In 1958, a group of amateur historians met in Murray, Kentucky and formed the Jackson Purchase Historical Society to promote interest, study, and preservation of the regional history of the territory encompassed in the Chickasaw Purchase of 1818. The treaty of 1818 with the Chickasaw was negotiated for the U.S. Government by Andrew Jackson (before he was president) and for the Chickasaw Nation by Levi Colbert and family. This land in far western Kentucky (bounded by the Ohio River on the north, the Mississippi River on the west, the Tennessee state boundary on the south and the Tennessee River on the east) is called the Jackson Purchase to commemorate Jackson’s efforts in obtaining this land for the U.S. The territory exchanged by the Chickasaw Purchase of 1818, however, extended southward as far as the northern part of the present state of Mississippi.
The region of primary interest to the Jackson Purchase Historical Society includes the present day counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, and McCracken in Kentucky and Henry, Lake, Obion, and Weakley in Tennessee. However, being historians, the Society’s interest in the general heritage of this region extends to bordering counties also.
Initially, faculty from Murray State University took leadership roles in the organization. Drs. Frank Steeley, Hunter Hancock, Ray Mofield, and Glenn C. Wilcox and his wife Helen, William Wilson and Margaret Heath proved to be the core of the organization. As time passed, the organization began to shift its focus. West Kentucky Community and Technical College and the University of Tennessee at Martin stepped forward to continue the mission of the group. Today, the membership is comprised of all sorts of individuals from teachers to professors to retirees to all those who simply have a love of history and a love of the Jackson Purchase area.
The Jackson Purchase Historical Society Journal, which first appeared in 1973 under the leadership of its founder, Dr. Glenn Wilcox, has continued to thrive because of the dedication of the editors who have followed him. We owe much to his leadership and vision and the technical editor, Helen Wilcox.
The purpose of this site is to continue the tradition of furthering the publication of our area’s history and broadening our readership to those around us.