One of the oldest and most important roads in West Tennessee was the Christmasville Road built by western Carroll County settlers in the 1820s.
The Old Christmasville Road
Link to full image: http://www.loc.gov/resource/g3960.tr000180
Image provided by Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
By Dale Cooper
One of the oldest and most important roads in West Tennessee was the Christmasville Road built by western Carroll County settlers in the 1820s. The land was purchased from the Chickasaw tribe in 1818 and considered a wilderness with only buffalo runs, deer trails and foot paths on which to travel. The road originated in Christmasville, then a river port, on the south fork of the Obion River.
By 1821 there were several roads originating in Christmasville taking travelers to Dresden, Trenton, McLemoresville, Jackson, Paris and Huntingdon. Critical supplies such as sugar, flour, coffee, gun powder and rifle shot were brought up on the Obion River from the Mississippi River in keelboats. Once arrived in Christmasville, the items were loaded onto wagons and transported across the region using these roads. Area farmers would bring their cotton, tobacco and other cash crops to Christmasville to ship to New Orleans.
The southern route of Christmasville Road to Jackson went through Trezevant, just east of Atwood, then through the land on what is now the Milan Arsenal. The road ran east of Medina and into Jackson near The Ballpark of Jackson just off Interstate 40. The northern route of Christmasville Road came through McKenzie on Walnut Avenue, then north crossing Cedar Avenue where McKenzie Feed and Grain/Power Supply is now located. Crossing Forrest Avenue, the road continued north to traverse Paris Pike on the east side of Holland Farm, on to Caledonia in Henry County and through what was Camp Tyson to Paris. Although McKenzie would not become a city until the 1850’s, there were still people living in the area.
During the 1820s, thousands of pioneers traveled these roads as they migrated westward from the Carolinas and Virginia to settle newly acquired land grants in West Tennessee. Many of these were land speculators, lawyers, doctors, teachers and others who would help shape this area of the country. Pioneers such as David Crockett, John C. McLemore, Edward Gwin, Nathan Nesbitt, Mark Cooper and Joseph Cooper used these roads for business and personal travel. There is little doubt David Crockett used the Christmasville Road to visit his relatives in Paris and then travel eastward on his return to Nashville and Washington when he served as a congressman.
The most famous person to use the Christmasville Road was General Andrew Jackson in 1825. General Jackson came to Jackson, a town named after him, to dedicate the new Masonic Lodge also named in his honor. After arriving in Jackson, he and his wife, Rebecca Donelson Jackson, accepted an invitation to visit her relatives in Paris. They chose the southern route of Christmasville Road and one can imagine them stopping along the way to rest the horses and visit with people in the area. Many of the settlers fought with General Jackson in the Indian Wars, the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. After their stay in Paris, the Jackson’s returned to the Hermitage, their home in Nashville, on October 7, concluding the month-long West Tennessee trip.
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