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 Civil War from soldiers perspective from Newbern. We pick up late in the year of 1969.
On July 2, 1869 the air was very warm and heavy followed by an earthquake. No known damage was recorded. A heavy fog lasted for three days and the rains set it and lasted for two weeks, and another tremor occurred in Newbern. On each of the following three days light earthquakes were felt and heavy rains accompanied . each of the tremors . Another memorable event of that year was the total eclipse of the sun. It got so dark in the middle of the day that "the chickens went to roost".
Merchants in Newbern between 1860 and 1870 were Harris and Blake, Parks and Light, R. P. McCracken, Porter and Son, Wright and Co. , Manley and Harrell, G. B. Tinsley, Tucker and Co., Holmes, Miller and Co. , J. N. Wyatt, Gregory and Dickey and Hamilton and Cunningham.
The years following the war were bitter ones. Human lives were cheap and horses were priceless. Three men in Dyersburg were hung for stealing horses in 1869. Law and order was difficult to maintain. Several pistol fights took place in Newbern, Dyersburg and Yorkville. In 1868 Dyer County again voted not to levy a tax to build the railroad across the Mississippi River. It was voted down by only one vote majority.
In February 1869 tobacco sold for 7 cents lb. On Aug. 5, 1869 D.W. Senter from Hamilton County was elected Governor. W. M. Hall was elected Senator and J.L. Lackey of Lauderdale County was elected Representative.
Tennessee refused to be taxed the necessary $250,000. The train at Union City ran off the track and while no one was hurt it deepened the distrust in their safety. Trains brought the mail to Dresden . The mail was then delivered by horseback, and later mail hack or coach and horses, to the post office in Newbern where everyone called and picked up his mail. It was 20 Oct . 1870 that Margaret (Cowan) McCorkle, wife of H.R.A. McCorkle died. No mention is made of her death in the diary . In fact, McCorkle went to the fair in Dyersburg on Oct . 27th. It is possible he did not know of her death at that time as Margaret was in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1871 cotton was selling for 18 cents / lb. in Trenton and the year ended with a heavy rain changing to cold weather. It began to snow in February of 1872 and one day it was the deepest snow the folks had ever seen in four years. The weather stayed cold, the ground frozen, and the days windy until the last of March and then the mosquitoes, locusts and caterpillars began to get too numerous. One farmer stated there were more mosquitoes than he had seen in 18 years. It was also the year the house of G. H. Wright burned to the ground.
On January 7, 1874, convicts commenced work in Newbern on the railroad that had been stopped in 1869. The Paducah and Gulf Railroad, a Kentucky corporation, under the name of Memphis and Paducah had consolidated with the Mississippi River Railroad in 1871 and was building a railroad from Cecilia, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee, a distance of 345 miles. Later it was known as the Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern.
Thousands of dollars had been subscribed by the business men to bring the railroad through the town. Then a most aggravating thing occurred. The railroad which was extending its line from the north stopped laying tracts just south of Trimble, which is located almost on the Obion County line.
Naturally a great uproar followed and Newbern citizens began to investigate why the railroad had no been extended to Newbern. One little word in the contract was the seat of all the trouble. The contract read that the railroad was to extend its line "within the county. The obstacle was soon overcome and the first train to arrive in Newbern was a low locomotive with flat cars carrying railroad ties and supplies to the workmen laying tracts south of Newbern. There was no grand festivities with flags waving or a big shiny black locomotive with hundreds of passengers. However, after all the uproar, I am sure they were glad to see the train.