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The Franklinites

This webpage reproduces a chapter of History of the
Lost State of Franklin

Samuel Cole Williams

published by the
Press of the Pioneers,
New York, 1933

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
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This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

 p330  The Antis

Evan Shelby

Evan Shelby was born in Wales in 1720, the son of Evan and Catherine (Davies) Shelby, by whom he was brought across the Atlantic Ocean about 1732. The family settled in Maryland. He assisted in laying out and constructing the old Pennsylvania road across the Alleghany mountains, and was actively employed as a soldier on the frontier, going out as a scout under General Braddock and commanding a company and showing much gallantry under General Forbes (1758). He was with Washington at Great Meadows and Fort Necessity. At the close of the French and Indian War, he engaged in Indian trade. In 1771 he removed to the Holston where he settled on an estate called by him Sapling Grove (the site of the present city of Bristol) where he later brought his family and engaged in merchandising, farming and cattle-raising. About 1772 Shelby's Fort was erected at Sapling Grove. Shelby and his son Isaac participated in the battle of Point Pleasant, 1774, in which both distinguished themselves, the father being in command of all forces after the disability or death of the three colonels. He was second in command to Colonel William Christian in the Cherokee expedition of 1776, and was himself in command of a successful raid on the Chickamauga towns in 1779.

On June 20, 1775, Captain Shelby joined in the bold Fincastle Address in which it was declared that if "our enemies attempt to dragoon us out of inestimable privileges, we are deliberately and resolutely determined never to surrender them to any power on earth but at the expense of our lives." In 1776 Shelby raised one hundred men to go to the relief of Fort Caswell on the Watauga, where he arrived after the Indians had gone.

On the organization of Washington county, Virginia, Shelby's home was thought to be within its limits, and he was commissioned by Governor Patrick Henry colonel of the county and a justice of the peace, (1777). In 1779 the legislature of Virginia appointed him to explore the country on both sides of the Cumberland mountains for the best location for a road to the Kentucky country, and to  p331 open and clear it for the convenience of the great horde of immigrants into that region; but Shelby declined to serve, it having been ascertained that he resided barely across the state line in North Carolina. He was succeeded in the colonelcy by William Campbell. It seems that about this time the governor of Virginia commissioned Shelby a brigadier-general, and the statement has often been made that he was the first officer of that rank residing on the western waters.

Shelby was not long in receiving recognition in North Carolina. He was sent to the senate of 1781, in which he came in close contact with Richard Caswell and Alexander Martin, the last named the speaker of that body.

When steps were taken to establish the new State of Franklin this previous connection with the leaders of Carolina, as well as the conservatism of age, tended to deter him from participation. The Carolina Assembly of 1786 elected him brigadier-general of the Washington District, but he served less than a year. He withdrew from public life and gave attention to the management of his large estate and the enjoyment of well-earned repose. He died December 4, 1794, and his remains lie in East Hill cemetery in Bristol.​a He left many descendants, of whom the most noted was his son, Isaac, the first governor of Kentucky.

Evan Shelby was well educated for a man of his day. He was of low and heavy build; his countenance was stern — a fair index of his mental traits. He was an outstanding figure at every stage of his long and truly honorable career.

Joseph Martin

Fortunately for Joseph Martin his biography has been written in a fairly comprehensive manner and by a friendly hand — Stephen B. Weeks' General Joseph Martin and the War of the Revolution in the West. This biography is of such easy access that a mere outline of Martin's career in this volume seems to be all that is required for an understanding of his participation in the affairs of Franklin.

Joseph Martin, of English ancestry, was born in Albemarle county, Virginia, in 1740, the son of Joseph and Susannah (Childs) Martin. In the years of his boyhood he was wild and ungovernable. He was a truant from school in order to be in the company of other kindred spirits so much that his education was defective. Apprenticed to a carpenter he ran away from his master, in company with  p332 Thomas Sumter, afterward a general in the Revolution and (1756) joined the army at Fort Pitt. His father dying in 1760, Martin came into a respectable inheritance and married (1762) Sara Lucas. The young couple removed to Orange county, Virginia, but the restless spirit of Martin kept him from the plough, and he spent much of his time hunting in the wilderness to the westward.

