The Coombs Home

The Coombs Home History

In 1832 the Chickasaw Cession occurred in North Mississippi.  In 1836 Tippah county was formed with the onset of pioneers arriving into these newly opened lands.  In 1837, John Coombs, at the age of 27, travelled to Tippah county from his home in York District, South Carolina to stake his claim within the territory of  Tippah county.  John Coombs paid taxes on 3,000 acres of land described as “west of the town center along both sides of the river”.  This river would become the Tippah River which means in the Chickasaw language as “the border”.  He returned to his home state of South Carolina that year to rear his family and prepare for the final return to Tippah county.  In 1848, he returned with his wife Catherine Wallace Coombs and 6 children.  Of these children was William Wallace Coombs (the elder son) and John Thomas Coombs, age 5.

Catherine Wallace Coombs was of a very affluent family in South Carolina.  Her brother, Alexander Stuart Wallace (12-30-1810 – 6-27-1893) served as a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives from 1852 – 1855 and from 1858-1859 under the Unionist banner and in 1865 – 1866 as a Republican.  He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1870 to serve in the Forty-Second, Forty-Third and Forth-Forth Congresses.  This tenure began on May 27, 1870 and concluded on March 3, 1877.  He served as chairman of the Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Forty-Second Congress).  His photograph has been digitally reclaimed and resides in the Library of Congress.

So the story goes for John Coombs, one of the pioneers of Mississippi.  The knew territory was structured around survival.  Preparing food, tending to livestock and working in the fields were the basic chores of the family. Life for John Thomas and his brothers and sisters was difficult; and filled with the ongoing uncertainties of what the next day will bring. Difficult as it was these were prosperous times for the newly developing Mississippi. Cotton was a hugh profit crop that flourished in the southern climate.  This crop transitioned a desolate wilderness into a thriving market with Memphis and the Mississippi River being the primary route to the New Orleans market.

In the early 1860’s John Thomas was learning the farming trade and was on the cusp of starting his own farm and family.  These plans changed in 1861 with the onset of the War between the States.  John Thomas Coombs, at the age of 19, along with his older brother William, enlisted in the Confederate States of America army.  John Thomas was placed in the 7th Calvary Unit Company B. He suffered no major injuries during the war time.  However, William was not so fortunate.  He died in 1861 in VA from pneumonia.

At the conclusion of the Civil War, John Thomas Coombs, at the age of 24 and standing at a height of 6’4” was battle weary, tired and frail when he returned to his Mississippi home.  To greet him was the ruins of his family farm that had been ravaged during the war. Seeking a new start, he planted the fields where he once played as a child and grew cotton and corn.  With a bounty harvest in 1866, he began to lay the foundation of his home.  The home was completed in the spring of 1867 and was the home to many generations of the Coombs family. Chris Coombs, John Thomas Coombs great-great grandson and wife Tanya moved the home from its original site in Tippah county and renovated the home to its current state.  The home has never been outside the ownership of the Coombs family since its creation 143 years ago.

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