Category Archives: Documents

Bradley Fire Department, 1955, 1957

The 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook recognizes the Bradley Volunteer Fire Department for its contributions to the community.  The narrative is as follows:

“The Bradley Fire Department never relaxes it’s [sic] efforts a moment to promote fire protection for our community.

It meets twice a month for a 2 hour instruction course.  Mr. Geo. Bell, the former instructor, resigned in the summer of 1957 to accept the position of District Civil Defense Director….

The Chief, 13 Volunteer Fireman [sic], and the 6 Junior Marshals attended a course in Rescue at Magnolia.  A local inspection to reduce hazards was made, and a class in First Aid was conducted.

The equipment, consisting of 2 pumpers – one with a 450 gal. tank and one with a 600 gal. tank – 425 feet of hose, 2 fog nozzles, 4 five gal. Indian Pack pumps, one 14 foot ladder, 1 fireman’s axe and 4 electric lanterns, are housed in a tile building.   This building also has a kitchen, dining area and office space for the Mayor.  The chief and firemen, their time and services gratis and other expenses, incidental for operation, are underwritten, mainly, by public donations.

The Fire Department and the Town recently purchased a Mobile Unit for emergency use.

Four fire hydrants were installed in the business district in June, 1957.  These hydrants were financed by contributions by the business firms.”

– – – – –

Below are two pictures taken from the scrapbook, the first of the Fire House and the second of one of the World War II-era fire trucks.

DSC01864 A

DSC01866 A

Below is an image of an Bradley Fire Department record of attendance at drills for the first few months of 1955.

Fire meetings 1955 A

The names of the members/attendees are as follows:  Carl W. Baker, Rogers Baker, J. W. “Buck” Camp, A. C. Cobb, John R. Coker, F. M. Cochran, Jr., H. G. Collier, T. E. Cason, J. M. Drake, Johnnie Kennedy, L. G. Middlebrooks, Alvin Owens, T. R.  Stampley, J. H. Starling, J. B. Works, and George W. Bell.

Eighth Grade Commencement, 1928

For our final look, for this year, at graduations past, here is the program from the eighth grade commencement exercises in 1928, eighty years ago this month.  (Calvin Coolidge was President.)  A transcription follows the image.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (170) B1

                           Commencement Exercises

                                   EIGHTH GRADE

                           Bradley School Auditorium

                  Wednesday, May 16, 1928, 8:00 P. M.

Onward Christian Soldiers                        All

Invocation                                            Bro. Holland

Commencement Song                              Class

Salutatory                                             Nancy Virginia Stewart

Class History                                          Ray Olive

Class Color                                             Willie Stampley

Class Motto                                            Morgan Hamner

Piano Solo                                              Mildred Christie

Class Poet                                              Ethel Miller

Class Grumbler                                        Dixie Hamiter

Piano Solo                                              Anna Marie Collins

Class Prophecy                                       Gladys Stewart

Class Will                                               Lindsay Brock

Valedictory                                             Mildred Christie

Presentation of Diplomas                           Mr. Lee Measeles   

– – – – – – – – – –

The previous evening in 1928 saw a commencement exercise for the “Department of Primary and Intermediate Grades.”  A transcription again follows the image.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (170) B2

                      Bradley High School Auditorium

                           Commencement Program

                                 Department of

                    Primary and Intermediate Grades

                    Tuesday Evening, May 15, 1928

                                     8:00 P. M.

Reading                                              Edna Frances Vaughan

Violin Solo                                           Nanette Snead

Reading                                              Dot Cochran

Spring’s Flower Garden                          Primary Pupils

Flower Drill and Dance                           Fourth Grade Girls

Violin Solo                                           Malvin Christie

Mother Goose’s Trouble                          Primary Pupils

Reading                                               Mable Christie

Reading                                               Malvin Christie


Bradley High School Commencement, 1958

This post continues our look at graduations past.

