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Weekly Observer, Pocahontas, Randolph County, Vol. 1 #20, Tuesday, 6 Jan 1874

Bloody --

It becomes our unpleasant duty to-day, to chronicle one of the fiercest encounters that the town of Pocahontas has witnessed for many a day,... On yesterday, an altercation took place between Daniel Mundy and Columbus Park, who lives a few miles northwest of town, about a debt which Munday claimed that Park has assumed for some man who had left the country and gone to California. Park having owed him a small amount when he left... but Mundy contended that Park promised to pay the amount and held him responsible for it. Park refusing to pay it Mundy became excited and denounced him in very harsh terms, and it is said finally struck him, all of which Park failed to resent, but went into the store-house of J. P. Black & Co... Mundy, still not satisfied, followed him up, accompanied by a man named O'Donnell. The quarrel was renewed, and continued sometime until finally O'Donnell struck Park, when the latter drew a dirkbladed pocket knife and began a vigorous a piece of carving as it has ever been our misfortune to know of. Both Mundy and O'Donnell were severely cut in several places... Mundy had in all nine gashes... O'Donnell is not so seriously hurt... Their wounds were promptly and skillfully dressed by Doctors Silverberg, Esselman and Hall... Park was not seriously hurt... but left town immediately after the occurrence... Park has the reputation of being and honest, hard-working man, and withal peaceable and law-abiding.

Evening Shade, Arkansas, Thursday, October 7, 1880

(The following article is listed under Clay County)

The dead body of a man who had been murdered was found about half a mile from corning, one day last week. It was near the road , covered up with chunks of wood and brush, and the flesh mostly consumed by vermin. There was nothing by which the body could be identified, but supposed to be that of a horse thief against whom his pursuers had taken the law into their own hands, or who had been murdered by his association in crime, for his money. Two bullet holes were found in the back part of the skull. Two men named Warren Dunn and James Shamblin charged with horse stealing, have been arrested, and circumstances indicate that they are guilty of murder.

The Piggott (Ark.) Banner, Friday, January 12, 1951
Article with picture

“Judge Jerry Taylor has Practiced Law for More Than 54 Years Judge Jerry L. Taylor of Corning is one of the oldest attorneys in Arkansas; not in the matter of years old but in that he has practiced law for more than 54 years.

Jerry L. Taylor was born on March 24, 1874 at Cape Girardeau, Mo., the son of Col. Robert L. and Elline Minton Taylor. His father died when he was six months old and his mother died when he was hardly three years of age. His eldest brother, David L. Taylor and wife, Maggie Taylor of Blodgett, Mo., took him to raise. He was a sickly child, being troubled with chills and fever, and did not get to enter school until he was past eight years of age.

In the fall of 1882, a circus came to Blodgett, and the circus pasted bills on most of the barns in that area, including the barn at the farm where Jerry lived. Jerry was excited about the show bills and anxious to know what they were about. His sister taught him to read and spell all the words in the bill.

That winter he started to school and walked four miles, having to wear heavy boots because of the muddy roads. He like all other children, learned the three ‘R’s’, and he went through the first, second and third readers that first year, and was ready to enter the fourth grade the next fall.

When Jerry was about 15 years old his foster father (who was his brother) died. Jerry remained on with the mother, brothers and sisters for about a year. He was then sent to Cape Girardeau, Mo., to live with two maiden aunts and attend the Cape College. Not long after this his foster mother died. He then came to Corning to live with his brother, the late Judge F. G. Taylor.

In the fall of 1891 he attended college at Searcy, Arkansas. In 1892-3-4 he attended college at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, Tenn.  In the summer of 1894 he took the bar examination and passed, but he was too young to be admitted to the practice of law. He took up the study of medicine. When his brother, F. G. Taylor found this out, he sent him to work on the farm. The next two years he taught school at Success, Richwoods and Brookings, Ark. Between times he worked at saw mills, and also as clerk in stores.

One of his pupils of the Richwoods school, Mrs. Jno. Powers of Little Rock (nee Nora Woodall), was talking to Mrs. Taylor in later years about school. Mrs. Taylor asked ‘How did you like Jerry for a teacher?’ Mrs. Powers answered: ‘Fine, but we didn’t learn anything but the first rule, that still holds good today.’ Another pupil said he was the best teacher she ever had and she guessed she had had three or four. The person to whom she was talking was a book agent. The agent said ‘this is a good book, I want you to buy it; you will really enjoy it.’ The pupil replied: ‘Well, I would, but I can’t read or write.’

On Jan. 10, 1897 he was admitted to the bar to practice in all courts of the state and in the U.S. Courts. On that day, Jerry recalls ‘I hung out my shingle and my first client was the late Sherman Talkington. Mr. Talkington was pleased with results and was my client ‘till the time of his death in 1949.’

