by Ruth Billingsley
Co-Editor of An Illustrated History of the
People and Towns of Northeast Shelby County
and Southeast Tipton County
Gratitude was a typical farming community
located in Northeast Shelby County at the
eastern portion of the Millington-Arlington Road
and Gratitude Church Road. It existed as early
as the 1840s and was centered around the
Gratitude Methodist Church and cemetery. A one
room school was located on the grounds of the
church in the 1890s, part of the Shelby County
In the 1850s Joshua and Temperance Hughes
settled on a 275 acre farm in the area
relocating from Lincoln County, Tennessee. The
Hughes are buried in the Gratitude Cemetery
along with one of their sons who died in 1867.
The oldest marker in the cemetery is that of an
infant, C. Carr Crenshaw, son of David S. and
Clarissa C. Crenshaw, who died in 11846.
The original one room church was built about
1863. The building had an elevated floor similar
to a movie theatre floor. The double doors led
to the main floor, where there was a vestibule
area with a banister and three steps up to the
aisle. The floor slanted down to the pulpit area
which was elevated and contained the pulpit and
three chairs. Off to the south end was a wider
area with a banister where the piano sat. On the
floor level was the altar table with a kneeling
bench around it for communion. Just behind that
next to the front pews was a "pot belly stove”
used for heat in the winter and removed in the
summer. On the north side of the church facing
the pulpit was the “Amen Corner”. Sunday School
classes met in various corners of the room.
The present church was built in 1958-59,
consisting of four classrooms. An addition in
1968 added a kitchen, fellowship hall,
classrooms and restrooms. The concrete building
was bricked and a new roof put on at this time.
Stained glass windows were added in 1991-92.
There was never a store in the Gratitude area,
so folks shopped at S. Y. Wilsons in Arlington
or at a country store in Bolton. The ice plant
was located in Bolton where the ice for the “old
ice box” was purchased.
Excerpts from the jacket of An Illustrated
History of the People and Towns of Northeast
Shelby County and Southeast Tipton County by
Historic Archives of Rosemark and Environs (H.A.R.E.):
On October 19, 1818, the United States Congress
ratified the treaty with the Chickasaw Nation
ceding West Tennessee to the United States. What
followed was the creation of Shelby County
in1819 and, to its north, the creation of Tipton
County in 1823. Settlers followed quickly. Along
the border of Shelby and Tipton counties small
communities developed around churches, schools,
and country stores. This is the story of the
people who have lived there. Over the last 180
years most of the schools and some of the towns
of Northeast Shelby County and South Central
Tipton County have disappeared. The churches and
cemeteries remain and the land is still farmed.
This illustrated history attempts to capture the
stories of those people and places where they
lived. Through a series of articles and
interviews, maps, photographs, diaries, and
letters, you can experience the people who lived
on the farms and worked in the towns of Salem,
Portersville, Idaville, Kerrville, Armourtown,
Bethel, Tipton, Mudville, Macedonia, Gratitude,
Barretville, and Rosemark.
On June 14, 2013 the Rosemark Historic District
was placed in the National and Tennessee
Registers of Historic Places by the National
Park Service the United States Department.
The Historic Archives of Rosemark and Environs
is a non-profit organization whose mission is to
document & preserve historic information & items
of the Rosemark region for educational purposes.
It is primarily responsible for the creation of
the Rosemark Historic District. Please consider
a tax deductible contribution to help them
continue these efforts.