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Community Histories

A
rdmore
Ardmore is located in two states and four counties; Giles and Lincoln Counties in Tennessee and Limestone and Madison Counties in Alabama. It has grown from a one store-house built in 1911 to a thriving town of business, banks, factories, churches, and school today.

In 1910, the Louisville and Nashville railroad announced plans to build a direct route between Nashville, Tennessee and Decatur, Alabama. This route was to cross the Tennessee-Alabama state line where Ardmore is now located. In 1911, the actual construction of the railroad began. By the time the railroad was completed in 1914, the village of Austin, as it was originally called, was a flourishing community.

The first railroad depot was a boxcar, located where Mr. Alex Austin had originally conceived it to be on the Alabama side. When the depot was first opened in 1914, the railroad company named it Ardmore. That name was then taken over by the town.

In 1915-1916, a two-story brick high school was constructed on the Alabama side of town, which was accredited by the state of Alabama about ten years later. In 1928, an elementary school was built.

The first church was the Baptist Church which was organized in 1915. The building was constructed in 1918. The Bank of Ardmore opened in 1918 on the Tennessee side. It was one of the three banks in Giles County to remain open during the Great Depression of 1930.

In 1939 an up-to-date hardware store, a grocery store, and a doctor's office were built. In 1940, the Ardmore Cheese Company opened. The factory located on the Tennessee side was most of Ardmore's industry at that time. The cheese factor is still in operation today, but no longer manufactures the cheese, but is used as a gift shop still carrying its special cheese products and specialties.


 

 


E
lkton

Elkton’s history began in 1809 as one of the first white settlements established in Giles County after it was organized. Settlers arrived both by water traveling the Tennessee River and up the Elk River to Richland Creek and by land on the Bumpass Trail. They cleared the canebrakes and trees and began farming the rich valleys that had been hunting grounds of the Indians until they were forced to cede their lands to the U.S. government around 1806.

The first settlement to be named Elkton was established by William and John Price who laid off and sold lots for the town where Richland Creek empties into Elk River. It was a focal point for flatboat shipping for about 20 years. During this time, another town named Elkton was laid off by a Dr. William Purnell and others two miles upstream on Elk River. To distinguish between the two settlements one was called Lower Elkton and the other Upper Elkton. With the abandonment of flatboat shipping and continual flooding, the population of Lower Elkton dwindled. Meanwhile Upper Elkton flourished. The first road through Elkton was a stagecoach route built around 1810. Around 1840 a turnpike was extended through all of Giles County to the Alabama state line. Many fine homes and businesses sprang up and Elkton thrived as a river town and riverboat trade center for the county. During the Civil War, there were many battles and skirmishes around the county and the town was occupied by Federal troops on several occasions. Some of the areas fine antebellum homes and the grounds around them were used as military encampments for Union soldiers. As better roads and the railroad replaced the need for river transportation and shipping,

Elkton’s roll in river commerce declined. The town still prospered until a great flood in 1902 destroyed many homes, old buildings, and businesses. Years later, a fire swept through the town destroying even more businesses. After these two tragedies, Elkton never regained its former prosperity and the town which was once thought to be the most promising location for the county seat dwindled into the small town that it is today. The population of Elkton in 2000 was 510.

Through the combined efforts of the town government, local residents, and the Elkton Historical Society the community is revitalizing. Many remaining small town attractions are being saved and renovated. Elkton boasts several National Register properties. Each December, the historical society hosts a tour of historic homes and cabins and twice a year in early spring and fall, a Mile Long Yard Sale takes place along the main highway that runs through the town. Elkton sits directly on the Benge removal route, one of two detachment routes in the county that was used during the Indian Removal of 1838, better known as the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Each October the city is host to the Trail of Tears Volksmarch, one of only three sanctioned walks in Tennessee by the American Volkssport Association. Visitors and local school kids can walk the town and learn about its historical past.
          
For more information about Elkton contact the Elkton Historical Society at 931-468-0668 or logon to www.elktonhistory.net.


L
ynnville

Lynnville has 59 properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The old market town with a population of 409 is one of the oldest in the area. Many of the businesses are now gone, and several buildings are currently vacant and in need of repairs.