Jerry continues: ‘In 1897 I was elected township committeeman of the Democratic Central Committee and served two years. I have been in politics for myself and others ever since.’

In 1894 he campaigned for his brother F. G. Taylor for the office of Circuit, Chancery and Probate Judge.
Jerry was elected City Attorney at Corning in 1898 and with the exception of four years served until 1947.
In the year 1904 he was appointed Commissioner for the Arkansas Building at the World’s Fair. This appointment was made by Gov. Jeff Davis. Jerry was so honored by the appointment that he grew a 
moustache for the occasion. When it grew out red, he had it dyed. Then he got so disgusted with the whole thing that he shaved it off and never grew another.

He was married in 1905 to Miss Sallie T. Boulton of Corning, Ark., formerly of Obine [Obion], Tenn.

Jerry got a lot of experience as Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, having served under Clyde Goings of Wynne; Thaddeus Caraway of Jonesboro; Mike Huddleston of Paragould; Wilkes Davis of Blytheville; Sy Gladdish of Osceola; Denver Dudley of Jonesboro; and Bruce Ivy of Osceola.

Folks never quit wanting Jerry as their attorney as long as he was physically able to take their cases. One incident recalled is where there was to be a very busy court at Corning. There were 52 cases on the docket to be tried, but court had to be put off. The reason: Jerry was ill in bed with pneumonia. Judge Driver made this 
remark: ‘Well, in all my years as Judge, you are the only person who ever held up a whole court for me.’ It seemed that Jerry was the attorney for everyone of the 52 clients.

Judge Taylor has been mighty unselfish man about seeking offices for himself. In fact he ran for only one that we recall. He was elected county and probate judge in 1921 and served two terms. He seemed to like politics for the other fellow better. The fact that he carried his home township 260 to 20, best attests as to how home folks felt about him.

In 1933, Congressman W.J. Driver appointed him as Attorney for the Home Owners Corporation, for the Western District of Clay County. He served until the project was discontinued.

In 1934 he was appointed by Supreme Court Judge John Martieau as Conciliation Commissioner for Clay County.

His spot of political importance is best attestd by the fact that he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in the years 1936 and 1944.

Always steadfastly interested in the local political picture, Judge Taylor efficiently served the Clay County Democratic as Chairman from 1933 to 1947 and quit the post only after his health failed.

Many of the humorous incidents he recalls in active court days. Once a client came in to see him about getting a divorce. Jerry told him he had no grounds for divorce; that he was to blame; but his wife could get a divorce. To this client said: ‘O.K. Jerry, I’ll bring the ‘ole woman’ in and you can take her ‘definition’ and get her a divorce and I will pay for it.’

Once in a trial at Blytheville, Ark., he had a Negro woman client, who had shot a Negro man. She was indicted for first degree murder. Jerry drilled his client for a week or so for her to say it was an accident. When the day for trial was set and his client was called, Jerry said to her: ‘Now Mandy, tell the jury how you shot Mose; it was an accident wasn’t it?’

Mandy said: ‘No, suh Boss; I shot dat nigger on purpose; he was molestin’ me.’

Well, to the disgust and surprise of Jerry and most of the court, Mandy came clear. After that he decided that the truth paid off better.

Judge Taylor’s service to his county as a Judge, had many things occuring that remain vivid in the minds of folks county-wide. By economy and good management he brought the county out of debt, and while doing so was able to build a lot of good roads and bridges. His unbiased decisions in probate matters was known throughout the State. And a lot of children up for reformatory terms have him to thank that they were not sent. He stood good for most of them himself, and gave them another chance.

Each year as a political campaign comes up, candidates and prospective candidates call at the home of Jerry and Sallie Taylor, in Corning. Their political support is always cherished and their kind words of advice and wisdom is respected in many decisions. They won’t tell you they are for you, and then knife you in the back. In 
short, they are ‘for you or against you,’ and you don’t have to guess where they stand.

Their modest home is somewhat of a political headquarters, particularly in late years, because Jerry’s health has not been very good and he has been unable to be as active as he once was. But the doors of the home are always open to friends.

One man commenting on their political activities remarked that ‘every kind of a candidate from a U.S. Senator down to the smallest township officer, has called at their home for political conferences.

It seems like that each year a campaign comes up, Jerry feels that it will be his last to actively take part in. But, like ‘Old Faithful’ he still keeps right on working and helping his friends.

When Jerry Taylor has gone on to a better world, he will leave a monument of political memories not equalled by another County citizen. A relentless driver and worker in behalf of his friends, and possessed with a determination of not knowing when to quit, there is many an office holder, who will pause and reflect that he was a success because of the friendship and support of Jerry Taylor. And, we should by all means not forget to mention his wife, who works just as hard at the job.

