See Rock City

See Rock City

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Selmer, TN

Selmer City Hall in November 2013.
Selmer City Hall in November 2013.

Selmer is a town in McNairy County, Tennessee, in the southwestern part of the state. The population was 4,541 at the 2000 census and 4,396 at the 2010 census showing a decrease of 145. It is the county seat of McNairy County. It is named after Selma, Alabama.

Buford Pusser served as the sheriff of McNairy County from 1964 to 1970.


County Seat:

McNairy County Courthouse in Selmer, Tennesssee.
In 1890, the county seat of McNairy County was moved from Purdy to Selmer.

Buford Pusser:

Sheriff Buford Pusser served as the sheriff of McNairy County from 1964 to 1970, and since Selmer is the county seat, the location of the courthouse and the jail, this was his base of operations. His story has been made famous in the Walking Tall movies starring Joe Don Baker and Bo Svenson. The movies were filmed in nearby Henderson.


The oldest existing business in McNairy County is its newspaper, the Independent Appeal, which was founded in 1902. It is located at 111 N. 2nd St. in Selmer. The fourth largest circulation of a weekly newspaper in the state, with an average weekly circulation of 7,200-7,400 and a readership of more than 17,000.

The McNairy County News began publication in 2009. The MCN is located at 252 Mulberry Avenue in Selmer. The paper has an online presence at and a Facebook page, as well as a weekly printed publication each Thursday.

Robert Sibley Airport:

The Robert Sibley Airport (IATA airport code SZY (ICAO: KSZY)) is located in the area, with no ATC, a 5,002-foot (1,525 m) runway, and at 610 feet (190 m) above sea level. The UN/LOCODE for the town is USSQE. The current manager of Robert Sibley Airport is Chris Tull.

Major Highways:

The major highways U.S. Route 64 (east-west), and U.S. Route 45 (north-south) intersect in this town, making it an important crossroads.

National Media Attention:

Matthew Winkler Murder 2006:

Selmer became a focus of national news media in late March 2006. A local minister, Matthew Brian Winkler, was shot to death by his wife Mary Carol Winkler at their Selmer home. After Mary was said to have fled Selmer with the couple's three daughters, she was apprehended in Orange Beach, Alabama, and was returned to Selmer for trial. She has confessed to the authorities concerning the shooting of her husband with a shotgun.

Drag Racing Catastrophe 2007:

On June 16, 2007, a high-power Pro Modified drag racing car driven by Troy Warren Critchley lost control and killed six young people while performing a burnout routine during a car show charity parade on Mulberry Avenue. Critchley's car left the road and struck part of the crowd attending the Cars For Kids charity parade. Six young people were killed. Two died at the scene of the accident, and four died later at hospitals in Selmer, Jackson and Memphis. A total of 20 others were injured and were transported to various hospitals throughout western and middle Tennessee. Results of a Tennessee Highway Patrol inquiry into the accident have not been announced. Pending lawsuits filed against the city and event organizers ask for more than $US 85 million in damages.

On March 4, 2008, the McNairy County grand jury returned an indictment against Critchley on six counts of vehicular homicide due to recklessness, a Class C felony, and 22 counts of reckless aggravated assault, a Class D felony. Neither Cars for Kids nor the City of Selmer were named in the indictment.

On March 20, 2008, Troy Critchley surrendered to authorities and was booked on the charges, with bond set at $35,000. The trial was set for November 3, 2008.

Troy Critchley pleaded guilty to 28 charges of reckless assault and was sentenced to 18 months' probation.

Radio Broadcasting:

FM Stations:

  • WXKV 90.5 Contemporary Christian
  • WSIB 93.9 Southern Gospel
  • WXOQ 105.5 Country Music

AM Station:

  • WDTM 1150 Southern Gospel


Selmer is served by:
  • Selmer Elementary
  • Selmer Middle School
  • McNairy Central High School (Home of the Bobcats).

Notable natives:

  • Chad Harville, baseball pitcher
External Links:

Tennessee History For Kids

Parade Accident Cripples Charity

Town Of Selmer

Historical Photos of Selmer /

McNairy County History

Records of McNairy County

The 1860 Slave Schedule McNairy Co.,TN

Old Newspaper Coverage of McNairy County

Source: Internet