Images of America: Marshall County
Authors: Connie M. Huddleston, Carol Aldridge, and Virginia Smith
In the early 19th century, settlers established ferries across the Tennessee River in Kentucky and grew crops, including corn and tobacco. Small communities formed around schools and crossroads. Cheap land prices and lust for westward expansion fueled population growth. In 1842, Marshall County was created and named for Chief Justice John Marshall. Over the next 100 years, some roadside communities grew into small, prosperous towns. James Love founded Birmingham, a port on the Tennessee River, which became the county’s largest community. Downriver Gilbertsville profited from river traffic and rail transportation, while Hardin and Calvert City developed strictly around rail stops. Benton slowly matured as the county seat. Still the county was mostly rural farming communities until the devastating flood of 1937 brought the Tennessee Valley Authority to Gilbertsville to build Kentucky Dam.
The desire to learn about her family’s ancestral home brought historian Connie M. Huddleston to team with her mother, Carol Aldridge, and friend Virginia Smith to explore Marshall County in this pictorial legacy. Connie M. Huddleston is a historic preservation consultant in Marietta, Georgia, and owns Interpreting Time’s Past, LLC Carol Aldridge, born in Gilbertsville, returned to Marshall County several years ago and enjoys living on Kentucky Lake. County native Virginia Smith works with the Marshall County Genealogical and Historical Society.