In 1763 he made an effort to found a settlement in Powell's valley at what has ever since been known as Martin's Station, on the Kentucky road, twenty miles northeast of Cumberland Gap. The plan was abandoned in a few months because of the hostility of the Indians. In 1773 Martin removed to Henry county, Virginia, and was a participant as a lieutenant in Lord Dunmore's War, though he was not in the battle at Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774. After that war Martin made a second attempt to establish a colony in Powell's valley, this time in 1775, as agent of Henderson's Transylvania Company. It also failed. October 9, 1775, the Virginia Committee of Safety made Martin a captain of militia, and he served as such under Colonel William Christian in the campaign against the Cherokees in 1776. At the close of the campaign Captain Martin was stationed during the winter and spring of 1777 at Rye Cove, on Clinch river. In April he was transferred to garrison a fort near the junction of Big Limestone creek with the Nolachucky river, on the frontier of Washington county, North Carolina. He was in command of troops at the making of the treaty at Long Island in 1777.

In November of that year he was commissioned by Governor Patrick Henry agent to the Cherokees in behalf of Virginia. As such he made his residence and headquarters at Long Island, which continued to be one of his homes for many years. Engaged in efforts to keep the Cherokees at peace, Martin was not on the expeditions in 1780, to South Carolina and King's Mountain; but he was in service as major, and next in rank to Sevier, on Campbell's campaign against that tribe in 1780‑81. In March 1781 he was made a lieutenant-colonel of the militia of Washington county, Virginia. The month before he had been named by General Nathanael Greene as one of the commission of eight to treat with the Southern Indians.

Martin, along with Isaac Shelby, represented Sullivan county in the North Carolina legislature; and was state senator in 1783.

In January, 1783, he was one of three commissioners appointed by the governor of Virginia to treat with the Southern tribes, John  p333 Donelson being another, and in November a treaty was effected with the Chickasaws at Nashville. It was while acting under this commission that Martin became interested in the development of the country of the Great Bend of Tennessee. In May 1783, North Carolina also engaged the services of Martin as her agent among the Cherokees and the Chickamaugas.

In 1785 Martin was, as commissioner of the national government, engaged in the negotiation of the treaty of Hopewell, which gave such dissatisfaction to the western people and rendered Martin unpopular. It is likely that one of Martin's motives in this affair was the furtherance of the Great Bend enterprise by forcing the tide of migration to that section, diverting it from the intervening country on the waters of the French Broad and Tennessee rivers.

In 1787 Martin was a representative of Sullivan county in the Carolina Assembly, which body elected him brigadier-general of Washington District. He was commissioned December 15, 1787, and promptly set about negotiating for a cessation of the struggles to establish the State of Franklin. In 1788 he as brigadier-general conducted an unsuccessful expedition against the Chickamaugas.

General Martin represented Sullivan county in the convention of 1788, and in the senate and convention of 1789. He aspired to the governor­ship of the Territory South of the Ohio River and had the support of Patrick Henry, but also strong opposition on the part of the inhabitants. He removed to Georgia about this time, but remained there for a comparatively short time. Returning to his home county in Virginia, he was commissioned brigadier-general of the Twelfth Brigade of Militia by Governor Henry Lee. He was honored with a seat in the legislature of his State as long as he thought he was fit to serve. He was a commissioner for the survey of the Kentucky-Virginia State line in 1795, and for the location of the Tennessee-Virginia boundary line in 1802. He seems not to have figured in public life thereafter, and died December 18, 1808.

General Martin was a man of rugged, vigorous intellect. He possessed considerable diplomatic skill in handling Indian and frontier problems, though more than once his conduct was colored by self-interest. He made many enemies among the border leaders, but retained his hold on the people of the counties of his residence, as the record of his preferment at their hands shows. He almost continuously had the confidence of the Cherokee Indians, by whom he was given the name Gluglu.

 p334  He was six feet tall, and weighed above two hundred pounds. He was reserved and courteous in his bearing and of great energy and force of character. On the whole he was well suited to the sphere which he chose for his life work.

