History of Brazil, Tennessee
written by Mrs. Mary Hoover Clark
submitted by William M. Stott
The Village of Brazil is in the 5th Civil District of Gibson County, about 9 miles southwest of
Trenton. The village was settled about 1867-68.
In 1820 Colonel Solomon Shaw came from North Carolina and was one of the first settlers near the
present site of Brazil, which at that time had no name. About 10 years later two sons-in-law of
Col. Shaw, John Frierson and Cas Simmons, moved here, too. The place was a wilderness at that
time and wild animals were abundant.
Col. Shaw was a Baptist preacher and founded Old Beulah Church near Brazil.
Albert Yancey built the first business house, a 10 by 12 ft. store. At this time the place was
called "Pin-Hook". We do not know how this came about. The next building was the Presbyterian
Church, the oldest church in Brazil. The church was built of logs, with seats of split logs put
together with wooden pegs. The first pastor was a Mr. Hodge.
The first Baptist Church was built near the Old Hartsfield Cemetery more than 100 years ago. The
church was later moved to its present site and is now known as the Poplar Grove Baptist Church.
The Methodist Church was first built at its present location.
Both Baptist and Methodist Churches are modern brick structures now and a credit to any community. The Presbyterian Church is a stately building and has had the interior done over during the last few years.
At this time the first business houses and other buildings were being built there was a great deal of excitement over a proposed emigration to Brazil, South America, by a group of settlers near what is now Brazil, Tennessee. Some of the more daring of these settlers did go to South America, while the others decided to stay where they were. They also decided to give a legal name to their settlement and they agreed to call it Brazil. This was
done in 1869-70. Methodist Church Brazil
Some of the other families here at that time were those of Richard Hartsfield, Jim Lowe, W.S. and John Hartsfield, Sharp and Jim Simmons, W.B. Howse and B.M. Dodd (grandfather of Rev. or Dr. Elmon
The first school building was located diagonally across from the Bowers Chapel Cemetery on the lot
where Mr. Willie Willis' house is not located, on the Humboldt-Brazil Highway. The building was
made of logs and the upper story was the Masonic Lodge Hall. The first teacher was Shade Coward.
The first large mercantile business was owned by Howse and Ragan. Among others were Ragan and
Banks, Mrs. G.W. Dabney, and Parkinson and Brasfield, steam roller mill.
Howse and Ragan General Store
There was also a casket-making shop.
The first blacksmith shop was operated by Adcock and Harrison. Brazil also had its own post
office for many years. Its own bank also operated until the 1930's. The reason for a number of
settlers remaining in Brazil was because of its fertile land which grows many important crops.
Cattle raising was also, very important and was carried on a large scale. J.Q. Butler and Sons
were widely known for their fine cattle, as well as J.H. McClaren.
Some of the larger land-owners were the Dinwiddies, Crims, Butlers, Loves, McClarens, and others.
Brazil has always had a resident doctor until the death of Dr. L.V. Frazier and before his decease
Dr. W.J. Barker. Many other doctors have lived in and practiced medicine in Brazil since the
village was settled many years ago. Our town has had a great many drug stores at different times.
At one time there were two.
Mrs. Frank Russell owned and operated a milliner's shop next door to her home.
Brazil's residents have always had an active part in our nation's military service. Many of our
older men served in the Civil War and our village has always sent its share of soldiers, in World
Wars I and II, as well as the Korean War. We also have our full share of Gold Star heroes whose
names may not be known to people outside Brazil and vicinity.
Until TVA power was available to residents of this area we were without a public power plant with
the exception of the plant owned by D.B. Barber, druggist, which also furnished street lights.
Many people had carbide lights and their own electric light plants as well as other facilities
before TVA power was available.
One of the highlights in the events of our small town was the visit made by President Dutra of
Brazil, South America. Pres. Dutra was visiting his very dear friend, Col. Adams, in Humboldt.
He learned about his country's name sake and he made quick changes in his plans in order to visit
us in June, 1949, at a very early hour in the morning. He was accompanied by a motorcade and a
large body of Mounted Patrolmen. He was greeted by a large number of citizens in the yard of the
M.E. Church and he stood on the porch of the church and spoke to us. He was very friendly and
most gracious. He was presented with a bouquet of red roses and a real honest to goodness
Tennessee country ham.
It was learned later that he and his cabinet appropriated a sum of money to be sent to Brazil,
Tenn., to build an auditorium. Through an error this sum was sent to Brazil, Indiana, which was
probably not even named for Brazil South America.
Brazil now has modern highways to all larger towns. Many new homes have been built and others
being built all the time. We have modern conveniences and although our town is not large we are
still a thriving community.
Many men have gone from this town to become very prominent. To name a few, Dr. M.E. Dodd,
preacher, lecturer and world traveler; Hon. Saffron Bowers, lawyer and at one time Lieutenant-
Governor of Texas, and Paul Freeman, Missionary.
A great many doctors have gone from our midst as well as teachers, many of whom are carrying on
their work at the present time. There are too many others to mention who have done well in their
lines of work or business and are well known.