Lauderdale County, Tennessee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lauderdale County
Lauderdale County Courthouse in Ripley
Lauderdale County Courthouse in Ripley
Map of Tennessee highlighting Lauderdale County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 35°46′N 89°38′W / 35.76°N 89.63°W / 35.76; -89.63
Country United States
State Tennessee
Founded1835
Named forJames Lauderdale[1]
SeatRipley
Largest cityRipley
Area
 • Total508 sq mi (1,320 km2)
 • Land472 sq mi (1,220 km2)
 • Water36 sq mi (90 km2)  7.0%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total25,143 Decrease
 • Density59/sq mi (23/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district8th
Websitelauderdalecountytn.org

Lauderdale County is a county located on the western edge of the U.S. state of Tennessee, with its border the Mississippi River. As of the 2020 census, the population was 25,143. Its county seat is Ripley.[2] Since the antebellum years, it has been developed for cotton as a major commodity crop.

History[edit]

Lauderdale County was created in 1835 from parts of Tipton, Dyer and Haywood counties. It was named for Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale, who was killed at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.[1] Planters developed large cotton plantations along the waterways, and used enslaved African Americans in gangs to work and process this commodity crop. After the American Civil War, many freedmen initially stayed in the area, working the land as sharecroppers or tenant farmers. Whites used violence to enforce white supremacy after the war, continuing after Reconstruction. In the period after Reconstruction and into the early 20th century, whites in Lauderdale County committed eight lynchings of blacks. This was the fifth-highest total of any county in the state, but three other counties also had eight lynchings each in this period.[3]

Battle of Fort Pillow[edit]

In 1861, the Confederate States Army built extensive defensive fortifications in Lauderdale County along the Mississippi River and named the site for General Gideon J. Pillow. Because of its strategic location, the fort was taken over by the Union Army in 1864, which had occupied the state since 1862.

In 1864, Confederates attacked and overran the fort's Union defenders, who were about evenly split between white and black soldiers. They were reported to have refused to surrender, but historians have disputed this account. The Confederates gave the soldiers no quarter, and killed black soldiers in twice the proportion of white ones. After the Union Army established the United States Colored Troops (USCT), made up of numerous recruits who were escaped slaves, Southern military officials vowed to kill them rather than take them prisoner.[4] People in the North considered this event to be a massacre, and blacks in the Union Army used the cry, "Remember Fort Pillow!" to rally during the remainder of the war.

Fort Pillow State Park has a museum to interpret the battle and also has reconstructed fortifications on the original site of the fort.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 508 square miles (1,320 km2), of which 472 square miles (1,220 km2) is land and 36 square miles (93 km2) (7.0%) is water.[5] The county's western boundary is formed by the Mississippi River, its northern boundary with Dyer County is formed by the Forked Deer River, and its southern boundary with Haywood County is formed by the Hatchie River.[1]

Lauderdale County is situated on the southeastern edge of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area with a high earthquake risk.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

State protected areas[edit]

Major roads[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18403,435
18505,16950.5%
18607,55946.2%
187010,83843.4%
188014,91837.6%
189018,75625.7%
190021,97117.1%
191021,105−3.9%
192021,4941.8%
193023,4068.9%
194024,4614.5%
195025,0472.4%
196021,844−12.8%
197020,271−7.2%
198024,55521.1%
199023,491−4.3%
200027,10115.4%
201027,8152.6%
202025,143−9.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2020[10] 2020[11]
Age pyramid Lauderdale County[12]

2020 census[edit]

Lauderdale County racial composition[13]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 15,016 59.72%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,385 33.35%
Native American 133 0.53%
Asian 53 0.21%
Other/Mixed 969 3.85%
Hispanic or Latino 587 2.33%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 25,143 people, 9,675 households, and 6,753 families residing in the county.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 27,101 people, 9,567 households, and 6,811 families residing in the county. The population density was 58 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 10,563 housing units at an average density of 22 per square mile (9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 63.82% White, 34.08% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.52% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 1.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Scenic view in Lauderdale County (2004)

There were 9,567 households, out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.70% were married couples living together, 17.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 25.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.80% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 31.20% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 12.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 108.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,751, and the median income for a family was $36,841. Males had a median income of $28,325 versus $21,238 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,682. About 16.20% of families and 19.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.70% of those under age 18 and 26.50% of those age 65 or over.


