O’Neal & Crockett, circa 1930

Gayle Garner has generously supplied bradleyark.com with a wonderful photo of a Bradley business from long ago.

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This business was O’Neal & Crockett, a retail mercantile establishment located on the northwest corner of Pilot and 4th Street/Highway 160, roughly where the car wash is now.  The man wearing the necktie on the right side of the photo is Gayle’s father, Merritt Guyraud Garner.  Gayle thinks the boy on the right side of the photo may be his brother, Merritt Gerald Garner.  This type of business photo is rather common, and was apparently taken by a roving photographer who specialized in such photos.

Two excerpts from Glynn McCalman’s Bradley Connections give a glimpse into this business.

“Before the Edwards ‘department’ store was built during the depression, the largest general store at Bradley was owned by Gilbert ‘Gip’ O’Neal and Ernest Crockett.  … Before partnership with O’Neal, G. I. ‘Bob Reynolds was Crockett’s partner.  The store was at the northwest corner of Fourth Street at Pilot, and had been previously been owned by John Hamiter.  The John Deere farm implement store just west of it was also owned by them.”

“Nearly three-fourths of a century after our first childhood visit to O’Neal and Crockett, some of us continue to remember fondly the pleasant mixed aromas of coffee, potatoes, grain, apples, and other produce that greeted customers when they entered.  The business also included a farm implement store immediately west of that building on Fourth Street.  After the dissolution of the business, possibly in part due to the Depression of the 1930’s, the extreme eastern section of the building was modified to house the post office.  Later yet, that portion of the building west of the post office housed Tom Jester’s appliance store and shoe shop.”

An invoice from Reynolds-Crockett Co., the precursor of O’Neal & Crockett, appeared in the article posted on this site on January 14, 2008.

Gayle Garner’s father, Merritt Guyraud Garner, later worked for Edwards Company.  Around 1937, Edwards Company decided to build a store at Canal where a new cotton gin was being built, and Gayle’s father ran that store for a time.  Later, Merritt Guyraud Garner left Edwards Company and built a store of his own, the “M. G. Garner Company,” next door to the Edwards store at Canal.  Near the end of 1944, the Garner family moved to Longview, Texas.

Gayle Garner’s grandfather, John P. Garner, was the first person to sign the petition to incorporate the town of Bradley in 1906.

Gayle is the author of A Childhood in Cotton Country, which was serialized in the Lafayette County Press a few years ago.  He was born in 1930 in a house located just north of Walnut Hill, part of which had once been the doctor’s office of my own great-grandfather, Dr. J. F. McKnight.  He graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1955, and later accepted a commission in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the United States Army.  At one time he was Chief Trial Judge of the U. S. Army. In 1997, after retirement from the U. S. Army, he became General Counsel of Waste Connections, Inc., which at that time was the fourth-largest national solid waste company.  He retired from that position in 2008, and now spends part of his time on hobbies of writing and painting pictures.

Old Hamner-Edwards Building remodeling, 1960

James Drake has graciously provided bradleyark.com with a clipping from the June 13, 1960, Lafayette County Democrat.  It deals with the radical remodeling of the building on the southwest corner of Pilot and 4th Street/Highway 160, known as, so the article says, the “Old Hamner Edwards Building.”  It is the building currently occupied by Bradley Ag Supply and Kevin’s Kitchen and should not be confused with the Edwards Company building which was located more or less on the site now occupied by the Bradley Municipal Complex.

The article is accompanied by a very grainy photo, reproduced below:

Bradley Ag Supply bldg predecessor 001 A, 300 pixels

The text of the article is as follows:


Monday morning, June 13, Mrs. M. M. Hamner, Sr., began work on main street that will greatly improve the appearance of Bradley.  The Old Hamner-Edwards building is being partly torn down and will be remodeled and two modern store buildings will take its place.  The building has been vacant for several years and has been an eye sore.  Windows were broken out and boarded up and [sic] was very unsightly as one crossed the railroad tracks coming into Bradley.

The height of the walls are being lowered changing the entrance from the East to the North.  Brick veneer will cover the old outside wall and will be of similar design of the new bank building.  The inside walls of the building will be of plaster and the floor will be of concrete.  Dirt had to be hauled in to fill the about four feet escavation [sic] that existed after many thousands of gallons of water was pumped from the hole.  People who remember when the building was constructed in 1913 say that the dirt was removed by mules and slips in order that air circulation might be possible under the floor of the building.  Instead of permitting air circulation, it became a pool of water under the entire 50 x 150 building.

