From Days Past This information being taken from a book written by Arahwana Hendren Ridens named the Dyer County and Newbern Tennessee, A history of the 39 earliest families in Dyer County. Part of this information was extracted from this publication, along with other documents and related stories and oral family histories. We continue with the entries of the McCorkle Diaries and what was entered about the from his perspective as a Newbern business owner. We pick up late in the year of 1878 and continue from our November 2015 issue.
When we ended last month, it was 1879 and Yellow Fever was raging again. Between July and September there had been 1,005 cases in Memphis with 272 deaths.
On Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1879 Baker's Gin & Warehouse burned in Dyersburg. Two days later on November 29th a snow fell and stayed until the last of December. It was recorded in Mr. McCorkle's diary that on Dec. 29, 1879 it was +2 degrees above zero and the sun came out for the first time in 2 weeks.
Due to the desperate conditions of the roads, merchants in Newbern were unable to keep their stores supplied and salt became a scarce commodity. Judge G. B. Tinsley had just sold his residence to J. E. Harton, who immediately turned it into a first class hotel. (SIDE NOTE) In some recent research a map and documents were discovered related to this statement in the diary. The documents were related to the location and the construction of the original depot. The documents stated the depot “must be” located within 1500 feet of Tinsley’s Corner. Keeping in mind the Railroad ended just south of Newbern in 1869. In was not until 1874 when the final leg opened from Newbern to Memphis. So for five years Newbern was the end of the line, so to speak and it was one busy little town.
Another Interesting find....According to the small clipping from the Memphis Daily Appeal Newspaper, dated April 24, 1884, this was found, “The person who killed the express agent at the Newbern Depot, and then burned the Newbern Depot seven years prior was captured.” No other details were given. This now dates the burning of the original depot about 1877, three years prior to the date of the entries in this diary. So, at this point we can assume by 1880 the second depot was constructed. (BELOW) We know the area Northeast of Tinsley’s Corner along the railroad was considered the industrial area. We know there were houses constructed on the South Side of Main Street across the railroad. Currently our best guess is the original 1869 depot was constructed near the current depot or maybe in the same location.
Referring back to the map. The big curve downtown at the hardware store was not there, until the late 1920’s or 30’s. When the road was converted to US 51. The state installed a sweeping curve to allow easier maneuvering of large trucks. By this time a large, fine brick hotel was constructed on Tinsley’s corner. The owners refused to demolish the hotel so they were allowed to modify the face to curve with the road, as shown to the left.
The building immediately to the right of the hardware store housed the Newbern Tennessean for many years. In the early 2000’s the buildings were condemned and demolished. To confirm any ideas, the hotel did have a very sharp corner where the buildings came together. The hotel housed several cafes and restaurants over the years including RJ’s which had just relocated to his new building prior to the photo being taken.