Old Salem

The South Reporter
By R. B. Henderson

The historical town of Salem was located about eight miles northeast of Holly Springs.

It was just over the line in Tippah County; however, it was so intimately connected with the history of Marshall County and so many of its patrons lived in Marshall County that we are including it in this chapter of Marshall County history.

Its description is given by the late John H. Mickle, a former editor of the South Reporter.

“Grouped around old Saint Andrews Church” (Salem) was one of the best neighborhoods in North Mississippi in the days before the war.

“The families who lived in it were mostly Whigs in politics. Episcopalian was the religion, and many came from Old Virginia. The neighborhood spread afar and Jefferson Davis, who later became president of the Confederacy, once visited it with a view of buying a plantation from Doctor Frank W. Dabney, who later moved to Holly Springs.

Mr. Davis did not buy the plantation.

No pretentious homes were built in the neighborhood, the peak prosperity of which such things come was halted by the war.

Among the prominent families who lived in the neighborhood were the Hulls, Claytons, Thomases, Martins, Govans and Robinsons.

Of the citizens of Old Salem Community, Judge A. M. Clayton later became a member of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, a member of the diplomatic service of the United States government, a member of the Confederate Congress and an outstanding member of the Mississippi Bar.

Edward H. Crump, who was to become a mayor of Memphis and a political figure of Tennessee, was born in the Salem community. B. Minor Mickle, a prominent business man of Hong Kong and Singapore, was also reared in the community. Andrew M. Govan, who later to become a state official and a Major-General in the Confederacy Armies, lived on and owned a large plantation near Old Salem. Joseph W. Matthews, the only man from Marshall County to be elected governor, lived near Old Salem.

Submitted by Martha Fant

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