This old building now being removed to give way to a modern structure was constructed by Mr. Tom W. Maryman, then President and Manager of the Bradley Mercantile Co. in 1913.  An old building stood on this site previous to this, according to Mr. J. W. Meek, and was partly destroyed by storm.

The Bradley Mercantile operated a business in this then modern brick building from 1913 to 1915.  Mr. P. M. Allen purchased the stock and at some later date the building was sold to J. B. and P. D. Burton from whom Mr. Hamner purchased the property recently.

In 1918, Mr. M. M. Hamner, Mr. L. B. Hamner and Mrs. J. B. Edwards went into business in this old store and in 1923 M. M. Hamner sold to Mr. Edwards.

In 1936, Edwards moved to their present location [near the present Bradley Municipal Complex].  Mr. Max Baker then became a partner with Mr. L. B. Hamner which lasted a few years and then Mr. Baker left the business leaving only Mr. L. B. Hamner who moved out of the building four years ago.

The new building now being erected will add two more modern stores to our list of new construction in Bradley.  Main street will take on a new look with the completion of this building.”

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The article is reprinted here with permission.

There are two other partial views of this building already on this site.  The photo in the post of March 24, 2008, shows this building on the left side of the photo, apparently not long after it was built.  The photo in the post of January 22, 2009, also shows this building on the left side of the photo, about 1951.

Walnut Hill Cemetery web site

Ken Allen has brought to my attention the wonderful work of Kala Traxler in setting up a web site for the Walnut Hill Cemetery.  It’s walnuthillcemetery.net.  A link to it has been added in the “Blogroll” section on the right side of your screen.  It even has an alphabetical index of graves.  It’s a must-see for anyone with an interest in Bradley area history.

Bradley High School Class of 1962 Reunion

On June 27, 2009, the Bradley High School Class of 1962 held a reunion on the 47th [!] anniversary of its graduation.  A total of 42 class members and friends attended the reunion and enjoyed catching up with each other.

James Drake, a member of that class, has provided bradleyark.com with two photos of those in attendance.

Ladies first:

Womens group 1962 reunion 6-27-09

Standing, left to right:  Judy Cheney Bogart, Bette Whetstone Lynn, Lola Lane Starling, Faye Tucker Durabb, Sherry Jackson Hendrix, Gloria Stephens, Sharon Drake, Judy Coker and Sue Cook.  Seated, left to right:  Rachel McKinney, Carolyn Burks, Diane Fletcher, Mary Cross, Phyllis Barrington.

And the gentlemen in attendance:

Mens group 1962 reunion 6-27-09

Standing, left to right:  Clyde Stephens, James Drake, Bob Coker, Dickie Bishop, Robert Lane, Samuel Marvin Cross and Willie Harrist.  Seated, left to right:  James Bland, Floyd Goode, Tom Burks, Henry Fletcher, Gerald Lynn and Marvin Barrington.

Thanks, James, for the photos.

Bradley High School Class of 1969 40th Anniversary Reunion

This past Saturday, June 20, 2009, the Bradley High School Class of 1969 came together for a class reunion on the 40th anniversary of their graduation.   Below is a photo of those present, with the exception of one person who arrived after the photo was taken.

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From left to right:  Johnny Craig, Danny Maness, Ricky Powell, Dennis McEachern, Jan Allen Segrest, Curtis Thompson, Betty Carol Endsley Stanley, Penny Dreher Lyons, Delores Maness Grimes, Linda Goodwin Elledge, Barbara Price McGuffie, Carroll Collier (partially obscured), Jean Starling Burnett, John Bishop, Billy Bynum, Vicky Powell Paige, Bobby Works, Buddy Stevenson, Earl Vickers, Susie Cochran Hargis, Jimmy Ray Dickerson, Peggy Wilson Cook, and Ronnie Hill.  Mary Adams Garner is not shown.

Faces in the above photo are obviously difficult to discern, so here are some zoomed-in photos of the participants.

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Above are, from left to right:  Johnny Craig, Danny Maness, Ricky Powell, Dennis McEachern, Jan Allen Segrest and Curtis Thompson.

