The first recorded gold rush in the United States occurred in Tennessee in the early 19th century. The discovery of gold in the state's Cherokee lands sparked a rush of settlers and miners hoping to strike it rich.
Morgan County, Tennessee, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was initially inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, Creek, and Shawnee, who utilized the fertile land for hunting and agriculture. European settlers arrived in the 18th century and established several small settlements, although conflicts with indigenous peoples were prevalent.

During the early 19th century, Morgan County experienced a rapid growth in population and development. One of the key factors in this growth was the construction of the Emory Road, which connected the area to Knoxville and allowed for easier transportation of goods. The county was officially established in 1817 and named after General Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War hero.

The region's economy mainly relied on agriculture, with corn, wheat, and livestock being the primary products. In the mid-19th century, the arrival of the railroad further stimulated growth and brought new opportunities for trade and industrial development. However, the Civil War brought significant challenges to Morgan County, which was divided between Confederate and Union sympathizers. The area witnessed skirmishes and became a battleground during the conflict.

After the war, Morgan County slowly recovered and saw the emergence of coal mining as a significant industry. The extraction of coal attracted a diverse workforce, leading to a population boom and the establishment of several mining communities. Despite the decline of the coal industry in later years, Morgan County remains a beautiful rural area with a deep sense of heritage, attracting visitors with its natural beauty and historical charm.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Morgan County, Tennessee.

  • 1807: Morgan County is established as a county in Tennessee
  • 1817: The first courthouse is built in Montgomery
  • 1842: Montgomery is renamed Wartburg, becoming the county seat
  • 1861-1865: Morgan County is heavily involved in the American Civil War
  • 1907: The county's first high school, Central High School, is established in Wartburg
  • 1933: Frozen Head State Park is established in Morgan County
  • 1942: The Manhattan Project begins acquiring land in Morgan County, leading to the establishment of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • 1996: Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, once home to infamous inmate James Earl Ray, closes
  • 2016: The Obed Wild and Scenic River is designated a national park