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   The community of Woodstock, originally known as Rembert Town, lies about halfway between the Wolf River and the City of Millington, spread out on both sides of US 51. The main road through this part of northern Shelby County prior to the opening of US 51 was named Old Millington Road, parts of which are still an available thoroughfare in the area.

1880 1990

    In the late 1800s, the railroad (Memphis and Paducah, and later named Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern, then Illinois Central, and today the Canadian National or CN) was the major mode of “modern” transportation from Memphis to Covington, with Frayser, Woodstock, Lucy, Millington, Kerrville, Tipton, Atoka, and Brighton being the key stops along the route.

   The Woodstock area was known for its timber, and took its name from a stop for wood to fire early locomotives. The early trains had to have towers and racks of wood along the way. At this location in 1875, wood and water were supplied by Benjamin Hawkins. He also gave land for St. Ann’s Episcopal Church. Samuel Rembert II had the first store. He enjoyed reading Walter Scott who wrote of “Wood Stock.” Rembert combined the two words as the name of the wood stop. Once the vast virgin forests were cleared, cash crop farming like cotton began . . .


   Prior to the introduction of rail to the area, the previous arteries for transportation derived from trails and pathways developed by meandering animals, then followed by Native Americans, European explorers, migrants and finally American settlers with then plank roads, postal and stagecoach routes.
Settlers in the area in the early 1800’s tended to settle on or near the banks of Big Creek, which begins in southern Tipton County and meanders southward to the Wolf River through this area.

   Seven Hills Plantation, named for the seven hills in Rome, is the oldest farm in Shelby County (1821) with five generations of the Rembert family living there until the late 20th century. Andrew Rembert was the descendant of French Huguenots who came to the American colonies in the 1800’s seeking religious freedom, In 1819, the year that Shelby County was established, he came to West Tennessee area to take up a land grant of 5,000 acres for service in the Revolutionary War. He started building his house in north Shelby County before his death in 1845.

   Andrew’s son, Samuel Stokes Rembert, finished the house and one known as an creative type with inventions such as the ladies pocket pistol, self-rising bed, fireplace cook stove and self-greasing buggy wheel. Along with Jedediah Prescott, he received a patent in 1855 for a cotton picker. He was also an author. His Philosophy of Life was published in 1866; he once wrote a book entitled Soaring which predicted that man someday would be soaring, or fly; and collected recipes and gave advice in Culinary Hygiene and Hygienic Cooking. Samuel’s son, Samuel Stokes Rembert, Jr. (at right), expanded the family business by renting and investing in large amounts of cotton land in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas in the early 2000’s.


Ida B. Wells

   In the early 1880’s, Ida B. Wells was teaching school in the Woodstock area. Her residence was in Memphis and she boarded the Chesapeake, Ohio and Southwestern Railroad (COS) on a daily basis to get to/from work. Two incidents occurred in 1884 and 1885 in which she was removed from her seat (because the color of her skin) although she had dutifully purchased a first class ticket. She sued the COS railroad in Shelby County Circuit Court, won the lawsuit and received a $500 settlement. The ruling was later overturned  by the State of Tennessee Supreme Court in 1887.

By that time, Ms. Wells had become a teacher in Memphis City Schools and hardened herself as a journalist for the Free Speech and Headlight newspaper, where she wrote articles about the inferior public accommodations in Memphis for people of color. In 1892, three of her friends were victims of the People’s Grocery lynchings in Memphis, thus she began her anti-lynching crusade. Her office was burned and she left Memphis moving northward to continue her crusade, as well as campaign for woman's suffrage and was a founding member of the NAACP in the first third of the 20th century.


