The first new state in the United States to be organized after the independence of the British colonies was the State of Franklin. This frontier district in the Appalachian and Cumberland Mountains declared itself independent of North Carolina in 1784. It lasted until a brief civil war in 1788, when it was reabsorbed into North Carolina. The region was later to become part of Tennessee.

At this time the United States extended nominally as far west as the Mississippi River, but the western regions were Indian territory. What is now Tennessee was then part of North Carolina. The US Constitution had not yet been ratified, so the states were independent countries in a loose confederation, and state justice did not run all the way west. North Carolina was especially reluctant to join the Union. The few settlers west of the mountains, around Fort Watauga, felt very unsafe.

North Carolina being impoverished and unable to support the settlers in their wars against the Cherokee and other tribes, in 1784 agreed to cede to the Federal Government all their western territory (present-day Tennessee). They quickly had second thoughts and passed a second law, retaining control temporarily and ceding it to the US only when the US Congress should agree to take it and their debts on, giving them two years to do so.

At this point the settlers in the valleys of the Clinch and Holston Rivers took matters into their own hands, and the counties of Sullivan, Washington, Greene, and Davidson agreed to secede from North Carolina. On 23 August 1784 delegates from the first three counties meeting at Jonesboro declared the independent State of Franklin.

(Counties of those names still exist in upper eastern Tennessee, but Davidson County is the one around Nashville much further east, so I'm guessing it's not the original Davidson.)

One proposal for the name was Frankland, "Land of the Free". This was altered to Franklin in a neat political pitch for the support of Benjamin Franklin, who replied politely but noncommittally to their letters (in 1787):

I am sensible of the honor which your Excellency and your council do me. but being in Europe when your State was formed I am too little acquainted with the circumstances to be able to offer you anything just now that may be of importance, since everything material that regards your welfare will doubtless have occurred to yourselves. ... I will endeavor to inform myself more perfectly of your affairs by inquiry and searching the records of Congress and if anything should occur to me that I think may be useful to you, you shall hear from me thereupon.
The provisional constitution, which specified that no-one could hold office "if he were immoral, a Sabbath breaker, a clergyman, a doctor or a lawyer", was drawn up by Sam Houston, father of the founder of Texas. In November 1785 a constitutional convention met at Greeneville, and a more moderate one was adopted, based very closely on that of North Carolina, at the instigation of Governor John Sevier. The legislature met, and organized taxes, county boundaries, courts, and Indian treaties.

Sevier's opponent was Colonel John Tipton, who had supported the vote of independence but did not want to organize as a new state. Discussion began of whether Franklin should join the Union at all, or move to full independence; contacts were made with Spain, the ruler of Florida. The state's early prosperity collapsed as Indian wars became more severe. Tipton started taking military action to restore the region to North Carolina. This culminated in several violent showdowns between the forces of Sevier and Tipton in 1788. Sevier fled, accused of treason, and Franklin was reabsorbed into North Carolina.

In 1789 the area became part of the Tennessee Territory, as North Carolina once more ceded it to the US government. Sevier and Tipton both became members of the North Carolina legislature, which ratified the Union in that year. When the State of Tennessee was admitted in 1796, both joined its assembly, and John Sevier was its first governor, serving 1796-1801 and 1803-1809.

More detailed information at:

The Canterbury Tales Project (see also Geoffrey Chaucer)

Back to the Sergeant of the Law/The Franklin/The Guildsmen

331: A frankeleyn was in his compaignye.
332: Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
333: Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
334: Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
335: To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
336: For he was epicurus owene sone,
337: That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
338: Was verray felicitee parfit.
339: An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
340: Seint julian he was in his contree.
341: His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
342: A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
343: Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous
344: Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous,
345: It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke,
346: Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke.
347: After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
348: So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
349: Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
350: And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
351: Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
352: Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
353: His table dormant in his halle alway
354: Stood redy covered al the longe day.
355: At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
356: Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
357: An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
358: Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
359: A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour.
360: Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour.

The Franklin is a very well-to-do and prosperous pilgim, who ranks nearly as highly as the Knight. He is enormously hospitable, and ensures that both food and drink are in ample supply in his house. He is, without doubt, a glutton, but a very likeable one. With the exception of an occasionally violent temperament towards his cook, should he be found not to be working hard enough, he is an affable man.

He is an epicurean, opining that pleasure is its own reward. He is also a reliable pillar of the community, who has, in his time, been the member of Parliament for his shire, the sheriff, and a member of the local appeals court.

