State of Franklin? The Lost State of America

Did you know that in 1786 there was a US State formed, by the name of Franklin? It's true:

In August 1784 delegates from three of the eight western counties of North Carolina met in the town of Jonesborough. There was a vote (by no means unanimous, a gentleman by the name of Tipton was vocal in his opposition) and on the 23rd of the month they declared the lands independent. The state of Franklin was born. Opposition was immediate - North Carolina published a manifesto condemining the formation of the new state. In fact it brought about the first political pamphlet war for that part of America.

Image Credit Note the county by the name of Sevier? Remember that name, it's important later.

Why isn't it around today you ask? Well, that's a good question:

Everything invariably boils down to one thing in politics, and that is money. After the revolution it was in short supply and the federal coffers were empty. Revolutions after all, cost money just as much as any war. North Carolina, quite remarkably, decided to cede its western portion to make up its contribution. Getting cold feet, the offer was withdrawn before Congress had even had a chance to accept it. The fear was that Congress might sell the land to a foreign power. Better to be poor than live next to the French, after all.

Image Credit The State of Tennessee with the counties making up the former State of Franklin in red

The state eventually became eastern Tennessee as you can see above. I wonder why I never learned about this in history classes?



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