||Monday, January 1, 2001
||Lost state of Franklin
||Lost State of Franklin
The state named Franklin, once a part of the U.S., no longer exists, and most Americans have never heard of it. But for four years, it was a reality.
In 1784, to satisfy a debt, North Carolina ceded a huge section of its Over-Mountain Territory to the United States. It took 30 days for the news
of the cession to reach the remote wilderness territory that North Carolina had so high-handedly given away. Unhappy about it, the frontier
settlers called a convention in the county seat of Jonesboro and established themselves as a state, named for Ben Franklin.
North Carolina repealed the cession in November 1784, but the Franklanders, as they called themselves, went on with their plans for
statehood. Their first governor was John Sevier, dashing frontiersman and Indian fighter. Although Congress would not accept a
Franklander representative and North Carolina Gov. Josiah Martin declared the new state in revolt, Sevier set up the state's legal and
military machinery in his log-cabin capitol building, founded Washington College and made treaties with the Cherokees. The state's
population was a paltry 25,000. Salaries usually were paid in linen, furs, liquor or tobacco.
Since North Carolina had never given up its claim to the region, taxation was double for residents, and the law had to operate
through two court systems. Indian troubles, feuding and allegations that Sevier was involved in shady deals in real estate and
with the Spanish exacerbated the problems of keeping Franklin afloat. In 1788, Franklin lost its fragile hold on statehood.
Today, it is part of Tennessee. (Source: Parade Magazine 12/12/82)