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More WataugaLakeMagazine articles:

The Butler Museum

Learn how and why Watauga Lake was formed and how the citizens of "Old Butler" Tennessee were changed forever. . . .

A Kayaker's View

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Swim over 1,000 yards in a deep lake, race in your bike over 21 miles through the mountains, THEN... run 5 miles ...


The Appalachian Trail skirts Watauga Lake and crosses it at the Dam ...

Blue Hole Falls

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Pioneer Landing

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Jonesborough TN

Home of the International Storytelling Festival ...

Iron Mountain Inn

See this beautiful lodge with breathtaking views ...

Rat Branch Boat Ramp

This is the westernmost boat ramp on the lake ...

Watauga Point

This beautiful park is great for picnics, boating and swimming ...

The Carter Mansion

Where Tennessee history started. Learn about the Carter family ...

Doe River Gorge

See the beautiful gorge and ride the rails where the Tweetsie Train traveled ...

Gray Fossil Site

A spectacular fossil site discovered not long ago ...

Colonel Roderick Butler

Learn about the man for whom the town of Butler was named ...

Sugar Hollow Retreat

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Fish Springs Marina

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Carter Mansion in Elizabethton Tennessee near Watauga Lake Tennessee

The Carter Mansion in Elizabethton

Built by John Carter, chairman of the Watauga Association

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All photos and illustrations by Pat Johns ©2007 - present
All Rights Reserved
See links to article references at the end of the article.
October, 2007

On a quiet neighborhood street in Elizabethton Tennessee the unpretentious but stately Carter Mansion sits back from the road among old shade trees with the Watauga River in its back yard. The house was built between 1775 and 1780 by John Carter and his son Landon Carter. It is believed to be the oldest Frame House in the state of Tennessee and the first house to have glass windows.

Carter Mansion in Elizabethton Tennessee near Watauga Lake Tennessee

This area, originally called "Watauga Old Fields"was the home of Native Americans before the first permanent European settlers, William and Lydia Bean, arrived in 1769. John Carter arrived at the Watauga Settlement in nearby Sycamore Shoals in 1772, the same year the Watauga Association was formed. John Carter became Chairman of the Association.

The Association drafted the Watauga Petition, which made them the first democratic government of American-born men west of the Appalachians. (This preceded the Declaration of Independence by 4 years and the U.S. Constitution by 14 years.)


Carter Mansion in Elizabethton Tennessee near Watauga Lake Tennessee

John Carter also served as the "entry taker" (one who recorded information about landowners) for the Watauga settlement. He recorded his own ownership od 640 acres, upon which the Mansion stands. By the end of the war John and Landon Carter owned 10,000 acres.

John Carter died in 1781. His son, Landon, inherited his property and wealth. He and his wife Elizabeth had 6 children. Landon participated in the march to and battle at King's Mountain, where the Overmountain Men defeated British Major Patrick Ferguson in a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

Carter County is named for Landon Carter and Elizabethton is named for his wife.

According to the State of Tennessee website (see link below), 90 percent of the interior of the house is authentic. It was restored in the 1970s. Unique mural-style illustrations painted directly on the walls were discovered and recovered during the restoration.

Carter Mansion Garden in Elizabethton Tennessee near Watauga Lake Tennessee

Contact information:

  • 1013 Broad St.
  • Elizabethton, TN 37643
  • Phone: 423-543-6140
  • Hours: May 15 - Aug. 15 Wednesday through Sunday and by appointment
Carter Graves at the Carter Mansion in Elizabethton TN near Watauaga Lake Tennessee


Wall near Carter Graves at the Carter Mansion in Elizabethton TN near Watauaga Lake Tennessee
Tennessee Heritage Trail at the Carter Mansion in Elizabethton TN near Watauaga Lake Tennessee

Links to references in this article: