This past weekend, I visited with Mr. and Mrs. Dick Bishop in their home. I asked Mrs. Margie about the story I had heard of the accident that ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s. She confirmed the story and was able to provide enough details that I was able to pinpoint the precise date of the accident.
She remembered that the “bus” carrying the football team was side-swiped on “old” Highway 29 coming back from a game. The “bus” in those days was nothing that resembles today’s school bus. It was basically a large truck, with the rear passenger compartment framed with lumber and the windows covered only in poultry wire. George Baker was driving the bus, and apparently he was not at fault in the accident. “Old” Highway 29 refers to the road that now runs by the Arkansas Division of Youth Services Wilderness Camp. It was Highway 29 prior to the 1954 paving and straightening of that highway.
Mrs. Margie was able to give an approximate year for the accident by remembering what grade she was in when it occurred. She also remembered that the two boys most seriously injured were Basil Henderson and Ernest Jewell Hamiter.
The diaries of Della Cochran contain the following entries:
Friday, October 13, 1933: “…Our football boys played Stamps at night.
S[tamps] 21, B[radley] 0. Last game for year for Bradley.”
Saturday, October 14, 1933: “At midnight called F[rank Cochran, Sr., who was in Shreveport that night] to tell about truck wrecking our school bus. Basil H. and E. J. Hamiter hurt worst. Others cut and bruised….”
And thus ended the Bradley High School football program of the 1930s.