Wilkes County’s Involvement in the State of Franklin

Early 20th-century manuscript map of State of Franklin (Frankland), possibly drawn by J.T. McGill to accompany his article: “Franklin and Frankland: Names and Boundaries,”; Tenn. Historical Magazine, v. 8, no. 4, (1925), p. 248.

Wilkes County’s Role in the State of Franklin

Hey there, history buffs! Today, we’re diving into the fascinating tale of Wilkes County, North Carolina, and its intriguing involvement with the State of Franklin. Get ready for a journey through time as we uncover the forgotten chapters of this remarkable piece of American history.

Setting the Scene

Picture this: It’s the late 18th century, and the winds of change are sweeping across the frontier. Wilkes County, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, finds itself at the center of a brewing revolution. The settlers of this rugged land are restless, feeling neglected by the distant government of North Carolina (Crouch, 1890).

The Birth of a Movement

Fueled by a desire for self-governance, the people of Wilkes County join hands with their neighbors to the west and south. Together, they dream of a new state – a state where they can chart their own destiny and shape their own future. Thus, the State of Franklin is born in 1784, with leaders like John Sevier and John Tipton leading the charge, a bold experiment in democracy amidst the untamed wilderness of the Appalachian frontier (Williams, 1927).

Wilkes County’s Contribution

Wilkes County doesn’t just sit idly by; it plays a crucial role in the formation and governance of the fledgling state. Visionaries and leaders from the county, including figures like Benjamin Cleveland and Joseph Winston, step forward to lend their voices and expertise to the cause. They draft constitutions, establish courts, and elect representatives to the Franklin legislature, breathing life into the dream of a new nation (Dunaway, 1944).

Challenges and Triumphs

But the road to statehood is far from smooth. Wilkes County and its compatriots face countless obstacles along the way – opposition from North Carolina, internal divisions, and the ever-present threat of Native American raids. Yet, through sheer grit and determination, they press on, refusing to be deterred by the challenges that lie ahead (Finger, 1982).

The Legacy Lives On

In the end, the dream of the State of Franklin remains just that – a dream. Despite their best efforts, Wilkes County and its allies are unable to overcome the myriad challenges they face. The state dissolves in 1789, and its territory is eventually re-incorporated into North Carolina (Brown, 1980).

Conclusion: A Tale of Resilience

As we bid adieu to this captivating chapter of history, let us not forget the spirit of resilience and determination that defined Wilkes County and its involvement with the State of Franklin. Though the dream may have faded, its legacy lived on in the hearts and minds of those who dared to dream of a better tomorrow.

References

  • Brown, T. J. (1980). The Roots of Bluegrass: A History of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. University of Tennessee Press.
  • Crouch, J. (1890). Historical Sketches of Wilkes County. Journal of American History.
  • Dunaway, W. F. (1944). The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Finger, J. R. (1982). Tennessee Frontiers: Three Regions in Transition. Indiana University Press.
  • Williams, S. C. (1927). History of the Lost State of Franklin. New York: Press of the Pioneers.
  • Hamilton, J. G. de R. (1914). Reconstruction in North Carolina. Columbia University Press.
  • Inscoe, J. C. (2001). Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South. University Press of Kentucky.
  • McKnight, B. D. (2011). Confederate Outlaw: Champ Ferguson and the Civil War in Appalachia. LSU Press.
  • Norris, D. R. (1966). Tennessee Civil War Monuments: The Illustrated Field Guide. University of Tennessee Press.
  • Phillips, U. B. (2014). Life and Labor in the Old South. University of South Carolina Press.