Why do they call it that? The different spellings of Loudoun and Loudon
Historic Fort Loudoun
The first appearance of the name in East Tennessee was at the British military outpost Fort Loudoun in Monroe County in 1756. The governor of South Carolina named the fort after John Campbell, the 4th Earl of Loudoun.
"Fort Loudoun was built during
the time of the French and Indian War. It is a little episode
of history that's often overlooked, but set the stage for the
American Revolution," said Jeff Wells, park manager at the Fort
Loudoun State Historic Area.
"People want to know which way is the correct way of spelling 'Loudoun.' Of course we all know that is with the 'u' in the second syllable," said Wells with a smile.
As for nearby Loudon County
and the City of Loudon, Wells said, "I'm sure they feel that
their spelling of the name is correct, but in fact it is not."
Documents with Campbell's
signature clearly show that he spelled the name "Loudoun." Yet,
almost as quickly as the Earl of Loudoun lost his job in North
America, his name started to lose the second "u."
County and City
"The Historical Society for the Colonial Dames of America placed this stone marker at the site of the old fort in 1917 with the hope that it would generate interest in the site and potentially lead to someone rebuilding it. That eventually became a reality, but for all of their well intentions they did manage to misspell it Fort 'Loudon' on the marker," said Wells.
The standard pewter plaque placed throughout Tennessee at historic sites by the Tennessee Historical Commission also mistakenly drops the second "u" to spell "Fort Loudon" at the entrance to the state park. The marker is directly beside the large wooden sign that reads "Fort Loudoun State Historic Area."
TVA spells it out
TVA went back to the original spelling of "Loudoun" when it built the Fort Loudoun Dam in Lenoir City. Likewise, Fort Loudoun Lake on the Tennessee River retains the British spelling.
Wells believes the combination of John Campbell's signature and the names of TVA's structures should make the issue of Loudoun clear. Yet, he said the best way to verify the correct spelling is with you.
"Come on out and explore this wonderful fort for yourself. It's a great part of our country's history and will also let you decide for yourself if it is 'Loudoun' or 'Loudon.' You decide," said Wells.
Other Loudouns chime in
Loudoun County, Virginia, and Fort Loudoun, Pennsylvania, are also named in honor of John Campbell, the Earl of Loudoun.
The Virginia namesake has made its feelings known on the spelling of Loudoun on its government website. A page humorously titled "Never Asked Questions" addresses the pronunciation of the name as well as the spelling.
The website poses the question, "Isn't Loudoun misspelled a lot?" It then answers by stating: