Category Archives: Schools

Original Bradley High School Building, 1915-1956

The start of the 2008–2009 school year year is perhaps an appropriate time to begin looking at some aspects of the past of the Bradley schools.

Below are three photos of the original Bradley High School Building, which was built in 1915 and demolished in 1956.  It was a three-story building, but the main floor was actually a half-story above the ground.  The bottom floor was a semi-basement.  I can remember my grandfather telling about the frequent problems that arose with water either seeping into that semi-basement or even coming into it from actual flooding.

This building was located approximately where the Bradley High School gym is now, although it did not extend as far out toward Highway 160.  The northwest corner of this building and of the current gym would have been in roughly the same place.  Its front faced the highway (east) side.

The first photo shows the front view of the building when vegetation was allowed to grow up its walls, and there was a shrub-lined walkway out to the highway.

Old HS Bldg, Front View

The next photo was taken from the northeast angle of the building, without vegetation:

Old HS Bldg, Northeast view

The final photo was taken from the southeast angle of the building, obviously in the afternoon.  Just  out of the photo in the lower right corner was a small, shallow fish pond.  In the lower left of this photo can be seen a merry-go-round and the building on the diagonally opposite corner of the campus which was used for many decades as a lunchroom/home economics building. 

Old HS Bldg, Southeast view

Bumpham School Alumni

Even a casual reader of this site can spot its most glaring weakness:  the near-total absence of material concerning Bradley’s black community.  However, that is a circumstance of necessity (to this date, anyway) and not of choice.

In an earlier post (10/1/07), I mentioned that much of the material to be found on this site would be, at least initially, taken from the archives of my own family.  Families tend to collect and save information and mementos about themselves.  That’s what families do.  As a result, I have almost no material about the many contributions of African-Americans to Bradley and the area around it.

Fred Harris, who grew up in Bradley and now lives in Doddridge, has brought to my attention the existence of a group of alumni of the Bumpham School, which was located about a mile north of Gin City, and operated as an all-black school until complete integration of the Bradley Schools began in the fall of 1970.  (I can remember the exact date because I was a teacher in the Bradley Schools for the first year of full integration, 1970–1971.)  This group even has its own web site,  The ex-Bobcats have planned their next triennial reunion for July 3, 4, and 5 of 2009.

If any readers of this site should have any photos, old newspaper clippings, etc., of general interest concerning Bradley’s black community, and are willing to share them, I would be most interested in seeing them and possibly sharing some of them with the readers of this site.  Perhaps the single most interesting item along those lines would be pictures of the Bumpham School while it was still in operation.  But information concerning area churches and cemeteries, as well as other groups, would also be quite interesting. 

Sophomore Class of Bradley High School, 1940-41

On a sunny day during the 1940–41 school year, the sophomore class of Bradley High School gathered in front of the two-story high school building to have their picture taken.

Unlabeled 1 1-2 blue 020 C

Front row, left to right:  Tom Burchett, Jr., Odis Walker, Bunny Jackson, Jackie Crabtree, Danny Collins, Jesse Daley, Gerald Hollis, Buddy Allen, Howard Bird.  Back row, left to right:  Kathryn Jones (Alegbra II teacher), Laura Jane Cochran, Frances King, Nell Ruth Love, Louise Dodson, Annie Marie Twitty, Betty Jo Pritchard, Alice Louise Lester, Mary McGill, Julia Ann Montgomery, R. W. Knight (sponsor).  Not pictured is another member of the class, Leah Somers.

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

Kizer school, circa 1910, Part 2 of 2

Last Monday’s post (11/5/07) showed a “Souvenir” from the Kizer school about 1910.  Here is a picture of the Kizer school, its teacher and students from about the same time:


Note the two people sitting in the windows on the right side of the building.

Below is a list of the names of some of the persons in the picture.  The list has apparently been cropped on the right side.  I don’t know who made this list.  It is definitely not the handwriting of my father, Frank M. Cochran, Jr., who organized much of the material, other than public records, that will be found on this website.


For easier reading:

In Door:

Katie Barnett with Bardon in her arms, Eddie Barker, Eureka Cochran

Top row:

Mr. Baker (teacher), Hozzie Waller

Second Row from top:

Blanchard Vaughan, Edie (?) King, Fairy King, Paul Collins, Frank Cochran, Luther Vaughan, Valma Cochran

Third Row from top:

Clarence Thomas, Ida Mae Pockrus, Allen Collins, Ellis Collins, Willis Cochran, Bryan Cochran, Grady Barker, unknown, Jessie Ray Cochran, Maud King, unknown, Corrie Pockrus

Fourth Row (next-to-bottom) from top:

Odessa Waller, Chloe Lyons, unknown, Zula Mae Collins, Ruth Vaughan, Gertrude Barker, Evie Waller, unknown, Roy Waller, Clifford King, Judson Thomas, Verlie Lyons, unknown

Fifth (Bottom) Row:

Jimmy Cochran, Paul Barnett, Harvey Thomas, Maudie Pockrus, unknown, unknown, Tillman Collins, Willie Dell Vaughan, unknown, Glen McDonald, [Lyons or King?], [? Collins], unknown

Kizer School, circa 1910, Part 1 of 2

About 1910, the community of Kizer (2 miles south of Bradley) was large enough to have its own school.  The following photos were taken of an item called a school “Souvenir.”  The “Souvenir” is bound in light cardboard and has two folded sheets of paper inside, making a total of four pages.  The “Souvenir” contains a poem, “Opportunity,” the name of a teacher, the pupils and the School Board.  Other than the name of the printing company at the bottom of the poem, the “Souvenir” contains no advertising.  Perhaps this was the early twentieth century, rural southwest Arkansas equivalent of today’s school yearbooks.

The back and front covers:

Family Pictures 1 1-2 blue 034 A

Page 1 contains the poem, “Opportunity”:


Page 2 is blank.  Page 3 contains the list of pupils, many of whom would later become well-known members of the Bradley community:

Family Pictures 1 1-2 blue 036 A

Page 4 is also blank.   Here is an enlarged view of page 3, so the names can be read more easily: