The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Memphis (Tennessee)

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1411510The American Cyclopædia — Memphis (Tennessee)

MEMPHIS, a city, port of delivery, and the capital of Shelby co., Tennessee, situated in the S. W. corner of the state, on the Mississippi river, just below the mouth of Wolf river, on the fourth Chickasaw bluff, 780 m. above New Orleans, 420 m. below St. Louis, and 190 m. S. W. of Nashville; pop. in 1840, 3,360; in 1850, 8,841; in 1860, 22,623; in 1870, 40,226, of whom 15,471 were colored and 6,780 foreigners; in 1874, including suburbs, estimated by local authorities at 65,000. The bluff on which the city is built is about 35 ft. above the highest floods. The streets are broad and regular, and lined with handsome buildings. Many of the residences on the avenues leading from the river are surrounded with beautiful lawns. The city extends over three square miles. In the centre there is a handsome park, filled with trees, and containing a bust of Andrew Jackson. There are two theatres seating 800 and 1,000 persons respectively, and a building for the United States custom house is soon to be commenced. The principal of the six cemeteries is Elmwood, on the S. E. border of the city. Memphis is lighted with gas, is supplied with water on the Holly system, and has about 20 m. of street railways. It is the largest city of Tennessee, and the principal place on the Mississippi between St. Louis and New Orleans, and has a very extensive trade with Arkansas, Mississippi, W. Tennessee, and N. Alabama. Railroad facilities are afforded by the Memphis and Charleston, Mississippi and Tennessee, Louisville and Nashville and Great Southern, Memphis and Little Rock, and Memphis and Raleigh lines, while the Memphis and Paducah railroad is completed for 40 m. The Memphis and Little Rock line terminates at Hopefield on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi, whence a powerful transfer boat conveys an entire train at once to Memphis. Lines of steamers run to St. Louis, Cincinnati, Vicksburg, Napoleon, Ark., and to the Arkansas, White, and St. Francis rivers. The receipts of cotton in 1870-71 were 511,432 bales; in 187l-'2, 380,938; in 1872-'3, 415,255; in 1873-'4, 429,327. The yearly sales of actual cotton in the Memphis market rank it second in importance in the United States. The annual value of the trade of the city is about $63,000,000, viz.: cotton, $32,000,000; groceries and western produce, $12,500,000; dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, and miscellaneous merchandise, $15,000,000; home manufactures, $3,500,000. The principal manufactories are five large founderies and machine shops, with several smaller ones, extensive wood works, a tobacco factory, a furniture factory, and three of the largest oil mills in the United States, consuming about 500,000 sacks of cotton seed annually, and producing nearly $1,000,000 worth of cotton-seed oil, oil cake, and reginned cotton. The number of vessels belonging to the port on June 30, 1873, was 32, with an aggregate tonnage of 5,788. There are 10 banks, with an aggregate paid-up capital of $2,500,000, and average deposits of $3,500,000 to $4,000,000. Ten insurance companies chartered by the state have their headquarters in Memphis, and about 30 companies of other states and countries have agencies there. The city is divided into ten wards, and is governed by a mayor, with a board of aldermen of one member and a common council of two members from each ward. It has an efficient police force and a good fire department. The assessed valuation in 1860 was $18,212,861; in 1870, $24,783,190; in 1874, $29,801,592. The rate of taxation is $1 80 on $100, and the city debt amounts to about $4,000,000. The United States courts for the W. district of Tennessee are held here. The principal charitable institutions are the Leath orphan asylum, St. Peter's orphan asylum, church orphans' home, the colored orphan asylum, and the city hospital. There are 67 public schools, with an average attendance of 2,918 white and 1,565 colored pupils; they are graded, and include a male and a female high school. Four of the Catholic parochial schools are also free, and have a daily attendance of 650 white children. Christian Brothers' college (Roman Catholic), established in 1871, in 1873-'4 had 12 professors and instructors, and 122 preparatory and 37 collegiate students. The Memphis female college is in the city, and the state female college near by. There are 32 private schools and academies. The Memphis library association has 9,000 volumes. Five daily, one tri-weekly, nine weekly (one German) newspapers and two monthly periodicals are published. There are 48 churches, viz.: 11 Baptist (8 colored), 2 Christian (1 colored), 2 Congregational (1 colored), 3 Cumberland Presbyterian, 5 Episcopal, 2 Jewish, 1 Lutheran, 12 Methodist (4 Southern and 6 colored), 6 Presbyterian (1 German), and 4 Roman Catholic (1 German).—Memphis was laid out in 1820, and incorporated as a city in 1831. During the civil war, after a naval encounter in which the confederate flotilla was nearly destroyed, the city was taken possession of by the Union forces, June 6, 1862, and was never afterward held by the confederates. In August, 1864, a cavalry raid was made upon it by Gen. Forrest, who entered the town, made several hundred prisoners, and then departed.

Memphis, Tenn.