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Above are, from left to right:  Curtis Thompson, Betty Carol Endsley Stanley, Penny Dreher Lyons, Linda Goodwin Elledge, Delores Maness Grimes, Jean Starling Burnett, John Bishop, Billy Bynum, Vicky Powell Paige, Bobby Works and Buddy Stevenson.

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Above are, from left to right:  Carroll Collier, Billy Bynum, Vicky Powell Paige, Bobby Works, Buddy Stevenson, Earl Vickers, Susie Cochran Hargis, Jimmy Ray Dickerson, Peggy Wilson Cook, and Ronnie Hill.

In the above photo of the middle group, one person is obscured, so here’s another photo.

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That’s Barbara Price McGuffie behind Linda Goodwin Elledge and Jean Starling Burnett.  Carroll Collier, Billy Bynum and John Bishop are obviously preoccupied with something besides the camera.

Three faculty members from the 1960’s also attended the reunion.

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From left to right:  Coach Leo Johnson, Janiece Rogers Blount, and Jimmy Gray.

Class members who were unable to attend were Bobby Adams, Larry Adams, Tommy Harvey, Glenda Knott Givens, Rebecca Knott Fricks, Don McDonald and Bobby Earl Steed.

The Class of 1969 also paid tribute to the five deceased members of their class with a memory board of photographs.  Those class members are Fred G.  Berry, Jr. (1949–1992), Billy D. “Butch” Bland, Jr. (1951–2002), Fred H. Dreher III (1951–2008), Gary Dale Pickett (1951–1991) and Rose Hinds Thompson (1950–1996).

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It’s probably trite to say that a good time was had by all, but the class members seemed to me to genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

On a personal note, I very much enjoyed visiting with Coach Leo Johnson, who is a veritable walking encyclopedia of happenings in the Bradley schools from the mid-1950’s to the late 1960’s.  Two bits of trivia from our conversation:

Coach Johnson’s paddle/strap was well known throughout the student body, both by students who had felt its sting and those who did not.  Coach Johnson told me that any “paddle-able” offense, no matter how heinous, always drew a set number of “licks” (8). 

Some of us remember watching Coach Johnson during games and thinking he was quite intense.  In 17 years of coaching basketball (not all at Bradley), how many technical fouls did he get called for? (Answer: 3).

– – – – –

Summer is class reunion time and if any other classes which are reuniting will furnish a photo(s), or a short article on their affair, I’ll be glad to post them.

Downtown Bradley, December 1968

Below are two views of 4th Street/Highway 160, both taken in December of 1968.  The first looks west and shows on the right (north) side of the photo, the Tom’s Furniture and Edwards Company buildings.  The Christmas lights above the street are also visible.

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The second photo is taken looking northeast from the intersection of 4th and Pullman Streets (between what are now Community State Bank and Coker Hardware) and shows the Edwards Company building.  It was taken on the occasion of the downtown Christmas celebration in 1968.

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Finally, below is a roughly similar view of the Edwards Company building, taken on October 27, 2001, shortly before its destruction to make way for the construction of the Bradley Municipal Complex.

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Stealin’ A Hog–Or, Maybe Not (1915)

I’ve been rummaging around some of the old Arkansas Supreme Court cases, trying to find the earliest mention of the Town, now City, of Bradley.  The earliest I’ve found so far is reprinted below:  Twitty v. State, 118 Ark. 602 (1915).  The italicized portions in the body of the opinion are my comments.

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May 24, 1915 [the date this opinion was handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court]

KIRBY, J. [Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Kirby, who wrote this opinion]

Doss Twitty was convicted of grand larceny for stealing a hog, the property of J. W. Vaughan, and from the judgment prosecutes this appeal.

Appellant [i.e., the person doing the appealing, in this case, Doss Twitty] contends for reversal that the testimony is not sufficient to sustain the verdict.  It appears from the testimony:  That Doss Twitty, with his brother, went out into the range near the town of Bradley, in Lafayette county, hog hunting with their dogs.  That they killed a one-eared blue barrow, went back to town, and had the liveryman to send a wagon and bring it to their home in the town of Bradley, where they cleaned it in the back yard, about dark or shortly thereafter.

