The earliest records for the Town of Munford began in the early 1850s when the Mount Zion Methodist Episcopal Church moved what is now downtown Munford. The church stood where the present day Munford Presbyterian Church now stands. Shortly after Mt. Zion moved, a small village grew around the church. The church was officially named Mt. Zion after the Post Office opened there in 1856.
The church was not the only draw to the area. The town was also home to the Tipton Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons founded in 1853. This lodge is the second oldest Masonic Lodge in Tipton County. Mt. Zion was also the home of the Memphis District High School which was once known as the Dyersburg District High School. The high school was operated by the Memphis Conference of the Methodist Church. The school was later leased and then purchased by the Tipton County Board of Education. This was the predecessor of the current Munford Elementary, Junior High and High Schools.
In 1874, the Mt. Zion Post Office was closed. The area later tried to re-open their old Post Office and re-applied to the United States Post Office Department. The Postal Department agreed to re-open the local Post Office with a stipulation, they would have to rename the Post Office.
In 1874 Mt. Zion’s Post Office was closed. When Mt. Zion re-applied to the United States Post Office Department in 1886 to have their old Post Office re-opened, the Post Office Department approved the application with one exception. The town would have to come-up with another name for their Post Office.
The newly appointed Postmaster, G. B. Sale, asked his daughter, Lola, to help him come up with a suitable name for the Post Office. She chose the name of “Munford” in memory of the late Col. R. H. Munford of Covington, a long time public servant who had served over the years as the Tipton County Court Clerk, County Register of Deeds and Clerk and Master of the Chancery Court as well as serving as Mayor of Covington at one time.
Although the Post Office after 1886 was known as Munford, parts of the town would continue to be known as Mt. Zion. That all would come to an end in 1905 when Munford was incorporated by an Act of the Tennessee General Assembly. S. H. Bass was elected as the first Mayor of Munford.
by David A. Gwinn, Tipton County Genealogist and Historian