First Families of
the Lost State of Franklin


This book provides family sketches and genealogical information on the first families to settle in the area of East Tennessee that originally made up the state of Franklin. The earliest settlers date back to the mid 1700s.

By the year 1770, some 70 families had settled in the area bounded by the Watauga, Nolichucky, and Holston river valleys. Most migrated from Virginia via the Great Valley, although a few were believed to have been Regulators fleeing North Carolina after their defeat at the Battle of Alamance.

In May 1772, the Watauga and Nolichucky settlers negotiated a 10-year lease with the Cherokee Indians, and being outside the claims of any colony, established the Watauga Association to provide basic government functions. President Theodore Roosevelt wrote that the Watauga settlers were the "first men of American birth to establish a free and independent community on the continent."

Modern Counties in Tennessee which made up the State of Franklin:

Blount County
Carter County
Cocke County
Greene County
Hamblen County
Hawkins County
Jefferson County
Johnson County
Sevier County
Sullivan County
Unicoi County
Washington County

A convention of delegates (except for Davidson County that sent none) met on August 23, 1784 and after intense debate they declared these western counties independent of North Carolina on a unanimous vote. Several names were offered for the new state. The name Frankland was proposed since it was translatable as "the Land of the Free," however, Franklin was decided upon perhaps for gaining the favor of Benjamin Franklin. North Carolina regained control of the region in 1788 thus ending the existance of the State of Franklin.

The extant records for the State of Franklin generally reference the entire region which now covers the 12 counties of East Tennessee. This book focuses on the earliest known families in the area.

First Families of the Lost State of Franklin

Table ofContents

The Lost State of Franklin
Modern Counties Which Made Up the State of Franklin
History of the State of Franklin
Names on the Lost State of Franklin Petition
Early History of Sevier County
Some of Sevier County's Earliest Residents

James Robertson
Robert Love
General Thomas Love
Edmund Sams
John Sevier
William Blount
Arthur Campbell
William Cocke
David Campbell
Landon Carter
James White
Gilbert Christian
Joseph Hardin
Charles Robertson
Daniel Kennedy
Augustus Christian George Elholm
Henry Conway
Francis A. Ramsey
William Cage
Stockley Donelson
Joshua Gist
John Anderson
John Menefee
Thomas Amis
David Campbell
Samuel Doak
George Doherty
Nathaniel Evans
Samuel Handley
Samuel Houston
Moses and David Looney
William Murphey
Samuel Newell
Alexander Outlaw
James Reese
Charles Robertson
James Roddy
Valentine Sevier, II
Andrew Taylor
Peter Turney
George Vincent
Evan Shelby
Joseph Martin
John Tipton
Thomas Hutchings
George Maxwell
Peter Parkinson
James Stuart


Index (PDF Format)


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First Families of the Lost State of Franklin
    by John C. Rigdon
219 pgs.
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