Monday, April 12, 2010

The State of Franklin - 1786 to 1790

(Above is picture of part of a map that can be found at

It is a little known fact that from shortly after the Revolutionary War, there was The State of Franklin.  It was so named after one of the founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin.

The exact borders seem to vary by source; per Wikipedia, it encompassed eight Counties in the far east corner of what is now Tennessee, although one source indicates the far north western corner of North Carolina was also part of it.  It was created when it ceded from the Union for political and economic reasons and was never part of the Union of the U.S. as it never met the requirements.

It has a capitol, Greenville, and a Governor, John Sevier.  On Wikipedia there is even a picture of a replica of the capitol here.  What is ironic and even more interesting is that it was not supported by its namesake, Benjamin Franklin, did not support it.  I had seen this in a documentary, and it is further supported by a quote from this site:

I will endeavor to inform myself more perfectly of your affairs by inquiry and searching the records of Congress and if anything should occur to me that I think may be useful to you, you shall hear from me thereupon."
    (Franklin's letter to Governor John Sevier, 1787)

Its end, like its beginning, can be summed up as economic and political reasons with the nail of the coffin being rampant attacks by several indigenous Native American tribes trying to reclaim their land and attacking the region as there was no protection from an organized military faction and they caved to get assistance in fighting off the Indians.

Buy then end of 1790, Sevier was elected to the legislature of North Carolina  and eventually the Governor of Tennessee and the State of Franklin ceded to the national government to become part of the  Southwest Territory and Franklin ended up being part of Tennessee.

For additional information, see the following:

Book:  History of The Lost State of Franklin by Samuel C. Williams

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