The Lost State of Franklin

On August 23, 1784, the State of Franklin declared its independence from North Carolina. The independence would prove to be short-lived.

Settlers in far western areas had long discussed separating from the Old North State, criticizing the General Assembly for ignoring western interests. Led by John Sevier, the settlers formed their own state. Though they wrote their own state constitution and elected an assembly, western representatives were still sent to North Carolina’s General Assembly.

Governor Alexander Martin was outraged by the separatists and threatened to use force against them.  The Confederation Congress, the federal governing body at that time, refused to recognize the new state and it quickly fell apart. Sevier was elected to the North Carolina Senate in 1789 and the state of Franklin came to an abrupt end. That same year, North Carolina ceded its western lands to the United States government, and, in 1796, those lands became part of the new state of Tennessee.

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