Main Births etc
Jackson, Tennessee
—  City  —
Location of Jackson, Tennessee
Coordinates: 35°37′59″N 88°49′15″W / 35.63306, -88.82083Coordinates: 35°37′59″N 88°49′15″W / 35.63306, -88.82083
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Madison
Founded 1821
Incorporated 1845[1]
Named for Andrew Jackson
 • Mayor Jerry Gist (since 2007)
 • Total 49.5 sq mi (128.2 km2)
 • Land 49.5 sq mi (128.2 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 410 ft (125 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 67,685
 • Density 1,317/sq mi (508.6/km2)
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-37640[2]
GNIS feature ID 1289178[3]
Website City of Jackson Official Website

Jackson is the county seat of Madison County, Tennessee. The total population was 65,211 at the 2010 census. Jackson is the primary city of the Jackson, Tennessee metropolitan area, which is included in the Jackson-Humboldt, Tennessee Combined Statistical Area. Jackson is Madison County's,[4] largest city. Jackson is home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for West Tennessee.

Jackson was the 7th largest city in Tennessee until 2013 when Franklin surpassed Jackson in population, Jackson is now 8th.


Jackson is located at 35°37′59″N 88°49′15″W / 35.63306, -88.82083 (35.633132, -88.820805).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.5 square miles (128 km2), all land.


Jackson's executive Mayor is elected every four years. In 2007, Jerry Gist was elected to succeed Charles Farmer who had served since 1989.[6]

The City Charter also provides for a legislative body of nine members, each elected by and representing a unique district.[6]

Jackson's City Court Judge serves an eight year term with a fixed salary during each term. The current judge is Blake Anderson. The court may dispose of misdemeanors and hold a preliminary hearing for felonies. If the Judge holds that probable cause is established for felonies, then the decision is bound to the grand jury for indictment and then to Circuit Court.[7]

As further described below, Jackson has been home to the Tennessee Supreme Court's courthouse for West Tennessee since 1834, giving the city a unique position in state government.[8]


Early settlement[]

Bird's eye view of the city of Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee 1870.

European-American settlement of Jackson began along the Forked Deer River before 1820. Originally named Alexandria, the city was renamed in 1822 to honor General Andrew Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812. He was later elected as President of the United States.[9]

The City of Jackson was founded by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly, passed in 1821, entitled an "act to establish a seat of justice for Henry, Carroll, Henderson and Madison Counties." The act required 50 acres (20 ha) of land to be deeded to the commissioners. The commissioners chosen by the Legislature were Sterling Brewer and James Fentress. The places considered for the seat of justice were Alexandria, Golden’s Station, and Jackson. The larger portion of the settlers at that time were living on Cotton Grove Road, and as Jackson was closer to them than either of the other settlements, the city was looked upon as the more suitable site for the seat of justice.[10]

The Tennessee Supreme Court is required to meet in Jackson because at the time of the second Tennessee State Constitution in 1834, Memphis had not yet developed and Jackson was the most significant city in West Tennessee at the time.[8]

Civil War[]

Between December 11, 1862 and January 1, 1863, an engagement at Jackson occurred during Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest's expedition into West Tennessee. Forrest wished to disrupt the rail supply line to Ulysses S. Grant's army, campaigning down the Mississippi Central Railroad. If Forrest destroyed the Mobile & Ohio Railroad running south from Columbus, Kentucky through Jackson, Grant would have to curtail or halt his operations altogether.

Forrest's 2,100-man cavalry brigade crossed the Tennessee River on December 17. Grant ordered a soldier concentration at Jackson under Brigadier General Jeremiah C. Sullivan and sent a cavalry force under Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll. Forrest's soldiers destroyed the Union cavalry in Lexington, Tennessee on December 18. As Forrest continued his advance the following day, Sullivan ordered Colonel Adolph Englemann to take a small force northeast of Jackson.

At Old Salem Cemetery, acting on the defensive, Englemann's two infantry regiments repulsed a Confederate mounted attack, then withdrew a mile closer to the city. The fight amounted to no more than a feint and show of force intended to hold Jackson's Union defenders in position, while two mounted columns destroyed railroad track to both the north and south of the town, then returned. Forrest withdrew from the Jackson area to attack Trenton and Humboldt after this mission was accomplished.[11]

Recent history[]

Before 1989, Jackson had a city commission government consisting of a mayor and two commissioners; however, as a result of a lawsuit which declared that at-large elections served to dilute the voting power of the city's African-American residents, the city switched to election by districts.[12] The dissolution of the former government also created the need for an elected city school board since the mayor and commissioners had formerly served in that capacity. In 1990, the city school system consolidated with the Madison County school system.

