Bunker Hill Community

Migration brought the adventurous to settle the hills and valleys of Giles County Tennessee. Relocation to a new area was essential in some cases for survival in the days of the formation of the new country. They tell us that in the early days this land was a hunting ground for several Indian tribes because of plentiful game that fed on its lush vegetation and drank from its clear streams. There was an abundance of native timber available to the newcomers for building homes so it was a natural place for the pioneers to make their homes and raise their families. When the small village was formed it was known as Indian Creek for the creek that ran there. A post office was established in the community but because there was another Indian Creek in the state, the community was renamed Bunker Hill in 1856. It was informally called Bull Killer by families with longtime roots in the community.

Over the years a number of postmasters served the community. A list of Tennessee Post Offices and Postmaster Appointments 1789-1984 compiled by D. R. Frazier lists these names: Andrew Jackson - January 23, 1851; Theophilus Harris - October 6 1852; William H. Wells November 18, 1858; Discontinued September 22, 1866; Joshua James - March 13, 1868; William H. Wells May 23, 1870; John C. King - August 30, 1880; Alonzo F. Bass - May 12 1885; John L. McCracken - April 3, 1907; Foster Osborne - April 8, 1914; William E. Due - April 28, 1916; Discontinued March 15, 1918 and moved to Pulaski.

Records show there were mills, stores and shops as well as craftsmen and doctors practicing in the area. One census reveals that a hatter and peddler lived in the Samuel Gilliam residence. Early Benson had a stagecoach stop at his place on Old Stage Road. Both of these men had a number of slaves which indicates that they were probably financially well off during the 1850s and 1860s.

Churches were an important part of the social life in the early community. The Primitive Baptist Church was organized in 1811 and the Bunker Hill Methodist Church was organized in 1892. The Church of Christ was established in the mid 1800s on property owned by Mrs. Delilah Bennett Tucker, daughter of Elisha Bennett. In 1861 Joe W. and Annabelle Bass Kennedy gave land for relocating the church. Bunker Hill Church of God was first built in 1906. Since that time two new buildings have replaced older houses of worship for this congregation. Other churches have been a part of the Bunker Hill community over the years.

Bunker Hill had its own school for a number of years in the 1900s. Families still look at old group pictures from the early days and share with pride the pictures of students engaged in sporting events.

In the 1941-1942 school term elementary teachers over the county led their students in writing about each community. D. E. Haney, Mrs. James Pickens, Miss Juanita Barnes and Mrs. James Mansfield were at Bunker Hill and assisted their students in gathering and contributing the following information:

Early settlers were Gus Harris, Joe Kennedy, Billy Wells, Jim and Miller Bass, John Brooks, Jim Tucker and J. H. Nave. The first church and school were located on the top of one of the highest hills known as Mars Hill. Stores and the post office were built in the valley and later the school and present day Church of Christ were removed to the valley.

The Church of God was built in 1888 and the Methodist Church in 1894. Mr. Tom Nave was the first to be buried in this community.

Bunker Hill has an abundant water supply and two caves. The present day school building was built in 1918. At one time it was a high school, later it was a junior high school. It is now (1941-42) a four teacher grade school. The newest store is that of Earl Lackey. It was built in 1936.

Time changed the face of this small rural community after Interstate 65 was built through its middle. The school is now closed but Bunker Hill is still a desirable place for newcomers as well as for longtime residents who continue to call this place home.

Compiled by Julia Minatra - 2005

Sources: Program for Elementary Education, Giles County TN; notes from Giles County Historical Society bulletin and files; Picture Giles County by Phelps; US census records and conversations with Giles countians.


Barnes, Miss Juanita
Bass, Alonzo F.
Bass, Jim
Bass, Miller
Bennett, Elisha
Benson, Early
Brooks, John
Due, William E.
Frazier, D. R.
Gilliam, Samuel
Haney, D. E.
Harris, Gus
Harris, Theophilus
Jackson, Andrew
James, Joshua
Kennedy, Joe
King, John C.
Lackey Early
Mansfield, Mrs. James
McCracken, John L.
Nave, J. H.
Osborne, Foster
Pickens, Mrs. James
Tucker, Jim
Tucker, Mrs. Delilah Bennett
Wells, Billy
Wells, William H.

Submitted by Julia Minatra

This is copyrighted material, displayed with the permission of the author.