Chester County embraces an area of 167,000 acres and is on the water-shed
between the head waters of South Fork of Forked Deer River and the small
tributaries of the Tennessee. It is surrounded by the counties of Madison,
Henderson, Hardin, McNairy and Hardeman. The surface is comparatively
level and has an elevation above the sea level of a little over 400 feet.
The only broken parts of the county are in the eastern and in the western
parts. The drainage is almost entirely through the Forked Deer River. The
tributaries of this river are Ozier Creek, Horse Creek, Turkey Creek,
Sugar Creek, Clark Creek and Jacks Creek. Middleton Creek flows east into
the Tennessee, and Clover Creek west into the Big Hatchie. Owing to the
level surface of the country these streams are generally sluggish and
frequently are clogged by drifts of logs and brush. The channels of these
streams are shallow and frequent overflows follow heavy rains. Sand
Mountain in the northeastern part is the highest point in the county and
is probably the highest point between Henderson and the Tennessee River.
This is rather a bold knob of a hundred or more feet in height and is
covered with a growth of black jack and other timber. The soil is
generally of a light clayey formation, intermixed wtih sand. Vertical
borings show the formation below the surface to be mainly orange sand or
rotten sandstone. The entire formation is comparatively recent. Water is
obtained mainly by borings made; this is found in abundance and of good
quality. A few chalybeate springs are found, but none of any reputed merit
for medicinal qualities. The soil is well adapted to the growth of cotton.
The quantity of cotton raised is not as great as in other counties, yet
the quality is excellent. It also produces an excellent quality of
sorghum. Corn and the other cereals do well, yet they are not considered
staples. The land is also well suited to the growth of grasses and for
pasturage. Some of the ridge lands of the western part are covered with
pine, while those of the east have oak, hickory and other hard woods.
Along the streams are found cypress, poplar, elm, maple, gum, beach,
holly and sugar maple. There is also in some parts black walnut and the
several varieties of the timbers before mentioned.
The first settlers in what is now Chester County came to the county about
1820-1824. These were from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and a
few from Alabama. Many came from the States above mentioned to Middle
Tennessee, and afterward moved to West Tennessee. The first settlement in
the county was made in the vicinity of Mifflin about 1821. Col. J. Purdy,
father of Robt. Purdy of Henderson, came to the vicinity of Mifflin about
1821. He was from Pennsylvania, and the village of Mifflin was named by
him in honor of a town in his old state. He was a surveyor, a prominent
business man, and a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1834.
Within a few miles of Mifflin, James Thomas settled in 1824. He was
originally from Virginia, but moved to Alabama and thence to Mifflin.
James Clifford came at the same time and settled down, a near neighbor to
Thomas. Jere Hendrick and Micajah Jones also opened farms in the same
neighborhood. The former came from Virginia about 1822; the latter left
three sons, all of whom lived to be quite old. Wm. Phelps, now about
seventy years old, has spent nearly all his life in the vicinity of
Mifflin. A little south and west lived Stephen Beaver, Samuel Neill and
James Neill. It is believed they were from North Carolina. Robt. Junell
came to the county about 1825; he opened a farm and left a large family.
The names of Wm. Rush, John Hubbard, Wm. Hall, Lemuel Deberry, John Halton
and Peter Collins are closely related to the history of the Mifflin
neighborhood. James Brown, from North Carolina, settled a short distance
east of Mifflin. Wm. Spencer was from the same state and settled near
Brown. Robt. McRea and Charles J. Allen, a relative of McRea, settled
north of Mifflin. McRea built one of the first mills on Forked Deer River.
Wm. Billingsly settled with one and a half miles of Mifflin about 1821.