W. B. Vaughan, a son of J. W. Vaughan, the alleged owner of the hog, had the appellant under suspicion, and on learning that he had gone into the woods hog hunting, went into the range himself with two others, and they heard dogs baying and shots, two or three times, but were never able to come up with the persons doing the shooting.  Each time they would reach the places where they thought the shooting occurred, those doing it had gone.  They then took the other end of the line and went back to town to see what would be brought in by Doss Twitty upon his return.  They found him and his brother, who was indicted jointly with him, cleaning the carcass of a one-eared blue barrow, in the back yard; the side with the ear gone being uppermost.  One of them stated:  That, before they made their presence known, Doss Twitty said to his brother, “Let’s go to supper and drag the hog in the house.”  That his suspicion was further excited by this remark.  They then went up and asked to see the mark on the hog; one of them, Will Allen, reaching his hand down under the hog’s head and feeling the ear that was marked.  They testified it was in the mark of J. W. Vaughan, a crop and underbit in that ear.  Twitty, upon their saying they wanted to see the mark, said: “All right; I will just cut the ear off, and give it to you”—which he did.  Vaughan claimed that, in cutting off the ear, he cut it so as to cut it under the bit, which Twitty denied, saying that he had given him the whole ear.  The ear was not produced in evidence, and no effort was made by Vaughan to take possession of the hog.

Young Vaughan and the two others with him all testified that the hog was the property of J. W. Vaughan, explained how his other ear had been chewed off by the dogs, gave the description, and were positive in their identification.

Twitty and his brother and five or six others, the man who had sold him the hogs before they were taken from the town into the range, the man who had helped to mark him at the time the dogs chewed his other ear off, the man who had occasionally fed the hogs for him in the range, and two or three others, all testified, giving the description of the hog, and stating positively that it was the property of Doss Twitty.

The preponderance of the testimony appears to be against the jury’s finding, but there is substantial testimony to support their verdict, and this court cannot disturb it.  The jury evidently believed from the testimony of the conduct of the defendant in the woods and at the time Vaughan and the others asked to see the mark of the hog, while he was cleaning it, that he was trying to conceal the true condition and found him guilty.

The testimony is sufficient to sustain the verdict, and the judgment is affirmed.”

– – – – –

Hog stealing in those days was “grand” larceny and was obviously a serious business.

Cutting somewhat through the legalese, what the Arkansas Supreme Court is saying is that, after examining the court reporter’s transcript of the case, it appears to them that there is actually more evidence that Mr. Twitty did not steal the hog, than that he did steal the hog.  However, because the jury actually saw the witnesses testify, it was in a better position than this appellate court to determine who was telling the truth and who wasn’t.  So, Mr. Twitty’s conviction was allowed to stand.

Bradley School Campus, early 1950’s

Perusing the Bradley school yearbooks from the early 1950’s can be interesting in more ways than one.  Besides the people around whom most of the yearbook is centered, there are pictures of the campus at that time which reveal features and views no longer there.  Because most of these pictures are little more than candid shots, appearing in the yearbooks as part of a collage taking up an entire page, many are rather grainy.

The picture below, from the 1953 yearbook, was apparently taken from a window on the second floor of the south side of the old high school building, or possibly from the top of the slide on the elementary school playground.

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It looks southeasterly, in the direction of what most of the students of my generation would remember as the house of J. W. “Buck” Camp, Sr., and family.  On the left side of the picture is a small portion of the goldfish pond that once adorned that part of the campus.  A better view of that pond is shown below in a photo also taken from the 1953 yearbook.  The yearbook does not identify the young lady sitting in front of the pond.  The street (7th Street) behind her goes to the Bradley Baptist Church and on further east to the railroad right-of-way.

090420 goldfish pond, 300 pixels

Below is a photo of the old gym (now auditorium) apparently taken from the second floor of the west side of the old high school building.  Judging from the number of students on the merry-go-round in the foreground, it must have been a busy day on the elementary playground.

090420 Gym from old high school building, 300 pixels

The photo below, from the 1951 yearbook, shows the seesaws on the elementary playground, and looks north toward the Meek residence, which is now the home of Joe and Darlene Middlebrooks.  This picture would have been taken almost a full decade before part of this view would have been obstructed by the 1960 elementary school building on the north border of the campus.

090420 seesaws, 300 pixels

The photo below of the baseball field, also taken from the 1950 yearbook, shows the rather substantial stands which once were located on the third base side of the field.

