Mansfield, Tennessee, is a rural unincorporated community located in the southern portion of Henry County, about two hours west of Nashville. Henry County’s seat of government is Paris. Presently, the community consists of two general stores (Grandma’s Country Store and B.M.S. Grocery), a relatively new post office, ten-year-old fire station, and three churches.
Old Mansfield was established prior to the 1840s and was located where the Mansfield Road (Highway 114) intersects the Vale Road. In the 1830s, Paris,Tennessee, resident, William Harrison Thompson acquired a large amount of property in this section of the county. Thompson had a store and a cotton yarn spinning factory made from 50,000 boards. The factory’s workers, as well as students of Mansfield Academy, lived in a large boarding house.
Old Mansfield also contained several physicians, a saw mill, a grocery store, a water-powered grist mill, a cotton gin and a tobacco factory.
In 1860, the first railroad was completed in Henry County. Although the railroad came near the Mansfield community, the tracks bypassed the town.
Ben Thompson, the eldest son of William, gave the N.C. & St. L. railroad company the right-of-way through his property. He declined a life-time pass offered him by the railroad by stating that the business at his family’s store would increase and he could unload supplies directly off the trains.
In order to take advantage of the railroad, all of the businesses were moved to its present location about one mile from Old Mansfield.
In 1830, the Baptists organized and constructed a building near the Head of West Sandy River. This church was called Head of West Sandy Baptist Church.
No records are known to exist of the church’s activities until 1843 when 44 members plus five servant girls were recorded. The church moved to a new location in Mansfield just south of the N.C. & St. L. railroad depot in 1896. The church erected a new building in 1945, which continues to be used today.
Shiloh United Methodist Church was organized before 1850 near its present location. A future United States president, Andrew Johnson, signed a document which gave the land on which to build the church in 1847.
New Hope United Methodist Church was established by Mansfield’s black residents in 1871 at the location of the New Hope Cemetery. That building was destroyed by fire and much of the church’s history was lost when a member’s home burned. The church building, like many others, also served as a school.
There is still a mystery of why the community was named “Mansfield.”
Mansfield, Tn. is a community or populated place (a place that is not a census designated or incorporated place having an official federally recognized name) located in Henry County at latitude 36.177 and longitude 88.286. The elevation is 459 feet. Mansfield appears on the Mansfield U.S. Geological Survey Map. Henry County is in the Central time zone (GMT -6).
Email extract from Linda and Curtis Neal
“Our Mansfield is very, very small. We have a post office and three churches, Baptist and two Methodist. We are served by a volunteer fire department. Mansfield is located about 7 miles from Paris, TN, that’s where we do all of our shopping and employment. The children attend school at Henry Elementary, which is about 8 miles from Mansfield. The high school is located in Paris, TN and all the children from around Henry County attend the same high school.”