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State of Franklin

State of Franklin

Mary (View posts)
Posted: 10 Oct 2002 3:20PM GMT
Classification: Query
Is anyone working on the State of Franklin? Peter Turney Jr was sheriff of the county of Spencer in Franklin. He died 1804 Dixon Springs, TN.

A Tri-Annual Publication of the East Tennessee Historical Society
April 1995
Volume 11 Number 1
this has a good map of the counties of Franklin 1786-1788

they were:
Sullivan, Spencer, Wayne, Washington, Greene, Caswell, Sevier, Blount. Spencer would today be most of Hawkins, and some of the surrounding counties. Wayne would be Johnson and Carter, today's Jefferson and Hamblen was in Caswell.....and so on.


Re: State of Franklin

Posted: 25 Nov 2002 4:46PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 29 Mar 2005 3:34AM GMT

I am hunting information on a Robert Biggs who, according to a court document, was in Caswell Co in Sept, 1787. He was married to a Jane MIller Biggs. They had previously lived in Westmoreland Co, PA. I am trying to find out if he was there alone or if he brought his entire family and stayed until 1793 when he moved to KY. I know nothing of the kinds of records that exist that might help me in my search. There were four children that would have been born during that period of time: Elizabeth, Nancy, Mary, and perhaps Joseph.

The publication that you mentioned - was that a publication by an organization? Can you tell me something about it? Although I live in Louisville, it is hard for me to get to TN for research. I would appreciate any help or suggestions that you could send me. Thanks in advance for any help. You do not know how much I appreciate it.


Re: State of Franklin

Mary (View posts)
Posted: 26 Nov 2002 2:24AM GMT
Classification: Query
I would first try land records, since he might have been there until 1793, you should be able to find something.

Then check on tax list. Census records for the 1790 census were destroyed as were the 1800 and 1810 by British during War of 1812.

That is where I would begin, land and tax. Then maybe militia records if you can find them since all men had to belong and attend meetings I think every two months was a muster.

There is a book you might get on inter-library loan
by Murtie June Clark
Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc.


Re: State of Franklin

Mary (View posts)
Posted: 26 Nov 2002 2:27AM GMT
Classification: Query
Try looking at 1790 Green Co land records

Re: State of Franklin

Dave Foster (View posts)
Posted: 25 Jan 2003 10:11PM GMT
Classification: Query
A number of public records were lost during the 1783-84 conflict between competing states, mostly in Washington County. Caswell County, Franklin became Jefferson County, NC after that state re-assumed control over their overmountain territory of the failed Franklin.

This info comes from the booklet, "Franklin the Stillborn State" available from The Overmountain Press, Johnson City, TN. Their number is 1-800-992-2691. Another inexpensive book (from the same source) that might interest you is "Tennessee Territory to Statehood." It lists over a thousand appointments that Gov. Blount made between 1790 and 1796.

Dave Foster

Re: State of Franklin

Posted: 28 Mar 2003 9:15PM GMT
Classification: Query
I'm not sure about the County of Causewell but here is some information about the "State of Franklin":
"Names (clipped ) are from North Carolina State Records, Vol. 22, pp. 705-714. These residents of the State of Franklin petitioned for release from all obiligations, taxations, and duties to the North Carolina state government, which was still claiming and attempting to govern this area. The State of Franklin stretched from Shelby's Station (Bristol), east to Sycamore Shoals (Elizabethton), southwest to White's Fort (Knoxville), and southeast to Ft. Loudoun (Little Tennessee River)."

* * * * *

Washington County History

The Watauga Association and Washington District

Washington County, TN, originally came under the jurisdiction of North Carolina. In 1772 settlers living south of the Holston River, on the Watauga and Nolichucky Rivers, within the boundaries of the North Carolina colony, organized the Watauga Association, giving America its first written constitution. In 1775 the Wataugans changed their name to "Washington District." The main settlements in the Washington District were Watauga, Carter's Valley, and Nolichucky.

The settlers petitioned for annexation with North Carolina. In 1777 the North Carolina legislature changed the name of Washington District to Washington County, NC. Included within the boundaries of the county was most of present-day Tennessee.

The State of Franklin

In 1784, North Carolina ceded its western (overmountain) lands to the United States to pay its part of the Revolutionary War debts with the provision that a new state would be formed from these new lands. The same men who formed the Watauga Association did not wait for the formation of the new state. They formed the State of Frankland (Franklin) and chose John Sevier as governor.

