Atoka, Tennessee

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Atoka, Tennessee
Town of Atoka Sign, Atoka, Tennessee.JPG
Location in Tipton County and the state of Tennessee.
Location in Tipton County and the state of Tennessee.
Coordinates: 35°25′29″N 89°46′58″W / 35.42472°N 89.78278°W / 35.42472; -89.78278
Country  United States
State  Tennessee
County Tipton
Incorporated 1838[2]
 • Mayor W. Daryl Walker
 • Total 11.65 sq mi (17.3 km2)
 • Land 11.64 sq mi (17.3 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 433 ft (132 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 8,387[1]
 • Density 485.0/sq mi (187.3/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 38004
Area code(s) 901
FIPS code 47-02340[3]
GNIS feature ID 1275973[4]

Atoka /ə.ˈt.kə/ is a town in Tipton County, Tennessee.[5] As an incorporated municipality and as of the 2010 census, Atoka has the second largest population in Tipton County, second only to Covington, the county seat. Between 1990 and 2010, Atoka experienced a huge increase in population. In 1990, the population was 659; by 2010, the population had jumped to 8,387.[6] Atoka's origins, as a municipality in Tennessee, can be traced back to the 1838 charter of Portersville, Tennessee. World War I Medal of Honor recipient Sgt.Joseph B. Adkison lived in the city limits of Atoka and is buried nearby.

Atoka, Tennessee is also the United States Postal Service mailing address [7] of an area which includes the city limits, but also extends beyond the city limits. Census information outside the city limits is included in Tipton County census records, but not the town's census records.



From the fiftieth anniversary of the Covington Leader, 1886 to 1936:

The trading center for the Atoka area before the rise of the town was Portersville...
With the coming of the railroad in 1872 and opening of stores in Atoka, there grew up an intense rivalry between the two towns, but Atoka's advantage of the railroad proved to be too much, and Portersville gradually died out. Today not a store or store building remains in Portersville and it passes into history...[8]

A peek into the life of John McLaughlin, a citizen of both towns, gives us some idea of what Portersville and Atoka were like:

Our subject received a collegiate education at Bellenyna College, Ireland and in 1852 came to America, landing at Charleston, S. C.; then immediately went to Chester, S. C., and spent three years learning the carriage-maker's trade, when he moved to Aberdeen, Miss., and established a factory of his own, and three years later moved to Portersville, Tipton County, and continued the business five years, then went into merchandising and farming, selling goods at Portersville two years, then moved to Atoka and continued the mercantile business over ten years, and since that time has given his attention exclusively to farming and running a steam cotton-gin, which he owns.[9]

Portersville remains relevant today because it appears in United States census data, United States Postal records, Tennessee government records, Tipton County land records, vital records, ancestral records, church records, family histories and anything that relates to the people that lived there and the businesses that existed there.

The Charter[edit]

Town of Atoka, Tennessee, current charter information

August 17, 2012 - AN ACT to amend Chapter 373, of the Private Acts of 1911[10]
1911 Charter with amendments from 2006, 1977, 1973, and 1969[11]

Private Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed by the General Assembly, 1911[12]

Atoka reincorporated - June 24, 1911

Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed at the General Assembly, 1883[13]

March 19, 1883 - corporation of the town of Atoka repealed
March 24, 1875 - name of Portersville changed to Atoka
January 17, 1838 - Portersville incorporated

World War I Hero[edit]

Seargent Joseph B. Adkison of Atoka was a member of Company C. 199th Infantry. 30 Division. during World War I. In 1919, he was presented the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the Presbyterian Church in Atoka. In addition to this honor, he also received The Great War of Civilization Medal, the Italian War Cross, and the Republic of Portugal Medal.[14] A close inspection of his grave stone shows he was also awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart.[15] The town of Atoka, Tennessee placed a monument honoring Joseph Adkison on the front lawn of the Presbyterian Church. Between the years 1986, when Atoka celebrated Tennessee Homeocming '86,[16] and 2011, when Atoka had a Centennial Celebration, land for Adkison Park was donated, the monument was moved to the park, a concrete walkway from the street to the monument was placed, a flagpole was erected, lights were added around the flagpole, a paved walking path was installed, trees, plants, and flowers were added, money was raised to place memorial and honorary brick pavers around the area and a brick sitting wall behind the monument. Adkison Park, located in front of Boy Scout Troop 60's scout hut, became the permanent home of the monument honoring Joseph Adkison. The town had named the street to the west of the park Adkison Circle. In 2013, the town of Atoka placed a commemorative plaque over the face of the monument.


