Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1855.
Location. 35° 8.968′ N, 90° 3.507′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from Island Drive, 0.8 miles south of West A.W. Willis Avenue when traveling south. Located in Mud Island River Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 N Front Street, Memphis TN 38103, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Mississippi Riverwalk (here, next to this marker); Ohio River (here, next to this marker); Cairo, Illinois (here, next to this marker); Islands No. 2, 3, and 4 / Fort Jefferson, Kentucky / Bird’s Point, Missouri (here, next to this marker); Island No. 5 (Wolf Island)/Belmont, Missouri/Columbus, Kentucky (here, next to this marker); Donaldson Point, Missouri/Island No. 8/Hickman, Kentucky/Dorena Crevasse (here, next to this marker); New Madrid, Missouri/Cates Casting Field/Island No. 10 (here, next to this marker); Island No. 20/Cottonwood Point/Booth Point, Tennessee/Linwood Bend (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
Also see . . .
1. Horace Ezra Bixby. Horace Ezra Bixby (May 8, 1826 - August 1, 1912) was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio river system from the late 1840s until his death in 1912. Bixby is notable in his own right for his high standing in his profession, for his technical contributions to it, and for his service in the American Civil War. However, he is best known for having had as his "cub pilot" (that is, apprentice or trainee) the young man known to him as Sam Clemens, later to become famous under his pen name as American author Mark Twain. (Submitted on March 8, 2018, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA.)
2. Mark Twain. Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called "The Great American Novel". (Submitted on March 8, 2018, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 8, 2018, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 134 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on March 8, 2018, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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