Gov. Conway Days, March 27, 2010 (Part 2 of 2)

The Saturday parade was the largest in many years.  For the sake of neutrality, no politicians appear in the following photos, but they were present in abundance.

As with the previous post, all captions refer to the picture under that caption.

Mayor J. C. Williams once again invoked his perogative to drive the first vehicle in the parade.


Numerous law enforcement vehicles followed on crowded 4th Street/Highway 160.


The City of Bradley’s fire trucks were next.  Two of them are shown below.



The Lafayette County elected officials decided on a minimalist theme for this year.


The antique cars followed, two of which can be seen below.



Among the next group of vehicles were representatives of the Cochran Museum and the 7 and 8 softball team.



This piece of Allis-Chalmers farm equipment was rather unique.


And that’s Dickie Bishop on a John Deere tractor.  Sadly, Dickie and his wife, Judy, recently moved from Bradley to the wilds (and grandkids) of north Arkansas.


Several fire departments from the area also sent trucks to the celebration.  Among those were the Northeast Bossier, Plain Dealing, River Bend, Lake Erling and Lewisville Fire Departments.


Many motorcycles and horses also appeared in the parade.



Gov. Conway Days, March 27, 2010 (Part 1 of 2)

Bradley celebrated its 26th annual Governor Conway Days on March 27, 2010.  A beautiful day (for a change) and an election year (meaning politicians everywhere) combined for an excellent crowd and the largest parade in years.

(All captions for the following photos refer to the photo under the caption.)

The local constabulary was present to keep order.


The antique tractor show took place just north of the Post Office.



It was judged by the eagle eyes of Benny Hayes and Dickie Bishop.


The antique car show was set up near the Willis-Knighton Clinic.



The Cochran Museum experienced an excellent crowd.  Among the visitors was the preeminent expert on Bradley history, Glynn McCalman of Mandeville, Louisiana.


Other Museum visitors were brother and sister David Byrd and Diana Byrd Bryant.


Also in the Museum were Larry Burnett and Margaret Spence Cannon.


Jerrell Caskey points to his senior picture in the 1960 Bradley High School Yearbook.


The award-winning contraption in the photo below makes ice cream.


Next:  Parade.

Bradley Chamber of Commerce Banquet, 3-6-10

The 26th annual Bradley Chamber of Commerce Banquet was held in the Bradley Elementary School cafeteria during the evening of March 6, 2010.  Attendance was excellent, as it always is during an election year, with many present seeking to be elected to or to retain political office.

The Community Service Award was given to Kala Traxler, shown below with Mollye McCalman.  Kala also arranged a slide show for the banquet.

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Travis Gore, whom Emcee Richard Estes, referred to as the “Sage” of the chamber, recognized State Senator Barbara Horn for her contributions to Bradley.  Senator Horn is in her last year of service in that position, and she made a few brief remarks.  Travis and Barbara can been seen in the following two photos.

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With so many politicians present, not just the usual one T-shirt, but instead two T-shirts were auctioned off.  The auctioneer was State Representative Bruce Maloch, seen below.  Bruce is in his last year of service in that position, and has served as auctioneer for several past Chamber banquets.

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Mollye McCalman holds up one of this year’s Conway Days T-shirts, below.

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And Joe Middlebrooks holds up the other T-shirt to be auctioned off, one he said meant “Who dat gonna win this election?”

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The Best Ad for Bradley went to Eugenia Collum, seen in the following two photos, the last of which with Emcee Richard Estes.

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No annual Chamber banquet would be possible without the assistance of the student servers, shown below.

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Governor Conway Days are held each year on the last weekend in March.  The primary date of celebration this year will be Saturday, March 27, 2010. 

Dedication of Travis S. Gore Park, 3-8-10

This past Monday afternoon, March 8, 2010, approximately a hundred people gathered at the Bradley High School building for a brief ceremony dedicating the school baseball and softball fields as “Travis S. Gore Park.”

For readers who have not been to Bradley in the last few years, the baseball field remains where it has been located since at least 1950.  The softball field is located in the north portion of what was once the football field, with home plate near what would have been the northeast corner of the north end zone of the football field.

Current Bradley Schools Superintendent Gammye Moore, in the purple jacket, below, began the ceremony by announcing its purpose and identifying the honoree, who, notwithstanding the presence of many members of his family, demurred that he was under the impression that he was coming to a ceremony honoring Bradley’s current basketball coach, Bennie Harris.


Those making brief remarks included former Bradley School Board President Andrew Whisenhunt, current basketball coach Bennie Harris, former Bradley Elementary School Principal John K. “Buddy” Black, former (early 1950’s)basketball coach Joe Langdon, Mollye McCalman, and former faculty member Richard Johnson.