Exactly fifty years ago this month, the Class of 1958 said its good-byes to Bradley High School.  Below are two images of the program for the Baccalaureate Service and Commencement Exercise for that year.  The outside cover of the program lists the names of the graduates.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (153) B

Those graduates listed are:  Charles Smith, Richard Smith, Albert Lane, Hollis Maness, James Henry Starling, Wayne Keahey, Charles Bland, Donald Cheney, David Colvin, Sammy Crabtree, Paul Dunn, Merle Gore, Noel Harrist, Marvin McCalman, Larry Tyler, Oran Weems, Annette Weems, Janie Wynn, and Clyde Wayne Jackson.

The inside pages of the program give the details of the two gatherings.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (154) B

The page on the left side is the:


                       Baccalaureate Service

                 Bradley High School Gymnasium

                Sunday Evening, May 11, 1958

                                  8 P.M.

Processional                                      Mrs. J. M. Allen

“Faith of Our Fathers”                         Audience

Invocation                                        Rev. D. L. McCauley

Announcements                                 E. V. Powell

“Lead on’ Lead On’”                            Choir

Sermon                                            Rev. Gerald Cheney

Benediction                                       Rev. H. H. Hime

Recessional                                       Mrs. J. M. Allen


– – – – – – – – – –

The page on the right side is the:


                       Commencement Exercise

                   Bradley High School Gymnasium

             Monday Evening, May May [sic] 12, 1958

                                      8 P.M.

Processional                                      Mrs. J. M. Allen

Invocation                                        Rev. H. H. Hime

Introduction of Seniors                        Wayne Keahey

“Love Dreams”                                   Bette Barnett

“Graduation Day”                                Oren Weems, Larry Tyler,

                                                       Noel Harrist

“Valcik in D Flat”                                 LaVerne Burks

Class Song                                         Seniors

Presentation of Diplomas and Awards      E. V. Powell

“The Lord’s Prayer”                              James Henry Starling

Bradley High School Commencement, 1934

The end of the 2007–2008 school year is fast approaching, so perhaps this is a good time to look at graduation ceremonies from years past.  Shown below is the Bradley High School Commencement program from 1934.  President Franklin D.  Roosevelt had been in office for just over a year and his “New Deal” even made it into the commencement program.  A transcription follows the image.

Sunday, March 14, 2004 (163)B



         Bradley High School,

               May 11, 1934


Processional                                 Mrs. Madison Allen

America                                       Audience

Invocation                                   Rev. B. B. Cox

Solo                                           Mrs. J. G. Allen, Jr.

               “Only A Rose”

Salutatory Address                        Anna Marie Collins

        “A Song To Unsung Heroes”

Class President’s Address                John Coker

      “The New Deal Brings A New Dawn”

Valedictory Address                       Burl Allen

       “An Old, Old Story”

Solo                                            Rev. B. B. Cox

Farewell Address                           T. W. Croxton

Presentation of Diplomas                 F. M. Cochran

Benediction                                  Rev. B. B. Cox

Mackinaw, Arkansas

In 1994, a statewide newspaper ran a picture which bore an inscription of “Town Site of Mackinaw, Arkansas.”  The picture showed a large group of people gathering around a single structure which was apparently intended to be a house.  The newspaper had no idea where Mackinaw was and asked readers for help.

The short answer to that inquiry is that Mackinaw is located mostly just west and north of where Arkansas State Highway 29 crosses the Louisiana state line.

The picture in the newspaper prompted Frank M. Cochran, Jr., to write the following:


Mackinaw was a land lottery scheme that took place sometime between 1914 and 1916.  The chances were sold in Indiana.  Each entrant was promised a parcel of land.  The size of these ranged from a city lot to a full section (one mile square).  Of course, most got one of the many city lots which were worthless.  A town called Mackinaw was platted and was filed in the Lewisville courthouse.  The town was located in Section 10, Township 20 South, Range 25 West.  The entire promotion covered ten sections, plus or minus one or two.  This land is located mostly west of the Cotton Belt Railroad and is bordered on the South by the Arkansas-Louisiana state line.

The plots were mostly divided into 2, 5, 10, and 20–acre blocks.  There were a few larger with the grand prize being a full section.