John Tipton

John Tipton was born in Baltimore county, Maryland, in 1732. In early manhood he removed to Shenandoah county, Virginia. About 1750 he married Mary Butler. He was in General Andrew Lewis' command in Lord Dunmore's War, 1774; and when the revolutionary struggle came on he served as a recruiting officer for the Continental Army, and as lieutenant and as a member of the committee of safety of Shenandoah county. He was in the Virginia convention of 1776, and in the house of burgesses. Several of his sons, perhaps five, served in the army during the Revolution.

Ramsey is mistaken in the statement that John Tipton was on the King's Mountain expedition; he did not remove to the Watauga country until February, 1782. His brother Jonathan was on the Watauga as early as 1775, and it was he who was in the battle of King's Mountain.

John Tipton settled on a farm on Sinking creek, Washington county, about two miles south of the present Johnson City. He was first brought into prominence in the Tennessee country by the new state movement. He was in the early councils of the State of Franklin, but soon went into opposition, a step attributed by a number of the most fair-minded of his contemporaries to jealousy. As a Carolina factionist he had a seat in the Carolina Senates of 1786 and 1788. He also represented his county in the convention of 1788 and voted against the ratification by North Carolina of the Constitution of the United States.

In organizing the government of the Southwest Territory, Governor Blount did not honor him with any sort of commission, but he was elected to the house of representatives in 1794 and 1795. Tipton was a delegate to the first constitutional convention of Tennessee in 1796; and to the first legislature held under it. He served in the senate of the third General assembly, and was several times thereafter honored by his county in by elections to the legislature. His record, however, has often been confused with those of his  p335 brother Jonathan and his son, John Tipton, a resident of Sullivan county which he represented in the General Assembly.

Tipton's title of colonel came from his appointment as Carolina colonel of Washington county militia in 1787. It does not appear that he took part in any of the Indian campaigns in the Tennessee valley.

He was strong-willed and of a jealous and unrelenting disposition, but a man of very considerable native ability. That he was esteemed by his neighbors, his record demonstrates. In person, he was six feet high, spare in early life, but tended to corpulence as age came on. He died in August, 1813, and is buried on the lawn of his estate near Johnson City. That estate, in after years, was the home of Landon Carter Haynes, Confederate state senator from Tennessee. One of his descendants became state superintendent of public instruction in Tennessee. A nephew, John Tipton, was in the Senate of the United States from Indiana. Tipton county, Tennessee, was named in honor of a younger brother of Colonel John Tipton, Captain Jacob Tipton, who raised a company in Washington county, Southwest Territory, and led them to the aid of General St. Clair against the Indians of the Northwest. Captain Tipton lost his life in the battle of November 4, 1791.

All of the numerous branches of the Tipton family have borne honorable parts in the history of Tennessee.

Thomas Hutchings was from North Carolina. He settled in Sullivan county, which he represented in the North Carolina house of commons in 1786. He was later appointed colonel for Hawkins county in the bounds of which he fell, on its being cut off from Sullivan county. He had served as clerk of the court of Spencer county, Franklin, before North Carolina established courts in the same territory (Hawkins county). Hutchings served as clerk of the county court and colonel of the latter and was a thorn in the flesh of Cocke. His name appears (1789) as that of a commissioner to lay out the town of Rogersville. He is believed to be identical with the Colonel Thomas Hutchins who married a daughter of Colonel John Donelson, and sister of Mrs. Andrew Jackson. Hutchings later moved to the Cumberland Settlement, and was a justice of the peace of Davidson county in 1796.

His son was a member of the mercantile firm of Jackson, Coffee & Hutchings (his partners being Andrew Jackson and John Coffee) at Clover Bottom on Stone's river, in 1804.

 p336  Robert Love, son of Samuel and Dorcas (Bell) Love, was born in Augusta county, Virginia, August 23, 1760. He was on Colonel William Christian's campaign against the Cherokees, 1776; stationed at Fort Patrick Henry, Long Island of Holston, 1775; campaigned under General William Campbell, 1779‑80; and under the same leader against Lord Cornwallis, 1781. During this military service his home was in what is now Wythe county, Virginia. Love removed to Washington county, North Carolina, in the fall of 1782, settling in Greasy Cove, now Unicoi county.

