Southern Weakley County
|Much of the
following information about Jonesboro is from articles
by Roy Whicker in 1912, and many years later in the
The little town of Jonesboro was located about 1/4 mile east of Meridian Church. In about 1840, a man by the name of Billy Jones moved to the hill that is now called Jonesboro and established a store there, (this man was probably William N. Jones). It soon began to be called Jonesboro. Shortly thereafter other businesses were added and Jonesboro became a thriving little town. There were general merchandise, groceries, saloon, hatters shop, blacksmith shop, and a copper smith. There were also several houses on the hill.
Jonesboro was the district voting place. According to legend David Crockett, James K. Polk, and other great statesmen have made political speeches there. It seems that all went well for the town of Jonesboro until about the time of the Civil War. After that, it started to go down. Maybe it was the war or maybe it was the first railroad in Weakley County that started it's downfall.
The Nashville and North Western Railroad was built through what later became Gleason and Dresden in about 1860. Later this road became the L &N. Roy Whicker said that he was told by the old timers that the soil on Jonesboro was once rich and fertile; Now some of it is very badly eroded with deep gullies. Mr. Whicker also said that many years ago Logan White had a fur hat made out of opossum fur on display at the Dresden fair and this hat was made in Jonesboro by the great hat maker, a Mr. Thomas.
There is a copy of an estate settlement by the heirs of John Drewry made in 1863. Several tracts of land are mentioned and one of these is a lot located in the 15th Civil District of Weakley County in the suburbs of the city of Jonesboro and contains 2 acres and 145 poles (or approximately 2 3/4 acres). About all that is left of the town of Jonesboro is a few pieces of broken brick from the chimneys of long ago.
Looking northward from Mulberry, one could see the land begin a gradual rise, and another old settlement was established at the crest of this rolling hill. It was known as Jonesboro, Tennessee. The little Settlement of Jonesboro was established before the Civil War by Bill Jones. It had a Post Office and the Postmaster was John E. Halford. The location was perfect, being about mid-way between Winston (a town on the Obion River's Middle Fork) and Christmasville on the old Christmasville-Dresden Road. It was due east of present Meridian Church and Cemetery.
This small settlement thrived for a time, the first saloon in Weakley County was built here and Rasmus Emerson Holt was the last proprietor and bar keep. His wife Mattie Lollice Holt died in late December of 1960 (91 years old) and had kept an old brown stone crock and mug once used to serve drinks at the Jonesboro Saloon. This beautiful community had an abundance of large chestnut, beech, oaks, poplar and hickory trees occupying it's majestic slopes and cattle running on free and open range would congregate here during Indian Summer to eat the mesh and lick the salty earth. When the owners of the stock wanted to round up their cattle they always knew to come to Jonesboro.
There was a small cotton gin in the area operated by Andy and Roland Galey. The machinery consisted of three ginstands, powered by a mule similar to early sorghum mills. Roland H. Galey was Postmaster of Shieldsburg in 1848. It was located due north of Jonesboro.
It must have been beautiful in late autumn when all the trees burst into full color, bordered with gray chestnut rail fences. Mr. Preston Knott said he could remember his grandfather telling him that old people once thought the haze of Indian Summer was caused by the Indians burning off the woods to find chestnuts.
More on Jonesboro
Crockett came to Jonesboro, and he was running against this one legged lawyer from Jackson for congress. The one legged opponent was quite an orator, and David could not speak a "lick." One of the Stouts - it might have been old man Levi - ran a saloon. The bar was built up with slats with cracks between them. In those days a coon skin or any sort of a fur went like a silver dollar.
Old Davy sensed that this crowd would rather have a drink than hear his speech, and he borrowed a rifle and went out into the woods. In those days there were thousands of acres of woods infested with all kinds of game, and it was not long until he killed a coon and skinned it and called everybody up to the bar and they all had a drink, and the bar tender took the hide and threw it behind the bar, and the tail of the skin stuck out through a crack.
After a while, he sensed that the crowd needed another drink. He did not have another cook skin, and he saw this ones tail sticking out, and he takes it and throws it upon the bar and treated everybody again paying for same with the same coon skin. The store-keeper never did know that he had been gypped. So his opponent got about two votes in the whole county and David got all the rest. After he went to Congress, he sent the store-keeper the money and told him what he had done.
Submitted by Joe Stout
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