An American Family History


1786 Petition


The State of Franklin was an unrecognized, independent state in what is now eastern Tennessee. It was created in 1784 with the intent of becoming the fourteenth state. Its first capital was Jonesborough. It existed for about four and a half years and then North Carolina re-assumed control.

The Holston River flows from Kingsport to Knoxville.
map by Kmusser

from Families and History of Sullivan County, Tennessee by Holston Territory genealogical Society, transcribed by Mildren Kozsuch
To the Honorable the General Assembly of N. Carolina

We your petitioners, the inhabitants of Sullivan County, humbly sheweth that we have ever been disposed to have true allegiance to the Sate of N. Carolina being well attached to her government and revere her constitution,

therefore we pray you to extend to us the benefits of civil law and continue us under your protection and relieve us from those intestine broiles that are aggitated among us by wicked and designing men, who are perverting your law and seducing your good citizens to withdraw their allegaiance from your government. [John Sevier was the governor of Franklin.]

As we view ourselves unequal to the task of supporting a separate government and are freely desirious of being continued under yours until such times that we may be separated with ease of convenience with your assistance and approbation. [In August, 1784 Washington, Sullivan, and Greene Counties declared their Independence from North Carolina because of perceived neglect, and misuse by North Carolina’s legislature. They petitioned to be admitted to the United States as the State of Franklin. The request was denied.]

Should you at any time hereafter think it expedient to make a cession of any part of your vacant western territory for the payment of the National debt or other imports, agreeable to the requisitions of Congress, [In 1789 North Carolina ratified the Constitution, was admitted the union, and ceded her westernmost counties to the United States.]

we pray you to continue your sovereignty and jurisdiction over us until such times that we may by our virtur, wisdom, experience, numbers and wealth inabled to conduct the affairs of government with credit and convenience to ourselves, to the honour of the parent state who gave their assent to our seperation, added strength to the union and gave ease to her people.

We also pray you to take into consideration that indigeanes of our present circumstances and render to us every ease and indulgence that you in your wisdom and goodness may think consistent with the welfare and interest of your good citizens in general

--- and as sensitive measures have been used with those who have abused your powers and usurped your authority, we hope you will with the same spirit of uniminity consider the grievances of those who ever strove to support them

-- as our inclinations lead us to consult the welfare of our country and will enjoin us to defind our rights by a cheerful and stedy obedience to government and as the citizen depends on the wisdom and goodness of government.

We cannot doubt your prudence and leade to promote them. We also humbly conceive that when the precepts and powers of government are abused her Sovereignty and jurisdiction discarded, her public credit must sink and the private interest of the citizen can share no other fate, therefore that peace and tranquility may be restored, public credit and private interest revive. 

We pray you to inforce your laws and exert the powers of government with a feeling sense of our sufferings. We supplicate you to whom the powers of government are given and beg your paternal interposition ---

and Whereas numbers among us look upon themselves to be considerabley injured by the precipitation and injurious proceedings of the Nominal Courts of the supposed State of Franklin. Many suits of law have commenced and judgment awarded against ___  _____. Seased and unlawfully sold to the greate prejudice of many your good citizens, we therefore pray you extricate us from every species of injustice there by devised against us as we have _____ of Society bound ourselves to the obedience of your laws. By them we expect to be protected in our rights.

We also beg leniency, recommend to your mature consideration the vast extend of the County of Sullivan, which must undoubtedly render many inconveniences to the inhabitants thereof and for our eased convenience divide sd counties into two separate and distince counties as follows:

(To Witt)

  • Beginning where the boundery line between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of No Carolina crosses the North Fork of Holestons River,
  • thence down Sd fork to its junction with Main Holeston,
  • thence cross said River due South to the topp of dividing Ridge that divides the waters of French Broad River and Holeston River to French Broad River
  • thence down Sd French Broad to its junction with Holeston,
  • thence down Holeston to its junction with the River Tinisee and
  • thence down the same to the Such Whare Sd River runs through Cumberland Mountain,
  • thence along the topp of the mountain to the afforesaid boundary line and
  • thence along the same to the begn and

