Reference: “Historic Madison” by Emma Inman Williams, now deceased. She was a history teacher in Jackson High School and a town Historian.
BEECH BLUFF is located in eastern Madison County, and was once a summer resort community named for the large bluff there surrounded by native Beech trees. The town had established before the year 1888. The community was once called Homer. An early church of this community was the First Methodist Church (built in 1892). Some early settlers of this community included the families of: Allison, Diamond, Gregory (drug storeowner), Hudson, May (hotel owner), Neal, McCollum, P.W. Moore (General store owner), Pennington, Poole, and Stedman.
BEMIS, one of the “newer” communities of Madison County, was established in the spring of 1900. It was located three miles south of Jackson. It was established by the owners of the Bemis Brothers Bag Company who were interested in locating their 20,000 spindle cotton mill near the cotton fields, and near a good railroad in this area. The community of Bemis was located on lands formerly owned by H.E. Jackson. The land, 300 acres at a cost of $6,000, was donated for this community by Madison County.
COTTON GROVE, was located about eight miles from Jackson, and was the first settlement by white people in Madison County, Tennessee. It was established about 1819 by John Hargrove, Roderick and Duncan McIver, Elijah Jones, John and Thomas Brown, and William Woolfolk. Doctors Robert Fenner and McKnight came soon after.
In 1834 Cotton Grove had its own post office and stagecoach stop. Also located there were Masonic Lodge Number 153 and Miss Fisbie’s school for girls. Nearby was the Old Salem Church and Cemetery (recently declared a Civil War Historic Site).
Some early settlers of this area included the families of: Gabriel Anderson, John and Thomas Brown, Henry Collins, Dr. Robert Fenner, John Greer, John Hargrove, Henderson, Elijah Jones, Duncan and Roderick McIver, Julius Jones, Martin Key, Sam Lancaster, Dr. McKnight, John Mooring, Pleasant Miller, B.G. Stewart, Stephen Sypert, James Tomlinson, Philip Warlick, James Wood, William Woolfolk and William Vaulx.
DENMARK, located in southwest Madison County, was once an Indian settlement, and was incorporated in 1830, becoming well established by 1840.
By 1840, there were about eight dry goods retail stores located there, also a grocery store, whiskey shop, and the Jett House hotel, where the stage coach stopped. The Denmark Male and Female Academy had been established in this community by 1831 with the following trustees: Josiah Fort, Theophilus Sanders, James H. Walker, James Meriwether, George Williamson, David Jarrell, Matthew Clanton, and S.W. Vaughn.
By 1850, the old Female Academy was located in this community, where Misses Emma and Melinda Senesman were instructors. The Presbyterians were the predominating church and religious affiliation there, and were among the wealthiest in this community, for their pastor, Rev. Cyrus Caldwell was paid $1,200 per year, which was a pretty incredible salary for a pastor in those days.
Some early settlers of this community were from North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and included the families of: Alexander, Philip Austin, Bond, Bryan, Bryant, Burgess, Burton, Clanton, Duncan, Fort, Harbert, Hart, Jarrell, Johnston brothers, McBride, McKissack, McMillian, Meriwether, Moore, Murchison, Neelys, Reid, Rice, Robertson, Sanders, Skillern, Tyson, Utley, Vaughn, Walker, Williamson, and Wilson.
Fire destroyed much of this town in 1860, when seventeen stores were burned, and many more burned in 1867.
ESTANAULA, was once a part of western Madison County (currently a community of Haywood County). Estanaula, which means “here we cross” in Cherokee, is approximately eight miles from the community of Denmark.
At one time a ferry operated by Bob Wilson there on the Hatchie River before the Civil War, and at one time was quite a busy crossing. Estanaula was probably one of the principal river ports of Jackson and nearby communities.
Some early settlers of this community included the families of: Mr. Bumpus, Archie McBride, and Bob Wilson.
HENDERSON, was once located in southeastern Madison County, Tennessee until 1879. This town is now part of Chester County. Around the year 1860 a few individuals opened stores and a hotel at this location on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
Dr. J.S. Smith served as postmaster under Confederate authority in 1861, and later in 1866, David Franklin was appointed postmaster by the Federal authorities. Two newspapers were published in Henderson in its early days: The Madison County Herald and the Henderson Advocate.
Some early churches of this community were: Baptist Church (established Aug. 15, 1867); The Methodist Church (1874-75); and the Christian Church (organized in 1871).
Early schools of this community were: The Henderson Masonic Male and Female Institute, chartered in 1871.