Modern English Translation from

There was a franklin in his company;
White was his beard as is the white daisy.
Of sanguine temperament by every sign,
He loved right well his morning sop in wine.
Delightful living was the goal he'd won,
For he was Epicurus' very son,
That held opinion that a full delight
Was true felicity, perfect and right.
A householder, and that a great, was he;
Saint Julian he was in his own country.
His bread and ale were always right well done;
A man with better cellars there was none.
Baked meat was never wanting in his house,
Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous
It seemed to snow therein both food and drink
Of every dainty that a man could think.
According to the season of the year
He changed his diet and his means of cheer.
Full many a fattened partridge did he mew,
And many a bream and pike in fish-pond too.
Woe to his cook, except the sauces were
Poignant and sharp, and ready all his gear.
His table, waiting in his hall alway,
Stood ready covered through the livelong day.
At county sessions was he lord and sire,
And often acted as a knight of shire.
A dagger and a trinket-bag of silk
Hung from his girdle, white as morning milk.
He had been sheriff and been auditor;
And nowhere was a worthier vavasor.

The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobiles in the United States between 1902 and 1934 in Syracuse, New York. Herbert H. Franklin, the founder, started out in the metal die-casting business (in fact, he invented the term) before entering the automobile business with the engineer John Wilkinson.

All Franklin cars were air cooled, which the company considered simpler and more reliable than water cooling, and the company considered light weight to be critical in making a well-performing car given the limited power of the engines then available. Franklins were wood-framed and light aluminum was used in quantity, to the extent that Franklin was reckoned to be the largest user of aluminum in the world in the early years of the company.

Franklin cars were technological leaders, using six cylinders by 1905 (a world first) and in 1907 were the first automobiles to have automatic spark advance. They were the undisputed leader in air-cooled cars. Prior to the invention of antifreeze, the air-cooled car had a huge advantage in cold weather, and Franklins were a popular buy among people, such as doctors, who needed an all-weather machine.

The early 1920s saw Franklins redesigned to look like conventional cars, a dummy 'radiator' (actually simply an air intake) at the front of the hood. The Franklin styling was beginning to look old-fashioned compared to other makes.

In 1932 Franklin introduced another first, an air-cooled, 398 cubic inch V12 developing 150hp, installed in the finest automobiles the company had ever built, the Franklin Airman Limited. Unfortunately, this was simply the wrong vehicle to be building after the crash of 1929 and the depression that followed, and they sold poorly, nowhere near to recouping the company's investment. The company declared bankruptcy in 1934.

Car production did not survive, but the company continued under new management and ownership as an aero-engine manufacturer.

Franklin engines powered numerous light planes as well as (thanks to their light weight) most early American-built helicopters. The company declared bankruptcy again in 1975 and its designs were sold to the Polish government; engines based on these designs are still in production.

Thanks to among others.

(thing) by Morven

The Franklin Steam Distribution Company was a maker of advanced steam locomotive valve gear during the 1930s and 1940s. Their designs were all poppet valve gears and two basic designs were utilised.

The Franklin OC (Oscillating Cam) valve gear was driven by fairly short cranks taking their motion from the crossheads (where the locomotive's piston rod that permits purely back-and-forth oscillating motion is attached to the side rod that connects the oscillating piston rod motion to the rotating crankpin).

Unlike conventional locomotive valve gears, in which each cylinder's motion is independent of the other's, the Franklin gear operated the cylinders on both sides, using the motions of both sides (which, thanks to quartering, differ by 90° of rotation) with a complicated system of cams and levers to actuate the intake and exhaust valves on both sides of both cylinders.

The Franklin OC gear was fitted to all production PRR T1 Duplex locomotives, as well as a single New York Central Niagara and some other experimental locomotives.

This Franklin gear worked well but its complexity was a challenge to maintenance crews, especially in the undermanned days of World War II and after, and the location of much of the complexity between the frames made access for maintenance difficult.

The other design was the Franklin RC (Rotary Cam) valve gear. This was very similar to the Caprotti Valve Gear used in Europe, being driven by a rotating shaft taken from the center of the main driving wheel driving cams that actuate the valves. This was less commonly used. Unlike the OC gear, each cylinder's valve gear was independent of the opposite side, and all the machinery was located in easy access above the cylinder. It's not obvious why the RC gear was so overlooked; I personally suspect that its aesthetics were unappealing, with the large spinning shaft on the outside, while the OC gear involved an unobstrusive crank and hidden machinery.

Franklin is a character in the Peanuts comic series.

He first appeared in a syndicated strip on July 31, 1969. Franklin bumps into Charlie Brown at a beach after retrieving his ball, and Chuck discovers that Franklin attends the same school as Peppermint Patty and Marcie. Shortly after Franklin travels over to Charlie Brown's neighborhood looking for Charlie Brown and his gang, but was spooked by the idiosyncrancies of Snoopy, Lucy and Linus. Franklin then periodically appeared playing baseball as a centre-fielder, and engaging in deep conversations with Charlie Brown (they liked to talk about their grandparents) or Linus Van Pelt (the both quoted the Old Testament to each other).

