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Jackson is a city in Madison Countymarker, Tennesseemarker, United Statesmarker. The total population was 59,643 at the 2000 census. Jackson is the primary city of the Jackson, Tennessee metropolitan area, which is included in the Jackson-Humboldt, Tennesseemarker Combined Statistical Area. Jackson is the county seat of Madison Countymarker .


Jackson is located at (35.633132, -88.820805) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.5 square miles (128.2 km²).

Image:JacksonTNPolice.JPG|(From Bottom) Carl Perkins Civic Center, State Office Complex, & Police StationImage:JacksonTN.JPG|Historic Downtown Jackson
New Southern HotelImage:Southhighlandave.jpg|South Highland Ave heading toward downtown


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

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

Jackson's City Court Judge is Blake Anderson and substitutes are as well appointed when necessary. The Judge serves an eight year term with a fixed salary during each term. 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.


Early settlement

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, later President of the United States.

The City of Jackson was founded by an act of the General Assembly, passed in 1821, entitled an "act to establish a seat of justice for Henry, Carroll, Henderson and Madison Counties." The act required fifty acres of land to be deeded to the commissioners. The commissioners chosen by the Legislature were Sterling Brewer and James Fentress. The places had in view 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 a nearer to them than either of the others, the city was looked upon as the more suitable or desirable site for the seat of justice.

The Tennessee Supreme Court is required to meet in Jackson because, when the second Tennessee State Constitution was written in 1834, Memphismarker had not yet developed, and Jackson was the most significant city in West Tennessee.

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, Kentuckymarker 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, Kentuckymarker 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.

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.

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 Universitymarker 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 eight fatalities, while the 2003 storm resulted in eleven fatalities. The 1999 tornado also damaged the 30-acre Riverside Cemetery, where 40 known Confederate soldiers, 140 unknowns, and many families of the founders of Jackson are buried.

Destroyed dormitory building in February 2008.

The cemetery's acres of old trees and many of the statues, monuments, and graves were damaged during the tornado, including the monument of Colonel Robert I. Chester, military colonel from the War of 1812, the oldest Shriner in Tennessee, and son-in-law of John Donelson, one of the founders of Tennessee. His wife, Elizabeth Hays, was the niece of Jane Donelson, who was the sister to Rachel Jackson, wife of President Andrew Jackson.

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.

The first was the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, which began in October, 1849 in Mobile, Alabamamarker. 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. 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.

On December 29, 1886, the Tennessee Midland Railway received a charter to build a railroad from Memphis, Tennesseemarker 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 Memphismarker to Jackson was the forerunner of the N.C. & St. L. RR. 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.

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 of the line were ready for operations. On June 16 the remaining 11-mile sector was set into service, connecting Dyersburg, Tennesseemarker with Jackson. When the line began operations in 1912 it had as its president Issac 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 Issac 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", "The 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.

Hometown celebrities

Jackson was home to Casey Jones, the Illinois Central engineer who, before colliding with a stalled freight train near Vaughn, Mississippi, told his fireman to jump to safety but himself died at the throttle, saving the lives of his passengers. Jackson was also the home of singers Carl Perkins and Luther Ingram, game show host Wink Martindale, football players Ed "Too Tall" Jones , Al Wilson and Trey Teague, and legendary pianist Joe Hunter, one of the Funk Brothers who played Motown hits in the 1960s.

Former actor Christopher Jones, who portrayed Jesse James in the ABC television series The Legend of Jesse James (1965-1966), was born in Jackson, Tennessee in 1941. His co-star was Allen Case as Frank James.

The Tigrett Toy Factory was founded by John Burton Tigrett, nephew of Issac B. Tigrett, President of the Gulf Mobile and Ohio railroad.

Isaac Burton Tigrett, son of John B. Tigrett, the founder of the Hard Rock Cafe chain of themed restaurants. The first Hard Rock Cafe in the United States east of the Mississippi was located in Jackson's Old Hickory Mall..

The son of a sharecropper, rockabilly legend Carl Perkins was born April 9, 1932, in Lake County. Perkins started the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse in 1981. Jackson’s Civic Center is named for him. When he died in January 1998, his funeral, held in the chapel of Lambuth University, was attended by musicians including Ricky Skaggs, Johnny Rivers, Wynonna Judd, Sam Phillips, Jerry Lee Lewis, Rufus Thomas, Garth Brooks and George Harrison of The Beatles.

Jackson was also the original home of Monroe Dunaway Anderson. M. D. Anderson was a cotton trader and capitalist whose financial endowment helped found the famed M.marker D.marker Anderson Cancer Centermarker in Houston, Texasmarker.


[[Image:Jackson-Humboldt CSA.png|thumb|right|300px|Location of the Jackson-Humboldt CSA and its components:


Jackson is the larger principal city of the Jackson-Humboldt CSAmarker, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Jackson metropolitan area (Chestermarker and Madison counties) and the Humboldt micropolitan areamarker (Gibson Countymarker), which had a combined population of 155,529 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 59,643 people, 23,503 households, and 15,135 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,205.2 people per square mile (465.3/km²). There were 25,501 housing units at an average density of 515.3/sq mi (198.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.13% White, 42.07% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.88% from other races, and 0.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.16% of the population.

There were 23,503 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 12.8% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 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 $33,194, and the median income for a family was $40,922. Males had a median income of $32,777 versus $23,229 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,495. About 14.0% of families and 17.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.0% of those under age 18 and 11.5% 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. The Greyhound Bus line provides inter-city service.

McKellar-Sipes Regional Airportmarker serves the city. Pacific Wings, operating under the name TennesseeSkies, began commercial service from Jackson to Nashville on August 30, 2009.

Major Roadways

Interstate 40 runs east to west from Memphismarker to Nashvillemarker.

U.S. Route 45 runs north to south to Gibson County and Chester County.

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

High schools

Middle schools

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

Specialist schools

  • West Tennessee School for the Deaf

Private schools

  • The Augustine School
  • University School of Jackson
  • Jackson Christian School
  • St. Mary's Catholic School
  • Trinity Christian Academy
  • Vann Drive Christian Academy
  • Hines Memorial SDA School
  • Jackson Preparatory School

Recreation, sports, and entertainment

Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum is located in Casey Jones Village. The exhibits include a Railroad Museum with steam locomotives and the restored home of Casey Jones.

The West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, a Class AA minor league baseball team in the Southern League, an affiliate of the Seattle Mariners play in Jackson.

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

Since 1990, Jackson has hosted the NAIA Women's Division I National Championship basketball tournament in the Oman Arenamarker

Jackson hosts the annual Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.

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.


In 1993, twenty homicides were reported in Jackson, Tennessee. In 2005, Jackson was ranked the fifth most dangerous city for violent crime. According to the Morgan Quitno list of the "Top 25 Most Dangerous Cities of 2006", the city was ranked as the number 11 most dangerous city in the United States. Jackson was not listed in 2007.

According to a CNN story on November 18, 2007, many people have criticized the Morgan Quitno list. "You're not comparing apples and oranges; you're comparing watermelons and grapes," said Rob Casey, head of the FBI section that organizes the Uniform Crime Report that provides the data for the Quitno report. The FBI posted a statement on its web site criticizing such use of their statistics. The FBI said:


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