Denmark, Tennessee

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Denmark is an unincorporated community and former city in Madison County, Tennessee, United States roughly 14 miles southwest of Jackson. The zip code is 38391.[1] It is the site of Denmark Presbyterian Church.


Originally a Chickasaw village[citation needed], it was settled by American pioneers around 1819, and incorporated in 1829; in January 1844, it was sufficiently populated that an academy was incorporated by the Tennessee General Assembly.[2] A female academy was later opened there by the Presbyterians. There are four Chickasaw[citation needed] Indian mounds just out of Denmark: Memphis State University is[when?] carbon dating items from this site and the date is 1000 AD.[citation needed] The Chickasaw[citation needed] village here had about 500 inhabitants. It is on the Estonallie Indian Trail from North Carolina. It was settled after the 1818 Treaty with the Chickasaw Indians and Andrew Jackson. The Denmark Presbyterian Church was organized here in 1823 and the present building was built in 1854. The Big Black Creek Baptist Church was organized in 1820 by Obediah Dodson. Estonallie means, "Here we cross in the Chickasaw language and is on the Hatchie River, "Hatchie" means river in the language. Estonallie was also a favorite river crossing for General Nathan Bedford Forrest, he was here when he was promoted to Brig. General. At one time Denmark was larger than Memphis or Jackson, Tennessee.

The town's economy began to decline in the mid- to late 19th century, when it was bypassed by all of the railroads built through Madison County. By the mid-20th century, the city had ceased to function. In 1983, the General Assembly passed a statute providing for the forfeiting of the municipal charter of any city with a population under 100, for failure to exercise corporate powers, on or after April 20, 1983; Denmark's charter was forfeited April 28, 1983 by a chancery court order pursuant to this provision.[3]

Denmark was the location of Madison County's West High School, which in 1992 was merged into South Side High School (Jackson, Tennessee) when West High abolished as part of the merger of the Jackson and Madison County school systems.[4] There are two schools in Denmark, Denmark Elementary and Denmark Middle School.

The Battle of Britton's Lane during the American Civil War took place near Denmark. The Battle field is four miles behind the Denmark Presbyterian Church, the 30th Illinois camped on the church grounds the night before the battle, and the night of the battle the Southern troops camped on its ground and put their prisoners up stairs in the Masonic Lodge. This lodge was organized in 1847. The church now belongs to The Big Black Creek Historical Association and has been restored, it was built in 1854.

A devastating tornado on October 14, 1909 destroyed a good part of the town.[5] Another, in 2003, was similarly destructive to its counterpart of a century before.[6]


The population of Denmark was 1174 in the 2010 Census, and is over 70% African-American.[7]


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Denmark has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[8]

Climate data for Denmark, Tennessee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9
Average low °C (°F) −2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 117
Source: Weatherbase [9]

Notable people[edit]

  • Walt Bond, Negro league baseball player who later moved up to the Major League Baseball Cleveland Indians
  • Cleanth Brooks, literary critic and professor, was born in Denmark, although some accounts claim he was born in Murray, Kentucky
  • Frank Russell Chicago Bulls NBA Professional Basketball player. Current Publisher of The Pontiac News and Oakland Weekly News papers.
  • Campy Russell NBA Professional Basketball Player Cleveland Cavalier's/New York Knicks - Current Director Alumni Relation Cleveland Cav's
  • Walker D. Russell Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers Professional NBA Basketball - Current Scout with NY Knicks of NBA
  • John Murrell (bandit), horse and slave thief and noted outlaw of the Natchez Trace (the Great Western Land Pirate)

In popular culture[edit]

Two mystery novels take place in part in a fictional version of Denmark: Such Vicious Minds: A Murder Mystery Featuring Elvis Presley by Daniel Klein; and Something Rotten by Alan Gratz.


  1. ^ United States Postal Service (2012). "USPS - Look Up a ZIP Code". Retrieved 2012-02-15.
  2. ^ "Chapter LXXXVI: An act to incorporate the Denmark male academy in the county of Madison," in Acts Passed at the First Session of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee 1843-44 Nashville: L. Gifford and E. G. Eastman, Prs., 1844; pp. 101-102
  3. ^ "Part 3: Forfeiture of Charter: 6-52-301 through 6-52-304" Tennessee Code Annotated, Volume 2B, 2011 Replacement Nashville: Tennessee Code Commission, 2011; pp. 221-223.
  4. ^ About South Side High School
  5. ^
  6. ^ Coggins, Allen R. Tennessee Tragedies: Natural, Technological, and Societal Disasters in the Volunteer State Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2012; p. 73
  7. ^ Localistica listing
  8. ^ Climate Summary for Denmark, Tennessee
  9. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on September 20, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°31′58″N 89°00′14″W / 35.53278°N 89.00389°W / 35.53278; -89.00389