Coach Bennie Harris, below, with Travis, told a humorous story of how he once was working as a law enforcement officer and realized that there was a vehicle behind him, following his every move.  Thinking this rather unusual, he stopped his patrol unit and the vehicle behind him also stopped.  It turned out to be Travis Gore, wanting to hire him as Bradley’s basketball coach.


Travis was presented with a plaque, which he is holding in the photo below.

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Below, left to right, are Coach Bennie Harris, John K. “Buddy” Black, and Travis Gore.


Below, left to right, are Coach Joe Langdon, Travis Gore, and Andrew Whisenhunt.  Coach Langdon was Travis’ coach when Travis was in Bradley High School.


Before refreshments were served, the ceremony adjourned to the newly-erected gate on the road going into the baseball and softball fields from Highway 160.  Travis and many members of his family gathered for a picture below the gate.

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For the curious, “S.” is for Sherman.

Class of 1959 Reunion, May 16, 2009

Last year, the Bradley High School class of 1959 assembled for its 50th reunion.  Thanks to LaVerne Keahey for the following article and photo.

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“The Bradley Bears Class of ‘59 returned to their High School den recently for their Fiftieth Reunion.  Eighteen of their class of twenty-seven and one faculty member were reunited at the Bradley Baptist Church Family Life Center on May 16, 2009, for an afternoon of activities and a Fish Fry prepared on site.  A slide show from pictures submitted by classmates covering the last fifty years helped share stories of families, careers, homes, pets and hobbies.  Four members were memorialized.  Several gag awards added fun to the event, which was highlighted by the female classmates naming “The Best Looking Old Man.”  The warm greeting and hugs paid tribute to Bradley High and to the closeness they had treasured as a class.

The room was decorated in a purple and gold reunion theme with sand buckets holding a branch with classmates’ names on Bear cutouts on each table.  The snack table held a Teddy Bear fishing in a goldfish  bowl.  An eight-by-ten picture of each classmate was presented with their picture, classmate names on a bookmark, a magnet showing all the buildings in which they had been schooled, and a directory of classmates from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Mississippi as mementos.

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Seated, L-R:  Cheroyl Owens Taylor, Ann Copeland Dickson, Wanda Spruell Hays, Nellie Givens Nichols, Carolyn Kilgore Lamar, and Kathleen Spruell Malone.

Standing, L-R:  Bette Barnett Davis, Ralph Hamner, Martha Williams Mueller, Cecil Smith, Linda Fay Burns Givens, B. J. Powell, Charles Ambrose, Patsy Powell Burkett, Dianne Barker Rogers, Derial Whitehead, David Umphries, and LaVerne Burks Keahey.”

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The four deceased members of the class are Bobby Collier, Charles Hamm, Rayford Lee and John Wynne.

The other members of the class who did not attend the reunion are Glenda Colvin Null, Gloria Pickett McCoy, Mary Wilson, Jimmy Redmon and Lawrence Shaver.

Dances At The Camps’, 1957

The 1957 B. & P. W. scrapbook contains a section on “Recreation,” which describes what was, at that time, a much-anticipated social event for the young people of Bradley. 

The scrapbook description:

“Once or twice a month, on a Saturday night, a group of thirty-five to fifty teenagers meet in the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Camp to dance and just have fun.

The week of the dance, Mrs. Camp calls the leaders of the group, and they in turn notify the young people on their list.  A record player provides the music.

In order to have the latest records at every dance, each person is assessed fifty cents when money is needed in the treasury.  Mrs. Camp notifies the leaders of the group if an assessment is to be made at the next dance.  Assessments are made about every third meeting.  A statement showing the amount of money spent for records since the last meeting and the balance or indebtedness is placed in a conspicuous place for all to see.  A sheet of paper with a pencil is also there for the young people to jot down the records they would like to be bought before the next meeting.

Intermission is held about 9:30 during each dance, and refreshments, which consist of Coca-Colas, are served.

The boys buy them for the whole group one time and the girls the next time.  A semi-formal dance is held once a year during the Christmas holidays.  At that time, there is more festivity, and the mothers of the group make the refreshments.  College students, home for the holidays, usually attend this dance.  Fifty-five young people were present at the 1957 Christmas dance.

The dances always start at 7:30 P.M., ending at exactly 11 P.M., except the Christmas dance, which starts at 8:00 P.M., ending at 12:00 midnight.  Rather strict rules are observed.  There is no going and coming during the dances.  Once a member leaves he cannot come back and he must notify Mrs. Camp when he leaves.  Everyone who comes must not arrive later than 8:00 P.M.  There is no sitting in cars before coming in.

Any teenager is welcome to come, provided Mrs. Camp is notified ahead of time.  If a member of the group wishes to invite a guest, he must call Mrs. Camp before the dance.

