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 1874 and continue from our August 2015 issue. The year of 1874 was a heated political year, and at the Congressional Convention was held in Humboldt on August 12.
It took two days full of disunity and stormy debate before William P. Caldwell of Weakley County was nominated as the congressional candidate. He was later elected to the Forty-Fifth Congress.
James D. Porter was elected Governor of Tennessee; F. B. Ragland of Haywood County was elected State Senator and Daniel E. Parker was elected County Representative.
The year 1875 will be remembered as one of extreme cold, snow and torrential rains, followed by hordes of army worms that ate up the wheat and cotton. Snow reached 14 inches in March. When the army worms struck, the farmers had to dig ditches in an effort to halt the advancing hordes.
An epidemic of sickness with chills and high fever was raging in almost every house in Newbern during September . It was always a dreaded disease with the thought of yellow fever always in the back of their minds.
In 1876, W. P. McCorkle and W. B. Johnston were elected by the Trustees of the Newbern Academy to take charge of the school for the next term and J. N. Nichols was elected as sheriff of Dyer County. E. C. Pate was elected county trustee and Smith Parks and J. E. McCorkle were Justices of the Peace. A. T. Fielder, Tom W. Neal and W. H. Craig were candidates for Representative to the state legislature. Tom Neal was the successful candidate. Rutherford B. Hayes was elected President of the United States.
Wheat sold for 80 cents per bushel.
Newbern was a flourishing incorporated village of 400 in 1876, just 100 years after the Revolutionary War. The town contained 3 steam grist mills, 3 churches, and 2 good schools. It was located on what many people considered a healthy section of the county which was high ground and not too close to swampy areas that bred mosquitoes.
The principal shipments from Newbern were cotton, wheat, and tobacco.
The mail was delivered daily and Robert P. McCracken was Postmaster.
Merchants in 1876-77 were:
- S. S . Cole, physician;
- Dr. H. M. Dickey, dentist;
- John Faircloth, miller;
- J. K. P. Harrell, physician;
- J. F. Johnston, miller;
- H. Anglen, saddler;
- W. B. Conner/ and Co., grocers;
- A. F. Dickson, general store;
- James S. Ferrell, miller;
- R. N. Fryer and Co., general store;
- J . I. Jones, general store;
- Capell and Co., druggist;
- J. T. Dalton, tinner;
- E N. Edwards and Co., druggists;
- R. N. Fryer, physician;
- P. R. Goodloe, saddler;
- H. Parks, Jr., general store;
- Rev. J. J. Gray, Cumberland Presb minister;
- Parks and Bro., general store;
- N. Porter and Sons, general store.
The winters were very severe in 1877 and 1878 with snows as deep as 8 inches. When the weather moderated and the snows melted, there were days when the roads were almost impassable. Often a few sturdy travelers on horse back would be seen mired deep in the mud. In Sept. 1877 Jo Pope, Wesley W. Pope, A. B. Rose and John Thedford started to move to Texas . Joe and Wesley Pope stayed only 3 months and 1 week then returned to Newbern.