James and Richard Shackelford, Wm. Arnold and Charles Riddle all settled
southeast, within four miles of Mifflin. The latter was a Hard-shell
Baptist preacher and a celebrated hunter. As game became scarce he moved
to Mississippi, where it was more abundant. George Still, a pioneer, was a
surveyor; he moved to Texas in 1838. James Glass has the honor of having
taught the first school in the new settlement in 1828. He afterward moved
to Center Grove, thence to Lexington, Jackson, and is now living in
Louisville. Thomas Garland, the first circuit rider west of the Tennessee,
formerly preached at Holly Springs. Job Dean, a soldier of the Creek war,
was a settler of the neighborhood above mentioned.
In the vicinity of Jacks Creek, Hugh Ross settled at a very early day. He
was the father of S. L. Ross, and was a member of the State Senate at one
time. J. F. Hamlett, John Brummer and John Crook, father of Dr. Crook of
Henderson, settled about 1830. John Kootz is said to have built his own
house with the aid of his wife and a yoke of cattle. Job Trice, who is
still living, reared a large family. John M. Hart, father-in-law of Mrs.
Hart of Henderson, was an early settler of Jacks Creek. Maj. Neeley, a
prominent citizen, came to Jacks Creek about 1825. Robert McCorkel, a
Methodist Episcopal preacher, Norman McLeod, and Dr. Alfred Tabler were
among the earlier settlers of the place.
In the vicinity of Montezuma Joseph Johnson was perhaps the first settler.
He was from North Carolina, and settled near Montezuma about 1826-30.
Wesley and Nehemiah Burkhead and C. H. ONeal were from the same state and
settled in the same neighborhood. Wm. Cason, father of Col. Cason, came
from Middle Tennessee and settled near Montezuma in 1826. William McKnight
arrived about the same time. The Steeds and Barretts came to the same
neighborhood a little later.
The first road cut through the country was from Lexington, by way of the
Jacks Creek and Mifflin neighborhoods to Montezuma, thence to Bolivar.
Meats were largely of fame, such as turkey and deer, which were then
numerous. The first mills in the country were those of Jere Hendricks and
Richard McCleary, on Forked Deer, and that of Stephen Beaver on Clark
Creek. As an illustration of the capacity of these mills it is said
Hendricks was in the habit of putting a turn of corn in the hopper and
then turn on the water, when he would go about his farm work, and at noon
he would put in a new grist and again return to his work till night. If
not speedy it was not expensive.
The enabling act, creating Chester County, was passed March 1, 1879.
Section 1 of the Act called for portions of Madison, Henderson, McNairy
and Hardeman Counties to be cut off and to be erected into a new county to
be known by the name of Chester. This name was given as a compliment to
Col. R. I. Chester, of Jackson, who was at that time representative from
Madison County. The same section further designated what portion of the
respective counties should be attached to the new county. Section 2 of the
Act named J. F. Hewlett, Robert Long, B. H. Brown, J. H. Fry, B. J. Young,
A. B. Patterson, J. W. Perkins, J. W. Mitchell, J. M. Simmons, John
Parham, J. W. Sherrell, W. L. Stegall, William Rush, J. M. Reams, M. D.
Pare, and Abel Stewart as commissioners to run the boundaries. Section 4
called for an election in the several factions, which required a two-thirds
vote of all the voters in the faction to vote new county; those opposing
were to vote old county. Section 8 required the new county to be divided
into ten or twelve civil districts. Section 9 appointed person to hold
election of county officers, and 10 selected commissioners to select a
site for a county seat. They were ordered to select a place not more than
three and a half miles from the center of the country, and were to have
regard to health and convenience. Section 11 provided for the purchase and
erection of public buildings; and (section) 12 required the voters of the
several factions to vote at their old places until authorized by further
instruction. The commissioners met and organized by electing William Rush
chairman and John Parham secretary. Long, Pare and Stewart had moved away
and their places were filled by W. L. Cherry, J. M. and J. W. May. The
first meeting of the commissioners was at Montezuma on June 18, 1879. The
result of the elections on the question of the new county, on September 6,
1879, resulted in a vote of 263 out of 316 for the new county in the
Madison faction, 408 votes out of 506 in the Henderson faction, 392 votes
out of 510 in the McNairy faction, and 80 votes out of 103 in the Hardeman
faction. The organization of the now county was delayed by an injunction
suit filed by J. D. Brown, John Brown and Isaac Parrish of the Henderson
faction. The suit was brought before Chancellor Nixon and the suit
sustained. An appeal was taken to the supreme court and the case brought
before that body at Jackson at the April term, 1882. The judgment of the
former court was reversed and the injunction dissolved. The election held
on May 20, 1882, for choice of county officers resulted in the election of
Robert Criner for sheriff by a majority of 173 votes; of Ed Estes for
circuit court clerk by a majority of 285 votes; of John Parham for county
court clerk by a majority of 34 votes; of W. S. Rhodes for trustee by a
majority of 94 votes, and of C. M. Cason, register, by 38 votes. The
permanent organization was effected June 3, 1882, at the Baptist Church.