Mrs. Camp teaches the young people who do not know to dance but would like to learn.”

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The home of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. “Buck” Camp, Sr., was located diagonally (south and east) across Highway 160 from where the school gymnasium is located now.  Mr. Camp was Mayor of Bradley at that time, and for many years thereafter.

One cannot help but reflect as to how fortunate the young people of Bradley of that era were to have these affairs to look forward to on a regular basis. 

The article refers to “leaders” of the group.  If anyone can identify who these “leaders” were, it would be appreciated.  Something else that would be interesting would be what the favorite songs and artists of the group (Elvis must have been one) were.

The scrapbook contains four photos made at what was apparently the Christmas 1957 dance.  These photos have deteriorated and discolored with age, but are reproduced below in slightly edited form.

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Hard Times in Bradley, 1930, 1931

Since the current recession began in 2007, Bradley folks, like other people almost everywhere else, have endured less than rosy financial conditions.  Of course, to some extent, Bradley and the rest of Lafayette County are almost always in a state of recession, or even worse at times.

At end of each year between 1920 and 1949, Della McKnight Cochran would make a summary-type entry in her daily diary.  At the end of 1930, this poignant entry appears:  “People hungry.  So few Christmas gifts this year.  Not nearly so many cards sent.”  This would have been a little over a year after the stock market crash in October of 1929. By this time, the Great Depression was well under way.

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1931, almost a year later, this entry appears:  “Not much doing at store.  No cotton picking for over a month because of rains.  No money [around Bradley].”

Hard times and Bradley have never been strangers to each other.

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Finally, a personal note.

I could not let the last day of 2009 pass without saying “Thank you” to the readers of, both for reading and for generously sharing your comments, photos, and other historical material with me.  The response to this site has, over the roughly 28 months of its existence, been overwhelming.  Again, thank you.


Bradley Senior Girls Basketball, 1955

Finally, it’s basketball season again.  As has been mentioned on before, some of the most popular articles and photos on this site are sports-related.

In 1955, the Bradley Senior Girls Basketball team went to Nashville to compete in the District Tournament.  While gathered for a meal, they posed for the photo below.

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The back of the photo lists those shown as follows:

1st row, left to right:  Shirley Raye Crabtree, Rebecca Bland, Marie (Sissy) Gore, Virginia Spence, Pauline Short, Laura Jane Cochran (chaperone).

2nd row, left to right:  Barbara Wagnon, Magnolia Sparks, LaRita Burks, Joan Stevens, Bonnie Sue Fish, Nancy McGee, Joe Langdon (Coach).

Not shown:  Barbara Ann Dalrymple.

Does anyone know how this team fared in their District Tournament?

Bradley School, First Grade, 1955

On a September morning in 1955, Miss Ray Crabtree welcomed her newest first grade class.  Somehow, in a feat which must have been akin to herding cats, the new students were persuaded to pose for a picture.  Mrs. J. W. Camp, Sr., was there with her camera and took the photo below, which her son, Harry, has graciously provided to

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Who are these kids?  Even though I was a member of this class, fifty-four intervening years have drastically reduced my ability to identify them.  Below are two slightly enlarged and cropped versions of the photo.  Most of the identifications on these photos were made not from memory, but by comparing them with the class photos in the 1956 Bradley School yearbook.  Almost certainly, there are one or more errors and, of course, some of the faces have not been labeled at all.  Corrections and additional identifications will be most appreciated and promptly incorporated into the photos.

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Lafayette County Fair in Bradley, 1947

The 65th (at least in its current incarnation) annual Lafayette County Fair is being held this week at the fairgrounds just off Highway 82 between Stamps and Lewisville.  Before that, it was held at a location just off the Skelly Road (now County Road 22), which basically runs from the southwest part of Stamps to the southeast part of Lewisville, and vice versa.

Few are aware, however, that at least on one occasion, the Lafayette County Fair was held in Bradley.  In 1947, the Fair was in its third year.  Exactly where in Bradley was it held?  In the field just south of what members of my generation remember as the residence of Mr. & Mrs. L. E. “Happy” Taylor.  Today, it might occur to many that there wasn’t much room for such an undertaking in that location because of the proximity of Highway 29 just behind (east) of that field.  However, that portion of Highway 29 was not constructed until 1954, seven years later.  Highway 29 ran in 1947 in front of the Taylor residence, i.e., between their home and the railroad tracks. 

The following are some photos of that event, which have yellowed and deteriorated with the years.  A makeshift corral was erected for the livestock events:

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Local merchants exhibited their wares:

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And, finally, the following photo shows a reasonably good of view of what was then Highway 29, still unpaved, next to the railroad.

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