Clay County, Arkansas
Clay County, Arkansas
Location in the state of Arkansas
Arkansas's location in the U.S.
Founded March 24, 1873 Seat Corning (western district);
Piggott (eastern district)
641.42 sq mi (1,661 km²)
639.30 sq mi (1,656 km²)
2.12 sq mi (5 km²), 0.33%
25/sq mi (9.7/km²)
Congressional district 1st Website local.arkansas.gov/local.php?agency=Clay%20County
Clay County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of 2010, the population was 16,083. The county has two county seats, Corning and Piggott. It is a dry county, in which the sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or prohibited.
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.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 641.42 square miles (1,661.3 km2), of which 639.30 square miles (1,655.8 km2) (or 99.67%) is land and 2.12 square miles (5.5 km2) (or 0.33%) is water.
- Butler County, Missouri (north)
- Dunklin County, Missouri (east)
- Greene County (south)
- Randolph County (west)
- Ripley County, Missouri (northwest)
Cities and towns
Townships in Arkansas are the divisions of a county. Each township includes unincorporated areas and some may have incorporated towns or cities within part of their space. Townships have limited purposes in modern times. However, the US Census does list Arkansas population based on townships (often referred to as "minor civil divisions"). Townships are also of value for historical purposes in terms of genealogical research. Each town or city is within one or more townships in an Arkansas county based on census maps. The townships of Clay County are listed below with the town(s) and/or city that are fully or partially inside them listed in parentheses. 
- Bennett-Lemmons (McDougal)
- Bradshaw-Haywood (Greenway)
- Brown-Carpenter (Success)
- Cache-Wilson (Knobel)
- Chalk Bluff-Liddell (part of St. Francis)
- Clark (Peach Orchard)
- Cleveland-North Kilgore (part of Corning)
- East Oak Bluff-Blue Cane (part of Rector)
- Gleghorn-South Kilgore (part of Corning)
- Nelson (Datto)
- North St. Francis (part of Piggott)
- Payne-Swain (Nimmons)
- Pollard (Pollard)
- South St. Francis (part of Piggott)
- West Oak Bluff (part of Rector)
Historical populations Census Pop. %± 1880 7,213 — 1890 12,200 69.1% 1900 15,886 30.2% 1910 23,690 49.1% 1920 27,276 15.1% 1930 27,278 0% 1940 28,386 4.1% 1950 26,674 −6.0% 1960 21,258 −20.3% 1970 18,771 −11.7% 1980 20,616 9.8% 1990 18,107 −12.2% 2000 17,609 −2.8% 2010 16,083 −8.7% 
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,609 people, 7,417 households, and 5,073 families residing in the county. The population density was 28 people per square mile (11/km²). There were 8,498 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.08% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.69% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.15% from other races, and 0.81% from two or more races. 0.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,417 households out of which 28.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 8.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.60% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the county the population was spread out with 23.10% under the age of 18, 7.70% from 18 to 24, 25.30% from 25 to 44, 24.60% from 45 to 64, and 19.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $25,345, and the median income for a family was $32,558. Males had a median income of $24,375 versus $17,146 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,512. About 13.40% of families and 17.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.20% of those under age 18 and 22.70% of those age 65 or over.
- County Judge: Gary Howell
- County Clerk: Pat Poole
- Sheriff & Collector:Gerald Mcclung
- Circuit Clerk: Janet Kilbreath
- County Treasurer: Carolyn Morrisett
- District Judge: David Copelin
- Quorum Court Justices: David Cagle, Greg Ahrendt, Doyne Holifield, Joey Henderson, David Hatcher, Dennis Haynes, Mark Watson, & Burton Eddington.
Agriculture is the cornerstone of Clay County's economy. Farmers throughout the county grow a wide variety of crops. Rice is the dominant crop, but significant amounts of cotton, soybeans, corn, hay, and milo are also grown. Industry is limited to a handful of factories located in the cities of Piggott, Corning, and Rector.
- ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- ^ a b c Clay County (Encyclopedia of Arkansas)
- ^ a b Brief History of Clay County, Arkansas (CouchGenWeb.com)
- ^ Clay County (Local.Arkansas.gov) ("Senator James M. Clayton", probably referring to John M. Clayton)
- ^ http://www.argenweb.net/clay/
- ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/county2k.txt. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- ^ US Census Bureau. 2011 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS): Clay County, AR (Map). http://www2.census.gov/geo/pvs/bas/bas11/st05_ar/cou/c05021_clay/BAS11C20502100000_000.pdf. Retrieved 20110806.
- ^ http://www.census.gov/geo/www/maps/DC10_GUBlkMap/cousub/dc10blk_st05_cousub.html#C
- ^ http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/cencounts/files/ar190090.txt
- ^ http://factfinder2.census.gov
- ^ http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/
- ^ Based on 2000 census data
- ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
Ripley County, Missouri Butler County, Missouri Randolph County Dunklin County, Missouri Clay County, Arkansas Greene County Municipalities and communities of Clay County, Arkansas Cities Towns Unincorporated
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