June of 1878, William D. Hurst set up a post office one mile north of
where Corbin now stands. He called it Hurst's Crossing. [According
to a recently discovered 1878
map reprinted in the Map section, Hurst Crossing was about 1.5 miles
west of the current Corbin site and on/near the Chikaskia River.]
This was the gateway to the beginning of Corbin with people coming from
Missouri in small groups to settle east of the Chikaskia River on the
small level plains there. In late 1881, Hurst's Crossing was changed
to simply Hurst. Hurst remained as a post office until the early part
of the year 1883 and then it moved a mile south to be located directly
on the Cowley, Sumner and Fort Smith Railroad which was built through
the area in the 1880's. Land was purchased and the town of Corbin had
its beginnings. Several possibilities are given for the name of Corbin
but none are confirmed. By 1883, a prosperous businessman by the name
of W.J. Kennedy arrived from Sullivan County Missouri. He purchased
the area the people called Corbin and put lots up for sale. Kennedy
added on to his ownership of Corbin in March 1885 by recording an addition
directly south of the original town. It was called "Kennedy Addition".
The last addition of Corbin occurred in March of 1887, when a landowner
in Downs Township by the name of Alexander Barr decided to purchase
land directly northeast of the original town in Downs Township. He put
it up for sale by lots as did Kennedy. Barr's addition was near the
religion of the area was built up quickly, even before the forging of
the original town. The church played a large part in building the area
in the 1880's. The first services performed by circuit ministers from
Wellington in 1878 were under the Western Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South. The first religious meetings were held in houses,
sheds and mills. Before the church in Corbin was built, people traveled
to the Chikaskia Church, which was about two and a half miles northwest
of present day Corbin. In the year 1880, or thereabouts, the first Chikaskia
Church which was built one-half mile south of the Pleasant Valley school
house and close to the little cemetery (which to this day is located
1/4 mile north of S&S Feeders.)
September of the year 1884, two lots were purchased for thirty dollars
apiece for church grounds for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
The United Brethren and Christian congregations also participated in
the building of the church and it was a finished product late in 1890.
The Christian and United Brethren separated from the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South and built their own churches in the late 1890's. The Christian
Church moved to a house northeast of the town and United Brethren erected
a church two blocks south of the Methodist Church on the west side of
Main Street. The Christian Church died out extremely quickly, in a
matter of a year or so, and its followers split between the two remaining
churches. The United Brethren Church was located on south Main Street.
It was torn down in 1939 and its bell was placed in the Methodist Church.
The followers shifted to the Methodist Church. The EUB Church bell is
placed in the brick sign at the Corbin United Methodist Church. In 1919,
a large stucco structure was built by the Methodists on the site of
the previous church building on Main Street. In 1921, the Carriger and
Falls Center Churches joined with Corbin. One church which played a
major role is the Chikaskia Church. It combined with Corbin to make
a wonderful union which has strengthened the church in its mission.
Rev. Maurice Rickard was the last minister of the Chikaskia Church before
it was torn down and merged with Corbin in 1940. A new parsonage was
built in Corbin in 1942 while L.G. Snyder was minister. In 1949, the
Lone Star School House was purchased and moved to Corbin and used as
a church Annex. In 1964, groundbreaking ceremonies for the Educational
Building were held. In June 1968, the Methodist Church merged with the
Evangelical United Brethren and the Corbin Methodist Church was changed
to Corbin United Methodist Church. The new sanctuary addition was completed
in the fall of 1976.
the early years of Corbin, an impressive list of business men guided
the young prospering town. Two railroads went through the town with
the addition of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad completed
in 1887. There were two express companies; the United States and Wells
Fargo and Co.
the building up of the town, the mill played an important part providing
business to most of the surrounding rural landowners. The first mill
was located two blocks west of the present church along the Santa Fe
Railroad. It was built late in 1881 by the various farmers around the
area and used as a meeting place for churches and societies. Millers
were scarce but many of the people pitched in and produced flour for
the needs of the area farmers. In 1899, the mill was burned to the ground
by railroad tramps. After the burning, a second mill was set up where
the Wolcott-Lincoln Elevator stands today at the north edge of town.
This was a smaller mill run by a gas engine. It was only in operation
for a few years before a fire completely destroyed it.
General Store Business was plentiful in Corbin. There were a number
of store operators through the years. The Cox Trading Company was operated
and owned by George and Jesse Cox for over thirty years while many of
the others came and went. The Cox store was built in 1911 and was on
the site of the present Rural Fire District Building. The next General
Store was owned and operated by E.E. Whitten for several years. Above
this store was the Odd Fellows Hall which was a popular meeting place
for many years. The present cement block building was built in 1957
by Clifford and Ruth Lungren. They operated a grocery store for three
years and sold that business to Max and Orene Utterback. After that
business closed years later, the Rural Fire District purchased the building
to house the fire trucks.
appeared and disappeared just as the general stores did. The Madison
Hotel was built in 1911 on the southwest corner of block 8 on Main Street.
