Tiptonville, Tennessee
Lake County Courthouse in Tiptonville
Lake County Courthouse in Tiptonville
Location of Tiptonville in Lake County, Tennessee.
Location of Tiptonville in Lake County, Tennessee.
Tiptonville is located in Tennessee
Tiptonville is located in the United States
Coordinates: 36°22′39″N 89°28′34″W / 36.37750°N 89.47611°W / 36.37750; -89.47611
Country United States
State Tennessee
Named forWilliam Tipton (early settler)[2]
 • Total3.34 sq mi (8.65 km2)
 • Land3.31 sq mi (8.59 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.06 km2)
Elevation302 ft (92 m)
 • Total3,976
 • Density1,199.40/sq mi (463.02/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code731
FIPS code47-74540[6]
GNIS feature ID1272690[4]

Tiptonville is a town in and the county seat of Lake County, Tennessee, United States.[7] Its population was 2,439 as of the 2000 census and 4,464 in 2010, showing an increase of 2,025. It is also home to the Northwest Correctional Complex, a maximum security prison, known for once housing mass murderer Jessie Dotson.


Aerial view of Tiptonville in 1922

Tiptonville was established in 1857, but was not incorporated until 1900. It was designated the county seat when Lake County was created in 1870.[1]

Tiptonville was the scene of the surrender of Confederate forces at the end of the 1862 Battle of Island Number Ten in the American Civil War. The monument for this battle is located on State Route 22 approximately three miles north of Tiptonville, since the island itself, the focal point of the battle, has been eroded by the flow of the Mississippi River and no longer exists.

On March 19, 1901, Tiptonville was destroyed by a fire three days after a mob of white townsmen had lynched Ike Fitzgerald, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Whites speculated that the blaze, which burned 30 buildings and residences, including all of the stores on the main street, had been deliberately set by African Americans in reprisal for Fitzgerald's lynching.[8][9][10][11]


Earthquakes in the Tiptonville area since 1974.

Tiptonville is located at 36°22′39″N 89°28′34″W / 36.37750°N 89.47611°W / 36.37750; -89.47611 (36.377610, −89.476022),[12] on a small rise known as the Tiptonville Dome[1] and within the New Madrid Seismic Zone. The Mississippi River is to the west and north, the Kentucky Bend is to the north, and Reelfoot Lake is to the east.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), all land.


Historical population

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 2,439 people, 918 households, and 570 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,704.0 inhabitants per square mile (657.9/km2). There were 992 housing units at an average density of 693.1 per square mile (267.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 62.57% White, 36.16% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.82% of the population.

There were 918 households, out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.5% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 35.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 20.7% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $19,475, and the median income for a family was $24,929. Males had a median income of $25,089 versus $18,333 for females. The per capita income for the town was $11,843. About 21.1% of families and 26.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.0% of those under age 18 and 28.7% of those age 65 or over.


A local newspaper, The Lake County Banner, is published in Tiptonville.


Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Abigail Hyde, "Tipton County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: February 26, 2013.
  2. ^ Lake County (Turner Publishing Company, 1993), p. 148.
  3. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  4. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Tiptonville, Tennessee
  5. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "Negro Hanged by a Mob", Courier-Journal (Louisville), March 18, 1901, p5
  9. ^ "Burned by Incendiaries— The Town of Tiptonville, Tenn. Wiped Out by Flames", Washington (DC) Times, March 21, 1901, p1
  10. ^ "Burning of Town Follows the Lynching of a Negro", Chicago Daily Tribune, March 21, 1901, p4
  11. ^ "Tiptonville Fire— Further Details of the Destruction Wrought", The Tennessean (Nashville), March 22, 1901, p3
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing: Decennial Censuses". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  14. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.