Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Skipwith Crevasse/Sara Cutoff/Island No. 89

Marker ID:  36
Location: Mud Island River Park, 125 N Front Street, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 8.968    W 090° 3.507
  35.14946666    -90.05845
Waymark: None


Skipwith Crevasse/Sara Cutoff/Island No. 89
Panel #36 Mississippi Riverwalk

A. Skipwith Crevasse
Mile 499.4 AHP

When the levee at Skipwith Plantation broke in the flood of 1913, the water poured slowly through the break. Couriers on horseback were able to alert the residents of the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta, and no lives were lost. Just inside the levee, the river’s rushing current dug a deep 100-acre hole.

B. Sara Cutoff
Mile 505.0 AHPM

The Corps of Engineers opened Sarah Cutoff in 1936, removing Louisiana Bend from the river. Louisiana Bend was itself the result of a much earlier artificial cutoff. In 1929 Henry Shreve, a pioneer of navigation improvement, dredged a channel to cut off Bunch’s Bend. This bend had been the lair of a band of river pirates led by the infamous Captain Bunch. With a fleet of armed boats, Bunch and his men looted hundreds of passing boats in the early 1800’s

C. Island No. 89
Mile 506.5 AHP

Early Boatmen named the snag-filled channel behind Island No. 89 “General Hull’s Left Leg.” General William Hull was a hero of the American Revolution, but during the War of 1812, he fell into disgrace by surrendering to the fort at Detroit without a fight.
He was court-martialed and sentenced to the firing squad but the President intervened to save him. Island No.89 is now part of the Arkansas mainland. The connection between the old channel and the General’s leg is unknown.

Mississippi Riverwalk.
Marker Number 36

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org


AHP - Above Head of Passes, this is the distance from the mouth of a river when measured along the course (navigable channel) starting at zero.