Between 1999 and 2008, several violent tornadoes struck large portions of the city including the downtown area, which was devastated in May 2003 by an F4 tornado. Parts of the Union University campus were damaged in November 2002, and many dormitories at the campus were demolished in a storm in February 2008. The McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport was also severely damaged in January 1999. The 1999 storm resulted in eleven fatalities, while the 2003 storm resulted in eight fatalities. The 1999 tornado also damaged the 30-acre (120,000 m2) Riverside Cemetery, where 40 known Confederate soldiers, 140 unknowns, and many families of the founders of Jackson are buried. The cemetery's acres of old trees and many of the statues, monuments, and graves were damaged during the tornado.

Destroyed dormitory building in February 2008.

On May 1, 2010 a severe thunderstorm hit Jackson causing 13 inches of rain.[13] This rain caused a flood to destroy many homes and streets.[14][15][16]

John Luther "Casey" Jones grave stone

Railroad history[]

Jackson developed rapidly just prior to the Civil War as a railroad junction and maintenance shop for several early railroads, including the Mississippi Central, the Tennessee Central and the Mobile and Ohio lines. Located over 70 miles east of Memphis, Jackson bestrides the shortest rail route between Cairo, IL, Jackson, MS (Mississippi’s capitol) and New Orleans. As the railroad was extended from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, Jackson was perfectly situated to be a station along the north-south line; and, to serve as a junction between the north-south line, and lines east & west between Memphis and Nashville, TN.

The first was the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, which began in October, 1849 in Mobile, Alabama. The line first entered Jackson in 1851. These tracks were completely destroyed during the Civil War. The line merged with the Gulf, Mobile and Northern Railroad in 1940 to become the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad.[17] The second railroad to enter Jackson was the Mississippi Central & Tennessee. In 1873, the line was contracted and later controlled by the Illinois Central Railroad.[17]

On December 29, 1886, the Tennessee Midland Railway received a charter to build a railroad from Memphis, Tennessee to the Virginia state line. The line from Memphis to Jackson was completed on June 1, 1888. In 1893, the Tennessee Midland went into receivership and was sold at foreclosure to the L&N Railroad. Around 1968 the remainder of the Tennessee Midland was abandoned east of Cordova with the exception of some track in Jackson, Tennessee. That track is now used to deliver goods to Jackson's east and west industrial parks.

The Tennessee Midland Railway Company line from Memphis to Jackson was the forerunner of the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway. This line was often referred to as the “NC” by locals. Like all other railroads to enter Jackson, it was built with funds subscribed by citizens and investors of Jackson. The first passenger train to enter Jackson from Memphis was on June 1, 1888. The highly profitable railroad was merged into the Louisville and Nashville Railroad following WWII. After only a few years, the L&N was merged into and is now part of CSX Transportation.[17]

A charter was granted by the State of Tennessee on August 16, 1910 and construction began on July l, 1911. The first sector extended from Jackson to the station of Tigrett and by April 20, 1912, 38 miles (61 km) of the line were ready for operations. On June 16 the remaining 11-mile (18 km) sector was set into service, connecting Dyersburg, Tennessee with Jackson. When the line began operations in 1912 it had as its president Isaac B. Tigrett, a prominent young banker of Jackson. The road immediately became an important local thoroughfare, moving much of the produce of the region to market in Jackson and Dyersburg. The Birmingham and Northwestern Railway Company had 4 locomotives, 5 passenger cars, and 92 freight cars. When Isaac B. Tigrett became President of the GM&N in 1920, he ceased to direct the affairs of the Birmingham and Northwestern Railroad Company. After he became president of the GM&O, the railroad was purchased merged to become the Dyersburg branch.

