Now Online – Jackson Sun Obituary Index 1936-1954


The first two decades of the Jackson Sun Obituary Index,

compiled by Jimmy Wilkins, Tennessee Room staff member,

can now be searched online.  Here’s how:

See the Jackson-Madison County Library website 

Under the Genealogy tab, select Holdings

Scroll down to Obituary Index

Instructions for ordering one obituary are also here:

Date span includes 1936-1954

(the project is ongoing and will include later dates as completed and proofed)

Dates prior to 1936 have been indexed in other sources

The index includes the following information:

Name of deceased

Newspaper date and page number

Whether a notice (N) or obituary (O)

Comments may indicate maiden names, titles, military, etc.

New Book Added

This atlas includes 189 maps,

many illustrations,

a timeline of the slave trade,

and a glossary of terminology,

along with an authoritative text,

all providing a detailed examination

of this abysmal economic system

that formed from greed and fostered racism. 

It describes in detail the dark side of a world

in which all of our ancestors lived.

New Biography Added

Author David Whiteis allows

Denise LaSalle

to tell her her story in a way

that will hold your interest

from cover to cover.

Big Maybelle State Historical Marker

The Big Maybelle State Historical Marker was unveiled July 24, 2019

with a brief ceremony at the site, followed by a program and reception

at the Legends of Tennessee Music Museum.

Big Maybelle’s Relatives

Left of sign:  Eboni Ray (gr-granddaughter), her husband, Thomas Ray, Jr.,

and Haven Ray, age 2 (gr-gr-grandson)

Right of sign:  David Burgess (Maybelle’s son-in-law),

Thomas Ray III, age 9 (gr-gr-grandson),

and the family dog

For more photos and video see the library’s Facebook page.


New Book – More Than Names on A Wall

John R. Long has compiled a book entitled, More Than Names on A Wall.    Building from the list of 167 names on the Madison County War Memorial monument at Liberty Gardens Park in north Jackson, and adding 23 who are not on the monument, the author  created biographical abstracts concerning each of the 190 men from Jackson and Madison County who died as a direct result of World War II.  This information was gleaned by scanning through Jackson Sun newspaper articles and obituaries, high school yearbooks,  gravestone inscriptions, and other sources.  references are given to the location of the original articles in the newspapers.

Ricky Long Book001

“Big Maybelle” State Historical Marker Approved

The Tennessee State Historical Marker for rhythm and blues singer, Mabel Louise “Big Maybelle” Smith was approved on Feb 22, 2019.

The generosity of several donors enabled the Jackson-Madison Library to raise the necessary funds to pay for the marker.  A check for the amount was sent to the Tennessee Historical Commission on March 11.  It should arrive in about four months.  Thank you everyone who contributed. Announcements will be made when it is installed.  Here is the text and future location of the marker:

Happy Holidays!

The Staff and Volunteers of the Tennessee Room

Wish Everyone the Best

During This Holiday Season.


New Book About Marathon Motor Works

This exciting new addition to the Tennessee Room is the first book of a projected trilogy concerning the automobile manufacturing  company  known as the Marathon Motor Works and its parent company, the Southern Engine and Boiler Works, along with the men who were instrumental in its creation and its demise.  In addition to its narrative, the book features many pages of facsimile catalogs, automobile and steam engine advertisements, manuals and parts lists, and photos. It’s a fascinating story of a business that began in Jackson, TN and thrived, then died in Nashville.

Jackson-Madison County Library Big Maybelle Historical Marker Project

The Jackson-Madison County Library is sponsoring a project, spearheaded by library staff members Mike Baker and Jack Wood, to obtain a Tennessee historical marker commemorating Mabel Louise “Big Maybelle” Smith (1924-1972), noted gospel and blues singer, from Jackson, Tennessee.  Her most notable recordings include “Candy” and the original version of “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On,” later made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis.  Her career led her to sing at the famous Apollo Theatre in New York City.  The cost of the marker is $1450.00.  Because there are presently no state funds available, the library must raise this amount.  To donate please see the instructions below.

New Books Recently Added

Two Books by Elizabeth Shown Mills were recently donated in memory of Carmen Bruer, who was a charter member of the Mid-West Genealogical Society.