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History of the Lost State of Franklin
by
Samuel Cole Williams

The Author and the Work

Samuel Cole Williams (1864‑1947) was a distinguished jurist and scholar who rose to become a Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, and the first dean of the Lamar School of Law, Emory University. Although born in West Tennessee, he moved to Johnson City when he was in his late twenties, and is best known in connection with East Tennessee — the area of the State of Franklin. He founded the East Tennessee Historical Society and wrote many articles and books on Tennessee; the book transcribed here is his best-known work. A fuller and sympathetic biographical sketch of Judge Williams is given in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.


[image ALT: A photograph of an oil painting, a portrait of a middle-aged man in an 18c military uniform. He is John Sevier, Governor of the short-lived State of Franklin and first Governor of the State of Tennessee.]

Frontispiece:
John Sevier
From portrait in Lobby of Hotel John Sevier,
Johnson City, Tennessee.

If you might be beguiled into believing this to be a true contemporaneous portrait of Sevier, consider yourself disappointed: everything about this painting points to its being a sentimental production of the twentieth century.

p. ix

The Control of the West

1

Genesis of the Franklin Movement

5

The Great Bend of the Tennessee

13

The First Cession Act — 1784

19

Movement for a Separate Government in the West — 1784

27

Repeal of the Cession Act

35

The First Constitutional Convention — 1784

39

The Franklin Movement in Virginia

45

The First General Assembly — 1785

56

Manifesto and Counter Manifesto — 1785

67

Franklin's Cause Before Congress — 1785

82

Second Session of the Assembly — 1785

90

The Second Constitutional Convention — 1785

94

Clear Sailing — 1786

99

Storm Clouds Gather — 1786

106

Franklin Sends a Commission to Carolina — 1786

114

Spain and Closure of the Mississippi — 1786

123

Factors that Worked for Continued Separation — 1787

126

Efforts to Compromise Futile — 1787

140

A High Debate — 1787

149

Defeat of Compromise and Rsuing Violence

161

A Cry for Help from the Cumberland — 1787

170

Franklin and Georgia — 1787

177

Franklin and the West in the Constitutional Convention — 1787

183

Close of the Crucial Year — 1787

189

The Sevier-Tipton Skirmish — 1788

198

Occurrences on the Border — 1788

210

The Lesser Franklin

218

The Arrest of Sevier — 1788

231

The Spanish Intrigue — 1788

235

North Carolina Convention and Assembly — 1788

245

The Second Cession and Afterwards

249

Modes of Life

255

Travelers in Franklin

259

Religion in Franklin

270

The People of Franklin

275

Survival of the Conception and Spirit

282
289
330

Appendix A: The Constitution of the State of Franklin

339

Appendix B:
Petition of the Inhabitants of the Western Country

348

Appendix C: Proceedings

356
359
[decorative delimiter]

Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

The edition followed in this transcription is the Revised Edition published by The Press of the Pioneers, New York, 1933. The original edition was copyright 1924 but the copyright was not renewed in 1951 or 1952; the revised edition was copyright 1933 but the copyright was not renewed in 1960 or 1961. The text of the revised edition is therefore now in the public domain. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

Proofreading

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.) My transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere on this site, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The edition I followed was pretty well proofread. My corrections are marked, when important, with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic ‑‑> in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line);p57 these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.



[image ALT: A schematic map of eight irregularly-shaped political subdivisions, all, however of similar size. It is the short-lived American State of Franklin, and the image serves on this site as the icon for a transcription of the book by Samuel Cole Williams, 'History of The Lost State of Franklin'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a map of the eight counties of today's State of Tennessee which together correspond more or less to Franklin; the original map, much larger and fully readable, is from Wikimedia.


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Site updated: 5 Aug 13