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Maury County, Tennessee

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  • John C. Secret (1836 - d.)
    John Secret (Secrest), was a prosperous white Jewish planter in Maury County.
  • Annie L. Alexander (1875 - 1894)
    Daughter of Joseph & Martha Crump Alexander
  • Blanche Louise Alexander (1882 - 1894)
    Daughter of Joseph & Martha Crump Alexander.
  • Drucilla Walker (1748 - 1809)
    Reference: FamilySearch Genealogy - SmartCopy : Oct 19 2020, 1:21:07 UTC sources “Historical genealogy of the Woodsons and their connections.” Page 133. Sixth generation.
  • Charles Richard Alexander (1873 - 1937)
    Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953 Name: Charles R Alexander Death Date: 27 Sep 1937 Death Location: Lincoln Age: 63 Gender: Male Ethnicity: White Birth Date: 24 Oct 1873 Birth Location: Spring Hill, Te...

Please add profiles for those who were born, lived or died in Maury County, Tennessee.

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The county was formed in 1807 andwas named in honor of Abram Maury, Sr. (1766-1825), a member of the Tennessee state senate from Williamson County.

The rich soil of Maury County led to a thriving agricultural sector, starting in the 19th century. The county was part of a 41-county region that became known and legally defined as Middle Tennessee. In the antebellum era, planters in Maury County relied on slave labor to raise and process cotton, tobacco, and livestock. Racial violence was less than in some areas, but the county had five documented lynchings in the period from 1877 to 1950, of which three took place in the early 20th century.

Columbia Race Riot of 1946

On the night of February 26–27, 1946, a disturbance known as the "Columbia Race Riot" took place in Columbia, the county seat. The national press called it the first "major racial confrontation" after the Second World War. It marked a new spirit of resistance by black veterans and others following their participation in World War II, which they believed had earned them their full rights as citizens, despite Jim Crow laws.

James Stephenson, an black Navy veteran, was with his mother at a store, where she learned that a radio she had left for repair had been sold. When she complained, the white repair apprentice, Billy Fleming, struck her. Stephenson had been a welterweight on the Navy boxing team and retaliated by hitting Fleming, who broke a window. Both Stephenson and his mother were arrested, and Fleming's father convinced the sheriff to charge them with attempted murder. When whites learned that Fleming had gone to a hospital for treatment, a mob gathered. There was risk that the Stephensons would be lynched.

Julius Blair, a 76-year-old black store owner, arranged to have the Stephensons released to his custody. He drove them out of town for their protection. When the mob did not disperse, about one hundred black men began to patrol their neighborhood, located south of the courthouse square, determined to resist. Four police officers were shot and wounded when they entered "Mink Slide", the name given to the black business district, also known as "The Bottom". Following the attack on the police, the city government requested state troopers, who were sent and soon outnumbered the black patrollers. The state troopers began ransacking black businesses and rounding them up . They cut phone service to Mink Slide, but the owner of a funeral home managed to call Nashville and ask for help from the NAACP. The county jail was soon overcrowded with black "suspects." Police questioned them for days without counsel. Two black men were killed and one wounded, allegedly while "trying to escape" during a transfer. About 25 black men were eventually charged with rioting and attempted murder.

The NAACP sent Thurgood Marshall as the lead attorney to defend Stephenson and the other defendants. He gained a change of venue, but only to another small town, where trials took place throughout the summer of 1946. Marshall was assisted by two local attorneys, Zephaniah Alexander Looby, originally from the British West Indies, and Maurice Weaver, a white activist from Nashville. Marshall was also preparing litigation for education and voting rights cases.

Marshall gained acquittals for 23 of the black defendants, even with an all-white jury. At the last murder trials in November 1946, Marshall won also acquittal for Rooster Bill Pillow, and a reduction in the sentence of Papa Kennedy, allowing him to go free on bail.

In 1954 Marshall litigated a case on segregated education at the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. He was later appointed as the first black United States Supreme Court justice. Zephania Looby was later elected to the Nashville City Council.

Adjacent Counties

Cities & Counties

  • Ashwood *Bigbyville *Campbell's Station *Columbia (County Seat) *Culleoka *Fly *Fountain Heights *Hampshire *Hopewell *Mount Pleasant *Pleasant Grove *Santa Fe *Spring Hill (part) *Summertown (part)



Natchez Trace (part)

Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places