A Biography of The City of McLemoresville​

A Biography of The City of McLemoresville​

If one travels the old 70A/77 Highway from Nashville to Memphis about halfway between the two cities, they will pass through the heart of McLemoresville, TN population 342. It is nestled amid the rolling hills of western Carroll County. Visitors are welcomed to town by city limit signs proudly imprinted with these lines – “Home of Dixie Carter, The Billy O. Williams Carroll County Museum and Lots of Fine Folks”.

On a trip around the town square you find our most notable landmark – the home of Dixie Carter built in the 1880’s by a Mr. Wood. It was later purchased by the Carter family and several generations of that family have lived in the house. Hal Holbrook now uses it for a “Get Away” for the family and friends, Hal’s wife, Dixie Carter, passed away in 2009 but she always said of McLemoresville, “It’s the sweetest, kindest little town and I love it”.

If you continue your trip around the “square”, you could visit at the office of Espey Gin, the McLemoresville Activities Center or commonly known as “The MAC”, or get your groceries at the Hometown Market formerly Younger’s Grocery & Hardware, pick up mail at the post office and visit our City Hall and Fire Department. The beautiful new bank building of Carroll Bank & Trust now occupies the east side of the town square. Recent activity has moved to establish a new museum building, an historical log cabin was donated to the town by Mr. & Mrs. Newman Walpole to accommodate our area’s treasures of the past. The cabin has been renovated and is used as a Visitor Welcome Center and as the center piece of an “Old Town Square”. The 18′ x 18′ cabin with an 8′ wrap-around porch is now joined to a 30′ x 50′ rustic building to house the main museum displays. The new facility includes ADA compliant public restrooms with wheelchair ramps for access to the cabin and museum. The new Carroll County Museum is located right behind the bank, it was dedicated in October of 2009 to me, Rachel McKinney, historian and museum curator, and what a surprise to be so honored. Anyone interested in donating or loaning historical items to the museum should contact one of the city board members or call the city hall at 731-986-9440, we also are asking for individuals willing to donate labor or funds on the museum project to call the city hall. The Carroll County Museum houses memorabilia of Billy O. Williams, Dixie Carter and many other well-known people of Carroll County. Continuing your trip around the square, you find four other houses all more than 100 years old. The museum is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1pm to 4pm and is open by appointment for groups at other times by calling the City Hall or Angie Martin at 731-986-5349

Just off the square to the North you’ll find Elliott’s Sign & Design Studio, Happy Times Day Care, Grace’s Quick Stop, and Blow’s Gun Shop. These may not fill all of our needs, but they contribute to the good life of our citizens all across the county.

Our four active churches within the city limits certainly make their contribution to our area through services to the community. The Cumberland Presbyterian, McLemoresville United Methodist, McLemoresville Baptist Church, and Reedy Creek Baptist Church.
The old Bethel Cumberland Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest church buildings in the area was donated to the City of McLemoresville in 2010 and is used as an historic site, the facility now named The Bethel Wedding Chapel is available for weddings and small social gatherings, contact the City Hall for reservations.

When our first settlers arrived in this area, they found this site to be picturesque with the climate, water, and surroundings conducive to good health. We believe this holds true since we have several octogenarians in our town.

The Carroll County Court chose the Land Office of Robert Dougherty in McLemoresville for its first meeting in 1822. This is commemorated by a historical marker placed near the site – one of four historical markers in the town.

In the same year Benjamin Peeples, a Methodist missionary, met a colleague at the same land office to divide the territory that became the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church. The markers with the story of this event was placed at the local Methodist Church.

Bethel College was organized here in 1842 when the Cumberland Presbyterians took the lead in establishing a college in Carroll County. One of its students was Gov. Alvin Hawkins. The Civil War left its mark when Forrest Raiders paid the town a visit and took the schools telescope thinking it to be a secret weapon. It was later returned but was moved with Bethel College to its present site in McKenzie in 1872.

The McLemoresville Collegiate Institute, a Methodist Episcopal school, took its place. This school, too, ran its course to be the West Carroll Elementary with grades K – 4. There are more than 300 students enrolled in the school.

Each year a city wide Memorial Day is set aside to honor our veterans and commemorate the soldiers buried here dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Freedom Weekend Celebration is held on or near the Fourth of July. This is a time of fun, good food, and fellowship. The food-sales fund is used for needed projects in the town.

The Espey Cotton Gin is our oldest continuous running business. For more than 100 years it has stood on the same site since J.H. Bramley built on land adjacent to his grocery stores in 1898.

Each year in October the townspeople celebrate the contribution of the cotton industry with a festival. Several thousand people from the surrounding area come to help make it a special time. Mayor Phil Williams says, “There is something for everyone and everyone is included from the very young to the young at heart.”

Our fire department with its Class 6 Rating is the pride of the town. We feel is truly ours since the building, trucks, and equipment were bought by the town with funds raised by various activities. Billy Younger, the Volunteer Fire Chief, says of our fire truck, “It took a lot of hamburgers, but it’s worth it all”.

Our one small park in the heart of the town is often used by those who want to sit and talk a spell. It was also built by town folks with William O’Neill as designer. The gazebo has been the centerpiece for several weddings and social events.

Our town historian, Rachel McKinney, has no doubt that ours is truly the “Best Small Town in America”.

AllSport Manufacturing brought its plant to McLemoresville in 2010. They are appreciated for their faith in our community and we have faith in their success.

Our town may be small but it has the heart of a much larger town, this is made evident by the turn out and support that we receive for every event that is held here. The two main annual events are the 4th of July Celebration and the October Cotton Festival, although our population is marked at around 350 citizens the town is overflowing with folks enjoying the activities of these two events.

For information on renting our MAC – McLemoresville Activities Center, Bethel Wedding Chapel, please contact our City Hall at 731-986-9440 or Email City Hall

The Mayor and City Board of Aldermen would like to extend an open welcome to anyone and everyone to visit our town and see a part of Tennessee history.

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