County: Bradley

Banks (Bradley County)

  Banks is one of only three incorporated communities in Bradley County. Once known for its relationship to the railroads and the timber industry, the town is now chiefly considered a center for hunters in the southern Arkansas forests. Caddo lived in the region where Banks is located as much as 5,000 years ago. Eventually, European and American explorers and settlers arrived in what is now Arkansas, and the Caddo were moved farther west. Among the first landowners in the area were John McFarlin (who obtained his land grant in 1856), John Evans, and Pleasant D. Morgan—the latter two claiming their land in 1860. Before the Civil War, some land was cleared in the area for the construction of the Mississippi, Ouachita …

Beavers, William and Henry (Lynchings of)

In 1890 and 1892, brothers William and Henry Beavers—both African American—were lynched near Warren (Bradley County) and Wilmar (Drew County), respectively. William was accused of assaulting Inez Abernathy, whose family he had been living with. Henry was murdered for attacking Chloe Wright, the daughter of a prominent Drew County farmer. In 1880, William Beavers (then two years old) and his brother Junior (presumably Henry, age four) were living in Pennington Township of Bradley County with their parents, Henry and Lorenda Beavers, and several other siblings. Henry Beavers Sr. was thirty years old and was a farmer. If these ages are correct, William Beavers would have been only fourteen years old at the time of his murder, and Henry sixteen. Both …

Binns, William (Execution of)

William Binns was hanged in Warren (Bradley County) on June 11, 1880, for the murder of another African American man who was a romantic rival. William Binns and livery-man T. P. Edwards were both, according to reports, “sustaining criminal relations” with a Black woman named Caldonia Crook (also referred to as Dora or Dona Cook) in Monticello (Drew County). On June 23, 1879, Edwards “was found speechless and dying” in Crook’s eastern Monticello home, his skull crushed and cheekbone shattered. A bloody axe was found in the room. Local authorities thought Binns a likely suspect in the case, and when he was found wearing bloody clothing and “utterly failed to give any satisfactory account of himself,” he was arrested, as …

Bradley County

  Bradley County, located in southern Arkansas in the West Gulf Coastal Plain, has become known nationally as one of the prime production areas for tomatoes. The “Bradley Pink” variety is the standard for quality for the entire tomato market in the United States. The tomato has been labeled “Arkansas’s gift to the nation,” and the pink tomato is the official fruit and vegetable of the state. The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival draws thousands of visitors each year. The county is bounded on the west by Calhoun County, with Moro Bayou the dividing line, and on the north by Cleveland County. To the east is Drew County, the dividing line being the Saline River. The Ouachita River divides the …

Bradley County Courthouse and County Clerk’s Office

The Bradley County Courthouse was designed by architect Frank W. Gibb and contracted by E. L. Koonce. Constructed in 1903, the two-story brick courthouse has an “unusual combination of classical characteristics,” according to the National Register nomination form. The Bradley County Courthouse is located at 101 East Cedar in Warren (Bradley County). It is the third courthouse to occupy this location. The first courthouse was a temporary one built on the site in 1843, approximately two years after the creation of the county, and continued in use until 1862, when a brick courthouse, begun in 1858, replaced it. The second courthouse remained for forty-one years, when it was replaced in 1903 by the current Bradley County Courthouse. The courthouse was …

Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival

The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival celebrates the pink tomato industry in southeastern Arkansas. Originally a one-day event, it has become a weeklong celebration that attracts approximately 30,000 people each year. In June 1956, the first Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival was held in Warren (Bradley County). Loran Johnson, who was director of the Chamber of Commerce at the time, was one of the founders of the festival. The one-day event included musicians, a carnival, and exhibits. Each year, a chairperson of the festival was chosen. A parade and beauty pageant were added the second year. Another festival event began after Jean Frisby, who was the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service (UACES) home economist for Bradley County, and Loran Johnson, who …

Edmunds, Howard (Execution of)

