"She Was 16, A Village Queen" .…
Born on February 5, 1873, Corning was a beautiful lassie of 16 Summers when The Goodspeed Publishing Co. of Chicago sent agents through this area to compile "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northeast Arkansas" and the volume gives us a photograph of the community and Clay County that is a priceless heirloom.
"Corning, the seat of justice for the Western District, situated on Section 6, Township 20, of Range 5, on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, was established in 1873. It contains the courthouse and jail, six general stores, two drug stores, one grocery, three saloons, one livery stable, four hotels, one stave factory, two cotton gins with grist mills attached, one wagon shop, one blacksmith shop, two shoe shops, three church organizations, Methodist Episcopal, South, Christian and Baptist, with but one church edifice, belonging to the Methodists, one school house, post office and a population of 600. It also contained a lodge each of Mason , Good Templars and Triple Alliance.
Don (now Success) is a post office in the Western part of the county.
Knobel, a station at the Junction of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, and Helena branch was established soon after the completion of the railroad. It contains three general stores, the railroad buildings, a large hotel, one school house and about 25 residences.
Moark, situated on the same railroad, near the Northern boundary of the county, was established soon after the railroad was completed. It contains three sawmills, one of which is located on Black River three miles East, being connected with the village by a wooden tramway, one general store, one school house, post office and a few residences.
Peach Orchard, a station on the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, contains one general store, one cotton gin with sorghum and grist mill attached, post office and a few residences.
Pittman, a post office hamlet, is in the extreme Northwest corner of the county.
Thurman (Datto) is a post office, seven miles West of Corning.
Vidette, (Palatka) is a post office ten miles Northwest of Corning.
Williams is a post office four miles West of Moark.
The Corning Index (Courier) is a six column folio weekly newspaper, was established in 1875. It is published by Clyde C. Estes and edited by E. D. Estes in a an acceptable manner, evidencing ability and force."
Amplifying the Corning paragraph, the courthouse was the two-story wooden facility built in 1881 when the Eastern and Western Districts were established. The jail was a large brick two-story structure on the rear of the lot where the jail stands today. The six general stores were Sheeks-Stephens and Bergers and Beloates on the square, Hecht and Imboden and Geo. Barnhill's Bee Hive and C. O. Watts and Co. (Oliver and Co.) in Upper Corning, two drug stores were Beloates, near the square on Second Street, and Staley's (Crystal). One grocery unidentified. Three saloons were Hardesty and See's Pearl, R. J. Green's Old Kentucky and Pat Martins'. One livery stable, Dudgeon's on the square. Four hotels, Dudgeons on the square, Matthews, Green, Illinois; stave factory, Weindels, moved from St. Louis to Corning in 1873; one blacksmith shop, I. M. Reed's at Vine and Second; two shoe repair shops, unidentified. The lodges met in the Masonic Hall on the northwest corner of the court square.
The number of school houses, frame and log, in the Western District was 12, with 14 teachers. Male teachers with the First grade certificate were paid $50.00; Second Grade, $35; Third grade, $25. The female teachers with corresponding certificate were $37.50; $32.50 and $20.00. Room and board were supplied by some family in the neighborhood.
The local bar of the Western District was G. B. Oliver, F. G. Taylor. and J. C. Staley of Corning and John Jones of Peach Orchard. F. G. Taylor doubled as school examiner to conduct annual teacher examinations.
The Western District officials in the court house were: E. D. Estes, deputy clerk, W. F. Brown, deputy sheriff; E. V. Sheeks, deputy treasurer; Jacob Brobst, deputy assessor; Z. T. Daniels, deputy surveyor.
Doctors and surgeons in Corning were Dr. C. C. Symonds, Dr. J. C. Staley, A. R. Simpson, R. Prichard and J. M. Oliver. At Knobel, Dr. Edward Silverberg. Dentistry was confined to extraction of an aching tooth by the doctors.
Elected in the Municipal election in April, 1889, were: Mayor, Jacob Brobst; Recorder. T. B. Staley -, Aldermen, Dr. C. S. Symonds, J. H. Hardesty, D. F. McDaniel, W. D. Bowers and M. M. Green. Council meetings were held in Staley's Drug Store.