The Greeneville Sun
Current Weather
Overcast Overcast
47 °
Click Icon for Extended Forecast
Get Breaking News Alerts
FREE Service of
Brad & Ginia Johnston
423-823-0414 | 423-823-0716
Get special offers
Hats In The Ring
Candidates Showcase

Patty Tilson
Greene Co. Clerk

Nathan Holt
Greene Co. Trustee

Brett Purgason
Greene Co. Mayor

Robin Quillen
3rd Dist. County Commissioner

David Crum
Greene Co. Mayor

Ted Hensley
5th Dist. State Representative

David Weems
Road Superintendent

Jan Kiker
Greene Co. Clerk

Christina Blevins
Register of Deeds

2002 Ford F150 King

1997 Honda Valkyrie

1928 Ford Model A Door

2004 Jeep Wrangler (sahara

1970 Nova 1 Owner 56k

1996 Ford F-super Duty

Get featured here and increase your advertising results by upgrading your classified ad to a TopAd.

Call: 423-638-4185

Get featured here and increase your advertising results by upgrading your classified ad to a TopAd.

Call: 423-638-4185

Public Notices

April 18, 2014

choose text size bigger text smaller text

PBS Documentary Last Tuesday Explored 'Lost State Of Franklin'

Originally published: 2013-02-09 01:24:02
Last modified: 2013-02-09 01:25:29



More than two centuries ago, Greene County and two other counties played a major role in the formation of the United States Constitution through rebellion and a strong belief in the right of local citizens to make their own decisions.

This unusual piece of U.S. history -- unknown to most Americans -- was the subject of a documentary aired Tuesday night by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). The title: "The Mysterious Lost State of Franklin."

The documentary deals with the 1780s, a time when the Revolutionary War was over but there were still only 13 states, and the U.S. Constitution had not yet been written. The states were bound together under the Articles of Confederation.

This area, and the rest of what would later become the State of Tennessee, was in the 1780s part of the State of North Carolina, but a remote, western part that felt little relationship with the rest of N.C.

Billed as "the story of a pivotal but forgotten post-Revolutionary War rebellion and attempted secession," the 30-minute documentary detailed the years in the mid-to-late 1780s when Greene, Washington and Sullivan counties withdrew from North Carolina and banded together to form what they wanted to become a separate state of the new American nation, named for Benjamin Franklin.

The State of Franklin effort fell two votes short of the nine votes in Congress needed to receive formal recognition as a state.

But the very attempt at statehood by leaders of the Franklin movement sparked enough debate in the still-forming nation to play a central role in how the U.S. Constitution's Article 4, Section 3 allows a new state to form from an existing state.

The key portion of Article 4, Section 3, according to the documentary, is wording dictating that a new state must have the parent state's consent -- which was not at all the situation when the State of Franklin formed, or tried to, out of what was then North Carolina.

The documentary explained that the federal government placed taxes and regulations on states such as North Carolina that held unused "western" lands.

The purpose of these taxes and regulations, according to the documentary, was to persuade such states to turn over these lands to the federal government.

North Carolina nearly did just that, prompting the "westerners" living in Greene, Sullivan and Washington counties to feel "largely ignored" and unprotected in the 1780s, and begin discussion of forming their own state.

These discussions were enough to change North Carolina's opinion about losing its western land, including this area.

However, that state's change of mind about this area of its lands was not enough to keep the three counties from moving forward with their plan to form their own state.

The documentary goes on to detail the bitter battles and political intrigues that developed from this attempt at secession, including the fierce divide that developed between area political leaders John Sevier, who had been chosen as the Governor of Franklin, and John Tipton, a fierce opponent of the secession movement.

Although not mentioned, Greeneville's replica of what is believed to have been the State of Franklin's capitol building was pictured near the end of the documentary.

Greeneville served as the capital -- the seat of government -- of this almost-official state from 1785 to 1788, when the original log building believed to have been the official capitol of Franklin during those years sat at the corner of Main and Depot Streets.

The replica of that structure is located on College Street, across from Greeneville Town Hall.

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

More Local News

Newspapers In Education Benchmarks
Newspapers In Education
Newspapers In Education

Find more businesses on

Attorneys · Automotive · Health Care · Restaurants Retail · Services · Home & Garden · Recreation

Sponsored in part by:


Terms of Use - Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2014, GREENEVILLE PUBLISHING COMPANY, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This content may not be reused without the express written permission of Greeneville Publishing Company, Inc.