Some early settlers of the Henderson community included the families of: J. R. Arnold, J. R. Barham (store owner), J.R. Bland (saloon owner), W. H. and A.E. Bray (store owners), T. Bowers (hotel operator), Cason, Crook brothers (Drug Store owner), O.W. David (blacksmith shop owner) J.M. Hart, David Franklin (postmaster), John A. McCulley (saddle shop owner), O’Neal, James Simmons, Dr.s J.D. and J.S. Smith (postmaster).
HUNTERSVILLE, which is located in western Madison County, was established by the early 1820’s, when Andrews Chapel (named for Bishop Andrews) was organized. This community was later referred to as Andrew’s Chapel by the Post Office Department.
The first school was a one room school house and the teacher was Pat Davis. Later the Vine Hill school was established southeast of the community, and Center Point school was located nine miles north of this community. These schools were later combined into one school in about 1914.
Some early churches of this community were: Andrews Chapel (organized in the early 1820’s), the Ararat Baptist Church (organized about 1850), and the Bethlehem Church.
Early settlers of this community included the families of: Blackard, Chandler, Coles, Crittenden, Pat Davis, Joe Henning, Hopper, Dr. John Hunter (physician who practiced in this community), Ingram, Ivey, Major James Meriwether, Murtaugh, Pegues, Perry, Strain, Transou, Tyson, Valentine, Witherspoon and Matt Wyley (store keeper of Dr. John Hunter’s store).
JACKSON, the county seat of Madison County was established in 1822 on thirty acres alongside the Forked Deer River. Early residents had first named this new settlement “Alexandria” after A.R. Alexander who hosted the first county court in his home. Later that same year, the town changed its mind and renamed itself Jackson in honor of Andrew Jackson (war hero and future President). The area’s first congressman was Davy Crockett, who later lost his bid for re-election and stated “You can go to Hell, I’m going to Texas”. He went to Texas and died there defending the Alamo.
The towns first railroad depot was located on South Royal Street in 1888. Today this depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jackson is also the home of Casey Jones and the Casey Jones Railroad Museum.
The first courthouse was located in Jackson in September of 1822, and was located on the original lands of Daniel Shannon, William E. Butler, Joseph Phillips and John McNairy. The total construction cost for the original Court House was $135.00. The first County court was held in the new courthouse in Jackson on Monday, September 16, 1822.
Early schools of Jackson included the Jackson Male and the Jackson Female Academy. Early churches of Jackson included a Presbyterian Church (established in 1823), and a Methodist church (established in 1826).
Among many of the early settlers of Jackson were the families of William Atchison (trustee), Adam R. Alexander, Dr. Bedford (medicine shop owner with Dr. Childress), William Braden, James Brown, Robert J. Chester (appointed postmaster in 1825), Dr. Childress (owner of Medicine shop with Dr. Bedford), Robert Davis (saddle, harness and trunk maker), Robert H. Dyer, William Griffith (coroner), Herndon Haralson, Joshua Haskell (judge), David Jarrett, Joseph Lynn, Roderick and Duncan McIver, Moses Priest (cabinet maker), John T. Porter (registrar), John Reden, Thomas Shannon (sheriff), Bartholemew G. Stewart, Samuel Taylor, John Thomas, James Trousdale and William W. Woolfolk, many of whom later relocated to other nearby and newly established communities within Madison County.
MADISON HALL, was an early community of Madison County. This community was located south-west of Jackson on the old Steam Ferry Road.
An early school to this area was “Madison Hall”, a two-story building built by a progressive farmer organization called the Grangers. The upper floor was used as a meeting place for the Grangers, and the lower floor was used for the school, and on Sunday afternoons was used as a Presbyterian Church.
Early families to this area were: Boon, Campbell, Tom Greer, Miss Mamie Greer, Haskins, W.P. Howard, Johnson, Manley, Misses Molly and Lessie Neely, S.S. Neely, J.C. and Bob Robinson, Sweeney, Tomlin, and Van Hook.
MALESUS, was an early settlement of Madison County. It was also known as Harrisburg in the early days, and was settled by 1822.
Early churches of this community were: Ebenezer Methodist and Old Cane Creek Baptist Church (organized in 1822) by Rev. Allen Hill, who served there until 1840. Later ministers were: Rev. Obadiah Dodson, and Rev. Reuben Day.
Some early settlers of this community were the families of: Bailey, Black, Bryan, Davis, Day, Dodson, Dunbar, Elston, Fulbright, Harton, Hill, Loftin, Mercer, McGee, McKnight, Newsom, Nobley, Raines, Rainey, Snipes, Teagues, Woodson and Young.
MASON’S GROVE was founded by Abram Mason of Delaware, is now located in Crockett County, and was a part of Madison County until 1872. It was located northwest of Jackson and appears on early maps of the 1830’s.