Culture[edit]

Sleepy John Estes[edit]

Sleepy John Estes was a U.S. blues guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, born in Ripley, Tennessee.[15] He died on June 5, 1977, in his home of 17 years in Brownsville, Haywood County, Tennessee.[16][17][18] Sleepy John is buried at Elam Baptist Church Cemetery in Durhamville, Lauderdale County.[18]

Veterans' Museum in Halls[edit]

The Veterans' Museum on the grounds of the former Dyersburg Army Air Base in Halls is dedicated to the preservation and documentation of materials related to military activities from World War I to the present day wars and conflicts, as well as documenting the history of the air base itself.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

United States presidential election results for Lauderdale County, Tennessee[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 5,674 63.29% 3,193 35.62% 98 1.09%
2016 4,884 60.39% 3,056 37.79% 147 1.82%
2012 4,616 53.12% 4,011 46.16% 62 0.71%
2008 4,933 52.83% 4,322 46.28% 83 0.89%
2004 4,164 47.96% 4,474 51.53% 44 0.51%
2000 3,329 43.70% 4,224 55.45% 65 0.85%
1996 2,481 34.63% 4,349 60.71% 334 4.66%
1992 2,928 36.79% 4,452 55.94% 578 7.26%
1988 3,308 49.83% 3,296 49.65% 35 0.53%
1984 3,566 50.23% 3,506 49.39% 27 0.38%
1980 2,818 38.95% 4,318 59.68% 99 1.37%
1976 2,105 30.61% 4,747 69.03% 25 0.36%
1972 3,597 64.40% 1,771 31.71% 217 3.89%
1968 1,080 15.99% 2,108 31.21% 3,566 52.80%
1964 1,880 32.83% 3,847 67.17% 0 0.00%
1960 1,322 27.36% 3,462 71.65% 48 0.99%
1956 1,049 18.94% 4,383 79.12% 108 1.95%
1952 1,390 24.26% 4,340 75.74% 0 0.00%
1948 298 7.68% 2,556 65.89% 1,025 26.42%
1944 381 9.25% 3,732 90.65% 4 0.10%
1940 317 4.80% 6,279 95.09% 7 0.11%
1936 203 5.41% 3,540 94.27% 12 0.32%
1932 174 7.40% 2,137 90.94% 39 1.66%
1928 430 13.32% 2,798 86.68% 0 0.00%
1924 242 12.96% 1,596 85.44% 30 1.61%
1920 1,190 33.97% 2,313 66.03% 0 0.00%
1916 532 25.26% 1,572 74.64% 2 0.09%
1912 186 10.18% 1,020 55.83% 621 33.99%


The Tennessee Department of Corrections operates the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in unincorporated Lauderdale County, near Henning.[20] Previously the Cold Creek Correctional Facility was located in the area.[21]

Communities[edit]

A-7 Corsair II in front of the Veterans' Museum in Halls (2006)
Alex Haley's boyhood home in Henning (2007)

City[edit]

Town[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Notable natives[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ann Toplovich, "Lauderdale County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 21 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Lynching in America, Third Edition: Supplement by County Archived 2017-10-23 at the Wayback Machine, p. 9, Equal Justice Initiative, Mobile, AL, 2017
  4. ^ John Cimprich and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., "Fort Pillow Revisited", 1982, in Race and Recruitment, ed. John David Smith, Kent State University Press, 2013, p. 214
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "2020 Census Data". data.census.gov.
  12. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  15. ^ Biography at 7digital.com from the Encyclopedia of Popular Music - accessed February 2008 Archived 2008-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Bob Koester and Ray Harmon, Sleepy John Estes Archived 2009-01-18 at the Wayback Machine, All About Jazz. Retrieved: 17 February 2013.
  17. ^ Brian Dempsey. "'Sleepy' John Estes". Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Tennessee Historical Society. Retrieved December 16, 2008.
  18. ^ a b Norris, Sharon (2000). Black America Series: Haywood County Tennessee. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-0605-2.
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "West Tennessee State Penitentiary." Tennessee Department of Correction. Retrieved on September 26, 2010.
  21. ^ "Cold Creek Correctional Facility." Tennessee Department of Correction. February 3, 1999. Updated July 13, 1998. Retrieved on September 26, 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°46′N 89°38′W / 35.76°N 89.63°W / 35.76; -89.63