Clay County Arkansas Trails To The Past

Clay County

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March 24, 1873

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    When Clay County was created as Arkansas's 67th county on March 24, 1873 (alongside Baxter County), it was named Clayton County after John M. Clayton, then a member of the Arkansas Senate and the brother of then-U.S. Senator Powell Clayton, though some sources suggest it may have been named for Powell Clayton instead.
    The county's name was shortened to "Clay" two years later by the Arkansas General Assembly; though some sources say it was renamed for the legendary statesman Henry Clay, others say John M. Clayton remained its official namesake. In either case, the name change was apparently inspired by lingering distrust of Powell Clayton within the county, due to his declaring martial law and suspending elections there in 1868 when he was Governor of Arkansas and the area was still part of Greene County.
    The first county seat was Corning, established in 1873, with the arrival of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, as the first incorporated town in the county. The county seat was moved to Boydsville in 1877, though, because people living east of the Black and Cache Rivers had difficulty getting to Corning during flood season. This caused trouble for those living west of the rivers, however, and in 1881 Corning was re-established as the seat of the Western District, with Boydsville remaining the seat of the Eastern District. Upon the arrival of the St. Louis, Arkansas and Texas Railroad in 1882, other towns such as Greenway, Rector and Piggott experienced growth. In 1887, the Eastern District seat was moved to Piggott. The dual county seat system remains in place today. Important county functions (such as the Quorum Court) alternate between Piggott and Corning as their venues.
    On April 6, 1972, the sheriff and two sheriff's deputies were killed in a shootout while attempting to serve a warrant on Burt Grissom; Sheriff Douglas Batey and Deputies Glen Ray Archer and Troy Key were killed; Sheriff Batey was replaced by William Thomas Pond as Sheriff, but Sheriff Thomas was killed also on June 8, 1973, in an automobile accident. Of the five officers who have died in service of the Clay County Sheriff's Office, four died in these two incidents.


Free Records Search at Familysearch Org

Clay County Cemetery Listings on Arkansas Gravestone Project

Clay County Cemetery Listings on Interment Net

Cemetery Listing at Find A Grave

Arkansas Dept of Health

Arkansas Dept of Health
Division of Vital Records, Slot 44
4815 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 661-2174
Fax: (501) 663-2832
  • Vital Records is responsible for the collection and issuance of birth and death certificates and marriage and divorce coupons.
  • Birth and death certificates serve two purposes. They are the definitive legal documents of identity and they collect important medical information about the two most important events – birth and death.
  • Marriage and divorce coupons are so called because they are removed from the bottom of marriage and divorce certificates, the original of which is retained in the offices of the county clerk of courts; these coupons contain limited information.

Arkansas State Archives

Arkansas History Commission
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
The History Commission, the official state archives, is a facility in which those interested in Arkansas history may engage in research. The staff does not undertake research requests from the public. The Research Room is open from 8:00 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Monday through Saturday. It is closed on state holidays. If you are traveling long distances, please call to confirm hours/days of operation at 501.682.6900.

Arkansas Genealogical Society

  • The purpose of the society is to promote family history research, to educate persons in genealogical research methods and the use of historical records, to publish articles pertaining to Arkansas ancestors, and to preserve and make accessible historical, genealogical, and biographical sources pertaining to Arkansas.
  • AGS has contributed to the genealogical collection of books and other materials at the Arkansas History Commission and State Archives, the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and at other libraries and archives with genealogical collections. Books sent to AGS to be reviewed in The Arkansas Family Historian are always donated to a library that does not possess a copy. AGS sometimes purchases and donates special resources, such as the films of the Draper Manuscripts at the Arkansas History Commission.
Court Clerk - Piggott Office
151 South 2nd St.
Piggott, AR 72454
Phone (870)598-2524
Fax (870)598-1107

Court Clerk - Corning Office
800 West Second
Corning, AR 72422
Phone (870)857-3271
County Clerk - Piggot Office
268 South 2nd St.
Piggott, AR 72454
Phone (870)598-2813

County Clerk - Corning Office
301 North Missouri, #8
Corning, AR 72422
Phone (870)857-3271
Clay County Genealogical & Historical Society
361 W. Main Street
Piggott, AR 72454

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Adjacent Counties

Greene County | Randolph County
Butler County, Missouri | Dunklin County, Missouri | Ripley County, Missouri

Last Updated, Tuesday, 10-Jul-2018 11:02:56 MDT
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