State of Franklin Era Documents

STATE OF FRANKLIN RECORDS DIGITAL COLLECTION

            Created out of the political chaos on the frontier following the American Revolution, the state of Franklin was an attempt to bring stable government to the western country claimed by North Carolina. It really only created more chaos and conflict. Organized at Jonesborough in 1785, Franklin was never recognized by the Continental Congress as a new state. However, between 1785 and 1788, it did function as a quasi-state with individual county governments, including one in Washington County. Here two rival county governments operated during this period. The one housed at the courthouse in Jonesborough operated under Franklin’s authority, while residents remaining loyal to the state government of North Carolina formed their own county government, which met until 1788 in the homes of prominent residents such as Colonel John Tipton. Public records such as deeds, marriages, wills, promissory notes, court records, and other miscellaneous records were created at the county level. Very few such documents survive from the Franklin era. The rivals destroyed one another’s records whenever they got the chance. And time loses things as well. Those records that have survived at the Washington County Courthouse are now housed in the Washington County Archives. These are the documents that have been scanned and that are now available to researchers in this digital collection.

            For more on the records of Franklin, see Ned L. Irwin’s article “The Lost Papers of the Lost State of Franklin,” Journal of East Tennessee History 69 (1997): 84-96.

 

Booth, David vs. Michael Tulley

Bullard, Joseph vs. the estate of John Carney

 

Canon, William vs. Jonathan Tipton

 

Christmas, William (bond) This document was torn and had a piece missing.

 

Dale (Deal), James vs. John Anderson

 

Denny, Alexander vs. John Waddle

 

Denny, Charles vs. Joseph Young

Evans, Andrew vs. Michael Tulley

 

Greer, James vs. James Stinson

Haws, Jacob vs. John Hammer

Hunt, John vs. Colonel Charles Robertson

Ingram’s heirs vs. William Cocke
          This set contains a letter to Andrew Jackson and a deposition taken, written and signed by Jackson, dated February 1, 1803) This important case determined that records created under the state of Franklin (such as marriages, deeds, etc.) would be recognized as legal by the state of Tennessee.

 

Keen, Pilchert (bond)

 

Light, Jacob of South Carolina (Power of attorney assigned to James Stewart of Washington County)

Middleton, Robert vs. James Deal

Moser, Anthony (bond)

 

Presentments to August Court:  Smith Terrell, John James and John Clark (profanity)

 

Sample, Moses vs. William Richey (complaint declaration)

 

Scroggs, Frances and James Anderson vs. Robert Anderson (concerning the estate of John Lile)

 

Sevier, James vs. Colonel John Tipton

 

Taylor, David vs. John Robertson (complaint declaration)

 

Terrell, William (deposition)

 

Tipton, Jonathan (warrant)

 

Tully, Michael vs. Thomas Brandon

 

Wilson, Adam vs. Robert Anderson and Alexander Anderson

 

1787 Justices of the Peace appointed by the North Carolina government
          Toward the end of the State of Franklin era, the North Carolina government appointed the following as Justices of the Peace:  John Tipton, Landon Carter, Robert Love, James Montgomery, John Wyer, John Strain, Andrew Chamberlain, Andrew Taylor, Alexander Mauphett, William Pursley, Edmond Williams and Henry Nelson.  These men, most notably John Tipton, represented the “anti-Franklin” movement–men who had remained loyal to the North Carolina government and who opposed the creation of the state of Franklin.

1787Justices of the Peace -