Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Tiptonville, Tennessee/Bixby Towhead

Marker ID:  60
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


Tiptonville, Tennessee/Bixby Towhead
Panel #60 Mississippi Riverwalk

A) Tiptonville, Tennessee
Mile 872.8 AHP

Its ridge-top location has kept Tiptonville dry through every flood since it was founded in the early 1800s. It was a flourishing little river town by the beginning of the Civil War, and served as a Confederacy supply depot for the garrison at Island No. 10. After the island fell, the town surrendered. Sometime after the war, the Mississippi deposited a large sandbar in front of the town, and today Tiptonville lies more than a mile from the river. It is the center of commerce for the Reelfoot Lake recreational area.

B) Bixby Towhead
Mile 873.9 AHP

This sandbar was likely named for Captain Horace Bixby, a veteran river pilot of the 1800s. Bixby was piloting an old steamer named the Paul Jones, in 1855, when he took on a young apprentice named Sam Clemens. For a year and a half, Clemens was Bixby’s “cub pilot,” learning the secrets of the river and the skills needed to navigate it. Years later, when Sam Clemens had become Mark Twain, he immortalized Captain Bixby in his autobiographical book Life on the Mississippi.

Mississippi Riverwalk.
Marker Number 60

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.