This is a wonderful addition to Greene Counties History
the Reader: Richard Albert Bradsher was born in
know exactly what happened, but Uncle Al deserted his wife and
two little girls and went traveling out west. While he was
gone, he lived in
When he came back to Marmaduke, he lived with my family. I was a young boy at the time and I loved Uncle Al. He spent time with me and taught me a lot of crafts. Once, I worked with him to build a hot air balloon. It was intended to go up just by itselfit wasnt meant to take a person up. And it was a beautiful piece of work, if I do say so myself. We built it in the backyard. Finally, the day came to send it up. For a little town like Marmaduke, this was a big event. Everybody came to watch and lined up on the fence around our yard. Uncle Al built a fire to provide the hot air to send it up. But instead of the balloon going up, the heat from the fire started heating the glue that held the balloon together. The hot glue started melting and smoke started coming out of the seams and the balloon didn't go up. It was a disappointment. Im sure if the glue had been right, our hot air balloon would have gone up. But instead, after a while our friends and neighbors just shook their heads and left.
Another time my Uncle Al helped me build a trap to catch blackbirds. The lot behind our house was split into two sections: a north lot and a south lot. The south lot was where we had our garden. Our garden attracted blackbirds and we had many blackbirds in the south lot, even in the winter months. One day Uncle Al said to me, You know, I could fix this up so you could trap those blackbirds. So we went to work.
We took a lattice about a quarter inch thick and an inch and a half wide and we constructed something like a pyramid. The pyramid sloped up to the first level and in the center of that he fixed a little trap door. The pyramid was about 48 inches square. We used a one by one stick to prop one side up about twelve inches off the ground. Because the lattice made the pyramid open, the birds werent afraid of it. We put cracked corn in the center under the pyramid and they gathered in there like crazy! We tied a string to the stick and ran the string to my bedroom. I would sit in my bedroom and watch until the birds gathered, then Id pull the string and we would catch many blackbirds!
My mother had read me a story about Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie. So I asked my mother if she could bake a pie out of those birds we caught and she said, Yes, I think so. So I cleaned those birds and we had a lot of good meatit was dark meat. My mother made something like an English pasty with that meat and we invited Brother Gatlin, the Methodist minister to come eat a noontime dinner with us. My mother, my grandmother, Brother Gatlin, Uncle Al and I all sat around our big round oak table. I must have been about five years old then; my sister wasnt with us because she was in school and my Father was at work. Brother Gatlin was a real fine gentlemanI knew him later in life when I worked for the Boy Scouts. He enjoyed that pie and we all agreed that pie was delicious. So that story my mother told me about the Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie became a reality in my life.
Uncle Al had a pocket watch with a gold chainsomething nice that men were proud of in those days. He also had a mounted elks tooth on that chain. He probably told me where he got that elks tooth but I dont remember. I dont know if he bought it or what, but I remember I was fascinated with that elks tooth.
know much about Uncle Als life. He told me he had
Another story I
remember: In 1934, I was about six years old and Uncle Al bought
a new 1934 Dodge car. He had a job sellingmaybe he
was a salesman selling though a catalog, I dont know.
I went with him on one of his trips up toward Rector and
The car had a radio, and that was unusual in 1934. I said to him, Why dont you play the radio? and he said, The engine is so damn loud you cant hear it anyway.
He was quite a singer; he loved to sing and I thought he did a real good job. Harvest Moon was one of the songs I remember him singing, Harvest Moon" and others that I cant recall right now. But I remember that one, Harvest Moon.
We moved to
Sterling Adamson, Jr.
Lanette was a
little ditsy. It was not uncommon for Lanette to call up and say,
Ive locked my key in the car and its running. Will
you come down here and help me? Once when the garage was on
Eva was Als
other daughter. Eva had a difficult time and at the last she
lived in an apartment house for seniors on
Herbert and Lavern Pool also traded at my fathers garage and so did the Grays. My father had a heart condition and one day he had an attack at home. My mother was at home at the time and they rushed him down to Grays Clinic. My mother went down there with him and I came down there later. He was 56 when he passed away. He was very fond of Dr. Gray.
After Uncle Al deserted his family, his wife, Victoria, married Mr. Spillman. Mr. Spillman was over 6 feet talla nice looking man, he looked like an English gentleman that you might see in a movie. He was just a very nice, gentle, caring loving type of person. He was elderly when I was in my teens. I always enjoyed visiting with him. He worked for the State in the State Capitol. When I went to the State Capitol, I usually saw him there working in one of the offices. Im sure he was well loved by the employees there because he was a perfect gentleman.
Additional notes from Margaret Ann Gray (daughter of Margaret Woodrow Bradsher Gray):
Al was an
insurance salesman and he conned his own family and other people
of money. He took their money to pay for insurance policies but
he never turned the money in. He kept the money for himself and
lived off their money, so when they figured out what he was doing,
they sent him to jail. When he got out, he went back to see
his mother in