‘Arkansas Mischief’ Begins at Bradford


White County Record, August 1, 2001



 want to recommend that you read the book “Arkansas Mischief” written by Jim McDougal while he was in prison.  It’s at the White County Library.   He tells about his young life at Bradford. They had a feed and seed store on Front St. on the railroad.  He went to school there.  His grandfather owned the farm that my nephew now owns, and Jim lived there for a few years.  He was an only child.  He told how his grandfather had people come to his home, and music was played on the land while they sat on the porch to enjoy the listening with friends.


Of course he tells how he got started in politics. His family was well- to-do for those times, and well thought of in Bradford.  When his grandfather died the place was handed down in the family.  They were all interested in politics and were friends with Wilbur Mills from Kensett.


It’s so interesting to read about Bradford way back then.  He names personalities of that time.  He talks about Jackson County and Newport and the nightlife there while he was still a teenager. He always looked older than he was and always had a problem with drinking.


When he went to college at Fayetteville he had a party life.  He got into politics more and more.  At one time he had to come back to Bradford to run the family business.  He went into the Baptist Church and preached for a while.  There was always a “pull” between right and wrong.


He spent some years in Washington D.C. working with Fulbright. He and Jim Guy Tucker owned a home together at one time.


Whatever he might have been, his life was not dull.  There were long periods that he did not drink at all.  His family worried about him and his way of life, but that was the only thing he knew.  He was good at it.  On several occasions he had to come back to Bradford and run the family business, but the political people were always calling him to do some kind of work for them.  He met Bill Clinton while they were both working for Fulbright. He said Clinton was still a young man and wore his hair wrapped around his head like a weed.  That was before either of them was married so they partied together.          

It is one of the most interesting books that I’ve ever read.  He died in prison on March 8, 1998, at the age of 57.