History of Kenton, Tennessee


The town of Kenton was named for Simon Kenton, of Kentucky, another renowned hunter.  Simon Kenton surveyed the town site.

The Indian method of grinding corn by mortar and pestle was replaced by the horse mill.  Next came the water mill in about 1826.   One of these water mills was located about two miles south of Kenton on the Garrison farm.  This vicinity is still referred to as the "Old Mill".

The passing of the first train through Kenton was an event attended by most of the citizens.  A free ride on this train to the "Old Mill" and return was enjoyed by many.  This occurred about 1856 or 1857.

J.R. Moore built and operated the first store in Kenton, located near the depot grounds.  Later this was sold to a Captain Simmons, who almost caused the name Kenton to be changed to Shanghai.  He brought the first chickens here of the long legged "Shanghai" breed that became a novel attraction for all.  The streets, not having been improved became so muddy at times that ladies had difficulty keeping their long skirts out of the mud.

Walks were then built high above the ground to correct this. 

A visitor offered in jest, "The walks in that town look like their chickens".  After that Kenton was often referred to as Shanghai.

Kenton is famous for their white squirrels.   The origin of these squirrels remains a mystery.  One story says that two white squirrels were given to a citizen by gypsies.  But most people agree that these squirrels appeared in Kenton about 120 years ago.


Sources:  Gibson County Past and Present by Frederick M. Culp and Mrs. Robert E. Ross

               Families and History of Gibson County, Tennessee to 1989 by Lee-Davis U.D.C. Historial Society

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1998-99 Vicki W. Shaffer