There is now a renewed effort by Mayor Troy Hood and the Board of Aldermen to again make Lynnville a market place. This time they have joined hands with the non-profit Lynnville Railroad Preservation Society to market a new industry-tourism.

The Society, which now has more than 200 shareholding members, has already laid the groundwork with the purchase of an old 1927 steam engine, a passenger car, a caboose, and a flat car. The Lynnville Depot is 80 percent complete, and is expected to be finished by October 1. President of the Railroad Society John Tunstall said, "We are very excited about the progress. We plan to show off the facility Oct. 12 when the Giles Count Historical Society's Tour of Homes takes place in Lynnville. The museum and train will have a grand opening in the spring of 1998 will be open seven days a week from May until October, according to Tunstall.

Lynnville is a unique town and has a most interesting history. In obtaining the National Register of Historic Places honor, the following information was submitted. In the early 1800, the first permanent settlers came from Virginia, the Carolinas and their neighboring states to settle here. They crossed the Duck River to the north and came by way of the present village of Culleoka, crossing the high Elk Ridge at Dodson's Gap and built in the vicinity of what is now Lynnville. Among those who came were John A. Walker, Elisha White, John Laird, William Deering, and others.

They united and built log houses for one another, cleared the hardwood forests and canebrakes, and began to plant the first crops, mostly corn. Being a religious people, they also built several small churches. The first Methodist Church in the county was organized at what is now Lynnville in 1809. Elk Ridge, the first Presbyterian Church, was organized one and one-half miles east by Gideon Blackburn and Robert Henderson the next year.

Lynnville was named for Lynn Creek, so called because "lynn" or linden trees grew abundantly along the banks, Old Lynnville, formerly Waco, was laid off on Lynn Creek in 1810. For the next 50 years, it was a flourishing place with post office, hotel, stores and factories and a wholesale coffee warehouse. At one time, it had a town square and was incorporated.
   


M
inor Hill

Until the treaty of September 1816, the land around Minor Hill belonged to the Chickasaw Indians. Some white men did move into the area before the Indian treaties were made only to have the soldiers come and destroy their crops, buildings, and drive them out of Indian Territory. Some settlers would return only to have the soldiers drive them out again.

Joseph Minor and his family lived about where Mr. and Mrs. Onis Lawrence now live, at the top of the hill. Joseph, his sons, Patrick C., James R., and Joseph R. owned about 450 acres on top of the hill. Circa 1857, the Minors sold their land to John B. William's and left the territory. As John William's sold parts of the land, it was called Minor Land, giving the area the name of Minor Hill.

William's sold some of the Minor Land to William Riley Jones. It is believed the tract W.R. Jones gave for the school, cemetery and Baptist church is from the Minor tract Sam Davis, the "Boy Hero" of the Civil War, was captured by the Union Army at Minor Hill. A small park area where the capture occurred has a marble marker recounting the event.

In the battle of Nashville, December 15-16, Lieutenant Colonel Cook was back in command. The regiment was not engaged on the 15th; on the 16th, it was stationed on the Hillsboro Pike, and when the Confederate lines were broken, joined in the pursuit, and was engaged on the 17th at Hollow Tree Gap; on the 25th at Anthony's Hill; and on the 26th at Sugar Creek. On December 28, a detachment, under Lieutenant Colonel Prosser, was with Brigadier General James B. Steedman at Decatur, Alabama, and was engaged with Roddey near Courtland, Alabama on the 31st; at Russellville, Alabama on January 4 it took part in the burning of General Hood's pontoon train, and returned to Decatur, Alabama on January 6.


Minor Hill had become a village by September 6, 1870, for the post office was established then. The first school at Minor Hill was located across the creek near a cave, down the lane from the present S & S Grocery. W.R. Jones gave the land at the present location for a school in 1897. The one-room log schoolhouse was moved from across the creek to the top of Minor Hill and made into a dwelling house. Frank Cole lived in this house, running a grist mill and black- smith shop in front of it for years. We do not know if Mr. Cole was the first to live in this house. His granddaughter Frances Booth Buchanan and her husband Pete live in it today.