   The Shelby County Training School was established in 1913 for African-American students. Boarding students performed all necessary chores including gardening, cooking, cleaning and laundering. In 1923, SCTS graduated its first high school class with three students. Prof. Thomas Jefferson Johnson was the school’s first principal and had the distinction of being the first principal in Shelby County to graduate a 12th grade high school class. Under Prof. R.J. Roddy, the school became noted for its strict high school course guidelines and would later become Woodstock High School (in 1963). In 1970, under Prof. John Strong’s tenure, the school was desegregated and became an elementary school. Today it is Woodstock Middle School.



   The former site of Armstrong Field is located about one mile east of US 51 at the southeast corner of Armstrong Field Road and Old Millington Road. It was at Armstrong Field that Memphis had its first scheduled air service and Vernon Omlie attained his own aviation company – Mid-South Airways. Armstrong Field operations were strong enough for Vernon Omlie to venture into a flying school with offices located in downtown Memphis. The Armstrong Field demonstrations also supported the Memphis Aero Club move to support the appointment of the city’s first Airport Commission and establishment of a municipal airport in 1929.

   Phoebe Omlie’s fame as an aerial acrobat and movie stunt flier was already eclipsed by her obtaining the first transport license issued to a woman, and the first license for a woman aviation mechanic. She was also the first woman to cross the Rocky Mountains in a light plane, which she did in 1928 in the Edsel Ford National Air Tour. The public had come to know the Omlies and the usefulness of airplanes in 1927, when they flew daily during the Mississippi River flood, locating refugees huddled on levees, delivering medicine and dropping food supplies. In 1932, President Franklin D. Roosevelt named her to an Intelligence Department job in the Aeronautical Bureau. Eleanor Roosevelt named her on a list of the “11 greatest women in the nation.” A committee of educators put her on a list of the 10 most outstanding women in 1941.

   Known as the “godmother” of early Tennessee aviation, Phoebe F. Omlie started her career as a barnstormer, wing walker, and stunt pilot. She and her husband Vernon settled in Memphis in 1922 and opened Mid-South Airways, the first flying service in the Southeast. In the late 1920s and early 1930s she attained prominence representing the Mono Aircraft Company in national air races. Omlie was the first woman appointed to a federal aviation post. From 1933 until 1936 she served as special assistant for air intelligence with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (the predecessor to NASA). From 1941 until 1952 she worked with the Civil Aeronautics Administration (the forerunner of the FAA). Omlie introduced the federal airmarking program through the Works Progress Administration, and prior to and during World War II she started schools for primary flight instruction and aircraft mechanic training. In the late 1930s Omlie introduced aviation into the Memphis public school curriculum, a program that the federal government adopted for its Civilian Pilot Training Program. She and W. Percy McDonald, head of the Tennessee Bureau of Aeronautics, authored legislation that provided the state with funds to improve airports and provide pilot training. In 1942 they started the Tennessee Women’s Research Flight Instructor School to ease the pilot shortage in World War II. The program graduated one class of ten and received national recognition, but was not adopted and funded by the federal government. After retiring from aviation in 1952, Omlie ranched, ran a restaurant, and traveled as a public speaker.

   Armstrong Field historical marker [Shelby County Historical Commission]
This was the site of one of the earliest airports in the Memphis area. Named for Lt. Guion Armstrong, a Memphis pilot killed in Word War 1, it was dedicated Nov. 11, 1926.

   Charles A. Lindbergh landed here on Oct. 3, 1927 (four months after is epic non-stop solo New York-to-Paris flight) as a part of his 82-city tour promoting acceptance of the airplane as a dependable mode of transportation.

   The Daniel Guggenheim Fund sponsored a three-month nationwide tour of 22,350 miles from July 20-October 23, 1927, departing and returning to Mitchell Field on Long Island, New York. Flying “The Spirit of St. Louis,” Lindbergh touched down in 49 states, gave 149 speeches and rode in 1,290 miles of parades. After a parade through Overton Park and Downtown Memphis, Lindbergh was honored and celebrated at a dinner and stayed overnight at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis on October 3.


