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Clay County, Arkansas
Map of Arkansas highlighting Clay County
Location in the state of Arkansas
Map of the U.S. highlighting Arkansas
Arkansas's location in the U.S.
Founded March 24, 1873
Seat Corning (western district);
Piggott (eastern district)
Largest city Piggott
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

641 sq mi (1,660 km²)
639 sq mi (1,655 km²)
2.0 sq mi (5 km²), 0.3%
 - (2015)
 - Density

25/sq mi (10/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Clay County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,083.[1] The county has two county seats, Corning and Piggott.[2] 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 (along with Baxter County), it was named Clayton County, after John M. Clayton, then a member of the Arkansas Senate and a brother of then-U.S. Senator Powell Clayton,[3] though some sources suggest it may have been named for Powell Clayton instead.[4]

Two years later on December 6, 1875,[5] the county's name was shortened to "Clay" by the Arkansas General Assembly. Some claim it was renamed for the statesman Henry Clay,[3][4] while others say John M. Clayton remained its official namesake.[6] The name change apparently was inspired by lingering distrust of Powell Clayton, as he had declared martial law and suspended elections in the county in 1868 when he was Governor of Arkansas and it was still part of Greene County.[3]

The first county seat was Corning,[7] 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, because people living east of the Black and Cache Rivers had difficulty getting to Corning during the flood season. However, this caused problems for those living west of the rivers, and in 1881 Corning was re-established as the seat of the Western District, with Boydsville remaining the seat for the Eastern District. With 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, and the dual county seat system remains in place today.[8] Important county functions (such as the Quorum Court) alternate between Piggott and Corning as their venues.

On April 6, 1972, Sheriff Douglas Batey and deputies Glen Ray Archer and Troy Key were shot and killed while trying to serve a warrant on Bert Grissom. Grissom opened fire as soon as the men stepped out of their car. He later surrendered without resistance to another deputy, and was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. William Thomas Pond became sheriff, but he died in an automobile accident on June 8, 1973. Four of the five police officers who have lost their lives serving the Clay County Sheriff's Office died in these two incidents.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 641 square miles (1,660 km2), of which 639 square miles (1,660 km2) is land and 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.3%) is water.[9]

Major Highways[]

  • US 49 (1961).svgU.S. Highway 49
  • US 62 (1961).svgU.S. Highway 62
  • US 67 (1961).svgU.S. Highway 67
  • Arkansas 90.svg Highway 90
  • Arkansas 119.svg Highway 119
  • Arkansas 139.svg Highway 139

Adjacent counties[]


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%
Est. 2015 15,109 [10] −14.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790–1960[12] 1900–1990[13]
1990–2000[14] 2010–2015[1]

Age pyramid Clay County[15]

As of the 2000 United States Census,[16] 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 Officials[]

  • County Judge: Gary Howell
  • County Clerk: Pat Poole
  • Sheriff & Collector: Terry Miller
  • 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, Jeff Douglas.


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.


Public education of elementary and secondary school students is provided by:

  • Corning School District
  • Piggott School District
  • Rector School District



  • Corning (county seat)
  • Greenway
  • Knobel
  • McDougal
  • Peach Orchard
  • Piggott (county seat)
  • Pollard
  • Rector
  • St. Francis


  • Datto
  • Nimmons
  • Success

Unincorporated community[]

  • Scatterville


Townships in Clay County, Arkansas as of 2010

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)
  • Johnson
  • Knob
  • 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)

See also[]

  • List of lakes in Clay County, Arkansas
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Clay County, Arkansas


  1. ^ a b "State & County & pie QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b c Clay County (Encyclopedia of Arkansas)
  4. ^ a b Brief History of Clay County, Arkansas (
  5. ^ Stout, Scot (2012-03-07). "Early History of the County Seats and Courthouses of Clay County, Arkansas". ARGenWeb: Arkansas Genealogy Resources Online. The ARGenWeb Project. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  6. ^ Clay County ( ("Senator James M. Clayton", probably referring to John M. Clayton)
  7. ^
  8. ^ Rector Waterworks Building. [1], Retrieved on May 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  10. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 25, 2015. 
  15. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  17. ^ U. S. Census Bureau. 2011 Boundary and Annexation Survey (BAS): Clay County, AR (Map). Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  18. ^ "Arkansas: 2010 Census Block Maps - County Subdivision". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 

Coordinates: 36°22′39″N 90°26′07″W / 36.3775, -90.43528

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Clay County, Arkansas. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.