On motion by John Parham and by order of Judge T. C. Muse, who stated the
customs of colonial times, the audience were led in prayer by Rev. J. H.
Garrett, after which the congregation joined in singing, O, for a
Thousand Tongues, etc.
The question as to the county seat was left to a popular vote. The only
two places in nomination were Henderson and Montezuma. It was decided in
favor of the former place by an overwhelming majority.
At the meeting of the commissioners in June at Montezuma, in 1879, A. B.
Patterson, B. J. Young, J. H. Mitchell and J. W. Sherrell were appointed
to receive donations for public buildings. Several conditional bonds were
tendered on condition that the new county should be made and that certain
lots should be chosen. The injunction suit having been filed and the
matter delayed, these could not be acted upon. The courts met at other
places till April 13, 1883, when the county court, after receiving many
propositions, finally accepted the proposition of Mrs. Hattie E.
Duckworth. This was for the residence and grounds of the late Dr. J. A.
Crook. This included the residence and grounds containing about four
acres. The sum asked was $3,000, payable in one, two and three years, with
interest at six per cent.
On July 2,1883, W. L. Messinger, Wm. M. Senter and J. A. Miller with the
county surveyor were ordered to lay out the square and to examine the
buildings. The building purchased is a large two-story frame building,
having a court room and offices for the county officers.
The bell for the courthouse was received as a donation from Col. R. I.
Chester, sent as a compliment in return for perpetuating his name in the
In January, 1886, the county court appointed Dr. J. A. Crook, N. T.
Buckley, Wm. Rush and C. G. Terry a committee to select a site for a jail
and to confer with builders for its erection. The place chosen lies a
little north of the courthouse and embraces a portion of the lands
purchased with the courthouse. The contract was let for the building on
April 5, 1886. The building is a two-story brick about 48x20 feet. It
contains two cells and the sheriffs residence. The contract was let to J.
M. Wheatley for $1,650. On the report of a committee, it was decided to
build a cook and dining-room to the jail. This, with some trifling changes
made in the original contract, brought the cost up to $1,900, which was
paid in county warrants of $900 and $1,000 each.
The paupers of the county are so few, that as a matter of economy, they
are farmed out to the lowest and most responsible bidder. The average
number does not exceed five.
The outlet for the produce and travel of the county is the Mobile & Ohio
Railroad. This road extends through the central part of the county, a
distance of twenty-nine miles. Its assessed value is about $106,000 or
nearly $5,500 per mile. This road was built in 1856-58.
Thc total value of taxables for 1883 was $853,503 for 1884 $852,03l, for
1885 $776,4235, and for 1886 it was $704,435 exclusive of the railroad.
Henderson, the county seat of Chester County is situated on the Mobile &
Ohio Railroad near the center of the county. The place is supposed to have
been named from Henderson County. The town was not laid out until after
the building of the railroad. The first lots were sold in 1857-58. The
land was owned by J. D. Smith. At this time the only cleared lands were
the places of B. A. Hicks one and a half miles west; Jack Garlands place
known as the Murchiser property a little southwest; and that owned by the:
Jordan H. Garlands heirs, and the Simmons heir east and north of
Henderson. The place was originally called Dayton but the name was soon
changed to Henderson. Gholston built the first house in the place which
stood just opposite the postoffice. Dr. T. A. Smith, Polk Bray, H. D.
