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 August 2016 issue.
Last month we ended as Newbern school opened in September 1890 with nearly 400 pupils. Several of the Newbern City merchants left in September for the Eastern Markets to buy fall and winter stock. Dr. E. O. Cherry was quite sick at Mr. White's Boarding House with an attack of slow fever. Mr. Clay, brother of Mrs. B. Cox and Mrs. J. Ira Jones had been in Newbern for a visit. Mrs. B. B. Pitt had moved her millinery stock to the dry goods house of Parker and Company.
In January 1891, Billy Walker was tried for stealing hogs and acquitted and the following month Tom Gill was under arrest for stealing wheat and bacon. Another man was robbed and another found his smoke house and all its contents burned to the ground. These are sad times!
By April 15th, there was a fever panic in Newbern and folks were fleeing in every direction. Schools were closed, Jim Lester and A. C. Walters died with it. By the end of the month , the scare abated and folks thought the worst was over. Also in January 1891 the bridge committee of Dyer and Gibson Counties let out the building of a bridge on Read's Creek to J. B. McCollough's.
On June 20th, Mr. McCorkle recorded in his diary, "Such a rain was never seen here before . Washed off bridges, wheat and everything in its way. Rained a shower before day then about 5:30 or 6:00 it set in again and never let up until about 9:00. Darkness covered the sky and deep water seemed to cover the whole earth.
On July 31st, Newbern voted a 2/3 plus 6 majority to install a public water system. (In speaking with Casey King, manager of Newbern Underground Utilities Department, we have in our possession a fire hydrant dated 1895. This indicates Newbern had an operating water systems within 4 years of the vote.) Ben R. Parks, M. Y. Maxwell and seven other men started to Texas in September of 1891.
On a very pleasant night one of the biggest fires in Newbern burned Porter's Tobacco warehouse with a loss of $10,000 and only half covered with insurance. It was one of the biggest companies in town located behind the stores on the north side of Main Street. Products from this factory were known far and wide. It was a great loss to the community.
August was a cool month and the last week of that month was cool enough to kindle fireplaces. In September, great crowds assembled in Newbern to see the balloon go up. It was a real spectacle. Two live goats were sent up with the balloon to prove the balloon would bring a person back to earth.
On December 31st, "Radford Yates moved here. Bedford Yates came here, too." City officials elected late in the year 1891 were W. D. Copeland, Mayor; Albert Harvey, Town Marshall. Aldermen elected were O. J . Radford, W. A. Henson, M. C. Hamilton, John H. Hamilton, C. A. Barger and Mark Fowlkes.
Cold, snowy weather dominated the first of the year 1892. The ice and snow got so bad the school children who lived in the country could not get home. They stayed in town with friends for several days until the weather moderated. Just as soon as the roads became passable the visiting and politicking started again. Newbern had an ice skating rink and the young folks spent some happy moments there.
Texas was still claiming several Newbern families. John W. Burney and his family, Claud Dickey and Charlie Smith were among those who left for that state. Others who had pushed west since 1845 were returning to Newbern for a visit . Another highlight of the winter season was the horse show held here in February . Several prominent stables were famous in this section for the thoroughbred horses. Mr. H. R. A. McCorkle was the owner of one of them