We your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever pray

Column 1    
James Thompson    
Stephen Thompson          
Elisha Debusk                     
William Courtney, Sr.      
William Courtney, Jr.      
William Hambleton                  
Jams Hambleton                  
John Carwilies                     
William Lain                                
Joseph Lain                               
Joseph Cloud                        
John Crab                            
Jerm Cloud                          
Jasen Cloud                        
Benjm Cloud                         
Christ Boling                       
Abraham Rice                     
Thomas Rice                      
Samuel Smith, Sr.              
Benoni Perriman                 
Joseph Rogers                    
Will Hankins                        
Alex Donelson                    
John Crab                           
Joseph Crab                        
Tom Blackwell                   
David Blackwell                  
William Davis                            
Tom Davis                           
Tom Davis                          
Thomas Heff                       
David Ray                            
J. M. Robbinson               
? Daughety                      
William Crabb                            
William Williams                      
Lukel Wray                          
Bartlet Sims                        
William Morris                    
John Turner                        
Thos Medtcalf                     
James Nicholas                    
George Nicholas                        
Francis Nicholas                 
Pleasant Duke                     
James Daniel                             
Francis Daniel                     
John Rice                              
Benjamin Murrel                    
Joseph Wallin                       
Rolley Dotson                      
Hudson Johnson                 
Bartlett Sims                                       
William Lasson                    
George Roberds                  
Lazarus Dotson                   
Daniel Davis                          
Andrew Craig                        
Tolloever Dotson                 
John Asher                            
Samuel Bayne                       
Jarvis Menoco             
Larkin Web--                       
Andy Willis                            
William Nash                               
John Sims    
Richard Green, Sr.          
Richard Green, Jr.              
Isaac Green                           
Adam Green                          
Benjamin Green                     
William Walden/Wallen son of James  
Elisha Walden/Wallen                   
John Walden/Wallen     
Column 2    
William Walden/Wallen son of Thomas  
Thomas Walden/Wallen              
John Grubbs                                  
John Ray                                        
Henry Rice, Sr.                           
Henry Rice, Jr.                           
Demtry Ward                                 
William Watson              
John Golden     
John Johnson                                
George Brooks                             
Reuben Webster                
Archer Ficken      
John Criner, Sr.    
John Criner, Jr.      
Jos Criner                  
Robert Johnson            
John McBreen               
Thos McBreen              
Mark Chambers         
Jas Armstrong         
William Rice                     
John Rice                   
John Rice, Jr.    
John Walin                      
George Heard                   
Andrew Ingrim                  
Thomas Murrel         
Willis Reed                  
William Armstrong                 
William Armstrong, Sr.    
Robert Stuart (Stewart)                         
Thomas Stuart  (Stewart)              
Stockley Donelson           
John Rice, Jr.         
Shelton Rice                 
John Rice, Sr.    
William Stamps                   
Robert Stansfield            
Hugh Forgey                    
Thomas Miles                         
Joseph Edmonds           
Jesse Vawter                                  
James Underwood            
Philemon Vawter                      
Daniel Lamburt                      
Jacob Thomas           
John Sharp                   
Andrew Whit           
Robert Cowan        
Jacob Sesroff                
  ? Sesroff                      
Robert Stuart          
Thomas Stuart (Stewart)                   
William McCormick     
John Wood              
Jacob Moen (?)      
George Little                 
Martin Wireche              
Robert Monro                               
Fredrick Keehl                            
John Morrell                                 
Jonathan Morrell          
Thomas Buler                                
John Peters                                 
Adam Tollere                           
John Tolere                              
Moses Webb                          
Theophilus Tucker     
Jonathan Jackson    
James Pemberton

Column 3    
William Pemberton    
Joel Jackson    
John Pemberton    
John Gorsuch      
Thomas Morrell    
James Webb    
Lenard Sweet    
William Sweet    
William Scott    
Solomon Smaling    
Abraham McClelan     
John Whitecraft    
Joseph Cole, Jr    
John Miner    
David Webb    
James Cole     
Soloman Cole    
Elisha Cole    
Isaac Hicks    
Benjamin Webb    
Nathan Lewis     
John Rily (?)     
Henry Collock    
Andrew Crockett    
Evan Shelby    
John Shelby    
John Keewood    
Stephen Majors    
John Pemberton    
Will Blevins    
John Cawood    
James Hughes     
David Hughes     
Thomas Hughes    
William Hughes    
Elijah Cross    
Abraham Cross    
Ambrose Legg    
Quiller [Aquilla] Cross   Son of William Cross  
William Cross    
Solomon Cole    
Matthew Cole         
George Malone    
Jehu Johnathan    
John Wells    
George ?                              
John McLena    
Richard Cross prob son of John Cross  
Michael Malone    
John Malone     
Charles Phylips    
Isaac Hicks, Sr.    
Richard Hicks    
David Webb    
George Webb, Sr.    
George Webb    
Assel Cross    
Thomas Barton    
Thomas Moss     
Samuel Breden     
Mason Breden    
Stephen Hicks son of Isaac Hicks  
Jeremiah Harris    

Tennessee was admitted to the Union on June 1, 1796. It was initially part of North Carolina.

East Tennessee is part of Appalachia. At the end of the French and Indian War, colonists began drifting into the area. In 1769, they first settled along the Watauga River. During the Revolution, the Overmountain Men defeated British loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. The State of Franklin was formed in the 1780s, but never admitted to the Union.




Colonial Maryland
Colonial New England
Colonial Virginia & West Virginia
Quakers & Mennonites
New Jersey Baptists
German Lutherans
Watauga Settlement
Pennsylvania Pioneers
Midwest Pioneers
Jewish Immigrants

©Roberta Tuller 2020
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