Franklin, A. S. Sayles and John West were among the first business men of
the place. Like most other towns, Henderson received a check by the war
but soon recovered its normal state. Henderson has had a steady and
healthful growth but not rapid. It does not operate under a charter and
thus avoids the sale of intoxicating beverages. From a moral standpoint
few places reach the standard of Henderson. The business is largely of the
cotton trade, this amounting to the sum of 5,000 bales some years. Cotton
is by far the largest item of produce handled, yet there is a general line
of produce handled every year which amounts to thousands of dollars.
Henderson contains 227 lots which are assessed at $87,435. The business of
the place is done by the following business houses: General stores: J. F.
ONeal & Co.; I. O. Galbraith & Co.; Cason, Estes & Co.; L. C. Rhodes &
Co.; Ashcratt & Co.; W. C. McCullum & Co.; W. M. Bray & Co.; and Rowsey,
Robins & Co. Grocery stores: J. M. McCulley & Co.; G. L. Priddy & Co.;
Estes & Ozier; W. H Thomas; P. J. Howard & Co.; and W. C. Crittenden. Drug
stores: W. B. Shannon & Co.; Baird & Bro. Jeweler: A. H. McKinnon.
Hardware: Carroll & McLeod. Henderson also contains several good livery
stables, hotels, boarding-houses, shops and is well supplied with
Mifflin is the oldest town in the county. It was laid out about 1828 by
Col. Priddy who, with James Bank, opened a business house there about that
time. James Smithers sold goods there possibly a little before the others.
Spencer and Glass built a cotton-gin and a store about a mile and a half
east of Mifflin, in 1832. From 1830 to 1840 Wm. Priddy, Ezekiel Halton,
William and Henry Collins, and Wm. Watkins did business in Mifflin. Among
the later ones were John West, Beaver, Carver & Co., John Smith and J. M.
Priddy. Following the war was Beaver & Carver, Ashcraft & Co. The late
business men are Wheeler & Edwards, Beaver & Son, Bell & Bros. and R. C.
Cooper. Mifflin is surrounded by a good farming community and contains
about 100 inhabitants, also a Methodist church and a schoolhouse.
Jacks Creek was named from the creek on which it stands. The first
business house was opened there about 1830 by Col. Samuel Wilson and B.
Gillespie. W. B. Terry followed later. He became wealthy from trade in
Henderson and McNairy Counties. About 1840 Crook & Keeland opened a store
at Jacks Creek. The latter was afterward a magistrate and died at Denmark.
R. Anderson did business there about 1850. Gov. Stone, of Mississippi,
taught school at Jacks Creek; he also clerked for Crook & Thomas before
removing to Mississippi. The principal business of the place between 1850
and 1860 was done by A. C. McCorkle, and Hollis, Skinner & Co.; from 1870
to 1880 by H. J. Howard & Co., McCorkle & Thompson, W. S. Rhodes and J. M.
McCullum. The present business is done by C. M. Kee & Co., J. M. McCorkle
& Co. Jacks Creek, like Mifflin, is an old place and has but little
growth. The Masonic Hall was erected in 1854-33. The lower part of the
ball is used as a church. Friendship Lodge, No. 229, was organized in
l840-50. A. N. Tabler, Richard Barham and H. D. Crook were among the first
Montezuma is supposed to have been named from the ancient Aztec capital.
It lies about four miles west of Henderson. J. B. Wambler is believed to
have been the first merchant in the place. He began about 1830, and
continued for many years. Halton & Cason began business there about 1848
and continued till the war. Estes & Randolph also sold goods a number of
years before the war, and E. Estes & Co. were there a short time. The
business of the place is now done by George Brown.
The following magistrates who composed the first county court met at
Henderson on June 3, 1882: P. McNatt, J. D. Shelton, R. N. Reed, H. L.
