Tennessee History for Kids

Reelfoot Lake (THFK photo)

The next time you go fishing or boating, contemplate this fact: Use of a lake was once the cause of a violent chapter in Tennessee history.

It happened more than a century ago, on what was Tennessee’s only natural lake. During the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812, water overflowed the banks of the Mississippi River and inundated present-day Lake and Obion counties. Much of the water eventually receded, but a lot of it stayed, forming a body of water that became known as Reelfoot Lake.