NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nankipoo, Sweet Lips, and Bitter End – yes, those are indeed names of real towns in Tennessee.
Some town names in Tennessee are self-explanatory for example, Nashville, Tennessee – originally Nashborough – was named in honor of General Francis Nash, who was killed during the Revolutionary War. However, others are unique and leave some residents scratching their heads wondering how the town acquired its name.
WATE’s sister station WKRN gathered a list of some of the weirdest town names in the state below:
Meet the unincorporated community in Jackson County without a name — literally. There are some interesting theories of how Nameless acquired its name. One theory given to the Cookeville Herald-Citizen in 2006 said the name came about after residents applied for a post office without a name. As the story goes, Washington returned the application as “nameless” and the name stuck. A website detailing the history of Jackson County shows that the Nameless post office opened July 10, 1886, and closed May 15, 1909.
The census-designated community of Bitter End is located in East Tennessee just 120 miles away from Elizabethton. Although the origin of the city’s name remains unknown, there is nothing bitter about the area! In fact, some of the best hiking trails are known to be in the area including the Appalachian Trail and Mountaineer Falls.
People across the world are familiar with this rural, unincorporated community in Haywood County thanks to Rock & Roll icon Tina Turner. Turner, whose childhood home was located in Nutbush, released “Nutbush City Limit’s” in 1973, which described the small community. The community was established in the western part of the state in the early 19th century by European-American settlers who brought along enslaved African Americans as workers to develop the area’s cotton plantations, according to the Tennessee Department of Tourism.
Located just seven miles north of Somerville in Fayette County sits the unincorporated community of Yum Yum. An excerpt from the Chattanooga Times suggests Yum Yum earned its name after store owner John S. Garnett was seeking a post office for the community in 1887. Rumors has it that Garnett’s friend suggested the name “Yum Yum” after being inspired by a brand of candy that was sold at the store.
Unlike it’s name, Difficult is not too hard to find. The community is located along Highway 85 in Smith County. According to Smith County’s Chamber of Commerce, the Difficult Post Office opened in February 1866. It’s rumored that the origin of the town’s name came about after the residents applied for a post office and the Post Office Department deemed the preferred name was “too difficult.” It appears that tough times are no stranger to Difficult. In fact, Defeated Creek passes right through the community.
Sweet Lips is definitely one of Tennessee’s strangest town names. The rural community is located in Chester County, which is named after Colonel I. Robert Chester, a quartermaster in the War of 1812. The state’s encyclopedia shows that in 2000 Chester County’s population was 15,540 however, it remains unknown how many residents occupied Sweet Lips. A 1995 expert published in the “Ellensburg Daily Record” says the small town legend claims the tiny community got its name after a passerby drank from a nearby creek and was overheard saying “It’s sweet to my lips.”
Contrary to popular belief – ladies also live in Guys, Tennessee. The McNairy County town recently had a population of 391 people, according to Census Reporter. The small town is located just 20 minutes away from Shiloh National Military Park which was established in 1894 to commemorate the Battle of Shiloh, which resulted in more than 23,000 casualties.
Hopefully, the viewers in this Pickett County community don’t encounter too much static when it’s time to watch News 2! This unincorporated community is located on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line housed in Pickett County, Tennessee and Clinton County, Kentucky.
Located just an hour north of Memphis, lives the residents of Nankipoo, Tennessee. According to the town’s website, Nankipoo was established in the 1800s. There are two legends surrounding the founding of this town’s name. The first theory claims the name came from an Indian chief who used to frequent the area. Another theory suggests an individual working in the local post office needed to think of a name for the area and came up with “Nankipoo,” inspired by a character’s name of an unknown play.
A notable no-nonsense sheriff was born in this Tennessee town. Buford Pusser’s, former sheriff McNairy County, life inspired the movie Walking Tall and it’s two sequels. Nearly 56 years later, the TBI is still working to determine who shot and killed his wife – Pauline Pusser – in an ambush that was likely meant for him. The town is also home of the Annual Finger Barbeque, which is one the oldest traditions in McNairy County.