Massengill, Benj. Robertson, M. D. Davis, N. T. Buckley, H. C. Trice, C. R
Narborough, J. H. Fry, Hiram Johnson, F. H Weir, J. S. White, A. L. Bean,
W. M. Senter, R. M. D. McNatt, Wm. Kerr, Martin Reams, Wm. Rush and P.
Gatham. The court organized by electing Wm. Rush chairman, and proceeded
to make the bonds of the several county and district officers. H. L.
Hendricks was then chosen surveyor; F. N. Ballard, ranger; J. S. Jester,
coroner; J. N. Wheatley, sealer of weights and measures, and W. R. McNatt,
superintendent of public instruction. The constables first chosen were N.
Shelton. Calvin McCann, J. T. Stansill, R. D. Bell, J. D. Smith, C. C.
Jones, M. M. ONeal, Robert Mitchell and S. H. Moore. July 24 the court
canvassed the vote cast for the location of the county seat. It was found
there were 796 votes east in favor of Henderson and fifty-five in favor of
Montezuma. The county court, January 1, 1883, memorialized the General
Assembly, asking that Chester County be allowed to remain in the Eleventh
Judicial Circuit and in the Tenth Chancery Circuit. The first venir
summoned by the county court called for John Short, S. J. Thompson, J. R.
Bland, John Newsom, J. H. Deberry, Stanton Lee, W. B. Fry, J. W. Ozier, J.
R. Edwards, J. F. Holloway, Benj. Rhodes, W. C. Christopher, E. C. Wamble,
R. C. Ball, F. M. Putnam, A. D. Barnett, Wm. Senter, N. C. Caygle, Martin
Reams, K. S. Jackson, Henry Garner and J. Rush. The first court also
fixed a schedule of privilege taxes, these ranging from $5 to $150, the
amount charged for circuses. The first marriage license issued in Cheater
County was to Joe Glover (colored) and Rachel Sandford. This was June 5,
l882. The minister officiating was Rev. Henry A. Jackson. The second
license was to R. B. West and M. A. Perkins June 6.
The first circuit court (Eleventh Circuit) met at Henderson on July 17,
1882, Hon. Thomas P. Bateman presiding. The other officers present were
Robert Criner, sheriff, and E. A. Estes, clerk. The first venir facins
embraced the names of Wm. Cash, W. C. Johnson, John Criner, G. W. Smith,
T. J. McCorkle, B. Robertson, Jacob Young, R. P. Hunter, S. J. Bishop, H.
J. Dean. A. J. Peddy, John McCall, J. R. Bray, J. W. Shull, J. P. Thomas,
G. J. Patterson, J. C. B. Nailer, F. M. Cherry, R. M. D. McNatt, W. C.
Caygle, C. Wilson, G. C. Butler, L. D. Simmons, J. H. Mtchell and James
Fry. The grand jury chosen was, composed of L. D. Simmons, R. P. Hunter,
W. J. Young, F. M. Cherry, J. C. B. Nailer, A. J. Peddy, H. T. Dean, J. A.
Criner, T. J, McCorkle, B. J. Bishop, W. C. Johnson, C. Wilson and J. R.
Bray. This court did no further work than to approve the several official
bonds and adjourn till September at a special term. Said term met at the
appointed time with Judge T. C. Muse on the bench. The other officers at
this time were A. A. Anderson, sheriff; A. E. Estes, clerk, and M. H.
Meeks, attorney-general. The first civil suit was the case of B. S. Hite
against N. P. Ingram on a note; a similar one was brought by H. G.
Hollenburg against N. P. Newsom. Fines of $50 were assessed against George
Green and J. Christopher for carrying concealed weapons. At the January
term, 1883, Will Willoughby (colored) plead guilty of involuntary
manslaughter for the killing of Will---, on December 24, 1882, and
received a sentence of three years to the penitentiary. At the August term
of the same year, M. Prewitt was lined $50 for carrying weapons, and Frank
Combs one cent, and costs for maintaining a nuisance. Charles McLellan
received a sentence of one year to the penitentiary for petit larceny.
