The community most likely has the name of James Gunn, a pioneer citizen.
Guntown was established in the 1850s, and incorporated as a village in 1867. It was declared a town in 1905 after its population had risen to 330.
During the Civil War, Union and Confederate forces fought in the area in 1864 in the Battle of Tupelo. Designated the Tupelo National Battlefield, the war site is administered by the National Park Service (NPS). In addition, the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield, about ten miles north, commemorates another Civil War site.
After the war, a cross-state railroad for northern Mississippi was constructed through the town, which encouraged industry and growth. With expansion, the town changed its name to Tupelo, in honor of the battle. It was incorporated in 1870.
The Elvis Presley Birthplace is a historic museum site in Tupelo, Mississippi dedicated to the preservation of the birthplace of American musician Elvis Presley, as well as listed on the Mississippi Blues Trail.
The museum site includes the birthplace home of Elvis Presley, a museum, a chapel, and the Assembly of God Church building where the Presley family worshiped. Financially, times were hard on Vernon and Gladys, and they had to move out of the shotgun house when he was only a few years old for lack of payment. Vernon and Gladys worked various jobs while in Tupelo and moved several different times during the thirteen years they resided in Mississippi.
As the story is recorded in Forrest L. Bobo’s letter dated October 2, 1979, Gladys Presley brought her son Elvis to Tupelo Hardware in January 1945 to buy him a birthday present. According to Mr. Bobo, Elvis would have preferred a rifle, but his mother succeeded in buying a guitar instead. The boy strummed the new guitar for a while, before his mother paid $7.75 and a 2% sales tax. The rest is history!
A Letter Written October 2, 1979
on Tupelo Hardware Company letterhead
* GOOD MORNING –
My name is Forrest L. Bobo from Tupelo, Mississippi. I an 78 years young today, but I can well remember the afternoon when Elvis Presley and his mother came into Tupelo Hardware, where I worked for twenty years. He wanted a 22 cal. rifle and his mother wanted him to buy a guitar. I showed him the rifle first and then I got the guitar for him to look at. I put a wood box behind the showcase and let him play with the guitar for some time. Then he said that he did not have that much money, which was only $7.75 plus 2% sales tax. His mother told him that if he would buy the guitar instead of the rifle, she would pay the difference for him. The papers have said that the guitar cost $12.50 but at that time you could have bought a real nice one that amount. The small amount of money that he had to spend had been earned by running errands and doing small jobs for people.
* I am proud to have a little part in Elvis’ life. I had supper with Elvis the night he left for his first audition. We all wished him a great success, and he sure made a great life for himself and the rest of the world.
* Thank you for your time.
Forrest L. Bobo