MASON’S WELLS, established about 1861, was a health resort area developed by Joseph Mason and was located approximately ten miles southeast of Jackson in Madison County. For three years this resort drew visitors to enjoy the medicinal value of the salts and iron in the water there.
MEDON, located in southern Madison County, was once called Frozen Oak for a short time (for a hunter who sought refuge from a blizzard in a hollow tree and froze to death). Medon was also known as called Clover Creek (in 1834). Medon was established about 1825, incorporated in 1852, and was a prosperous farming community. The population grew to 150 whites and 25 colored people by the 1880’s.
Among the schools of this community was a two-room school known as the Medon Academy, which opened in 1875, operated by F.H. Williams and Mr. L.W. Cradle.
There was a stage coach inn located there by Peter Swink and his wife Malinda, and several stores which included a Saddle and Harness shop operated by George Brown.
Some of the early settlers of this community included the families of: Tom and Neil Anderson, Boyd, William and George Brown, John Burton, Casons, Cradle, Owen Durham (owner of the saloon), Charlie Givens, Will H. and John Harrison (grist mill owners), Stephen Lacy, Harry Mayo, Dr. David Manley, Murchisons, Dr. Thomas Murtaugh, Dr. David Parker, Dr. Pittle (who owned a drug store), Mauldin Reeves, Dr. Stewart (the towns first mayor), Peter Swink, William Wilborn, F.H. Williams and William S. Wisdom.
MERCER, located in southwest Madison County, was named for T.B. Mercer, and his son T.E. Mercer, after they located in the area in 1888 and began construction of a store building near the newly laid track of the Tennessee Midland Railroad. A railroad station was built in this community in 1894.
Early churches among this community included: Methodist (which is the oldest, dates back to 1894), Baptist and Presbyterian. The first school in Mercer was built in 1894, with J. J. Pennington as the teacher there.
Among the first settlers of this community were the families of: Bailey, Bryan, Elston, Gardner, Milton Hays (who gave land for the first Methodist Church and cemetery), Dan Lackey (the first town marshal), Mercer (of course, for whom the town was named), McGee, F. M. McGlatherly (the first railroad agent), J. J. Pennington (the first postmaster and teacher), Rainey, Snipes, and Teagues.
PINSON, located approximately eleven miles southeast of Jackson, was settled about 1821 near the south fork of the Forked Deer River. Located in Pinson is the historic site of Mount Pinson, the great mound built by an early culture (before the Choctaw Indians had settled the area). Most of the land in this area was obtained by Colonel Thomas Henderson, who came in the 1820’s from North Carolina to make this area his home. The actual town of Pinson wasn’t established until 1866, when A.S. Rogers located there. Later a post office was established and E.R. Lancaster was appointed postmaster. Hearns and Rogers began the Rogers and Hearn Commissary in the 1850’s, and their large store of merchandise included a variety of items from harmonicas, silks and hoop skirts to hayforks, spitoons and patent medicines purchased and brought from Louisville, Philadelphia and New York. Other early businesses in this community included two dry goods stores, two grocery stores, one drug store, one blacksmith and wagon shop, one hotel, two churches, one high school, and two grist mills.
Early churches in this community included a Baptist Church, which was the first church established in the area (Rev. Levin Savage served as pastor). A short time later, the Methodist Church was established, (Rev. E.L. Fisher served as pastor), on lands donated by A.S. Rogers. The first school was taught by Rev. John McCoy in 1867.
Some early settlers of Pinson included the families of: John Croom, Rev. Fisher, Fry, C.H. Hearn, Colonel Thomas Henderson, Hudson, E.R. Lancaster, Messer, Rev. John McCoy, A.S. Rogers, and Rev. Levin Savage.
SPRING CREEK, which is located in northeast Madison County, was incorporated in 1854. Spring Creek was another early settlement of Madison County, Tennessee. This community had a population of 500 by 1872, and this area was home to a number of prosperous farmers. There was a main street with six known stores, three of which dealt in groceries, drygoods and hardware, while another provided medicines, another specialized in whiskies, brandies and wines, and another, J. H. Fox, was the exclusive druggist of the town, who also dealt in widow glass and varnishes. There was also a hotel, and a stage coach stop, which provided a stable.
There were three early churches in Spring Creek, among them a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was erected in 1865. There were two fine schools, one was a three-story building, which housed the Madison College and the Springdale Institute, founded in 1870 by Major Jesse Taylor.
Some early settlers of this area included the families of: John Bradberry, William Doak, Donnell, W.H. Fussell, J. H. Fox, Major Jesse Taylor, Seth O. Waddell and Isham Walker.