Morgan County is situated in the eastern part of Tennessee and was named after Daniel Morgan, who was a general in the Revolutionary War. The history of this county is filled with interesting facts and events that have shaped it into the vibrant community it is today. Here are 7 interesting facts about Morgan County in Tennessee history:
1. Center of the Lost State of Franklin
In the late 18th century, the Lost State of Franklin was formed, an attempt by the people of eastern Tennessee to create their own state. Morgan County was at the center of this movement, and its citizens played a significant role in shaping the debates that led to its eventual failure.
2. Early Industrial Hub
During the 19th century, Morgan County was a major industrial hub, with factories and mills producing everything from lumber to iron. This economic boom was driven by the construction of the Knoxville and Ohio Railroad, which linked the county to the wider Tennessee economy.
3. Home to the Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary
The infamous Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was located in Morgan County, serving as the maximum-security prison for the state of Tennessee for over a century until its closure in 2009. Many notable inmates served time in this prison, including James Earl Ray, who assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
4. Birthplace of the Tennessee Valley Authority
Morgan County was home to the first electric grid in the country, with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) being founded in the nearby town of Norris. The TVA would go on to provide electricity to millions of Americans and transform the region economically.
5. Stronghold of the Union Army
During the Civil War, Morgan County was fiercely loyal to the Union and played a critical role in the East Tennessee Campaign. The county's strategic location made it a target for Confederate forces, but its residents managed to hold off several attacks.
6. Home to the Frozen Head State Park
Morgan County is the location of the Frozen Head State Park, which offers visitors an opportunity to explore the stunning landscapes of the Cumberland Plateau. The park is home to a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and camping.
7. Birthplace of Coal Creek Mining
Morgan County was a major center of coal mining during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Coal Creek Mining Wars, which erupted in the county in the early 1890s, saw miners fight for better working conditions and wages. The struggle eventually led to the establishment of the United Mine Workers of America in Tennessee.
In conclusion, Morgan County in Tennessee has a fascinating history filled with rich events, influential players, and interesting locales. Visitors can witness firsthand the events that have made Morgan County the thriving community that it is today.
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