Lake County, Tennessee

Lake County, Tennessee

Lake County Courthouse in Tiptonville
Map of Tennessee highlighting Lake County
Location in the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 1870
Named for Reelfoot Lake[1]
Seat Tiptonville
Largest town Tiptonville
  Total 194 sq mi (502 km2)
  Land 166 sq mi (430 km2)
  Water 28 sq mi (73 km2), 14%
  (2010) 7,832
  Density 47/sq mi (18/km²)
Congressional district 8th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Lake County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,832,[2] making it the fifth-least populous county in Tennessee. Its county seat is Tiptonville.[3] It is the state's northwesternmost county, sharing a border with Kentucky and separated from Missouri to the west by the Mississippi River. Reelfoot Lake occupies much of the northern part of the county.


The history of Lake County has been largely defined by Reelfoot Lake, a natural lake created by the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812. The county was established by the state legislature in 1870. It was originally included in Obion County, but was created as a separate county due to difficulties its residents had to cross the swampy wetlands around Reelfoot Lake to reach Obion's county seat.[1] Tiptonville was designated as Lake County's seat of government.

In 1862, during the Civil War, the Battle of Island Number Ten took place in the Mississippi River, just off the shores of what is now Lake County.[1]

In 1907, a violent conflict took place in Lake and Obion counties when a private company, the West Tennessee Land Company, gained control of Reelfoot Lake and announced plans to drain it. A band of local renegades, known as the "Night Riders of Reelfoot Lake," harassed the company's employees, eventually kidnapping and killing one.[1] Governor Malcolm Patterson personally led the Tennessee National Guard into the area, and arrested hundreds of suspected Night Riders.[4] The state gained title to the lake in 1914,[4] and the lake was designated as a hunting and fishing reserve by Governor Austin Peay in 1925. This was the precedent for the area to be preserved as the modern Reelfoot Lake State Park.[5]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 194 square miles (500 km2), of which 166 square miles (430 km2) is land and 28 square miles (73 km2) (14%) is water.[6] It is the fifth-smallest county in Tennessee by area.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

State protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20157,576[7]−3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2014[2]
Age pyramid Lake County[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 7,954 people, 2,410 households, and 1,614 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 2,716 housing units at an average density of 17 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 66.63% White, 31.19% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.62% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. 1.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,410 households out of which 28.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.20% were married couples living together, 16.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.00% were non-families. 30.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out with 17.70% under the age of 18, 13.70% from 18 to 24, 33.80% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 13.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 151.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 163.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $21,995, and the median income for a family was $30,339. Males had a median income of $25,082 versus $18,700 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,794. About 19.90% of families and 23.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.10% of those under age 18 and 25.10% of those age 65 or over.


Radio stations





Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Abigail Hyde, "Lake County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 21 October 2013.
  2. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. 1 2 Bill Threlkeld, "Night Riders of Reelfoot Lake," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: 21 October 2013.
  5. Phillip Langsdon, Tennessee: A Political History (Franklin, Tenn.: Hillsboro Press, 2000), pp. 303-309.
  6. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  7. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  10. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  12. Based on 2000 census data
  13. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  14. Lake County Banner website. Retrieved: 21 October 2013.
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Coordinates: 36°20′N 89°29′W / 36.34°N 89.49°W / 36.34; -89.49

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