Local history found in old insurance building
Interesting finds are often discovered when going through old personal papers, records and photos. Such was the case when Bill Pettit came into Corning from his home in the Cotter area for a couple days last week to clean out his family’s old insurance agency building on Second Street. Pettit explained, “This used to be Miss Rosa Johnson's Jewelry Store. Before that we were around the corner.”
Bill’s father, Kenneth Pettit began the family insurance agency in the late 1940’s. The story begins when Bill’s mother, Frances Misenhimer married Kenneth W. Pettit, whom she met at the University of Arkansas in 1943 and the couple moved to Corning to become a vital part of the local community. Kenneth became office manager for L.G. Black at Clay County Cotton Company. Frances taught two years at Corning High School where she set up the Home Economics Department. Kenneth and Frances bought a small insurance agency that had been part of the Corning Bank at the suggestion and guidance of Mr. Ewell Vandover; a friend, mentor, and then president of the bank. After being a homemaker until her children were grown, Frances worked at Pettit Insurance Agency as the office manager for nearly 40 years, until the agency was sold in 2008. The Pettit’s bought the current location for their business in 1981. Bill recalls he joined his father in the insurance business when he graduated college around 1974 and worked there until he retired about 12 years ago. Pettit recently began the task of cleaning out the building that still held some office equipment and old photos and documents concerning Corning and Clay County. He made some noteworthy finds revealing some Corning history while clearing out the office space.
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