Both the State of Franklin and North Carolina's Washington County claimed the overmountain country and both had functional governments that issued marriage licenses, probate wills and deeds. North Carolina appointed Col. John Tipton as senator. The Battle of the Lost State of Franklin in 1788 at Tipton's farm was the death knell for the State of Franklin.

Southwest Territory

North Carolina ceded the state's western lands to the federal government in 1790, forming the "Territory of the Unites States, South of the River Ohio" (Southwest Territory). The area included all of that which became the state of Tennessee. President George Washington appointed William Blount as governor. Blount lived with the William Cobb family at Rocky Mount (in Sullivan County near the Washington County line) for a short time before moving to Knoxville. Census taken in 1795 indicated a population of 77,262. A vote for statehood was taken and the State of Tennessee was admitted into the Union by the U.S. Legislature on June 1, 1796.

Washington County Topography and Migration Patterns

Washington County, located in northeast Tennessee, is about 15 miles south of Virginia and 10 miles north of North Carolina. The Nolichucky River courses through the southern end of the county, and the Watauga River forms the northeast boundary of the county.

As Washington County, NC and the mother county of Tennessee, Washington County gave rise to Sullivan County, 1779; Greene County, 1783. After statehood, Washington County gave rise to Carter County, 1796. Southern portions of Washington and Carter counties formed Unicoi County in 1875. Because of boundary changes, the researcher needs to be mindful of these and other neighboring counties when looking for ancestors.

Frequently Asked Questions about Washington County

Question: Is Washington County, NC the same as Washington County, TN?
Answer: Washington County was first organized as Washington County, NC before Tennessee became a state in 1796. Washington County, NC of the 1700's should not be confused with Washington County, NC of today which is located in eastern North Carolina near Greenville NC.

Question: Jonesboro or Jonesborough?
Answer: When the town was established in 1779, the spelling was "Jonesborough". In the 1870's the spelling "Jonesboro" was adopted and used for more than 100 years. In 1983 citizens of the town voted to put the -UGH spelling back into "Jonesborough".

Question: Is there more than one Asbury Community in Washington County?
Answer: Two Asbury Communities are in Washington County. One is inside the city limits and the other is in the lower end of Washington County near the Nolichuckey River.
Question: Who in Washington County designed the Tennessee state flag?

Answer: LeRoy Reeves, Third Regiment of the Tennessee Infantry, designed the Tennessee state flag. The three white stars represent the three grand divisions of Tennesse. They are bound together by the endless circle of the blue field, the symbol being three bound together in one -- an indissouble trinity. The flag was adopted in 1905. LeRoy Reeves in buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Johnson City, TN.

Question: Where are the papers for the Lost State of Franklin?
Answer: THE JOURNAL OF EAST TENNESSEE HISOTRY, Number Sixty-Nine, 1967 p.84 has an article by Ned Irwin, Archivist, Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University entitled, "The Lost Papers of the 'Lost State of Franklin'" that gives useful information about the papers.

I hope that will give you some help

Re: State of Franklin

Mary Turney Miller (View posts)
Posted: 9 Nov 2003 5:41PM GMT
Classification: Query
You sound like a man I want to talk to.....I will call tomorrow and see if I can get the books you mentioned.

I am looking for anything on Turney or Haines/Haynes/Hines. Peter Turney Jr married Francis Haines someplace - their first child was born 1788 (she said in one census record she was born in VA)......Samuel C. Williams book LOST STATE OF FRANKLIN says Peter Turney was sheriff for Spencer County and collected taxes.....this would be the Hawkins Co area. Since he had land in that area I figure he must have lived in Hawkins 1774 his land was a bit west of Bristol where Shelby had settled......1780 Cinch River, Bull's Gap, etc....I figure around Rogersville area, he was also fighting Indians a lot in 1780 such as Boyd's Creek and perhaps King's Mountain. Anyway, I figure he must have been living in Hawkins County ca 1784-1788 but he is not on the list of Franklin people in 1787. He was a surveyor and around all over. He shows up with land in Nashville area probably sometime late 1780s.....he was magistrate of Smith County when it was formed so 1790 he was there.

I am trying to find if any marriage records, etc. exist for say 1786-1788 for State of Franklin.

