Dad and Mom, Virgil and Emma Jones.

Hot Times in the Town of Bradford


As told to her daughter Barbara Weaver


 can remember two big fires we had in Bradford when I was a little girl. I must have been in the second or third grade.   Bradford had a Hotel located just behind the Hickman store. One summer day we spotted smoke boiling up from somewhere "up town". As usual when something untoward happens in a small town, the whole community runs to see what is going on, and be of what service they can. Bradford didn't have a regular fire department, nor running water as that was before our water tank was constructed. Anyway, the hotel was in full blaze and nothing could be done to save it.
At that time I had injured my foot on an old rusty plow blade that was buried deep in the dirt with the point sticking out of the ground in the school yard. An older girl, (I believe her name was Ulalia) carried me all the way home, blood soaking the front of her dress. My Granny doctored and bandaged my foot but I couldn't walk on it for a long time. When the hotel fire started, all my family ran to see if they could be of help, forgetting I'd be left alone.  I sat in the front porch swing feeling very apprehensive.
          We had a neighbor down the way who had some cows and she had a bull that sometimes got out of the pasture and of course Mrs. Williams' bull chose that time to escape. He was coming down the road just bawling and slobbering and I just knew he would get me. I managed to get into the house and close the door, thinking he would come charging through any minute. I was one happy girl when my family came back home. 
I started school in a little one-room cabin type building with Mrs. Wyatt as my teacher. The new school was opened while I was still in first grade so we didn't get to keep it very long. It burned down just before Thanksgiving when I was in the fifth grade. I remember my mom and dad waking us kids one night saying the school was on fire. We went out onto the porch upstairs and could see the flames shooting up into the sky. I remember I was so asleep I couldn't focus for a good while. I think some of us thought, “Oh boy, no more school.” Our joy was short lived, though, as classes were installed at the town hall, and some churches. The fifth and sixth grade went to the Baptist church. The next year we went to school in the gym, with a class in each corner of the gym. I don't think it was so very long that another school was built, probably the one existing today....
         My sister Nell was up for Valedictorian of the senior class at that time. But the records were destroyed during the school fire and they had to make a choice based on records from that time on. I believe one of the Twyford boys was chosen.   And I think Nell was Salutatorian... vvv