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BRANTLEY, James Franklin
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
II, page 323, 1923.
BRANTLEY, JAMES FRANKLIN, one of the leading merchants and progressive citizens of the fine
little City of Lake Wales, Polk County, was born in Mercer County, Missouri, on the 26th
of January, 1879, and is a son of WILLIAM and CATHERINE (PATTERSON) BRANTLEY. Mr. BRANTLEY
was reared to the sturdy discipline of the home farm and acquired his early education in
the public schools of his native county. For nineteen years he conducted a general store
at Newtown, Sullivan County, Missouri, and in 1918 he came with his family to Florida and
established his residence at Lake Wales, where he forthwith made investment in thirty-three
city lots, besides acquiring an orange grove of twenty-five acres in the immediate vicinity.
He has also been successfully engaged in the grocery business, he having purchased the grocery
and feed store of L. L. BARNES within a short time after coming to Lake Wales and having
developed the business to one of substantial and representative order. Mr. BRANTLEY's
progressiveness may be somewhat of a family characteristic, and in support of this view it
may be stated that he is a first cousin of W. F. HOLT, who has been one of the foremost in
promoting the development of the wonderful Imperial Valley in California, in which connection
he has been associated with the Harrimans, of railroad fame.
Mr. BRANTLEY is a loyal and valued member of the Lake Wales Board of Trade, and he and his
wife are influential members of the Christian Church in their home city, of which he is
serving as a deacon. Mrs. BRANTLEY is a leader in social and cultural circles and in 1922
is president of the Lake Wales Music Club.
On the 26th of August, 1903, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. BRANTLEY and Miss BERTHA
HICKS, who likewise was born in Mercer County, Missouri, but who was about one year old at
the time of the family removal to Lincoln, Nebraska, in which fair capital city she was
reared and educated. Mrs. BRANTLEY is a daughter of B. H. and MELVINA MAY (KING) HICKS,
the former of whom was born in Missouri and the latter in Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. BRANTLEY
have three children, MILDRED, KATHERINE and MARION. Miss MILDRED BRANTLEY has the unique
distinction of being proclaimed the most beautiful girl in the State of Florida, this honor
having come to her by the decision of the judges selected in connection with the contest
conducted by the Tampa Times. The contest was closed July 22, 1922, and among 400 photographs
entered in the competition, that of Miss BRANTLEY was elected for the highest honors, and
she received also a cash prize of $500. Her picture was published in daily and weekly papers
throughout the state, as well as in leading magazines of the country, and she has been
tendered flattering offers to appear in moving pictures. The beauty of Miss MILDRED is
expressed quite fully in her personal characteristics as in her facial charm, and in all
respects she well merit's the splendid tribute that has come to her. She was born at Newtown,
Missouri, August 13, 1904, is a high-school graduate, and is a talented pianist and violinist.
At the time of this writing, in the fall of 1922, Miss BRANTLEY is a student in the Florida
State College for Women at Tallahassee, where she is specializing in music.
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