Personally, your editor will never forget Jerry and Sallie Taylor. And, we are glad that we have taken this time and effort to pay tribute to these fine folks. Whatever success we have had in politics, is due in a great measure to their ever-present support, and we are glad in a million ways that we can say of them ‘They are my friends.’

Signed - Laud Payne.”

Submitted by Bob Reese

[newspaper and date unknown]

“Mrs. Taylor Has Devoted Lifetime to Public Service, Community and State Progress
    Mrs. Jerry L. Taylor has devoted her life to public service.

She was born Sallie Boulton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Brooks Boulton of Obion County, Tenn. She moved with her parents to Arkansas in January, 1894 and began a rather nomadic existence. Since her father was a head sawyer for mills, they followed the saw mills and lived in a number of towns before moving to Corning and establishing residence here in June, 1898.

Miss Boulton was a regular attendant at church and Sunday school, and she joined the Baptist Church in 1900, at a time when the ice had to be broken on the Corning lake so that the baptismal could be held.

In 1905, Miss Bouton married Attorney Jerry L. Taylor, who achieved a distinguished career as a lawyer and public servant. He was prosecuting attorney and county, probate and juvenile judge, at various times.

In such an environment, it was natural that Mrs. Taylor would develop an interest in politics which has never waned.

She was a delegate to the State and County Democratic Conventions in 1926 and was named chairman of the ways and means committee.

In 1948-1952 she was elected as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention.

In 1940, she was again chosen delegate to the Democratic Convention.

She has always been interested in young people and a number of youths were turned over to her care after they had gotten into trouble. One of them is now president of a large automobile company in Detroit, Michigan.

Because of her interest in this work, Governor Donaghey appointed her a delegate to the 1936 White House Conference on child welfare and protection.  Mrs. Hattie Caraway selected Mrs. Taylor as her campaign manager for Clay County in 1938. When Sid McMath sought the governor’s office in 1948, he named Mrs. Taylor chairman of the Western District campaign, and he also named her to the state advisory board of the 
women’s division of the campaign.

After he won his race, he chose her a member of the inaugural committee. That year she was again selected to go to the State Democratic Convention.

Governor McMath also chose her representative from the 1st Congressional District on the Arkansas Commorations Commission, and she played a leading role in the beautifying of the Old State House. Last week Gov. Faubus re-appointed her to this commission for a period of ten years. She had been a member of the commission for nine years.

Other honorary appointments include chairman of Democratic Continued on Last Page”

[Note: Last page not available when this was typed]

Pioneer Former Clay County Man Writes of Early Days

Ennis, Tex., Oct. 8 -- My niece, Mrs. O. J. Harold of Corning recently sent me several copies of the Courier.

My grandfather Elias McNabb emigrated from Trigg county [sic], Kentucky, in 1840, settling, [sic] just north of Buckskull (now Current View).  Buckskull at that time had only one or two families, and a few old vacant log business houses.  In the bottom country, just south of Bridgeport was Capt. Jim Stevens';  there were no farms between Current and Little Black rivers [sic] at that time.  My mother's father Benjamin Bryant settled near Current river [sic], just below Buckskull, about 1842, coming from Poplar Bluff, where, about 1836, he arrived from near Boonville, Mo.  At that time, there was no Poplar Bluff.  He felled the first tree where that city now stands.  Bears, panthers, wildcats, wolves and many other fur-bearing animals there made that wilderness a hunter's paradise.  After living there about six years, he located near Bryantford, just south of Buckskull.  My parents were married in 1850, and they homesteaded 160 acres of land about two miles east of Bridgeport, cleared a farm and built a long house, moving into it in 1852.  At that time a trading post was located where Corning now stands;  it was called the Colony.  My father talked about the old trappers and hunters trying to keep the St. L., I. M. and S. R. R. from crossing their lands, saying it would run all the game out.  He said that the nearest market for furs was St. Louis.  The R. R.'s southern terminal for sometime [sic] was at Ironton, Mo.  The first cook-stove we owned, he bought in Ironton and hauled it down in an ox wagon.  After my father had been a peace officer for several years, he enlisted early in the Civil war, serving about four years.  My mother often told us younger children of the harrowing experiences and hardships that she and my four eldest brothers went through during those four years of h--l.  We children--eight sons and two daughters, were all born in Clay county [sic], on the farm where he and mother [sic] married.  They moved to Warm Springs in 1873, and later sold his land in Clay county [sic] to Mack Thompson.  The pioneer Hitt family resided just north of my parents' home.  My eldest brother married one of Mr. and Mrs. Hitt's daughters.  Other of our neighbors were Uncle Bob Hawthorne, Arch DeArmor, James Boyd, Uncle Bill Brown, Elias Cunningham, who married Widow Masterson and their sons Frank and John Henry Masterson, the Baker Brothers [sic] Tom, Bob, and Henry, The McGrews, Will, Jim and Robert, Jeff and William Polk and the Stephens [sic].