During the 1930s through the 1960s one could board fifteen regularly scheduled passenger trains at the two depots in Jackson. The names of some of those trains were The Rebel, Gulf Coast Rebel, The Sunchaser, The Floridian, The Seminole, The City of Memphis, and The City of Miami. Without change of train, one could travel to Memphis, Nashville, Meridian, Montgomery, Mobile, Birmingham, Jacksonville, Daytona, Orlando, Miami, Centralia, Champaign-Urbana, Springfield, Chicago, St. Louis, and New Orleans.[17]

Notable people[]

  • Micajah Autry, a hero of The Alamo, practiced law in Jackson from 1831–35
  • Allison Leigh Alderson DeMarcus, former Miss Tennessee
  • Dick Davis, football player
  • Whitney Duncan, American country music artist
  • Members of the rock band Full Devil Jacket
  • Greg Goff, baseball coach at Louisiana Tech
  • Jabari Greer, football player
  • Joe Hunter, pianist, one of the Funk Brothers studio band who played on many Motown hits in the 1960s)
  • Luther Ingram, singer
  • Casey Jones, the Illinois Central engineer who, before colliding with a stalled freight train near Vaughn, Mississippi, told his fireman to jump to safety. Jones died at the throttle and saved the lives of all his passengers.
  • Ed "Too Tall" Jones, football player
  • Denise LaSalle, blues singer and present Queen of the Blues, has been a resident and business owner in Jackson for many years.
  • Wink Martindale, game show host
  • Carl Perkins, singer, lived for years in Jackson and the Civic Center is named for him.[18]
  • Lauren Pritchard, American soul singer, songwriter and actress who played the role of the 15-year-old runaway "Ilse" in the hit Broadway show Spring Awakening
  • Trey Teague, football player
  • Al Wilson, football player
  • Fred Lane, football player attended Lane College in Jackson.
  • Jacoby Jones, football player attended Lane College in Jackson.

Aviator Steve Fossett, the first man to fly solo nonstop around the world in a hot air balloon, was born in Jackson. Lauren Pritchard (singer) was born and spent her childhood in Jackson. Actor Christopher Jones was born in Jackson. Jackson was also the original home of Monroe Dunaway Anderson, a cotton trader and capitalist, whose financial endowment helped found the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas), and of Isaac Burton Tigrett, co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain of themed restaurants.[19] Musician Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago, Illinois, but spent his early childhood in Jackson, the home of his maternal grandmother.,[20] Blues harmonica player John Lee Curtis Williamson, better known as Sonny Boy Williamson, was born in Jackson. Environmental advocate, civil rights activist, and lawyer Van Jones was born in Jackson. Thomas Harris, an American author most famous for The Silence of the Lambs, was born in Jackson.


Location of the Jackson-Humboldt CSA and its components:

  Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Humboldt Micropolitan Statistical Area

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 1,006
1860 2,407 139.3%
1870 4,119 71.1%
1880 5,377 30.5%
1890 10,039 86.7%
1900 14,511 44.5%
1910 15,779 8.7%
1920 18,860 19.5%
1930 22,172 17.6%
1940 24,332 9.7%
1950 30,207 24.1%
1960 34,376 13.8%
1970 39,996 16.3%
1980 49,258 23.2%
1990 48,949 −0.6%
2000 59,643 21.8%
2010 65,211 9.3%
Est. 2012 67,265 12.8%

Jackson is the larger principal city of the Jackson-Humboldt CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Jackson metropolitan area (Chester and Madison counties) and the Humboldt micropolitan area (Gibson County),[23][24][25] which had a combined population of 165,108 at the 2010 census.[2]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 65,211 people, 25,191 households, and 15,951 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,317 people per square mile (423.4/km²). There were 28,052 housing units at an average density of 566.3 per square mile (218.9/km²). Since the 2010 Census, the City has added 9.4459 (24.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.2% White, 45.07% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

There were 25,191 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.6% were married couples living together, 21.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.59% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.8 years. For every 100 females there were 87.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,169, and the median income for a family was $45,938. Males had a median income of $41,085 versus $30,436 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,762. About 15.6% of families and 21.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36% of those under age 18 and 8.24% of those age 65 or over.


Interstate 40 goes through the city in an east-west direction, and U.S. Route 45 in a north-south direction. Interstate 40 has seven exits in the city.[26] The Jackson Transit Authority line provides intra-city bus service,[27] while the Greyhound Bus line provides inter-city service.[28]

McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport serves the city. Seaport Airlines began commercial service from Jackson to both Nashville and Memphis in January 2012.[29][30]

Aerial view of Jackson

Major roadways[]

Interstate 40 runs east to west from Memphis to Nashville.

U.S. Route 45, locally known as Highland Street) runs north to south to Gibson County and Chester County. A bypass route of US 45 (known as the Keith Short Bypass) goes through the western part of the city.