Howard Edmunds was hanged on December 9, 1881, in Warren (Bradley County) for the murder of his young sister-in-law with whom he had had an affair and impregnated. Edmunds, age twenty-six, was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, and moved to Arkansas around 1877, settling in Monticello (Drew County) where he soon married his cousin, widow Minnie Stitt, the daughter of planter James R. Watson. Stitt’s sister (and also Edmunds’s cousin), sixteen-year-old Sallie Watson, was a frequent visitor to their home, and she and Edmunds began an affair that resulted in her becoming pregnant. In late June 1881, Howard and Minnie Edmunds and several friends went on a fishing trip during which Edmunds “was abstracted and absent minded to a …

Goodwin, William Shields

William Shields Goodwin was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He represented the Seventh District of Arkansas in the Sixty-Second through the Sixty-Sixth U.S. Congresses, serving from 1911 to 1921. William Shields Goodwin was born on May 2, 1866, in Warren (Bradley County) to Thomas Morrison Goodwin and Esther Shields Goodwin. He was educated in the local public schools before attending Farmers’ Academy in Duluth, Georgia; Cooledge’s Preparatory School; and Moore’s Business College in Atlanta. He also studied at both the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) and the University of Mississippi. He also studied the law and was admitted to the Arkansas bar in 1894, after which he opened a practice in Warren. He …

Green, Crane (Lynching of)

On July 19, 1903, a twenty-three-year-old African American man named Crane Green was lynched near Warren (Bradley County) for allegedly assaulting the daughter of a white sawmill worker named Baker. Baker and Green were employees of Childs’ mill near Warren. Green allegedly assaulted Baker’s thirteen-year-old daughter on Saturday, July 18, leaving her “considerably injured.” Green escaped, but the word went out, and local officers sent his description to law enforcement officers throughout the region. He was eventually captured in Lanark (Bradley County). A posse started out to take him to the county jail, but on the way they encountered a mob. According to the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, the mob had assembled on the Kingsland Road about five miles north …

Hamilton and Ludberry (Lynching of)

A lynching in Warren (Bradley County) was the subject of two different reports published in the January 23, 1887, edition of the Arkansas Gazette. The earliest report received was placed on page four in the “Local Items” column and reads as follows: “It was rumored last evening that Medbury and Hamilton, charged with the murder of the Harris brothers, near Warren, had been taken from jail and lynched. The report, however, could not be verified, there being no night telegraph operator at that place.” However, by the time that page was set, another report arrived at the Gazette (datelined St. Louis, Missouri, January 22) and was placed on the first page of the issue. According to this report, the two …

Hamilton, Henry (Reported Lynching of)

Henry Hamilton, described as a wealthy landowner from Bradley County, was reportedly lynched by a mob on June 30, 1887, for his role in murdering a pair of brothers. However, the national reports in question mirror state reports, published in January of that year, regarding the lynching of two men variously named Hamilton and Ludberry. Newspapers around the United States reported in early July 1887 that Hamilton, “a wealthy planter and stock man,” had been lynched on June 30, 1887, with most accounts saying that he and a man named DeBerry committed the crime for which Hamilton was lynched, while others reported that Hamilton and his brother committed the murders. Accounts also differ on the names of the murder victims, …

Hermitage (Bradley County)

Built on what was once the farm of Wiley Powell and then Jefferson Singer, the city of Hermitage is located on a small ridge near the geographic center of Bradley County. Until the Rock Island Railroad was built across the county, the area was sparsely settled, although a post office named Hermitage existed at this location before the Civil War. The Bradley County tomato industry and the poultry industry are both major components of the Hermitage economy. Around 1849, Wiley and Louisa Powell moved to Bradley County, taking title to the land that is now Hermitage the next year. Louisa’s parents, James and Susan Thompson, joined the Powells that year, as did Robert Pulley (who served as the pastor of Holly …

Hollensworth, Carroll Charles

Carroll Charles Hollensworth was a prominent member of the Arkansas General Assembly in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Serving as the Speaker of the House and then as the floor leader, he was a central figure in the legislature’s work throughout that period. Carroll Charles Hollensworth was born in Warren (Bradley County) on January 6, 1900, to Presbyterian minister Eli Asa Hollensworth and Mary Elizabeth Lee Hollensworth. He had an older brother and a younger sister. He grew up in Bradley County and attended the local schools, but little is known about the specifics of his early life. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and afterward married Mayme Bird Stevens. The couple had a son and …

