There were 345 households out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.2% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,571, and the median income for a family was $37,679. Males had a median income of $27,014 versus $21,607 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,968. About 15.1% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.
In 1871, John Clayton was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives representing Jefferson County and in 1873, he served in the Arkansas Senate representing Jefferson, Bradley, Grant and Lincoln Counties, also serving as Speaker of the Senate pro tempore for part of his term.
He is best remembered today from his mysterious assassination in 1889. In 1888, he ran to represent Arkansas's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, going up against incumbent Democrat Clifton R. Breckinridge. The election became one of the most fraudulent in Arkansas' history. Clayton lost the election by a narrow margin of 846 out of over 34,000 votes cast. However, in one case in Conway County, four masked and armed white men stormed into a predominately black voting precinct and, at gunpoint, stole the ballot box that contained a large majority of votes for Clayton. Losing under such circumstances, Clayton decided to contest the election and went to Plumerville, Arkansas to start an investigation on the matter. On the evening of January 29, 1889, an unknown assailant shot through the window to the room he was staying in at a local boardinghouse (still standing at 101 N. Springfield St.) and killed him instantly. He was later declared the winner of the election and Breckinridge was unseated and the seat declared vacant. His assassin was never found. Breckinridge was not found guilty in any wrong doing in the rigged election or in Clayton's assassination and was elected to fill the vacant seat in 1890.
The old downtown area of Plumerville was completely destroyed in a devastating fire in 1987. The old town jail (circa 1880) still stands intact on Springfield St. near the new city hall.