The best books on the Lost State of Franklin

The Books I Picked & Why

The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession

By Kevin T. Barksdale

The Lost State of Franklin: America's First Secession

Why this book?

It’s been a decade since I wrote my novel that featured as a backdrop the conflict over North Carolina’s western (Overmountain) counties’ attempt to form the controversial State of Franklin, but I remember how helpful Barksdale’s book was in forming my understanding of the era, the place, and the people involved. If I didn’t, the copious highlights and notes I left in my copy of this book would be enough to jog my memory. This book was highly readable and rich in detail.


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History of the Lost State of Franklin

By Samuel Cole Williams

History of the Lost State of Franklin

Why this book?

For many years this was the most comprehensive examination of the ill-fated State of Franklin. The author goes into great detail presenting the factors that led to this secession of its western counties from the State of North Carolina, in 1784. Still a must-read for anyone exploring this subject.


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Tennessee Frontiers: Three Regions in Transition

By John R. Finger

Tennessee Frontiers: Three Regions in Transition

Why this book?

This book not only provides a chapter on the State of Franklin era (1780s) but several leading up to it, beginning with a survey of eastern Tennessee topography, its native peoples, and the earliest encroaching exploration and settlement of Europeans. Several more chapters of the region’s history follow the information on the failed statehood attempt. Along the way the author captures the spirit of the various people groups who called this region home, detailing many individuals such as Attakullakulla, Nancy Ward, Daniel Boone, John Sevier, Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, and John Ross, among others.


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The Overmountain Men

By Pat Alderman

The Overmountain Men

Why this book?

If you want your information supplemented with copious amounts of photos, sketches, maps, tax lists and other helpful records, as well as excerpts from original source documents, this is the book on the State of Franklin for you. It also covers the Battle of King’s Mountain and several other key eras and events in the formation of what became eastern Tennessee.


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The Wataugans

By Max Dixon

The Wataugans

Why this book?

Another in-depth examination of the development of government in the Overmountain/East Tennessee region, lending a deeper understanding of what led to the failed State of Franklin movement, also covered in this book. A slender volume originally published as part of a series for Tennessee American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, it highlights many individual and conflicting viewpoints over the issues that impacted this region’s settlers and natives alike.


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