Location & History
Tipton County is located north of Shelby County, about eight miles from Naval Support Activity, Mid-South, and just east of the Mississippi River, which marks the western border of Tennessee.
The County is a progressive community that has experienced considerable growth for the past fifteen years. Most of that growth has occurred in South Tipton County near and within the cities of Atoka, Brighton and Munford in Tennessee.
South Tipton County offers new residents what they are looking for – affordable real estate, lower taxes, excellent schools and a good quality of life. Many residents of South Tipton County work in Memphis. They enjoy the amenities Memphis has to offer, but choose to live and raise their families in our quiet, country atmosphere.
All of these important elements make the neighboring cities of Atoka, Brighton and Munford a great place to live.
Since its earliest years, Tipton County has been known for its military heritage, along with its love of politics and pork barbeque. Captain Jacob Tipton is the namesake of the County, a military hero who was killed while leading his men against the Indians near Fort Wayne on November 4, 1791.
More than thirty years later, Tipton County was established on October 29, 1823, using his name and honoring his legacy. Covington, named for General Leonard Wales Covington, who was mortally wounded in the Battle of Chrysler’s Field on November 11, 1813, was founded as the seat of government on December 11, 1824.
Early railroads bolstered both economic and community development in Tipton County. Through what is now the Town of Mason, the Memphis and Ohio Railroad’s route to Nashville first passed in December, 1855. This event marked the County’s first rail service, later to be followed by the tracks laid by the Memphis and Paducah Railroad (known today as the Illinois Central line).
An interesting fact about Tipton County – Parts of the county are located on the west bank of the Mississippi River (Arkansas) and are inaccessible-by land-from the rest of the county.
The Town of Atoka began as an Indian village. The town was named for Captain Atoka Oshlatubee, Chief of the Pushmataha district. He was born in 1792 and died during the Civil War. The town owes its very existence to the presence of the railroad. It was the railroad that brought people to Atoka and the railroad that sustained the lives of many families in the early days. The agents for the railroad became valuable citizens to the community.
The first rural route for postage service established in the South and one of the first three established in the United States was set up in Atoka in 1895.
The Town of Brighton was founded in 1873, the same year the first leg of the railroad, then known as The Memphis and Paducah Railroad, was finished between Memphis and Covington. Soon, a town sprang up that would be known as Brighton, in honor of Mr. Bright, the conductor of that first train.
Brighton’s first business was also opened in 1873 by Moses Shirley Vaughan. This was a whiskey-selling mercantile called Grange Grocery. It was opened mainly for the farmer’s organization called Grange. Brighton prospered during the 1880s and early 1890s, but in the middle of 1890, a financial depression devastated the Brighton Business Community. This situation did not end until 1902-03 when the railroad once again sparked some building in the village.
Brighton was incorporated on September 13, 1913, and John Madison Smithson was elected as the first mayor.
The City of Munford, originally known as Mt. Zion, was named by the Methodist Church. The town was established at Mt. Zion during pre-Civil War days. Along with the church, a post office bearing the Mt. Zion name was located on a route between Covington and Randolph.
After the war, the Mt. Zion Post Office was closed. It took the name of Munford, after R. H. Munford, a prominent citizen serving as the Tipton County Registrar. The name change came about, according to sources, as a result of a mix-up in the mail between Mt. Zion, Tenn. and Mt. Zion, Penn.
Today, South Tipton County continues to grow and prosper, continually affirming and developing its tradition and history.