The owner was James Madison. The builder, Zeen Lile, is also responsible
for building the block blacksmith shop which was located on North Main
Street. The Stratton House was located directly north of the Madison
Hotel and is the present home of Pauline Black.
first and only bank in Corbin was housed in the new Madison Hotel. One
of the downstairs corner rooms was set up to house the newly established
Corbin State Bank. This was only for a few months or so while the red
brick structure, a block south, was being built. The bank was fathered
by the Stock Exchange Bank of Caldwell and had a good life before it
closed in the late forties due to an embezzlement scandal.
history of schooling in the area goes back to 1878. Schools in the area
were Maple Grove, Spring Creek, Frandlin, Pleasant Prairie, Lone Star
and Corbin. In 1909, a strong, red brick structure was built and housed
grades 1-10. All the outlying schools consolidated to the Corbin school.
Grades 11 and 12 attended Caldwell High School. This school was the
only rural school in a large area that had a hot lunch program. Louise
Hess was a long-time cook and the custodian for many years was A.O.
Lile. In the last several years, teachers came and went but these two
continued with the school. Corbin School was closed in the mid 60's
when the state unification went into effect.
the Corbin area, there were a few small cemeteries but most of them
had unmarked graves until the Corzine Cemetery was built. This is located
one mile east and three miles south of Corbin. It was originally named
the Spring Creek Cemetery, but that name was unfortunately changed because
it was getting confused with another Spring Creek Cemetery just south
of Falls Township in Oklahoma. It was changed to Corzine Cemetery because
it was surrounded by Corzine farm land.
annual early-day event was the Dayton's Grove Reunion held at Dayton's
Grove along the north side of the Chikaskia River by the low water bridge,
south of Corbin. This 3-4 day event was held each August for several
years between 1910 and 1917. Families traveled many miles and rode
the train from Caldwell or Wellington. At the river crossing, the train
would stop and let the people off for the day and stopped in the evening
to pick passengers up. This was an opportune time for the politicians
to appear and speeches from various political persons were held all
day. The speakers spoke from a wooden structure without benefit of public
address system. A Merry-Go-Round was available for children for 5¢ a
ride. The ride used a gasoline engine as power source. Along the north
road, horse races were held. Concession stands selling hamburgers, hot
dogs and pink lemonade were set up. This was a time for family reunions
and families would gather separately for a noon basket dinner. Some
people brought tents and camped for the three days but most went home
at night via horses and buggies or the train only to return the next
day. There were no nighttime activities because there was no light.
later years, Corbin activities changed. A big event in Corbin every
Saturday night was the band concert. The band concerts were held in
the band stand which was constructed by Kennedy near the Madison Hotel.
Corbin had an excellent brass band under the direction of James Liston.
They played on any occasion possible as well as competed at Band Contests.
They also played at Dayton's Grove for community celebrations.
The first known ball field in Corbin was east
of the schoolhouse in the Brownback pasture. This area was mainly a
"sandlot" field and used after school and on Sunday afternoons.
In the 1930's, softball really got a start in Corbin with the development
of a ball field west of the elevator at the northwest part of town.
Because of the railroad tracks on the west and the elevator on the east,
this was not a choice spot. It was not unusual for a hit softball to
bounce off the elevator tanks. But for years Corbin Softball Tournaments
were held there. During the war, the sport declined. But in the mid-40's
teams reorganized and a new area was chosen for a ball field. Jerie
Murphy offered a large area he owned to the ball club to use. A backstop
was put up on the northeast comer of the block and in a few years new
backstop and lights were put up in the southeast comer of the block.
This is the present site. Outfield lights were added to the field in
1979. New backstops were built and installed in the summer of 1985.
The portable concession stand was made in 1977 and is used at the church
for the Corbin Men's Sausage Supper and moved to the ball field in the
summer for the softball games.
Red Ball Oil Company was located in Barr's Addition adjacent to the
depot. A group of Corbin businessmen bought out Red Ball and renamed
it Corbin Oil. A fire destroyed Corbin Oil in the mid 1920's. Ten years
later, Murphy Oil Co. bought out Corbin Oil and relocated it at the
present bulk station. Bob Rice bought in with Jerie and Beatrice Murphy
and the business was renamed Corbin Oil Inc. Murphys sold out in the
60's to Bob Rice. In 1975, Corbin Oil Inc. was renamed Rice Oil Co.
when Bob became a distributor for Mobil Oil. In 1976, he became a distributor
for Getty Oil also. Within a few years, Bob's sons Bill and Brent joined
Rice Oil. Brent bought the Corbin Service Station from Pauline Black
has had many changes in the 100 years since W.J. Kennedy first purchased
land at Corbin. In 1987, there are about 35 residents, two grain elevators,
Rice Oil, Corbin Service and L.P. Gas and an active UMC Church. Two
weeks every summer the softball tournaments are held. The Corbin Hardware
and Lumber closed in the summer of 1986. The post office was closed
and metal post office lock boxes were installed across from Rice Oil.
The community around Corbin continues to support the town.
by Amy Shoffner