Latitude / Longitude:
35°38′36″N 84°13′38″W / 35.64333°N 84.22722°W / 35.64333 -84.22722
Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Morganton was a community once located in Loudon County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Although now submerged by Tellico Lake, during its heyday in the 19th century Morganton thrived as a flatboat port and regional business center. An important ferry operated at Morganton for nearly 170 years.
Due largely to the decline in river trade that occurred in the mid-19th century with the construction of railroads in East Tennessee, Morganton was mostly deserted by the time the Tennessee Valley Authority started buying up property for the construction of Tellico Dam in the late 1960s. Today, the Morganton Cemetery, which overlooks the now-flooded townsite, is all that remains of the former town. A road and TWRA boat ramp are named for Morganton.
The former site of Morganton, now under Tellico Lake. The Morganton area was part of the lands ceded by the Cherokee with the signing of the First Treaty of Tellico in 1798. The first Euro-American settlers had arrived at the mouth of Bakers Creek in 1796, however, when the land was still claimed by the Cherokee. Several major villages of the Overhill Cherokee were located upstream from the Morganton site (the village of Mialoquo was situated just around Wears Bend, on the opposite side of the river), although most of these villages had either been destroyed or were in decline by the late 1790s. Ethnologist James Mooney recorded a Cherokee legend regarding curiously blazed trees on the banks “opposite Morganton” that supposedly marked the location of hidden mines.
In 1968, the Tennessee Valley Authority reported 18 houses, a store, and a church at Morganton, all of which were to be torn down in anticipation of the construction of Tellico Dam. In 1978, as the Tellico Dam project was stalled by litigation, University of Tennessee archaeologists conducted a test survey of the Morganton townsite. Several early American artifacts were located, some dating to as early as 1762, as well as several projectile points. The artifacts were similar to those uncovered at the nearby Tellico Blockhouse site, which had been excavated around the same time.