In 1900, the first gospel songbook of James D. Vaughn's was published under the label JAMES D. VAUGHN, MUSIC PUBLISHER, MINOR HILL, TENNESSEE. James Vaughn, his brothers, John, Will, and Charles made up the first Vaughn Quartet. They were
raised around Shores. Will Vaughn ran a store just below the Methodist Church and a drug store where Joe Townsend's store is. Will Vaughn was instrumental in getting the bridge across Richland Creek in Pulaski. This bridge has been replaced by a new one. He was also instrumental in getting the marker placed at the site of Sam Davis' capture.

Although Minor Hill was one of the last towns established in the county, it weathered the depression and is one of the five incorporated cities with a population of 474.


P
ulaski

It is interesting to know that the first tract of land upon which our town was built contained six hundred and forty acres and was incorporated under the same rules, regulations, restrictions, and privileges as the town of Murfreesboro in this state. None of the five commissioners appointed by the Legislature in 1809 to lay off the town lived within its limits. The one most frequently mentioned in early records was Tyree Rhodes. He built Clifton Place there and was buried nearby.

On Saturday, August 19, 1820, the sheriff of Giles County, James Perry, held the first election in Pulaski and the first Board of Aldermen was named. They were Dr. Elisha Eldridge, Dr. Shadrack Nye, J. W. McCracken, Thomas Smith, German Lester, Wm. Rose, and John Keenan. In November of the same year, Thomas Smith moved away and Aaron V. Brown, who later became governor of Tennessee, was elected to fill his place. On the following Saturday the board met at the courthouse and elected Dr. Eldridge, mayor, and Dr. Nye, recorder. This method of electing a mayor and recorder continued until 1877 when the law was amended and gave the citizens of the town the choice of electing their mayor and recorder.

Very soon, these first leaders took up the serious work of making the laws to control this town of about five hundred people. Quoting from the minutes of the first board meeting, "the following ordinance was immediately proposed and passed into law: It is hereby ordained that from and after the date thereof, that if any person shall shoot at a mark, at bat or any bird on the wing or otherwise or wantonly or unnecessarily discharge firearms in any part of the town of Pulaski shall pay the fine of five dollars for every offense, to be collected by the town constable.” And that was the first law made in Pulaski. The board held monthly meetings and to this band of faithful citizens, we owe a big debt of gratitude for the early development of our city.

It was the duty of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to elect the town constable and at their first meeting; this place was given to James Lynch. It was the constable's duty to enforce the laws. protect the people, collect the taxes and fines, and report to the board. He also administered the lashings, a common form of punishment at that time. For this, he received twenty-five cents for each offense. His salary was fifty dollars a year. An early law decreed that every white male citizen between the ages of eighteen and forty-five was subject either personally or by substitution to discharge the duties of patroller. The selection was made by the mayor in routine order, and they served thirty days. Other laws prohibited felling or injuring trees on the town commons, allowing swine to run at large or promoting horse and mule races on the town square.

An early ordinance was headed "Tinning Dogs" and made it unlawful to tie tin or anything of a like character to the tails of dogs or any other animal within the limits of the corporation and the fine for this offense was from five to twenty-five dollars not only for the offender but anyone who aided and encouraged the deed.

The tax rate set by the board was twenty-five cents per hundred for town property, fifty cents on each free poll and twenty-five cents on each slave. Any merchant doing business within the town limits paid five dollars for a license.

Water was supplied from natural springs located in different sections of the town and from wells that were dug at the expense of the town. One was dug on the town square and the board minutes state that a twenty-five dollar reward was offered by the town for the culprit who threw a bale of cotton in it during 1853. The town constable found the offender and collected the reward.

German Lester was the second mayor of Pulaski. His name appears a number of times in the early records as he served five terms as mayor and six as recorder. He built the first comfortable house in the town. His brother Fount Lester was recorder several terms. Neil S. Brown who was later elected governor of Tennessee was town recorder in 1837.

Time and progress made many changes in our town, but the strong foundation laid by theses early leaders was the means for the building of the wonderful city we live in today.

Content provided by: Diana Steelman

 

   

 


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