   Woodstock Saddle Club was formed in April 1961 by a group of horse lovers wanting to promote competition and fellowship of equine enthusiast in the area. It is a non-profit organization that promotes good sportsmanship, fun and fellowship in the Memphis, Millington and surrounding areas. Shows are on Friday nights, April thru August. A large portion of our exhibitors are youth. We provide a safe and Christian environment for families to come out and enjoy themselves whether they are horse families or just horse lovers. The wonderful WCSC Board of Directors and Officers donate their time and energy to make the shows run smoothly so families can enjoy themselves.


   While being known as Old Millington Road, US 51 was also designated at the Jefferson Davis Highway through Tennesse, Kentucky and Illinois. This memorial appears on the portion of Old Millington Road on the west side of US 51 just north of the intersection with Little John Road.


  Old Millington Winery is where the music meets the wine. Established in 2000, the Old Millington Winery is a family-owned boutique-style winery nestled in the rolling hills of West Tennessee 14 miles north of downtown Memphis, near Millington. The winery offers award winning wines from dry to sweet, including a most popular Blackberry, Maggie’s Rose and Muscadine wines. There is live music on the grounds on Sunday afternoons in the Spring and Fall.



Woodstock Hills Golf Course to Mirimichi & Justin Timberlake

   Dr. B.G. Mitchell opened the Woodstock Hills Country Club in 1978 on 300 acres hat he and his sisters inherited. A slow market interfered with efforts to establish a residential community surrouding the golf course, and in 1990, the property was sold. Known for the next 19 years as Big Creek Golf Course, the property is now home to Mirimichi Golf Course, developed by local Shelby Forest denizen and future star of stage and screen, Justin Timberlake. Mirimichi is a Native American word meaning “place of happy retreat.” Mirimichi was the first golf course in North, South or Central America to receive a certified status from the international Golf Environment Organization (GEO). Additionally, it was the first course in the United States to be designated as a Certified Audubon International Classic Sanctuary, making it the only golf course in the world to hold both designations.



Today about to miles east of US 52 via Armstrong Field Road is the Memphis International Raceway (formerly known as Memphis Motorsports Park). MIR is an auto racing park located near the Loosahatchie River. The facility opened in 1987 with a drag strip and 1.8-mile (2.9 km) road course. It includes a 3/4-mile tri-oval short track, built in 1998, which once hosted the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, as well as an ASA Late Model Series race. The 4,400-foot (1,340 m) drag strip hosts events such as International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) World Finals and Nitro Jam, Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA), HOT ROD Power Tour, Super Chevy Show, Fun Ford Series and Mega Mopar Action Series.


   And, next to the raceway is the Charles W. Baker Airport, named for a leader in the Shelby County Quarterly Court for the north Shelby County area in the middle of the 20th century, and whose name is also on the Baker v. Carr lawsuit heard in 1962 by the United States Supreme Court determining “one man, one vote” legislative reapportionment nationwide. Charles W. Baker Airport is owned and operated by the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Services include fuel, hangar and ramp space, aircraft parking and more. The facility occupied 259 acres and was opened in 1959.


   Woodstock in Soul Man lyrics. During times of nationwide civil unrest in America in the 1960s, David Porter and Isaac Hayes wrote lyrics for the song “Soul Man,” sung by the R & B duo of Sam & Dave. It rose to #2 on the charts in 1967 and in 1968 was awarded the 1968 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental. David Porter, a student at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, states that the lyrics “Comin’ to you on a dusty road . . .” and “I was educated at Woodstock . . .” came from his earlier high school experiences in the 1960s of visiting the students at Woodstock High School.


Sources for information provided in the Woodstock Commmunity are:
Images Of America: Millington by Dr. Rita Hiltenbrand Hall
Good Abode by Perre Magness
Historic Shelby County by Dr. John Harkins
Paul R. Coppock’s Midsouth, Vol. 4, 1979-1982 by Paul Coppock
Walking On Air by Janann Sherman




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