Rossville, Tennessee

The Town of Rossville is one of the old towns of Fayette County, Tennessee. It sprang from a village named La Fayette, which stood on Highway 57. The town received its name from General DeLaFayette of France, who also gave La Grange its name from his hometown of La Grange, France.

Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de LaFayette, (1757-1834) was a French general and statesman who, despite the opposition of his government, sailed for America in 1777 to join George Washington. In 1824-1825, he spent several months touring in the United States. Enthusiasm and admiration for him ran high among the pioneer settlers because of his active part in fighting during the American Revolution. Our county and town were named in his honor.

One of the early setters was Thomas M. Ross who gave the property of the present site to Rossville in 1859. Thus the town was renamed Rossville.

The first school, a one room building, was erected in 1866. The building was replaced in 1899 by two-story frame building, and many additions and improvements were made through the years. During the 1920s the older children rode the train to Somerville to attend school. For this daily trip back and forth to Sumerville, the children rode “Old Mike.” Actually the engineer’s name was Mike Brady, but as the train took on a personality of its own, the train assumed the same name. Most of the Rossville students lived in the dormitories in Sumerville. According to Mrs. Rosa Anderson,,, the train rides were the high-light of those years, and many a romance began on “Old Mike.”

In 1947 a new Rossville Elementary School was erected on Third Street. Miss Freddie Mae Thomas was among the staff of three, and she was responsible for the lower elementary. Some how Miss Freddie Mae was able to give a wonderful education to many of Rossville’s students. Often she had as many as 30 students in grades 1 through 6 in one room. One student fondly remembers how she separated the children in different areas of the room and went from group to group giving each child special attention.

The oldest home in Rossville is near the railroad tracks on Second Street and was built by Dr. A. V. Warr who came to Fayette County in 1855. The present owners have been engaged in extensive renovations and have restored its former beauty.

The first church in Rossville was built about 1870 by the Baptists. Both Baptists and Methodists used it until 1892 when the first Methodist church was built. Both denominations used the Methodist church building until 1920, when the Baptists built a church of their own on Second Street. When the Methodist church building was destroyed in a fire in 1922, the Methodists again used the Baptist church. On Easter Sunday in 1923, the first service was held in the new Methodist church, erected on land given by Mr. And Mrs. J. L. Crawford. The Methodists still worship in the historic church on Main Street. The Baptist congregation now has a new building on Highway 57.

Rossville was incorporated in 1903, and John B. Ballard was elected as the town’s first mayor. Many fine men have served as Mayor during Rossville’s Historic, and the town has maintained the friendly atmosphere that it had in the early settlement days when it had only a store, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop and three or four homes.

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