Of note is that Franklin was the first African-American character to appear in a mainstream comic strip in a non-subordinate role (unlike Mandrake's manservant Lothar). Franklin appeared at about the same time as several American cities were going up in smoke during the 1969 summer of race riots. Charles Schultz made scant reference to Franklin's ethnicity in the series, except to perhaps sanguinely imply that children are colour-blind and free of prejudice. Perhaps the only controversial issue concerning Franklin was that his father was serving in Vietnam.

There was at first only some minor criticism of Franklin appearing in a desegregated classroom with Peppermint Patty. Later other critics would note that Franklin, while devoid of any sterotypical African-American traits, seemed to lack any personality or ideosyncracies that would make him stand out and be anything other than a foil for the other messed up members of the Peanuts gang. Rarely does he say anything foolish or funny, and so unlike the egotistical Lucy or obsessive Schroeder he is not a particuarly interesting. The first mainstream African-American characters, like Chuck in the Archie comics or Gordy Howard in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, were also panned for being irrelevant, tokenistic characters. On stylistic matters, I find that Franklin's dark complexion is crudely illustrated by dense cross-shading when he appears in black and white strips.

In the animated special You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown, Franklin's surname is revealed to be Armstrong.

In response to the post by Gritchka, I am presenting the prelude to the State of Franklin, and a couple of clarifying points of interest.

In 1769 the Watauga River Valley and the surrounding areas started to be settled. In 1772 the group of settlers formed what was then called the Watauga Association which consisted of property that is now located in the North Eastern Tip of Tennessee. This association was formed not only as a defense from the Cherokee but also from the Choctaw as well.

Several years later, a survey of lands found that the property claimed by the Watauga Association were in fact part of the claim that North Carolina held. Shortly after the survey, the settlers of the Watauga Association pledged to assist North Carolina in the Revolutionary effort if they would reclaim the lands. North Carolina agreed to the provisions, and the Watauga Association was absorbed back into North Carolina.

Because the settlers of the Watauga Association were used to "Self Government," it soon became common practice to shoot and steal from the North Carolina tax collectors. This led to North Carolina's failure to build up infrastructure in the area such as roads, bridges, and militia. This made the settlers in the old Watauga Association unhappy, and restless. Combined with the additional Indian raids on the ever growing western North Carolina, the state decided that it could no longer afford the extra tax penalty owed Congress (due to the Revolutionary War) and opted to cede the western lands to Congress (as noted above). In retaliation, the settlers created the "State of Franklin" to spite and purposefully ignore the control of North Carolina.

One important thing to note is that the Davidson County that was part of the State of Franklin is indeed the parent county of what is now known as Davidson County, Tennessee where Nashville, Tennessee is currently located. At the time of the State of Franklin, the county encompassed the majority of the western area of now Tennessee. Davidson County did not however originally join the State of Franklin, but chose to remain independent from government control until Indian raids on the Davison lands increased to the point where assistance from Franklin was requested.

I hope that helps to clarify some additional points regarding the State of Franklin.

A franklin is a freeman; a yeoman farmer. It means literally a »small-Frank«; that is, one of the common mass of the tribe of the Franks, of no particular distinction besides his hereditary superiority to all other men. Once their natural rulers, the long-haired Merovingians, had led them out of Taxandria against Thuringians, Alemanns, Visigoths, Burgundians and Lombards and smashed them all, a Frank alone, a German in the lands of Gaul, was a free man and able to own his own land; all others were serfs and bondmen. This order was of sufficiently lasting nature that it was imported into English without the Franks themselves, where it persisted long as a class and longer as a surname, even unto this day. The most famous franklin is Benjamin, the soul of America, who was worth any number of Gauls, of Merovingian princes, of Popes, emperors, armigers and serfs — and who was really, in a distinct social sense, a franklin.


to franklin (verb, colloquial)

To take credit for the work of a female colleague without acknowledgement (or with only partial acknowledgement, as an 'assistant'), partly or primarily because of her gender.

From Rosalind Franklin, whose discovery of DNA was taken and published without acknowledgement by colleagues Francis Crick and James Watson. It is still common to read about the discovery of DNA and see only the men's names without any reference to Franklin; or to see her acknowledged as an 'assistant' to the other two.

Found by me most recently in Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen.


Frank"lin (?), n. [OE. frankelein; cf. LL. franchilanus. See Frank, a.]

An English freeholder, or substantial householder.



The franklin, a small landholder of those days. Sir J. Stephen.


© Webster 1913.

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