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 from our July 2016 issue.
Another cold and icy winter greeted the town in 1888 with 12 degrees above zero. Thunderstorms and rain hit Newbern and on that same day a cyclone destroyed Mt. Vernon, Illinois. The winds, thunder and lightening continued into May accompanied by torrential rains. The continued rains kept the days cool until late in June.
During that time winter clothes were kept handy. Mr. McCorkle wrote they had never seen a wetter period in Newbern than August 1888. Bridges that had lasted throughout all the other rains were swiftly swept away. He further wrote middle of December 1888 looked like a fine spring day!
Nothing seemed to stop the trading, traveling, church-going, speech-making or fighting. People went to visit friends and relatives and stayed for several months. Over-night guests were frequent and always welcome. The men in the community helped the widows gather or plant their crop, settle their affairs and give them any advice and help the women needed.
Benjamin Harrison was elected President of the United States. Robert L. Taylor was elected Governor of Tennessee; Rice A. Pierce, Congressman; John E. McCorkle, State Senator; Sam Young, Representative and F. M. McKee, Floater.
On December 18th of 1888, "T. G. Churchman, one of the earliest settlers, loaded up and prepared to move to Texas". During 1889 singings, quilting bees, log rollings and hickory nut hunting helped to pass away the time for young and old and was a good excuse for a get-together. The youngsters liked to fish at the Forked Deer River and went down at every opportunity to wet their lines. Fruit tree peddlers and lightening rod peddlers were making their calls on the folks along the road to sell their products.
In January 1889 James H. Hall was elected chairman of the County Court over W. B. Sampson and D. E. McCorkle elected County Superintendent of Schools.
Most farmers did their planting by the moon. February of 1889 did not have a new moon -- quite unusual. People were still wearing their winter coats in July and the temperature dipped to 42 degrees on one occasion. In April 1889 Newbern voted a tax of $25,000 to build a railroad from Humboldt to Tiptonville. The vote was 202 to 22.
On April 11, 1889, Colonel J. N. Wyatt's house burned. He was the oldest man living who was born in Dyer County on March 23, 1828. He enlisted in the Civil War in 1861 and was a Colonel at the end of the war. He still has descendants living in Dyer County. In August, J. W. Ridens bought the mill in Newbern. He came from Humphreys County, Tennessee and later served as an alderman for the town of Newbern. His brother, George H. Ridens and his wife Nancy (Denson) Ridens later moved to Dyer County and their descendants still in Newbern . J. W. Ridens had a son, William Henry Ridens, who moved to ·Ovilo, Texas and raised a family there.
Hogs sold for 3 cents, and steers were 2 cents on the hoof. About November, Henry Dillon decided to move back to Middle Tennessee. In 1890 G.T. Fuller was agent for the “Louisville- Memphis-Vicksburg-Baton Rouge & New Orleans Railroad” via Memphis. There was only one night ride between Louisville and Memphis.
The mail and express train left Newbern at 11:05 a.m. The Limited Express left at 8:05 p.m. The freight train arrived at 6:00 p.m. and the local freight arrived at 6:15 p.m.