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TN History for Kids

Madison County

Saul's Mound
PHOTO: Mark Norton

In Madison County you will find Pinson Mounds, an awesome series of Native American Mounds built nearly two thousand years ago about which we're still learning new things.

At one time, Native American mounds could be found all over Tennessee. But Pinson was the largest. In fact, at one time Saul's Mound at Pinson Mounds may have been the tallest man-made structure in the present-day United States.

A map of the Illinois Central line

Today, Jackson is the largest city between Memphis and Nashville. The reason for this was the railroads. There was once a time when a major east-west railroad (the Louisville and Nashville Railroad) crossed a major north-south railroad (the Illinois Central Railroad) in Jackson. Because of this, Jackson became an important crossroads.

Casey Jones
PHOTO: Casey Jones Village

Speaking of the Illinois Central, Jackson was the home of Casey Jones, a folk hero about whom songs have been written and TV shows have been produced. When he was 16 years old, Jones started working for railroads. By the time he was 27 he had become a railroad engineer, which means he drove the train.

The Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum

Jones eventually earned a reputation as a man who would go to great lengths to get his train to the station on time. He died in a train wreck in 1900, with one hand on the whistle and the other on the brake.

Click here to be taken to the website of the Casey Jones Home and Railroad Museum.

The main reason Casey Jones became famous after his death was because an African-American engine wiper named Wallace Saunders wrote a song about him. If you want to hear the song’s tune, click here.

The now abandoned Bemis factory building

You will find the community of Bemis south of Jackson. Bemis was completely designed and developed by the owners of a factory there that made and sold cotton bags. At one time, the factory building and all of the houses around it were owned by the Bemis Brothers Bag Company.

The Bemis factory closed in 1991, but the houses are still there. There is also a wonderful museum near the factory where you can learn all about the history of Bemis; click here to read about it.

The Madison County Courthouse in Jackson

 

Madison County

County seat: Madison

Population (2015 estimate): 97,610

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