Willis Richardson was fined $100 for selling goods without license. The
first case to the penitentiary was Ben West (colored) for stealing a $l0
bill, and the last was Oliver Garland for a similar offense.
On the organization of the county it was directed that Chancellor H. J.
Livingston should open the chancery court of Chester County on July 10,
l882. Five weeks notice had previously been given in the Brownsville
Democrat. On the meeting of the court Dr. Joseph A. Crook was appointed
clerk and master. The solicitors appearing before this court were J. M.
Troutt, M. F. Ozier, J. W. Pace, A. W. Stovall and J. S. White. The Court
ordered this rule, that all processes except final processes should he
filed on the first Monday in each month, and that the clerk and master
should open such Processes accordingly. After fixing the bonds of the
several officers, the court adjourned to meet in special session in
December, 1882. Suits of divorce came up at this court before Chancellor
Livingston. Abel Cook had the bonds of matrimony between himself and wife,
Nancy, dissolved, also J. S. Barrett was divorced from Saille Barrett. The
Court again met in regular session in May, 1883, before Chancellor T. C.
Muse, of Jackson. A very interesting and peculiar suit is pending in the
chancery court, involving an estate of $23,000. It is the suit of Carroll
Beaver against Nancy Denver for divorce on the alleged grounds of
impotency on the part of defendant. A suit to which Chester County is a
party is now pending in the supreme court of the United States. It is the
suit of the several counties through which the Mobile & Ohio Railroad
passes against that road and the Farmers Trust, Company of New York. The
suit was begun in the chancery court at Humboldt. The suit was brought to
recover taxes against the road amounting to the sum of $130,000. Chester
Countys apportionment is $10,000. This road was chartered in 1852, and
was granted immunity from taxation for twenty-five years, or until it
could show a dividend of 8 per cent on its stock. It is claimed that the
giving the mortgage to the above trust company was done to defraud the
counties out of their just dues.
The common schools of Chester County operated under the counties to which
the respective factions belonged until the organization of the county was
effected in 1882. Public and private schools supplied the wants of the
people until the organization of the public schools after the war and the
more perfect organization on the adoption of the new constitution in 1872.
On the organization of Chester County the schools were put under the
superintendency of R. McNatt who was followed by W. D. Ross, who was
succeeded by J. S. White. The county is divided into thirty-two school
districts and has about sixty schoolhouses. Two of these houses are brick,
a few frame and the remainder are log houses. The scholastic population by
the last enumeration is 3,133. The male white population is 1,270, the
female l,270; the colored male population is 334, the female is 304. There
are from sixty to seventy teachers employed and the average length of
school term is only about fifty days. Owing to the fact that many of the
schoolhouses are not in a condition suitable for cold weather the schools
are taught out in the summer months, A. natural result follows — the
attendance is not good nor is the work effective. The two schools at
Henderson take the place of the public schools and are run partly as
consolidated schools. The public funds are divided between the two in
proportion to their attendance. The matter of attendance at either school
is optional with the parent or guardian. There is a consolidated school at
Montezuma — the old Jackson District High School, and two in the Second
District, the Howard Seminary and the Clear Springs Academy. There is also
a consolidated school at Mifflin. The short term of school and
insufficient schoolhouses have caused a great number of persons to sell
out their farms and move elsewhere to have better school advantages. The
operations of the four mile law have effectively driven the sale of whisky
from the county.
West Tennessee Christian College is a continuation of a school begun in
1869 by Miss Helen Post and A. S. Sayle. The school thus started was
afterward incorporated as the Masonic Male and Female Institute, which won
an extensive reputation during its fifteen years existence. The name
Masonic in connection with the institute was merely nominal. This school
was under the management of Prof. Geo. Savage, now of Eagleville. On
August 4, 1885, the school was incorporated as the West Tennessee
Christian College by I. J. Galbralth, John Parham, L. G. Thomas, H.
