Category Archives: Walnut Hill

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.”

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:


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. 

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.

Img014 B

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?