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Nutbush, Tennessee facts for kids

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Nutbush, Tennessee
Unincorporated community
Nutbush unincorporated.jpg
Location in the state of Tennessee
Location in the state of Tennessee
Country United States
State Tennessee
Counties Haywood
Elevation 358 ft (109 m)
Population (2000) of the Nutbush voting precinct
 • Total 259
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 38063 (Ripley, Tennessee)
Area code 731
Nutbush tennessee
Nutbush grocery store (2004)

Nutbush is a rural unincorporated community in Haywood County, Tennessee, in the western part of the state. It was established in the early 19th century by European-American settlers who brought along or bought enslaved African Americans as workers to develop the area's cotton plantations. The African Americans built the fine houses and churches that still stand.

Agriculture is still the dominant source of income in the area, focused on the cultivation and processing of cotton. This was the commodity crop in the antebellum years, when its cultivation depended on slave labor. As of 2006, cotton was processed in one cotton-processing plant in the community.

Nutbush is best known as the birthplace and childhood home of singer Tina Turner, who described the town in her 1973 song "Nutbush City Limits". In 2002, a segment of Tennessee State Route 19 near Nutbush was named "Tina Turner Highway" in her honor. This is also the home town of blues pioneer musicians and recording artists Hambone Willie Newbern and Sleepy John Estes.


In 2000, the population of the Nutbush voting precinct (TN 3976) was 259. Of those, 215 were White (83.01%), 42 Black (16.22%), and two were of another ethnicity (0.77%). At that time 190 people (73.36%) were aged 18 or older.


Nutbush tennessee scenic
Scenic view onto Tennessee State Route 19 (2004)

The Nutbush community was established in the early 19th century by settlers from Virginia and North Carolina. Descended from immigrants from England, they traveled westward to the Mississippi River delta in western Tennessee. They developed this area for cotton and were dependent on the use of slave labor.

These settlers founded Trinity United Methodist Church was founded in 1822. During the slavery years, black slaves were encouraged to attend the church under white supervision. More than 50 Civil War soldiers, both Confederate and Union, are buried in the Trinity Cemetery associated with the church. The Trinity Cemetery is mentioned as one of the best-kept cemeteries in the county.

They also had a white Woodlawn Church (it is no longer active). Under state law, most slave congregations had to be ministered by white pastors. In 1846, the young slave Hardin Smith, who was sold from Virginia, was allowed to preach to a slave congregation at an evening service at the white Woodlawn Church; it was the first time an area congregation was pastored by a slave.

Nutbush Woodlawn Church
Woodlawn Baptist Church (2007)

After the American Civil War, the Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1866 by Hardin Smith and other freed slaves of the community, aided by some members of the white Woodlawn Baptist Church. The freedmen soon withdrew from white supervision, as did most black Baptists in the South, establishing their own regional and national associations by the end of the century.

Woodlawn Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 for its historical significance.

In 1881 a U.S. Post office was opened in Nutbush; it was closed in 1905.


Nutbush is located at 35°41′53″N 89°24′29″W / 35.69806°N 89.40806°W / 35.69806; -89.40806 (35.6981330, -89.4081280), at an elevation of 358 feet (109 m).

Cotton fields and hills dominate the landscape of the surrounding area. Nutbush is situated on the southeastern edge of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area with a high earthquake risk.

Postal and telephone

The U.S. ZIP Code for Nutbush is 38063 (Ripley, Tennessee) and the telephone area code is 731.


The early Black musicians and singers from the Nutbush churches recorded and influenced an international audience. Prominent recording artists include Hambone Willie Newbern and Sleepy John Estes. Harmonica player Noah Lewis of Henning, Tennessee is buried in an area cemetery near Nutbush.

Nutbush tennessee sign tina turner
Nutbush is the childhood home of singer Tina Turner.

Nutbush is best known as the childhood home of singer Tina Turner, then known as Anna Mae Bullock. At age 16, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri.

After her birth in 1939, Bullock was raised in Nutbush, Brownsville, and Ripley by her maternal grandmother and extended family in the area. The houses she lived in as a child no longer exist. Wood from her Nutbush/Flagg Grove home was used to build a barn.

Both Woodlawn Missionary Baptist Church and Spring Hill Baptist Church in Nutbush were family churches of Tina Turner. She attended and sang in both choirs growing up. Her family members were church officials, musicians and singers; various members are buried in these two cemeteries.

Nutbush tennessee hwy19
Tina Turner Highway in Nutbush (2004)

In 2002, Tennessee State Route 19 between Brownsville and Nutbush was officially designated as "Tina Turner Highway" in her honor.

Representation in other media

  • Tina Turner's song "Nutbush City Limits" (1973, produced by Ike Turner) is about her home town. The line dance "The Nutbush" is performed to the song "Nutbush City Limits".

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