Jackson through the years

Let’s “time-look” starting with the pioneers.

The year was 1819 the flatboat was pulling in to the port at Estanaula. On board was a family of five getting ready for their new home. 

As the boat was unloaded the children ran up the bank of the Hatchie River. Then they followed the music to the porch of the trading post. There on the porch was a gentleman playing a  wind instrument and another playing a lap box. A lady came out of the building she called us inside . Then she explained the instrument the man was playing was a hand carved flute. It was modeled after the one the Indians would play at their ceremonies.You can imagine how big the children’s eyes got at the word “Indian”. Then the lady gave the little girl a gift and showed how to blow into it and move her fingers to get different sounds.

Over the next years as we settled in our new home in the town of Jackson the little girl not only got really good at making music. The family home was close to downtown so walking to explore our new home. There were stores with all sorts of things in their windows. Our father had an important job in making our new town grow. One day we got home and mother was so excited there in the parlor was a new piano. 

We would have neighbors over and would have music nights. There would be an accordion,  banjo , of course the piano and flute.

On Sunday we go to church and sing the beautiful hymns and the music of the pipe organ. *

( *story of what might have been)

As the town grew the more music you heard around town .The saloons, which children  were told to avoid, had music coming out sometime it was a lady singing to a piano. Or you would go down to where they would load the cotton and the singing would be sad( what we later know as the Blues)or a beautiful hymn.

Fast forward the conflict hit the area the soldiers that would 

camp  around the town could be heard singing at night.

Now to the 1890’s the Opera houses were open along with the concerts in the parks and occasionally on the Court Square. 

In the early 1900’s there no less than six music store in downtown Jackson. Musical instruments were affordable and lessons were included. The community had bands made of locals or would pay for traveling bands to come to the city and introduce new music and styles.

Then WW1 the soldiers would parade to the train station led by a marching  band to encouraging the men. While the men were overseas home folk would sing songs like.  “ Over There” “When Johnny comes marching home” or listen to ragtime to keep the home folks spirit up. Then when the war was over the soldiers returned to music and celebrations at the train stations. 

After the close of the war Jazz could be heard coming from the clubs around Madison Co. Country Western was taking hold in the south and blues was still popular in certain areas.

 TheProhibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.

(Wait a minute before we get any further in this let’s talk about Moonshine. Now moonshine has been around since the 15th century. It made sense that as the pioneers came west they brought their stills with them. So when the law passed against “refined spirits” moonshiners were very happy.


In 1920, moonshiners across the country rejoiced: Prohibition was passed across the nation. Legal alcohol was no longer available anywhere. Overnight, illegal liquor became one of the most profitable businesses in America. 

Organized crime took over the moonshine business and distillers sprung up across the country to keep up with demand.

  From what  I understand in the south organized crime did not threaten  most moonshiners. If the moonshiners could discourage the Feds organized crime did not stand a chance. )

In many households across Madison Co. durning this time the ladies would make their wine strawberry, “grape”,blackberry really any berry available. Some of the ladies would sell a bottle or two out the back door.

 Speakeasies – complete with hidden doors, passwords, and secret escape routes – could be found in every city in America.

Yes Jackson had it share of speakeasies from the basements of major downtown buildings to the upper floors. In the county there were all sort of hidden clubs.The music was upbeat swing  music. 

When the United States entered the war in 1941, swing music went to war, too. Jazz music provided comfort for families at home and soldiers abroad. Many musicians were drafted into the military and took their music with them. Some of them led military jazz bands that traveled the world to boost the morale of troops.

In Jackson the music was upbeat with thoughts of their sons and daughters that went off to war. On the weekends it was the hymns of hope and in some cases sorrow as the community mourned the loss of some of their sons and on occasion a nurse.

In Jackson we saw the establishment of the Jackson Symphony now celebrating 61 years

From 1820  to present time Madison Co  music has been a part of our history.

 Over the years Madison Co. has sent many musicians in Classical,  Gospel,Blues , Rockabilly, Folk, Rock, Soul, Country and  Rap across the world. With each performance they make Madison Co proud.

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