Mr. J. G. Allen, Jr., a native of Indiana who was living near Bradley, was hired by the promoters to oversee the clearing of some of the streets and to build three houses.  This was done during a winter when he was not busy on the Red River bottoms farm owned by his father, an attorney who lived in Washington, Indiana.  When the day of the drawing came, he supervised the feeding of the visitors.

A special train ran from Indiana to Mackinaw and brought a number of people in several carloads.  The booze flowed freely.  When the train stopped in Bradley, 5 miles to the north, several of the locals jumped into the baggage car and each grabbed a gallon jug of whiskey.  My father [Frank M. Cochran, Sr.] worked in a store [Holland Hardware Co., see post of 10/8/07] less than a block from the train station and saw this happen.  Mr. Allen’s daughter, Mrs. Marjorie Bishop of Bradley, said Mr. Allen told her that he thought that the people got so drunk that most didn’t care what size piece of land they drew in the lottery.

An oil well was drilled and “salted” with oil to make the people think that they would get oil checks.  During the 1980’s oil was discovered along the south edge of Mackinaw and there were some good wells.  This was at a depth of 6,000 to 12,000 feet, much deeper than the original well.

During the Great Depression, most of the plots of land reverted to the State for unpaid real property taxes.  At that time, State-owned land could be bought for $1 per acre.  When the Land Commissioner began to sell it, some people are said to have given a little extra and got more than the ones first in line.  Very little of the land is still in the hands of the original owners.  The ones who held on to it have largely sold it to the large timber companies or local dealers in such land. 

I am 73 years old and have lived in Bradley since birth.  I can remember seeing one or more of the Mackinaw houses still standing after Highway 29 was graveled in 1929.  It crossed the railroad just about 200 yards from those houses.  The houses soon disappeared, either by burning or by being torn down for the lumber in them.  I do not know if any were ever occupied.

The picture [in the newspaper] must have been made on the day that the special train was here for the drawing.  I do not think that there would ever have been that many people there at any other time.

[end of piece by Frank M. Cochran, Jr.]

– – – – –

Below is a photo of the plat of Mackinaw on file in the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s Office.  Notwithstanding the fact that it is located in a low, poorly drained, remote rural area, it has a Byzantine complexity worthy of downtown New York City.  The Cotton Belt Railroad is the slanted line on the right side of the photo.



Letter from an American Hero (Part 2 of 2)

I asked Glynn McCalman, Clyde Vernon McCalman’s brother, to write a paragraph or so describing Clyde as he was before he entered the U. S. Army, and Glynn was kind enough to provide the following:

“Clyde Vernon McCalman was born June 13, 1923, to Odell and Gertrude McCalman at their farm home on the old Shreveport Road south of Walnut Hill.  He and his brothers, Marvin, Byrd and Glynn, attended school at Bradley, where Clyde excelled academically and socially.

Clyde continued to excel as a student at Ouachita College during the early years of World War II.  He was exempted from service in the war because of his status as an ordained minister, but he was uncomfortable with that exemption.  After the death of a close cousin, neighbor and friend, Harland Bird, in a bombing raid over Germany, he felt compelled to offer himself in the conflict.

He volunteered for service in the Army on March 17, 1944, and was killed on the same day one year later, March 17, 1945, in the final weeks of the war in Europe.  The letter (in the previous post) was written in the month preceding the month of his death.”

Thanks to Glynn McCalman for providing the above information.  For any reader of this site who may not already be aware of it, Glynn is a Bradley area historian and the author of two books on local history:  Bradley Connections and Walnut Hill And Somewhere Else.

– – – – –

Clyde’s letter touches on several aspects of an infantryman’s life during active combat, such as the simple pleasure of sleeping inside a building.  Perhaps it may be useful to add a clarifying comment to some passages from the letter.

There is a reference in the first paragraph to someone named Hogue.  I have no idea who this was, other than someone who was obviously a mutual acquaintance of Clyde and my father.

The third paragraph of the letter refers to the “big German counterattack” and the awful winter weather.  This is a reference to what we now call the Battle of the Bulge, which began shortly before Christmas in 1944.  It was Hitler’s last serious attempt to break out of the encirclement into which the Allied advances had forced him.