We left that county in 1890.  Those roads, during winter and rainy seasons were all but impassable--logs laid crosswise through swamps.  East of Shiloh (Richwoods church) was a plank road across postoak-creek bottom.  In those virgin forests was water everywhere during the rainy seasons.  I had been away from that county 32 years and upon visiting my nephews and nieces in 1924, at Pocahontas, Corning and Peach Orchard, I was astonished at the progress and improvements;  draining ditches, good roads, improved farm homes;  tilled [sic] laid where it was just a morass when I left there.  I drove into Corning, and could find nothing that looked natural;  a modern brick courthouse, brick business houses, fine, modern homes, and, as my wife remarked, "Corning looks more life [sic] a well-kept park" than a town;  beautiful trees everywhere.  We visited that country in 1930, and drove over a fine, hard-surfaced road from Pocahontas to Corning.  I asked one of my nephews where Shiloh church [sic] was--and we had just about passed it then--and where the old McIlroy ferry used to be.  We crossed Current river, [sic] on a fine, concrete bridge.  I fully realize the sting of expense that those good roads must have cost, but I remember, in pioneer days, that you were lucky if you got thru, having to ford or swim rivers.  Driving north thru Maynard, Middlebrook and up into Missouri, there were changes that saddened me.  At Fourche river [sic], the old mill-house and mill-dam were gone;  the old distillery that stood just below a big spring at the side of the road, was gone.  But the old drinking-gourd, and the spring is [sic] still there;  but gone are the old mill pond that we used to go swimming in;  the old dam;  the old road-crossing below the dam, where we forded the river, now replared [sic] by a concrete bridge, about 100 yards up stream.

After all, those improvements are fine, but the increased taxes make us fighting mad once a year, and we wonder where, and what will happen next year.  I very often tell people that Arkansas has more natrual [sic] resources than any other State [sic] in the Union.

After all, you have wonderful country, with advantages over us, in several lines.

Wishing those who read this, all blessings due them, I am Respectfully--Jake McNabb, 504 W. Malone St., Ennis, Tex.

[Clay County Courier;  no date;  submitted by Danny Moore]

Find Local Business Man's Body, After Month, In Lake Here

Last Monday, exactly one month from the day will [sic] Jordan, local newsdealer, drowned himself in Corning lake [sic], his body was found floating a short distance from the Missouri Pacific trestle from which he jumped, ending his life.  His body was discovered by local fishermen, James Bracken and J. W. Dillion, the former residing near the lake.  Deputy Sheriff R. R. Ruff of Corning directed removal of the body from the water, and Justice of the Peace B. C. England, acting coroner, declared Jordan's death suicide.  Several days before he was reported missing, Mr. Jordan had told local friends that he would die in the same place that another local man drowned himself a few years ago.  S. P. Lindsey of Cabool, Mo., brother-in-law of Mr. Jordan, employed a professional diving crew from Memphis who searched the lake bottom adjacent to the trestle, but no trace of the body was found.

Funeral services were held at Corning First Baptist church last Wednesday at 3 p.m., Dr. J. S. Compere, pastor of that church, officiating.  Mr. Jordan had been a member of Corning First Baptist church since 1924.  He was the younger son of the late Judge J. S. Jordan and Mrs. Jordan, pioneer Corning residents, and he enjoyed the friendship of a large number of people thruout [sic] this part of Arkansas and southeast Missouri.  Local agent for the Arkansas Gazette, Globe Democrat and Commercial Appeal newspapers for many years, he was a successful and industrious business man.

Surviving are his sister Mrs. S. P. Lindsey of Cabool, and brother Atty. J. L. Jordan of St. Louis, Mo.

Mr. Jordan's out-of-town relatives who attended his obsequies are Atty. and Mrs. J. L. Jordan and sons Lucien and J. W. of St. Louis, Mo.;  Mr. and Mrs. S. P. Lindsey, son Bobby, daughters Miss Loraine and Mrs. Mary Lindsey, Cabool, Mo.;  Mrs. T. H. Boston and Mrs. M. A. Taylor, Piedmont Mo., and Mr. and Mrs. Jordan Lindsey, Cabool, Mo.

Pallbearers were W. M. Fowler, T. W. Wynn, P. L. Oliver, Aubrey Estes, Wyatt Johnson, and Louis Powell.

[Clay County Courier;  no date;  submitted by Danny Moore]

Updated 21 May 2012