U.S. Route 412 runs east from Lexington in Henderson County northwest to Dyersburg, Tennessee and I-55 to St. Louis.

U.S. Route 70 or State Route 1 runs east to west to Huntington and Brownsville.


K-12 public schools in the city are operated by the Jackson-Madison County School System.

Colleges and universities[]

  • Jackson State Community College
  • Lane College
  • Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Jackson
  • Union University
  • West Tennessee Business College[31]
  • University of Memphis

High schools[]

  • Jackson Central-Merry High School
  • Jackson Christian School
  • Jackson Preparatory School
  • Liberty Technology Magnet High School
  • Madison Academic Magnet High School
  • North Side High School
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus High School
  • South Side High School
  • Trinity Christian Academy
  • University School of Jackson
  • Vann Drive Christian Academy

Middle schools[]

  • Northeast Middle School
  • Rose Hill Middle School
  • Tigrett Middle School
  • West Middle School
  • North Parkway Middle School

Specialist schools[]

  • West Tennessee School for the Deaf


According to Morgan Quitno's 2010 Metropolitan Crime Rate Rankings [32] the Jackson metropolitan area had the 13th highest crime rate in the United States.

The Morgan Quitno list of the "Top 25 Most Dangerous Cities of 2007", ranked Jackson's as the 9th most dangerous metropolitan area in the United States.[33] In 2006, it had been listed as the 18th most dangerous.[34]

Recreation, sports, and entertainment[]

The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, a Class AA minor league baseball team in the Southern League, and an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, played in Jackson from 1998 to 2010. The team changed its name for the 2011 season to the Jackson Generals, recalling the same name of the minor league team that played in Jackson in the Texas League in the early 20th century. The Generals play their home games at The Ballpark at Jackson (formerly Pringles Park).

The Hub City Hurricanes of the IBL played in Jackson for one season in 2007.

In 1974, a little league team from Jackson played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA—to date, the only team from West Tennessee to qualify.[35]

From 1990-2011, Jackson hosted the NAIA Women's Division I National Championship basketball tournament in the Oman Arena.

Jackson is home to the Miss Tennessee Pageant, the official state finals to Miss America.

West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex is a travel baseball and softball complex completed in 2007. It hosts numerous tournaments throughout the year and has contributed to the growth explosion of the northeast corridor of the city.[36]


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Jackson has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[37]

Climate data for Jackson, Tennessee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 10
Average low °C (°F) −1
Precipitation mm (inches) 163
Source: Weatherbase [38]


  1. ^ Tennessee Blue Book, 2005-2006, pp. 618-625.
  2. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ a b [3], Tennessee History for Kids (accessed July 24, 2012)
  9. ^ Jackson, Tennessee, Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved August 22, 2007
  10. ^ Madison County, TN, Tennessee GenWeb
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ [683 F.Supp. 1515]
  13. ^ "Flooding and 14 Tornadoes across the Mid-South on May 1 & 2, 2010". National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Simer, Tracie (1 May 2010). "SUBMERGED: Flash floods cause outages, sink holes, road closings". The Jackson Sun. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Thomas, Will. "TSLA::"Disasters in Tennessee"". Tennessee State Library and Archives. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  16. ^ "At least 5 dead in Tennessee flooding; tornado warnings in Arkansas". CNN. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d City of Jackson web site, How the Railroads Came to Jackson
  18. ^ [5]
  19. ^
  20. ^ Scott-Heron, Gil. 2012. The Last Holiday: A Memoir, Grove Press, New York
  21. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  22. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 11 December 2013. 
  23. ^ METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  24. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  25. ^ COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  26. ^ 2007 Tennessee Official State Transportation Map
  27. ^ "RideJTA". Retrieved 2010-09-16. 
  28. ^ "Locations: Jackson, Tennessee". Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  29. ^ Keller, Rudi (August 9, 2009). "Other cities in Great Lakes Airlines' contract find new carrier". Southeast Missourian. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  30. ^ Martin, Mariann (August 31, 2009). "Nashville flights begin from McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport". The Jackson Sun: p. A1.,+2009. Retrieved 2009-11-15. 
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ "Little League Baseball World Series Participants," Little League Baseball and Softball. Retrieved June 26, 2014 [6]
  36. ^ "USSSA Tournaments: West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex," USSSA, Retrieved on June 26, 2014 [7]
  37. ^ Climate Summary for Jackson, Tennessee
  38. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on September 20, 2013.

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