He was a magistrate and member of one of the early Assemblies of Franklin, but adhered to the Tipton faction when schism arose, and was major of Carolina militia under Tipton, the colonel for Washington county. He represented Washington county in the North Carolina Assembly of 1789 and in the convention of the same year that ratified the Federal Constitution.

Love, as colonel, commanded the Washington county regiment on General Martin's campaign against the Chickamauga Indians, 1788. Under the territorial government he was justice of the peace and lieutenant-colonel of Washington county, under Landon Carter, commandant. The last place he resigned in 1792, on his removal to the State of North Carolina.

He represented Buncombe county in the senate of North Carolina for several terms and had the true distinction of having been elector for the republican (democratic) president from Jefferson to Van Buren, inclusive; and in one of Jackson's contests, Love received every vote cast in his own county. In 1821 he was one of the commissioners of North Carolina who ran the boundary line between North Carolina and Tennessee from Pigeon river south to the Georgia line.

He founded the town of Waynesville, where he died July 17, 1845, "loved by his friends and feared by his enemies," and possessed of a large estate.

Thomas Love, younger brother of Robert Love, by six years, was too young to serve in the Revolution. After residence in the Franklin region he removed about 1790 to Buncombe county, N. C. — that part now Haywood County. These counties he represented in the General Assembly almost continuously from 1797 to 1820. He also served as brigadier-general of militia. Gen. Love removed to Henry county, West Tennessee, and was the first speaker of the State Senate ever elected from that grand division of the State.

 p337  George Maxwell was born in Virginia in 1751, removed to the Holston Settlement at an early date, and commanded a company at King's Mountain.

When Sullivan county was organized, he was made one of the justices of the peace; in 1784, he engaged in the effort to establish the State of Franklin, receiving appointment as major of militia and serving in the Assembly. Joining in the Tipton revolt, he represented the county of Sullivan in the North Carolina legislatures of 1787 and 1788, and was appointed colonel of militia in which capacity he led a Sullivan force to the Sevier-Tipton engagement of February, 1788. Under the territorial government he was continued a justice. Living in Hawkins county at the time, he represented it in the Tennessee senate of 1799. He died November 23, 1822.

Peter Parkinson was a native of the Shenandoah valley of Virginia. He served under General Daniel Morgan in the Revolutionary War, and on one occasion was wounded. At the close of the war he removed to the Watauga country. He was in one of the Franklin Assemblies, and in February, 1788, as captain, led a company to the relief of Tipton when the latter was besieged by the followers of Sevier.

He died March, 1792, in what is now Carter county, where at an early date there was a Parkinson fort.

James Stuart was for many years prominent in the civil affairs of Washington county. He was a justice of the peace under North Carolina, Franklin, North Carolina again, the Territory South of the Ohio, and Tennessee. He was on the commission to locate the county site of his county (1777) and to lay out the town of Jonesborough (1779). Stuart was a surveyor and served in running a new line between Washington and Sullivan counties (1788). He had served as one of two commissioners for the purpose and transportation of supplies into the Watauga Settlement during the Indian troubles of 1776, but he does not appear to have figured as a military man. Stuart at first joined in the Franklin movement, but returned along with John Tipton to allegiance to the mother State in 1786. In the Carolina Assembly of that year he represented Washington county, and was returned to those of 1787 and 1788. He was sent as delegate to the Carolina Convention of 1788. Stuart was also one of Washington county's delegates in the Tennessee  p338 constitutional convention of 1796; had a seat in the first and second legislatures of Tennessee and was chosen speaker of the lower house at both sessions. He was one of the commission that represented Tennessee in the negotiation of the Cherokee treaty in 1798.

He was a level-headed, conservative man, and of ability considerably above the average.

Thayer's Note:

a The page at Find-a‑Grave has several photos of his grave and a good biographical sketch.

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Page updated: 30 May 14