Robertson, J. W. Galbraith, W. L. Hill, E. B. Fuller, J. B. Inman, R. J.
Parham, J. W. Ozier and J. A. McCulley. The officers of the executive
board are I. J. Galbraith, president; J. H. Fuller, secretary, and J. W.
Ozier, treasurer. The faculty consists of J. B. Inman, president; J. H.
Fuller, A. M.; R. J. Haynes, A. M.; Miss Sue Inman, Miss Mattie Boothe and
Miss Laura Ivey. The corporation owns good buildings and campus. A
boarding hall for young ladies is under the care of the president of the
college. The curriculum embraces the usual college course. The attendance
at the college is about 100. The ability of the faculty, the cheapness of
living, the healthful moral and physical atmosphere make the West
Tennessee Christian College a desirable place at which to educate young
ladies and young gentlemen.
Henderson Male and Female College. The Jackson District High School was
established at Montezuma about four miles west of Henderson in 1874-75. A
good two-story brick building was erected at that place and a good school
maintained there till 1885. The building erected was a stock concern and
is still used for school and church purposes. The necessity of having
railroad communication led to the erection of the college at Henderson.
The present college building was erected in 1885. It is a two-story brick
building, and well adapted for school purposes and was erected at a cost
of about $2,500. It was built by a stock company, the shares being $25
each. It was incorporated in September, 1885 as the Henderson Male and
Female College by J. F. ONeal, H. C. Ashcraft, W. T. Cason, J. M. Troutt,
T. A. Smith, J. M. Cunningham and J. D. Johnson. It is recognized as the
school of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, yet it is not rigidly
denominational. Its aim is to enlighten, to make pupils wiser and better.
The school is under the management of a board of trustees who look to the
interest of the pupils. The faculty consists of Rev. G. W. Wilson, A. M.,
president; Rev. L. S. Taylor, A. M.; Miss Sue Cason, Mr. W. T. McGee and
Mrs. H S. Taylor.
The curriculum embraces a full course in English, Latin, Greek, French,
bookkeeping, mathematics, natural sciences, etc. The classic course is
divided into the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. The degree
of A. B. is conferred on those who complete the entire course; B. S. on
those who complete all except the Greek, and certificates of proficiency
on those who complete parts of the course. The enrollment of the school is
now over 100, which is considered flattering for the first years work.
The Missionary Baptist Church was organized at Henderson by a Presbytery
consisting of Revs. William J. Hodges, Samuel Bray and David J. Franklin,
on August 15, 1867. The following names were enrolled as members of the
first organization: Hugh McKnight, A. B. Crook, John D. Smith, David J.
Franklin, A. S. Sayle, L. J. Anderson, Mary V. Crook, Melvina McKnight,
Sarah B. Franklin, Rhoda F. Ewing, S. E. Anderson, M. C. Smith and Rosa F.
Graham. W. J. Hodges was elected moderator, A. S. Sayle clerk, and A. B.
Crook deacon. A. B. Crook was ordained deacon by W. J. Hodges, Samuel Bray
and D. J. Franklin in accordance with the customs of the church. After
appointing delegates to the Unity Association the church adopted the
articles of faith of the church. The first additions to the church were M.
McKnight, John D. Smith, Amanda F. Smith, Robt. W. Smith and C. T.
Lovelace, all by letter in September, 1867. The church house was begun in
August 1867, but not completed till some time in 1868. The lot was deeded
by J. D. Smith to A. B. Crook and Hugh McKnight as trustees. The building
committee consisted of A. B. Crook, D. J. Franklin and A. S. Sayle. The
value of church property is estimated at $900. The membership as reported
to the last association is seventy-seven. A Sabbath-school is maintained
by this church, numbering sixty-four. H. D. Franklin is both church clerk
and Sunday-school superintendent. The pastor is Rev, W. G. Inman.
