State of Franklin
THE STATE OF FRANKLIN
State of Franklin, named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, was a government (1784-88) formed by the inhabitants
of Washington, Sullivan, and Greene counties in present-day East Tennessee after North Carolina ceded (June 1784) its western lands to the United States. Following preliminary conventions at Jonesboro
in August and December of 1784, the first assembly meeting at Greeneville early in 1785 elected John Sevier as governor
for a three-year term, established courts, appointed magistrates, levied taxes, and enacted laws. A permanent constitution
was adopted in November 1785. Unable to secure congressional recognition and pressed by North Carolina in its attempt to reestablish
jurisdiction in December 1784, North Carolina repealed the act ceding the lands. Sevier's government ceased to exist when
the terms of its officers expired. The region reverted temporarily to North Carolina. Interesting fact:
Although a short lived state, one notable figure was born in the State of Franklin--David (Davy) Crockett.
Sources: S. C. Williams, History of the Lost State of Franklin (rev. ed. 1933); The Columbia Encyclopedia,
Sixth Edition, 2007; U.S. State Department.
Recommended Reading: History of the Lost State of Franklin.
Description: In the decade following the American Revolution, a bitter political battle developed over the land west of the
Appalachian Mountains. Pressure from the federal government resulted in the 1784 cession of the western claims of North Carolina.
Shortly afterward, the North Carolina legislature rescinded the cession, but the settlers had already taken action. A new
and independent state was declared-the state of Franklin. A former justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, the author goes
into extraordinary detail as he documents the history of the ill-fated state. Continued below...
For four years the Franklin government functioned under its own laws, courts, and elected officials. Simultaneously,
North Carolina continued to claim sovereignty over the region, enforcing the claim with its own laws, courts, and officials.
Quoting extensively from primary and secondary sources, Williams objectively explores the men and the politics that shaped
and destroyed Franklin. Biographical sketches of instrumental leaders from both sides arid a comprehensive index make this
book a valuable research tool.
Recommended Reading: Western North Carolina: A History from 1730 to 1913 (Hardcover: 679
pages). Description: From the introduction
to the appendix, this volume is filled with interesting information. Covering seventeen counties—Alleghany, Ashe, Avery,
Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, and
Yancey—the author conducted about ten years searching and gathering materials. Continued...
About the Author: John Preston Arthur was born in
1851 in Columbia, South Carolina. After relocating to Asheville, North Carolina, in 1887, he was appointed Secretary of the
Street Railway Company, and subsequently the Manager and Superintendent until 1894. Later, after becoming a lawyer, he
was encouraged by the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) to write a history of western North Carolina.
Reading: Touring the East Tennessee Backroads (Touring the Backroads) (380 pages) (John F Blair Pub;
2 edition) (October 1, 2007). Description: The historical facts in the first edition of Touring the East Tennessee
Backroads have not changed much since the book was first published in 1993, but highway construction and development has altered
the routes of the 13 tours. For this second edition, the author drove over 3,000 miles to update the tours where people such
as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, Andrew Jackson, Sequoyah, Nancy Ward, and Clarence Darrow once traveled the same
Reading: Touring the Western North Carolina
Backroads (Touring the Backroads). Editorial
Review: This guidebook, unlike most, is so
encyclopedic in scope that I give it as a gift to newcomers to the area. It is also an invaluable reference for the visitor
who wants to see more than the fabulous Biltmore Estate. Even though I am a native of the area, I learned nearly everything
I know about Western North Carolina from this book alone and it is my primary reference.
I am still amazed at how much fact, history and folklore [just enough to bring alive the curve of the road, the odd landmark,
the abandoned building] is packed in its 300 pages. The author, who must have collapsed from exhaustion when she finished
it, takes you on a detailed tour, laid out by the tenth of the mile, of carefully drawn sections of backroads that you can
follow leisurely without getting lost. Continued below...
is completely absent from the text. The lucid style will please readers who want the facts, not editorial comment. This book,
as well as the others in this publisher's backroads series, makes an excellent gift for anyone, especially the many seniors
who have relocated, or are considering relocating to this fascinating region. It is also a valuable reference for natives,
like me, who didn't know how much they didn't know.