First Settlers

Escaping the malaria and mosquitoes of the Tennessee River area, the first settlers to what would eventually be called Pisgah arrived in the 1830’s at a time when Sand Mountain was hostile and still part of Indian territory and not part of Jackson County. The number of settlers began to increase in the mid to late 1800’s. The area was also a vast wilderness at the time of its first settlements and contained virgin forests which were prime for the timber that was in demand as towns expanded in the Tennessee Valley region.

Local Businesses Help Area to Thrive

The Incline rail system, owned by Dr. M.J. Bobo and his son, Claude, was located on the brow of the mountain around what is now the loop area of Highway 88. Built in the Civil War era, Mr. Bobo operated this rail system, which he called the Jay Bird Southern Railroad. It consisted of a straight line of rail cars operated by cable and powered by steam engine which would send the timber and goods down the mountain to be unloaded and then back up the mountain in about a fifteen minute time span. All the freight for the upper part of the mountain made its way up this incline.  The Union Army took over the incline for a brief period in order to send supplies to troops in preparation for the Battle of Chickamauga. Pisgah Land Company whose largest investor was John Will Gay Sr. owned land from Macedonia to the Higdon area. William Bethel Wheeler Sr. was the superintendent and part share holder of the company. It was this land company that supplied the lumber not only to build the mountain area, but the Tennessee Valley below, and it was this incline rail system that helped business to grow and thrive by allowing access to merchants to send and to receive goods.

Historical Firsts


Pisgah area was granted its first post office in 1878.  The U.S. Postal Service lists the first postmaster as John A. Starkey. 

S. Clive Estes, David R. Woodall,  William D. Rorex, Griffin Callaham, Matthew Wann, Sarah Wann, Samuel Wininger,  Carl Clark, Lillian Arnold, Virgil Gross, Gordon Roden, Anita Boatner, Kathy Samuels, Patti Thomas, Shannon Rains, and Pamela Hawkins. Georgia Hampton, Ra’Chelle McKee, and Jaime Parrish served as Officers-in -Charge for the post office.


Town vote for incorporation was held on October 13, 1946.


J.H. Wheeler (Jess) becomes the first appointed and then elected mayor December 23, 1946, sworn in on March 3, 1947 following the first municipal election.

G. W. Holley, David Johnson, Ernest Pruett, Lloyd Meeks, J. E. Edmonds, Charles Kelly Hicks, Delton Traylor, J. C. Thomas, C.N. Baine, T.L. Patterson, R.D. Mitchell, Robert E. Smith, Ralph Edmonds,  Chris Woods, and Leamon Smith.


Groundbreaking for the first town hall and jail was held on March 29, 1947.


First meeting at this new town hall for the Town Government of the Town of Pisgah was held on September 1, 1947.


M. (Sparky) Rogers and L.H. (Huey) Young were sworn in as first policemen for the town on September 1, 1947.


First street lights were set in May, 1950 and extended in 1953.


Drilling for the first well to supply water for the town of Pisgah began in November, 1960. 

Pisgah is the only town in Jackson county to receive its water from an artesian well rather than from the Tennessee River. Town water service extends throughout the police jurisdiction of the town, and meets all requirements for quality control.


In 1961, the first major manufacturing company, Andover Togs, Inc., opened for business.


First Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1964, with Kelly Hicks appointed the first Fire chief. 

Johnny Lester, Ralph Roberts, Russell Garren, Shorty Mitchell, Lebron Fergueson, David Gant, and Jake Everett.


Approval for construction of the first public housing apartments located on School Street was granted in January, 1967.


In 1980, Sylvia White became the first woman to be elected to serve on the town council.