The Church at Cave Springs was constituted in 1868. The membership is
forty-four. Church property is estimated at $500. M. V. Davison is church
clerk. The church at Friendship was constituted in 1846. The present
membership is seventy-two. J. S. McGraw is pastor and D. M. Marsh is
clerk. The value of the church property is $300. The church at Hopewell
has a membership of thirty and church property worth $100. This church was
constituted in 1860. L. D. Nash is church clerk and John Henry, pastor.
The church at Woodville was constituted in 1885 The membership of the
church is forty-nine. The pastor is Abner Lambert, and J. M. Gratham is
clerk. There are also churches at Mount Gilead, Hepsebah and Bethel, but
their strength is not reported.
The Methodist Church was organized at Henderson about 1874-75. The
pastors, in order, have been B. A. Umstead, George W. Wilson, from
November 28, 1874, to November 23, 1875; B. F. Blackman, November 23,
1875, to December 9, 1878, to November, 1879; Richard W. Newsom, 1879 to
November, 1881; John H. Garrett, November, 1881, .to 1882-83; James Perry,
1832-83 to 1884; B. A. Hays, 1884; ____ Blackard, 1885; G. W. Wilson. The
church was built in1882. The first trustees were C. M. Cason, W. C. Walsh,
M. F. Ozier, F. A. Smith and Hiram Johnson. Among the first members were
Henry C. Ashcraft, Mattie M. Asheraft, A. Brashears, Mary C. Bland,
William Cason, Mary Cason, Caleb M. Cason, Mary H. Cason, William T.
Cason, Charles M. Cason, William Cason, May J. Campbell, Hattie E. Crook,
Alice C. Cauthorn, Harriet A. Conner, Sophia V. Davis, Fannie Ewing, Mary
H. Hamilton, Hiram Johnson, J. T. Jester, John H. Hendrick, Mary J. Mason,
Bettie Ozier, Mary C. ONeal, Robert Purdy, Rebecca Purdy, Margaret J.
Priddy, T. A. Smith, Elizabeth E. Smith; Martin, Mary, Joseph W. and Mary
C. Stewart; Mary C. and Hugh N. Sherrill, Mary B. Simmons, Ann Spencer,
Joseph W. and Hattie B. Temple, Catharine Vance, William C. and Hattie
Walsh, J. A. and Maggie Worley, and Thomas and M. J. Worsham. This church
has a good house of worship, and a membership of over 100. A flourishing
Sabbath-school is also maintained.
The church at Montezuma was organized about 1830. To this church belonged
the families of the Burkheads, Casons, Wamblers, Steeles and some others.
The first was a log house, which was afterward supplanted by a frame
building. This frame building served until a few years ago, when the
institute which had been erected for the Jackson District High School
began to be used as a church. This is a brick building and is very well
suited for church services. This church has a good membership.
The Methodists also have churches at Mount Pisgah, Big Springs, Mount
Pleasant, Mifflin, Mount Gilead, Holly Springs, Burketts Chapel and
Holtons Chapel. The whole membership in the county is nearly 600.
The only Christian church in Chester County is at Henderson. This was
organized at Jacks Creek in 1871 by Rev. R. B. Tremble, of Mayfield, Ky.
The first members were R. J. Barham, John Barham and wife, Holcombe
Robertson and wife, John McCully and wife, I. J. Galbraith and wife, J. N.
Galbraith and wife, W. A. Brummer and wife, James Wheatley and wife, W. J.
Hodges and wife, R. I. Stow and wife, Miss Lou Ross and Miss Bettie Ross.
The first elders were R. J. Barham and H. Robertson; the deacons were John
Barham and John McCully. The organization was moved to Henderson in 1883,
and a nice new frame building erected for church services at a cost of
about $1,500. The present elders are R. J. Barham, H. Robertson and E. B.
Fuller. The deacons are J. W. Ozier, J. N. Hodges, I. J. Galbraith, S. G.
Thomas and Hugh Ross. The church maintains an excellent Sabbath-school.
The church register shows a membership of 292 since its organization; of
these, seventy-two have moved away, died or have been dropped from other
causes. J. B. Inman, president of the West Tennessee Christian College, is
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