The fourth paragraph of the letter states that “It was my division which cut off the Cherbourg Penninsula and took 1/4 of all prisoners taken on Cherbourg.”  This refers to combat operations shortly after D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy in France.  Cherbourg, with its fine port facilities which the Allies coveted and which the Germans were determined to defend long enough to destroy, was taken on June 30, 1944. 

Clyde states in the letter that he has “five months of combat behind me,” so it is doubtful that he was personally engaged in active combat during the Cherbourg operations.  Indeed, that would have occurred only a little more than three months after his enlistment in the U. S. Army.  It does, however, provide an idea of how long his unit had been actively engaged with the Germans.  Another indication of constant attack operations by the U. S. Army can be found in the comment in the next-to-last paragraph that “We have not been farther back than our own artillery since early October.”

It is ironic that Clyde’s letter states that he had “a comparitively soft job – mil clerk and administrative assistant to the 1st Sgt,” yet he was killed in action a little more than one month later.  This is perhaps an indication of the ferocity of the fighting, the urgency to maintain the attack, and the need for every soldier, including the ones with a “comparatively soft job,” to actively participate in the fighting.

– – – – –

Pfc. Clyde Vernon McCalman’s remains were temporarily interred at Henri-Chapelle in Belgium and were later moved to the Walnut Hill Cemetery.  Below is an image of the foot marker on his grave:

Letter From An American Hero (Part 1 of 2)

Clyde Vernon McCalman was the son of Mr. R. Odell McCalman and Mrs. Gertrude McCalman.  He was born on June 13, 1923.  In February of 1945, he was serving as a Private First Class with the United States Army on its final push into Nazi Germany.  On February 6, 1945, he wrote the following letter to Frank M. Cochran, Jr., who was serving with the United States Army in the Pacific theater.  A verbatim transcription of the letter follows the images.


                                           February 6, 1945

Dear Frank M;

     Recieved your letter of Dec. 27 today and was very glad to hear from you again.  Had a brief letter from Hogue recently saying you had moved but didn’t know you were in Air Corps.

     To be sure things are pretty rough over here but so far as I am personally concerned I can not complain — naturally, with five months of combat behind me, as an infantryman I have had some close calls — God has been good to me.

     I find it amazing how much a fellow can take when the chips are down —the big German counterattack was bad enough without the 20 degrees below weather and snow about 3 or 4 ft. deep usually.  For the past few days our Ninth Div has been making the headlines — as it did in Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium, and now Germany — It was my division which cut off the Cherbourg Penninsula and took 1/4 of all prisoners taken on Cherbourg.

     We got quite a bit of “loot” off of prisoners — I sent a good German compass home yesterday for which I was offered $10.  Could easily have sold it for twice that much.


     Also, I have a fine 120 bass accordian which one of my buddies captured and made me a present of — as good or better than my own for which I paid $325.

     It is quite a source of pleasure to us when we get our occassional rest.  I drag it out and we have a song fest even though the Jerries may be only a couple of miles away— (We have not been farther back than our own artillery since early October.)  I can play the accordian quite well now — even more tunes than I can on the piano.

     I “lasted long enough” to rate a comparitively soft job — mil clerk and administrative assistant to the 1st Sgt.  My candle is about burned out so I had better hit the hay — Am sleeping in a building tonight for a change.  That is the good part about being in Germany —


                                             Clyde Mc.”


     On March 17, 1945, exactly one year after he enlisted in the U. S. Army, and exactly 39 days after he wrote this letter, Pfc. Clyde Vernon McCalman was killed in action in Germany.  He was 21 years old.

Street duty, August, 1921

An earlier post (11/9/07, “So you want to start a town, Part 1”) summarized some of the early ordinances adopted by the City of Bradley.  Section 13 of Ordinance No. 8 provided:  “That all male persons residing in the Corporate limits of the said Town between the ages of 18 and 45 years, shall be subject to work on the Streets and alleys in said Town who has resided in the town for ten days before the day of warning to work, when he is warned as stated in the preceding section; that every person so warned may pay in money the sum of Two ($2.00) Dollars for each day he is so warned to work on or before the day of working, said money to be paid to the Street Commissioner as be paid to the Treasurer of the Town of Bradley.”  In essence, this ordinance conscripted the men of the town to work on the City streets, and provided for an “out” that any man so conscripted could avoid actually doing the work by paying a $1.00 per day fee for the required two days of work. 

