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History of Adamsville

(Bill Wagoner provided content)

In the early 1800's only an Indian trail marked the place where Adamsville would be founded. Indians marked the north side of the trees to keep direction. In modern times this trail would be developed into the David Crockett Highway and known as Highway 64. At some point it was surveyed out by Crockett who, for a time, served the district as a congressman.

The family of George G. Adams were the first to locate in the area we now know as Adamsville. A trading post was opened a little north of the Adamsville Cemetery. An Indian came to trade hides for whiskey. The settlers came in just after 1818 and Adamsville became a little village with the trading post and only a handful of people. The settlers had to bring a complete society with them: teachers, doctors, preachers, merchants and so on.

The Bell's detachment with 56 wagons and 318 horses of the Cherokee Trail of Tears crossed the Tennessee River at the ferry landing at Savannah. They came through this area in 1838 on the way continuing west across the state to Memphis, and on to Oklahoma.

The migrations of people came in mostly in the 1840-50 period. Most were natives of North Carolina, some by way of Maury County around Columbia, Tennessee. One community nearby was known as "North Carolina" because so many people living there were from the tar heel state.

Little Adamsville was agricultural in nature. By the period of the Civil War it was a place with a cabin or two and a dirt street muddy in winter and dusty in summer. Union troops were located here in 1862 when events at nearby Shiloh Church took place.

Adamsville, like most other communities, did not make much progress until road improvements came in the 20th century. Going into the early 20th century the town had a bad reputation for drinking and killing. Strong drink caused arguments, even in the 1930's and up until World War II drunks would still be laying out on the streets Sunday morning. Early settlers had brought with them many Christian teachers and the establishing of churches. Little by little the Christian element brought an end to all the killing and drinking.

Always agricultural, Adamsville remained so until the 1940's when the textile business began to operate. Myrna Mills came first, then several other factories. This put the women to work making shirts, mostly. The men remained in the fields as public work was not plentiful to them until later.

Adamsville was to send Tennessee a governor in the person of Ray Blanton. Ray Blanton is buried in the churchyard of Shiloh Church, within Shiloh National Military Park(not in the Shiloh National Cemetery). His grave is marked by a large obelisk.

Native, Sheriff Buford Pusser made a name for himself that now ranks alongside Wild Bill Hickock and Wyatt Earp. Buford Pusser is buried next to his wife, Pauline in the Adamsville Cemetery.

Adamsville is also the birth place of "Daddy-O" Dewey Phillips, who was one of rock 'n' roll's pioneering disk jockeys. He is buried in nearby Crump Cemetery.

The town has remained a friendly place with a small town atmosphere of knowing and being known by everyone. The name "The Biggest Little Town in Tennessee" has been a very appropriate one. It boasts of one of the ten best schools in America, has numerous places of employment, the population and the work force being about the same. There are beautiful churches, homes and a type population that pulls together on the issues.



Adamsville City Hall | 231 East Main | Adamsville, TN | (731) 632-4214
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