The town of Atoka is located at 35°25′29″N 89°46′58″W / 35.42472°N 89.78278°W / 35.42472; -89.78278 (35.424740, -89.782652).[17]

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2010[18] the municipality had a total area of 12.36 square miles (32.0 km2). The total area of land was 12.33 square miles (31.9 km2) and the total of water was .03 square miles (0.078 km2).


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 245
1930 222 −9.4%
1940 255 14.9%
1950 334 31.0%
1960 357 6.9%
1970 446 24.9%
1980 691 54.9%
1990 659 −4.6%
2000 3,235 390.9%
2010 8,387 159.3%
Est. 2012 8,746 4.3%

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 3,235 people, 1,075 households, and 935 families residing in the town. The population density was 485.0 people per square mile (187.3/km²). There were 1,145 housing units at an average density of 171.7 per square mile (66.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 87.88% White, 9.30% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.31% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.10% of the population.

There were 1,075 households out of which 49.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.6% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.0% were non-families. 11.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the town the population was spread out with 31.9% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 35.8% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 5.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 102.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,583, and the median income for a family was $61,643. Males had a median income of $38,721 versus $24,487 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,644. About 3.0% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.

United States Postal Service[edit]

The official stance of the United States Postal Service, according to an article published by the Historian of the United States Postal Service in April 2008, is that Atoka was the first post office with rural free delivery in Tennessee starting on January 11, 1897.[21] But according to an article in Tipton County's local newspaper, published in 1936:


The first rural route established in the South and the third established in the United States was set up at Atoka in 1895.
At that time the United States Post Office Department was experimenting with rural routes. They established one in the North, one in the East, and one in the South at Atoka...
The first route, which was Atoka Route 1, was 16½ miles long...

Route 1 was later combined with route 2, which covers the territory from Atoka to the Mississippi River.

Another article from 1936 describes more about the post office:

Atoka's first postmaster was D. Bowden. With the development of the United States' splendid rural delivery system in her postoffice department, the Atoka postoffice grew in importance. Today there are two rural routes reaching out from the town, serving that section from the Mississippi river on the west to Salem on the east. All mail for Munford, Drummonds, Richardson's Landing, Randolph and other communities passes through the postoffice at Atoka, whose postmaster is E. M. Quisenberry and whose rural carriers are J. E. McQuiston and R. S. McDill.[8]


Atoka Public Schools are part of Tipton County Schools. The Tipton County School District has eight elementary schools, five middle schools and four high schools.[22]

Atoka Elementary School is located in Atoka.

Dr. William E. Bibb is the Director of Schools.[23]


  1. ^ "2010 Census". United States Census Bureau. 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ Municipal Technical Advisory Service. "City Information". University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "State Tax Sharing, Fairness, and Local Government Finance in Tennessee" (PDF). Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. January 2004. Retrieved July 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Our Community: Census Data". Town of Atoka. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ "United States Zip". 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2013. Data sources included the United States Postal Service, U.S. Census Bureau, Yahoo, Google, and UPS. 
  8. ^ a b c "Fiftieth Anniversary". The Covington Leader. October 15, 1936. 
  9. ^ Goodspeed's History of Tennessee. 1887. 
  10. ^ "AN Act to amend Chapter 373, of the Private Acts of 1911" (PDF). Town of Atoka, Tennessee. August 17, 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Charter for the Town of Atoka Tennessee" (PDF). Chapter 373 House Bill No. 647. State of Tennessee. June 24, 1911. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ Private Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed by the General Assembly. McQuiddy Print. Company. 1911. p. 991 – via Google Books. 
  13. ^ Acts of the State of Tennessee Passed at the General Assembly. Albeet B. Tavel Printer to the State. 1883. pp. 71–72 – via Google Books. 
  14. ^ Beasley, Gaylon Neil (2007). True Tales of Tipton County Tennessee. The History Press. pp. 144–145 – via Google Books. 
  15. ^ "Joseph Bernard Adkison photos". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 12, 2013. 
  16. ^ Brackett, Carolyn (2013). "Homecoming '86". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  18. ^ "Geography: Tennessee". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  20. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2013. 
  21. ^ United States Postal Service Historian. "Tennessee: Dates that First Rural Routes Were Established at Post Offices, through 1904" (PDF). United States Postal Service. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Tipton County School District". GreatSchools. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Tipton County Schools". Tipton County Schools. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°25′29″N 89°46′58″W / 35.42474°N 89.782652°W / 35.42474; -89.782652