

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The following slightly out-of-focus photo shows Cochran Hardware Co. as it appeared during World War II.

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The sign on the front says “International Harvester Farm Equipment” and “Cochran Hardware Company.”  The two people standing beside the yellow truck are probably Frank Cochran, Sr., and Edith Cochran, a distant relative who worked for him for slightly more than ten years.  The spot in the upper left quadrant of the picture is simply deterioration of the original slide film photo.  The poster just to the right of the blue car is probably some sort of patriotic exhortation, i.e., urging the purchase of war bonds or something similar.  Note that, even though this photograph is taken approximately fifteen years after the first photograph, the street is still unpaved.

Most of this building was demolished in 1964, but the left side one-third still stands today.  The lot on the right of the picture, approximately where the gasoline pump appears, is now occupied by the Walnut Hill Telephone Co. building.

Cochran-Allen Equipment Co.

On March 2, 1945, Frank Cochran, Sr., and J. Madison Allen entered into a partnership for “…the buying, selling and vending of trucks, farm machinery and all sorts of goods and equipment incident to the retail Farm Machine business.”  The firm name of the partnership was Cochran-Allen Equipment Co.  In 1946, the company built this building on the northeast corner of the intersection of Fifth and Pullman streets:

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The partnership was dissolved on April 3, 1948, and Frank Cochran, Sr., as sole proprietor, changed the firm name to Cochran Implement Co.  In 1958, he sold the business to James Roberson of Plain Dealing.

The following picture taken on October 21, 2007, from approximately the same spot, shows what remains of the building today:

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Light & Ice Plant Fire, 1938

Monday, September 12, 1938, was a memorable day in Bradley:

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Della McKnight Cochran, who kept a diary from 1920 until shortly before her death in 1950, wrote on that day:  “At 10:00 A.M. light & ice plant burned.  I [was] there until noon.  Business disrupted without electricity.”  The entries for the following few days do not mention when electricity was restored.

The photo is taken from approximately where Highway 160 now crosses the railroad tracks, looking southwest.  The second building from the left is where Smith Funeral Home is located today.  Note the men on the roof of the adjacent building to the right of the burning building.

Lee Bros.–Holland Hdwe. Building

The photo below is of a long-ago demolished building in Bradley.  My grandmother, Della McKnight Cochran, wrote underneath the photo:  “G. W. & R. R. Lee Store, later Holland Hdwe. Store, where Frank Cochran [Sr.] worked 10 yrs. 4 months.”  My father, Frank M. Cochran, Jr., much later wrote on the back of the photo:  “Lee Bros. Store about 1910.  Later Holland Hdwe. about 1912.  Demolished 1931.”

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Where was this building?  I remember my grandfather, Frank Cochran, Sr., telling me about working for Holland Hardware Co.  He said it was located close to the building which was built in the mid-1960’s by the Walnut Hill Masonic Lodge, and which now houses Vicki’s Beauty Shop.

The 1905 Real Estate Tax Book in the Lafayette County Clerk’s Office shows that lots 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 of Block 9 were assessed to “G. M. & R. R. Lee.”  Lots 4 and 5 (50 ft.-wide lots) of Block 9 are approximately where the new Bradley Fire Department building is located today.  Lots 9, 10, and 11 (25 ft.-wide lots) of Block 9, where this building apparently stood, are located just south of the former Lodge Hall.  The building almost certainly faced the railroad (east).

By deed dated November 3, 1910, G. M. Lee and Willie Howell Lee, his wife, and R. R. Lee and Daisy Lee, his wife, conveyed all five lots to W. D. Stewart for a consideration of $1,500.  Mr. Stewart paid $600 down and signed 9 promissory notes for $100 each, with each due on the first day of succeeding months, beginning December 1, 1910.  All the notes were without interest.  (Deed Records Book T-3, page 488)

By deed dated February 1, 1914, W. D. Stewart and Emma Stewart, his wife, conveyed all five lots to Holland Hardware Company for a consideration of $2,200.  Holland Hardware Co. paid $500 down and agreed to pay $565 on February 1, 1915, $565 on February 1, 1916, and $570 on February 1, 1917.  Each of the installment payments bore 10% interest.  (Deed Records Book Y-3, page 613)

In the 1931 Real Estate Tax Book, the year the notation on the back of the photo says the building was demolished, all five lots were assessed to R. M. Holland.