090420 baseball field 3rd base bleachers, 300 pixels

And, finally, I find the photo below, also taken from the 1950 yearbook, most interesting of all.  It shows Miss June Colvin, appearing as F. F. A. Sweetheart.  What is so interesting, however, is that there appears to be an elevated water tank in the distance behind the vehicle on the right side of the picture.

090420 June Colvin water tank, 300 pixels

This photo also offers an good view of the west side of the old high school building.

Making Plans for Summer Baseball, 1957

Today is the day in which most major league baseball teams open their regular seasons, so let’s take a look at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the organization which sponsored the Bradley Little League, Pony League,  Babe Ruth, and American Legion baseball teams in 1957.

The following article is reprinted from the Lafayette County Democrat, with permission.

– – – – –


The Board of Directors met on Monday, February 11, 1957 at one p. m. at Hamner Implement Company for the purpose of preparing for the coming baseball season, which will include the Little League, Pony League, Babe Ruth and American Legion ball clubs.

The appointed officers and their duties are as follows:  Commissioner, Ralph Hamner; President H. M. Burks; V. Pres, Odell Clary; Sec-Treas., John Coker; Umpire Controller J. W. Camp.

Plate Umpires: Gerald Walding, Marvin McCalman, Billy Barker.

Base Umpires: Herbert Collier, Madison Drake, Jack Jones, Harry Bussey.

Transportation Officers:  Odell Clary, Herman Barnett.

Bus Drivers:  Herbert Collier, Clyde Jackson.

Entertainment:  Thomas Williams, Herman Barnett, J. W. Camp.

Police and Traffic:  Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, L. G. Middlebrooks, Hulon Mitchell, Madison Drake, James Wilson, Carl Baker.

Food Concessions:  Mrs. John Coker, Mrs. Ralph Hamner, Mrs. L. G. Middlebrooks, Mrs. Lewis Whisenhunt, Mrs. Herman Barnett, Mrs. Thomas Williams.

Drinks:  Ralph Hamner, Hulon Mitchell, Ralph Hamner, Jr., Buck Williams, Merle Gore.

Repairs:  Odell Clary, James Wilson, L. G. Middlebrooks, Madison Drake, Marvin McCalman, Clyde Jackson, John Coker.

Grounds:  Thomas Williams, Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, Jack Jones, Herman Barnett, J. W. Camp, Billy Barker.

School Property:  H. M. Burks, E. V. Powell, Entire Ground Crew.

Board of Directors:  Ralph Hamner, Thomas Williams, Glendon Barnett, Pat Coker, Jack Jones, Herman Barnett, James Wilson, L. G. Middlebrooks, Horace Burks, John Coker, E. V. Powell, Madison Drake, J. W. Camp, Odell Clary, Harry Bussey, Carl Baker, Lewis Whisenhunt, Hulon Mitchell, Billy Barker, Gerald Walding, Herbert Collier.

At this meeting it was also decided to improve the playing field by leveling the grounds, installing more lights, repairing the bleachers, concession stand, fences, and the property South of the ball field, when leveled and drained will provide a new entrance to the field.  A heavy wire fence will be built along both base lines to protect the spectators.

The Ground Committee voted to bring the following implements to work the grounds.  Plows:  Ralph Hamner, Thomas Williams, and Jack Jones; Land Levelers:  Ralph Hamner and Glendon Barnett; Disk Harrows:  Ralph Hamner, Lewis Whisenhunt, Horace Burks and Pat Coker.

All Board Members agreed to wear ball caps as to Mr. Hamner’s suggestion.

During 1956 a total of 66 boys participated in the program.  In 1957 a total of 100 is expected to participate.

Respectfully Submitted, John R. Coker, Secretary-Treasurer; Merle Gore, Reporter.”

Governor Conway Days, 3/28/09, Part 2 of 2

The last post promised a look at the parade from last Saturday’s Governor Conway Days.

The parade was led by Mayor J. C. Williams:


Considering the cool, windy weather, a good crowd was present:

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The Bradley High School Class of 1964 held its 45th reunion and took part in the parade.  Its trailer was driven by Dickey Bishop, a member of that class.  In the last of the three photos below, the three “young” ladies are Loretta Thompson Rodgers, Linda Lamar Mehrling, and Patsy Collier Vines.  The gentlemen on the far side of the trailer have their heads turned, and are difficult to identify from the photo.

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The Plain Dealing, River Bend, and Lewisville Fire Departments had trucks in the parade:

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Last, but not least in the parade were the young people on their horses:

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