Dyersburg, city (1990 pop. 16,317), seat of Dyer co., NW Tenn., near the Mississippi River; inc. 1850. It is a processing and industrial center for a fertile cotton and farm area.

Dyersburg is a city in and the county seat of Dyer County, Tennessee, United States, 77 miles (124 km) north-northeast of Memphis on the Forked Deer River. The population was 17,452 at the 2000 census.


Dyersburg is located at (36.039440, -89.382766). The city's proximity to the New Madrid Fault Zone makes it an at-risk place to live.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.1 square miles (39.2 km²), of which, 15.1 square miles (39.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.53%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 17,452 people, 7,036 households, and 4,517 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,158.7 people per square mile (447.4/km²). There were 7,885 housing units at an average density of 523.5/sq mi (202.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.68% White, 22.02% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.36% of the population.

There were 7,036 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 86.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,232, and the median income for a family was $34,754. Males had a median income of $30,898 versus $21,337 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,388. About 17.4% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 19.0% of those age 65 or over.



  • State Gazette - 6 days/week (Sunday-Friday); general news. The paper has served Dyersburg and Northwest Tennessee since 1865.

Radio Stations

  • WASL-FM 100.1 - "Real Rock Variety" - SL 100"
  • WTRO-AM 1450 - "The Greatest Hits of All Time"
  • WTNV-FM 97.3 - "The Eagle" (Country)

These stations are also the home of the legendary Tom Hunt, who has been a West Tennessee radio personality for over 25 years.


Population Growth of Dyersburg, TN
Year Population
1890 2,009
1900 3,647
1910 4,149
1940 10,034
The lands that make up Dyer County belonged to the Chickasaw. The final treaty by which they relinquished all of West Tennessee was signed in 1818.

In 1823 the General Assembly of Tennessee passed an act to establish two new counties immediately west of the Tennessee River, Dyer County being one of them. John McIver and Joel H. Dyer donated sixty acres for the new county seat, named Dyersburg, at a central location within the county known as McIver's Bluff. In 1825, Joel Dyer surveyed the town site into eighty-six lots. The first courthouse was built on the square in 1827. The current Classical Revival-style courthouse, designed by Asa Biggs in 1911, centers a downtown historic district listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Situated as the hub of steamboat navigation on the Forked Deer River, Dyersburg grew as a river town, especially once the Grey Eagle made the first successful steamboat trip in 1836. The county's first industrial boom dates to 1879, when the steamboat Alf Stevens shipped timber from A. M. Stevens Lumber Company of Dyersburg to St. Louis markets. The Stevens company established a large sawmill in 1880 and opened a planing mill in 1885. The Bank of Dyersburg opened in 1880, while another timber industry, Nichols & Co. Wooden Bowl Factory, began operations in 1881.

The arrival of the Newport News and Mississippi Valley Railroad in 1884 further expanded market possibilities; a branch line, the Dyersburg Northern, soon linked the county seat to Tiptonville. The new railroad links encouraged the creation of new industries and businesses. In 1884, for example, investors established the Dyersburg Oil Company, a cottonseed factory. This company remained locally important through the twentieth century. Between 1909 and 1914 Dyersburg emerged as a regional railroad hub as it became the junction point for three different lines, led by the Illinois Central Railroad.

During World War II, an emergency landing strip was built in Dyersburg. Industry continued to expand and Dyer County became a regional medical, educational, retail and distribution center. The establishment of Dyersburg State Community College in 1969 enhanced educational and cultural opportunities in the county. In the last two decades, two major projects have modernized the city's transportation system: Interstate 155 links Dyersburg with Missouri via the only highway bridge in 1976 over the Mississippi River between Cairo, Illinois, and Memphis, and the four-lane expansion of U.S. 412 connects Dyersburg to I-40 at Jackson.

On September 17, 2003, Harold Kilpatrick Jr. (claiming to be a part of al-Qaeda, however authorities discount that) took 18 people hostage in a classroom at Dyersburg State Community College. His only demands were a pizza and some water. Two students were injured, and after a nine hour hostage situation Kilpatrick was killed by Dyersburg police. The gunman left a note saying he "wanted to kill some people and die today." Kilpatrick was the only fatality.

Home of former Murray State and NBA player, Ronald "Popeye" Jones. Jones dominated the Ohio Valley Conference and was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks and played for many NBA teams. He is currently an assistant coach with the Mavericks organization.

On April 4, 2008 Caedmon's Call played a concert in Dyersburg at Dyersburg State Community College.

Notable natives

  • George "Two Ton" Harris - professional wrestler NWA
  • Robert Fuller - professional wrestler; better known as a manager in WCW and WWF.
  • Levi "Bronco" Griffith - US Air Force War Veteran, currently of DataPath, Inc., Camp Slayer, Iraq.
  • Andrew "Evolve One" Moberg- music producer * edit was born in Harvey, Illinois; but lived in Dyersburg from 1993-2000

Popeye Jones is from Dresden, Tn. not Dyersburg.


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