History of Sharon. Tennessee
Weakley County Press - March 7, 1958
The Early History Of Sharon, Tenn.
By Ann L. Bailey
In 1824, a land grant was received by Wesley Rogers and John Jenkins
from the United States Government. This land was divided by
regularly traveled dirt road, known as the Dresden-Trenton
In a short time, a portion of this land was bought by Graves
Fonville. People began to migrate to this area. They in
turn bought land from Graves Fonville and began to start a small
community which included a few stores.
On Jan. 15, 1852, a post office was established approximately 2
½ miles northwest of the area which is now known as
Sharon. Mr. Nelson O. Underwood was appointed as the only
postmaster and served until the Dedham Post Office discontinued
on July 25, 1866?.
The first schools in the area were Galloway School, west of Mount
Vernon, Hickory Grove School, about a mile west of Sharon, and
Grove School, south of Tansil Cemetery. The Hickory Grove
was free except for two months when a “subscription” or
was required. Teachers at this school included Ben Tansil, Mr.
Donoho, George Winstead and Mrs. Lou Evans, who became county
superintendent. From time to time this education of children
supplemented by “tutor” and music teachers who lived in the homes
taught the children in the neighborhood. The land for the
Grove School was given by John Jenkins.
In 1873, the Illinois Central Railroad bought a right-of-way for its
tracks through the land of this settlement. And by Aug. 22,
the first train chugged through the settlement to the amazement of
273 of its inhabitants. Bob Russell was the town’s first depot
During this year, the people decided that the settlement needed a
also. Fonville, Sharon, and Owenville were considered; and
was selected to be the title. At this time the town’s
were comprised of one hotel, the Shannon House, two steam-cotton
two general stores, a mechanic shop, one grist and saw mill, and two
churches, the Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterian.
A post office was established in Sharon on Jan. 26, 1874, and its
postmaster was Charles W. Moore.
The people remembered now as Sharon’s first settlers include Jim
Fonville, Charlie Owen, Dr. Ben T. Bondurant, whose daughter, Mrs.
W. Burton, is the major source of the information for this article,
Charlie Overton, Mrs. Margaret Hunt, Charlie Moore, Ben Moore,
or Justice of the Peace, George Terry, Mrs. Mit? Winston, John
and Joe Dent. The families Underwood, Chandler, Tansil,
Ethridge, Tillman, and Shannon lived in the nearby communities and
contributed to the development of the town. The first homes
in the community were those belonging to Jim Fonville, Charlie Owen,
and Buck Hunt.
Sharon’s first school was established in 1890 and was called Sharon
Training School. Its first teacher was Professor J. W.
Douglas. A few of the people who owned businesses then
were: the Moore Brothers, a general store; Hollis and Parrish,
general store; Dr. Ben T. Bondurant, a drug store; Wyat
and his nephews, Jim and Jess Ammons, a drug store; and Mr.
Bailey, a general store. This store was later owned and
by his nephews, George and I. H. Terry, who came here from
Virginia. The town had four physicians which practiced in
and its surrounding areas. They were Dr. Henry Shannon, Dr.
T. Bondurant, Dr. Frank Hall, and Dr. Columbus P. Allen.
In 1895, John Fonville gave three acres of land to the community as
burial area. It was named Woodlawn Cemetery and its first
was that of George Norman on July 13, 1895. Another first occurred
Sharon received it first telephone in 1896. Its first bank was
established in 1902.
Mount Vernon Methodist Church, established in 1823 west of town;
Corinth Baptist Church east of town, Sharon Methodist and a
Baptist Church (where the R. A. Childress home now is) and the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church provided the early places of worship.
“Parson” Asbury Smith, grandfather of Mrs. Fannie V. Milner, was the
local Methodist preacher for many years. Brothers Sellars and
Majors were early Methodist “circuit” riders.
No matter how many important or noteworthy happenings evolve from
history of a town or community, its past, present or future
are no greater than the people within it.
Submitted by Rebecca Holder
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