Jemison Land & Cattle Company

 "This web site is a tribute to the American Cotton Farmer, the last eight generations of Jemison farmers, the Jemison Family and a special tribute to Lynn Hawkins Jemison co-founder of Jemison Land & Cattle Company."          

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La Grange

Homes of La Grange

 

La Grange

Ten miles south from Jemison Farms, not far from Memphis, Tennessee is a the historic village of La Grange Village.  A picturesque town that captures the look and feel of the antebellum south.   If you drive east about 50 miles on the Tennessee Highway 57 you will cross the path of "La Belle Village".  In its day, before the Civil War it was known as a center of culture and refinement.  The local population were known for their outstanding hospitality and entertainment.  The community attracted men of enterprise, intelligence, and wealth from the east coast, especially Virginia and North Carolina.

La Grange never rose to its potential of being a major cultural, political, and economic force in the state of Tennessee. The Civil War, nature, and "progress" destroyed the gracious life that once was La Grange. The Village retains its charm in the beautiful homes from the antebellum period with their large and spacious grounds.  Most have stood well against the forces of nature and time.

An Historical Timeline Between 1820 - 1900:

1. In early 1820's Began as a trading post known as "Cluster of Pines."  Trade with the Indians was carried on here. Eventually the settlers force the Indians off their land in West Tennessee.

2. 1824 - "Cluster of Pines" becomes part of Fayette County and enjoys growth as a thriving settlement.  The county is named after Marquis de Lafayette. The populace names the settlement after Lafayette's ancestral home in France, La Grange.

3. 1825 -Samuel Harper, the county's first sheriff, divides the land into town lots pattern after a process used by Philadelphia.  

4. 1826 - the first store is opened by George Gray.

5. 1828 - the town is incorporated and statistics show the town had sixty houses, 240 inhabitants, four stores, two taverns, and twelve mechanic's.

6. 1832 - First church is organized by the Episcopal Church.  Mrs. Mary Gloster, a 52 year old widow, disturbed that the fledgling La Grange community lacked a key societal institution, Episcopal Church,  she became the catalyst for the beginning of Christian influence in Western Tennessee.  

  "Fortifying herself with peach brandy, which she carried in a water jug hung over her saddle, Mrs. Gloster and her son-in-law rode horseback over 200 miles of wilderness to Franklin, TN, to petition a missionary priest to help establish an Episcopal Church in La Grange.  ... The land was given by Mrs. Gloster; her slaves made the bricks and hewed the timber for the building." 

Through her influence and determination The Immanuel Church was completed in 1842.

La Grange is one of the oldest parishes in the Diocese and Immanuel is the oldest Episcopal Church in West Tennessee.

Immanuel Church
Built 1842

7. 1832 - One person of notoriety from La Grange was Lucy Holcombe Pickens, the "Queen of the Confederacy".  Lucy was born in 1832 in the "Pickens House".  She would later meet and marry Francis W. Pickens, a Congressman form South Carolina.  Lucy would travel with her husband to Russia where the were he held the title of United States Minister to Russia.  Francis Pickens would later become the Confederate State of South Carolina's Governor.  Lucy Picken's portrait is on the Confederate $1 note of June 2, 1861 and on several $100 Confederate notes.  The only woman so honored by the Confederate States of America.

8. 1830's - a boom time for La Grange.  Highest resident population growth is during this period.

9. 1837 /  1839 - Attempt to start the La Grange and Memphis Railway fails due it part to the "Panic of 1837" that resulted in a financial crash.  

10. 1853 - Rail service begins between Memphis and La Grange. 

11. 1855 - the Tennessee General Assembly charter the La Grange Female College, "an institution of learning for young ladies."

11. 1857 - Rail service completed from Memphis to Charleston, SC.  But this does improve the prospects for growth in La Grange.  Memphis takes off.

12. 1857 - The Presbyterian Church sponsors the development of a Synodical College in La Grange.

13. 1862 - Civil War wrecks havoc as a large body of Federal troops move into La Grange after the fall of Memphis. The town was occupied for the entire war by Federal troops.

14. 1876 - a yellow fever epidemic hits Memphis.  Many La Grange citizens nurse Memphis citizens back to health.

15. 1900 - a tornado strikes La Grange destroying the Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian churches, the train depot, and most of the business district.

La Grange represents some of the glory of a by gone era and you can touch memories in the homes and buildings that still stand.

© 2011 Jemison Land & Cattle Company