Located in the
foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the town of
Tishomingo, Mississippi, welcomes people of all ages
with a friendly small town atmosphere. Tishomingo
is inside a triangle created by the historic Natchez
Trace Parkway, Bay Springs Lake on the Tennessee
Tombigbee Waterway, and Pickwick Lake on the
Tennessee River. To the east is the unique
Tishomingo State Park with rock climbing and
canoeing and to the west the Crow's Neck
Environmental Center focuses on the beautiful flora
of the area. It is a historic area within a lovely
natural setting teeming with opportunities for
exploration, education, and recreation.
The Town of Tishomingo
was actually begun by the Tishomingo Township
Company, which purchased the land, drew the town
map, and began to advertise and sell lots. The City
was chartered July 6, 1908, by an official act of
Mississippi Governor E. F. Noel. The town was named
for the Chickasaw Indian Chief Tishomingo. He was
an important Chief whose image is today prominent on
the flag of the Chickasaw Nation. George Washington
commissioned him during the American Revolution, and
he served his country until his death on the march
to Oklahoma. There is a Tishomingo, Oklahoma, also
named for the chief.
Tishomingo was also the
camping ground of General Andrew Jackson on his way
to fight the Battle of New Orleans in the War of
1812. He stayed two weeks to rest his troops and
drink the water from what was called “Good Springs”
and what would afterwards be called Jackson
Springs. The spring still supplies most of the
water for the town today.
The railroad was built
in 1906, and the first train passed through in
1907. This was a special occasion, and the tracks
were lined with people to see this first train.
The first Post Office
was built in 1906. The mail came in each day on the
The first school was
built in 1908 in the area of today’s field house.
The well used by the school remains.
In March 1913, a
tornado destroyed most of the six store buildings in
the town and heavily damaged those that remained
standing. The school was picked up and turned over,
but no children were seriously hurt.
In July 1916, the Town
Board issued bonds to build a public school
building. This became the Tishomingo Agricultural
High School. It was a boarding school, and students
came from great distances to attend classes here.
The present classroom buildings were constructed in
1946 and 1959.
In 1915, Tishomingo had
a cotton gin. Street lights were installed in
1927. The Tishomingo Bank opened in 1945. In 1953,
Blue Bell Manufacturing opened a factory that
employed several hundred people. (This was the
original “Wrangler” jeans company before several
name changes.) In 1960, Mid-South Telephone went
into operation, and in 1964, a sewage lagoon was
built and sewer lines were installed.
The first church in
Tishomingo, Old Neblets Chapel, was built about
1909. The building was torn down, and the material
used to build the present Methodist Parsonage. The
land for the present Methodist Church was sold to
the church on November 12, 1915, by the Tishomingo
Townsite Company for $50.00.
The old Tishomingo
Baptist Church was destroyed in 1913 by the
tornado. It was rebuilt in 1916 and remained until
the present church facility was built in 1966.
The Tishomingo Church
of Christ held its first meetings in a brush arbor
on what is now the high school campus. Soon after
the tornado of 1913, the first building was
In 1970, William H.
Burcham started having services in a store building,
and about one year later built the Gospel Lighthouse
Many houses dating to
the early days of the town remain today. They are
The A. C. Gardner house
on North Street is currently owned by Barbara
Grisham. Mr. Gardner had the first store in town.
The N. C. Waldrep house
on Madison Street, currently owned by Vivian Wells,
was supplied with running water from a spring under
the hill adjacent to the house.
The Burns house at the
corner of Madison and 3rd Avenue was built in 1904;
it is owned by Jim Burns.
The J. O. Looney house
has undergone extensive renovations; it is currently
owned by Jerry Hollingsworth. Mr. Looney was the
first superintendent of the Tishomingo High School.
The Harvey house on
Trace Street (behind the Sunflower Grocery Store)
was built by the Rev. Will Whitener family.
The Long House on Trace
Street survived the tornado of 1913. The house can
be seen on pictures of the tornado damage to the
town. It is currently owned by Mary Ann Long.
The Blissit House on
North Street was built in 1914. It is owned by
Janet and John Savoy.
The McDougal House,
located on 2nd Avenue and Madison, is also visible
in tornado pictures. Dewayne and Sherry Kay own it.
The Rushing house at
Highway 25 and North Street survived the tornado.
It is owned by Hal Crandal.
The house at the end of
Madison on the west side of Highway 25 was pushed
off its foundation by the tornado. A cable was
attached to the tree in the yard, run through the
house, and anchored on the other side to keep the
house stable. The cable is still there.
The principal’s house
on the school campus was originally a boarding
house. It was rocked with Tishomingo Stone by the
Depression organization, Youth Administration, which
allowed students to work for their school tuition.
The W. H. Fairless
house at Natchez and 3rd Avenue is currently owned
by James Fairless Tennyson. W. C. Hundley built the
first hardware store in Tishomingo and then shortly
after sold it to Mr. Fairless.
The Dean house on
Natchez Street was at one time a hotel. It is owned
by Richard and Betty Dean Pharr.
Many of the homes
mentioned above are named as they are currently
known; however, in a few cases, others originally
built the house.
In 1916, a songwriter
named Spencer Williams wrote “Tishomingo Blues”
after passing through and spending some time in
Tishomingo. The song became well known and is heard
today as the opening theme music to Garrison
Kellior’s “Prairie Home Companion” that is heard on
the National Public Radio. In spite of the name, it
is not a traditional blues song, but instead is a
jazz number. “Tishomingo Blues” was also the name
of a novel by Elmore Leonard although the story is
not set in Tishomingo. At one time, Mr. Leonard had
a picture of himself at the city limits sign just
outside of town posted on his Web site.
Contributed by Tishomingo County Historical &