John Wilson Martin House

aka: Bradley County Historical Museum
The John Wilson Martin House in Warren (Bradley County), the oldest surviving residence in the town, was the home of a notable Civil War doctor. Now housing the Bradley County Historical Museum, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 27, 1990. John Wilson Martin was born on June 8, 1819, in Harrison County, Virginia, and went to New Orleans, Louisiana, around 1843 to attend lectures at Tulane University. He was settled in Warren by 1848, when he married Mary Elizabeth Franklin and established what became a flourishing medical practice. It was said that Martin would ride by “horseback all day to reach the frequently remote residences” of the sick. Martin’s medical practice was especially active, …

Moro Bay State Park

Moro Bay State Park is one of the most popular locations for fishing and water sports in south central Arkansas. Located at the convergence of Raymond Lake, Moro Bay, and the Ouachita River, the park also marks the junction of Bradley, Calhoun, and Union counties. Records from November 18, 1804, of the Hunter-Dunbar Expedition up the Ouachita River described “Bay Morau” as “a large inlet on the right, which swells into a considerable lake during an inundation.” Before railroads, the Ouachita River was the primary means of travel in the region, and many cotton barges used it to make their way from south Arkansas to New Orleans. In days past, the only way to get across the river was by ferry. …

Thomas, Herbert L. Sr.

At the age of twenty-three, Herbert L. Thomas Sr. started one of the most successful business ventures of the twentieth century in Arkansas and, in a long career in the public arena, immersed himself in the epic quarrels of the age—the 1952 highway scandal, the Adkins-Fulbright battles of the 1940s, racial integration of the public schools and colleges, and economic development. Herbert Leon Thomas was born on February 14, 1899, in the now nonexistent community of Lone Prairie near Banks, a tiny Bradley County logging town. He was the seventh of nine children of John Covington Thomas and Minnie Lou Morrison Thomas. His father, the doctor in the sparsely settled logging and farming area, died when Thomas was ten. Thomas …

Turner, John (Lynching of)

An African American man named John Turner was lynched in Warren (Bradley County) on April 5, 1903, after having allegedly “attempted assault” on a local white woman. The victim of the alleged assault (referred to as both Mrs. Neeley and Mrs. Neely in various sources) was referenced in newspaper reports as “Mrs. W. H. Neeley, a white lady who resides about seven miles west of town.” There was, at the time of the 1900 census, a Lillian A. Neely, wife of Walter H. Neely, residing in Pennington Township in Bradley County. The identity of John Turner is much more difficult to trace, there being multiple Black men of that name on the 1900 census. According to an early report in …

USS Bradley County (LST-400)

The USS Bradley County, originally USS LST-400, was a tank landing ship that served the U.S. Navy in the European Theater during World War II. It was renamed the USS Bradley County on July 1, 1955, in honor of counties in Arkansas and Tennessee. LST-400 was one of a class of vessels—called Landing Ship, Tank—created to carry tanks, wheeled and tracked vehicles, artillery, construction equipment, and supplies during military operations along coastal areas. Called “Large Slow Targets” by their crews, they were designed as shallow-draft vessels; when loaded with a 500-ton cargo, LST-400 drew just under four feet at the bow and just under ten feet at the stern. They carried pontoons amidships that could be used to create causeways …

Warren (Bradley County)

Warren has been the Bradley County seat of justice since the county’s organization on December 18, 1840. Located in the southeastern part of the state, the town continues to be the county’s commercial, educational, and health care center. It is located on what was variously called the Chicot Trace, Gaines Landing Road, Fort Towson Road, and Washita Road. Early Statehood through Reconstruction Warren once served as the official center of the territory now composed of Calhoun, Cleveland, Ashley, and Drew counties. The first circuit court met on April 26, 1841, at Hugh Bradley’s house. The naming of Warren remained clouded in conjecture for a long time; according to local family tradition, the town was named for Hugh Bradley’s slave, Warren …