tamm1

Tamm Park
Corner of Court Square and E. Main Street

Tamm Park is located on Lot Number 1, the site of the first town square property sold in Brownsville in 1825 to Hiram Bradford.  Bradford cut down an oak tree on the site, sawed it into boards, and built the first store.  Recognizing the importance of cotton, he also opened the first gin in Brownsville.

Today, two Civil War Trail wayside exhibits are located in the park where the store once stood.  Brownsville suffered repeated raids during the war. Deserters and other irregulars led Union and Confederate raiding parties. Each time they looted and burned goods and buildings. Among the worst of the raids was led by Union Col. Fielding Hurst in March 1864. His men burned three Brownsville establishments.

The majority of men from Brownsville who enlisted in the army fought for the Confederacy.  Two hundred slaves from Haywood County, however, signed up for duty as United States Colored Troops in the Federal army.  Several enlisted at Camp Shiloh, a contraband camp, in Memphis in 1863.  These men literally fought for their freedom.

Emil Tamm, a Bavarian Jew, moved to Brownsville in 1867 and opened a new store on the same lot, the E. Tamm & Sons Department Store.  The building was constructed of brick. Tamm’s store was a family business. His three sons, along with his son-in-law Fred Silverstein, were partners in the store.  The company remained in the Tamm and Silverstein families until it closed in the 1970s. The building was razed in 2005.

During the 19th century the Jewish community thrived in Brownsville.  Meyer Rothschild was born in Germany in 1845 and emigrated to Brownsville when he was 19 years old.  Rothschild was one of numerous Jewish immigrants who became merchants.  He married a local girl, Mary Levy.  Together they had seven children.  Meyer bought a store on East Main St. (First State Bank parking lot today). The Rothschild family lived over the store.  The Jewish Adas Israel congregation held meetings in the second floor rooms in the late 19th century.

Memphis & Ohio Railroad Depot