Thank you for the help.


Re: State of Franklin

Dave Foster (View posts)
Posted: 10 Nov 2003 7:13PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Mary:

I am more historian than genealogist, but I will try to help.

I see where Francis Haines, Haynes, or Hines says she was born in VA. Let me offer a possible explanation. Many early settlers in the present-day upper east TN area emigrated from VA. The border between VA and NC had not been surveyed due to the rough mountainous area. These folks who lived as far south as Watauga, TN thought they still lived in Washington County, VA, and were governed by them. Upon learning that they were not in VA, in mid 1770, they asked that NC accept them as Washington County, NC. This came after a period a of independent self-governance known as the Watauga Association.

You say that Peter Turney was sheriff of Spencer County. That was Spencer County, Franklin, as there was neither a Spencer County in NC nor later in TN. Could it be that Peter lived in Sullivan County? There may be some information at Blountville, TN, the Sullivan County seat, a few miles southwest of Bristol. A number of vital records were lost due to the NC/Franklin political struggles of the late 1780's.

There were some Haynes people in Washington County in the mid 1800's. One Haynes, who I believe was a Confederate Senator, married into the Tipton family. There is a Tipton-Haynes State Historical Site at 2620 South Roan Street, Johnson City, TN, where the battle of Franklin was fought in 1788. This was my 7g grandfather's farm.

You may find more information at the East Tennessee Historical Association in Knoxville, TN. They sponsored a genealogical program called the First Families of Tennessee. This is a collection of family trees from hundreds of people who trace their roots to the pre-statehood era.

Dave Foster

Re: State of Franklin

Mary (View posts)
Posted: 11 Nov 2003 2:05AM GMT
Classification: Query
Right, Peter Turney Jr was sheriff of Spencer County in the State of Franklin - which I think would be the area of Hawkins County Tn today. The capital of State of Franklin was Greeneville.....and I know he was also around the Knoxville area. He was around the Watauga - being a surveyor he was all over eastern TN. He also had a lot of land in various places so it is difficult to figure out where he might have married Francis Haines - I am trying to find her family.

The Turneys lived near Edinburg Virginia - early 1774 finds the two sisters - a Teeter and a Beeler - on Beaver Creek between Abingdon VA and Bristol. Eve Turney Teeter is buried on that property and I think it is Scott Co VA today. The two brothers were a bit west and north of Bristol so I guess that would put them also in VA - 1776 Fincastle County and 1777 Washington Co VA. But it was not long before they were over on Cinch River, around Rogersville, Carter Valley. One of them in 1780 registered four pieces of land in that area, one being near Bull's Gap, etc. German Creek is mentioned in a some of the land records. I put that as being in Hawkins County or during the State of Franklin it would have been Spencer County.

Henry Turney was basically a farmer - but he was on the Cumberland at Mansker's station in time in 1780 to get his free 640 acres of land for defense of the fort.

Peter Turney Jr......he was often off to fight Indians, he was with Sevier, and that group....Andrew Jackson was his son's godfather. So he was not only a surveyor and land speculator, but also a politician. His 3 sons all became lawyers - Sam Turney in White Co TN, James Turney attorney general in Illinois, and Hopkins Lacy Turney as TN senator and father to Gov. Peter Turney.
But no one seems to know anything about the family of wife Francis Haines/Haynes. I have found a Hynes or Hines family in early Nashville area.....since Peter Turney owned land over there I thought that might be relatives, but it was after they would have married.

There is a 1777 Washington Co VA petition with names of many of the early settlers - many actually living in what became TN rather than VA....but as you say, they at the time thought they were still in VA. Peter and Henry Turney are on there as are brother-in-laws Teeter and Beelor.....and so are a lot of my other relatives such as Hawkins, Linn/Lynn, Ramsey, and so on. I have a copy if you would like one let me know.


Re: State of Franklin

Dave Foster (View posts)
Posted: 11 Nov 2003 7:29PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Mary:

The site listed below mentions a Landon Carter Haynes who married a Tipton and lived in East Tennessee in 1839. Landon C. appeared on the scene a generation or so after your Francis H. However, he may be connected to the Haines family.

You write about the Peter Turney, Jr./Andrew Jackson relationship. This tells me why Gov. Blount might have refused to appoint Peter to a territory office. It also suggests that Peter was an honest surveyor.

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