The Town’s records from August, 1921, provide a list of the men of those ages residing in the town.  The records show the names of the men being conscripted, the number of “Days Worked,” the “Amt Paid” and the “Total” number of days credited to each man.  In the segregated Bradley of that era, the records are divided by race, with each race on a separate page.

The first record is for the African-American men of the town:


The men listed in the above picture are Henry Green, Jno Reed, Will Evans (“Exemp”), Charly Terrell, Arthur Wright, Jack Henderson, Antney Wright, Tom Hunt, Paul Roberson, Mack Renick, Tom Jones, Bob Waddell, and Nathan Smith.

The page containing the list of the white men of the town is so large that it must be shown in two images:



 The men listed on this page are J. W. Miller, W. B. Vaughan, R. L. Vaughan, Pat Smith, J. T. O’Neal, Tom Reynolds, Allen Smith, E. M. Crockett, W. E. Cochran, F. M. Cochran, J. R. Cochran, Sid Adams, F. P. Adams, G. P. Snead, W. P. Baker, L. B. Hamner, M. M. Hamner, J. B. Edwards, M. E. O’Neal, H. T. Stewart, G. R. Wise, Thomas Williams, J. W. Meek, J. A. McDonald, B. D. McDonald, John King (name stricken through), Hugh Brock (name stricken through), R. F. Allen, D. E. Collins, John Gore, C. B. O’Neal, R. J. Montgomery, Davis Twitty, Bill Eatons, C. H. Holloway, and J. M. Barker. 

Fire protection, 1927

The last post (11/27/07) displayed an invoice whereby McDonald Motor Company sold a 1 1/2 ton truck in June of 1937, and I speculated that perhaps this was a fire truck for the City of Bradley.    The City had apparently been soliciting funds from local land owners for fire protection as long as ten years before that truck was sold.

Shown below is correspondence whereby the City of Bradley was soliciting donations for fire protection as early as 1927.  The letter is printed on a letterhead impressively titled “Executive Department, Town of Bradley.”  (One wonders just how many “Departments” the Town of Bradley had in 1927.)  The letter is addressed to Mr. P. D. Burton of Lewisville, and was replied to on the same letterhead by Mr. J. B. Burton, who together conducted their business as “Burton Bros.”  They owned some lots in Bradley in the area where RB’s Car Wash and Mini-Storage is now located.  A transcription of the correspondence appears below the picture.


Executive Department

Town of Bradley

                                   Bradley, Arkansas 1/31/27

Mr. P. D. Burton,

Lewisville, Ark.

Dear Sir:

     As previously stated to you, we have ordered 300 ft. of 8 inch hose and are now engaged in installing the fire plugs, and the merchants and other property owners have subscribed about $60.00 of the $200.00 required to pay the bill, and we take the liberty to ask you to favor us with a donation of at least $5.00 or $10.00 to be applied on the above indebtedness.

     Please let us hear from you at your earliest convenience, and oblige yours very truly,

                                   /s/ W. J. Jackson, Mayor

                                   /s/ W. E. Cochran, Recorder

[Mr. J. B. Burton replies:]

Executive Dept.,

Town of Bradley, Bradley, Ark.


     Burton Bros. are always pressed for funds, but we are also always ready to take part in any good cause.  Fire protection is the best thing you could possibly give Bradley.

     We think we should donate at least as much as $20.00.  If you find we are in line return letter and will forward check next mail.

                                   Yours very truly,

                                   Burton Bros.,

                                   /s/ J. B. Burton

[City Recorder W. E. Cochran replies:]

     We feel that $10.00 would be in line as no one else gave more than that.

     Please make check payable to W. E. Cochran, Treas., and oblige yours truly,

                                   W. E. Cochran

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.


“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


Paid June 7, 1937

McDonald Motor Company

By   /s/  B. D. McDonald

Filled by                          Delivered to


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.