Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who are James Franklin’s Parents?

I’m putting this post up with hope some Franklin Family researchers will stumble upon my little blog and help pass on clues about James Franklin’s family. What we know to be true is his birth in Maryland around 1755 and his death in Sumner County, TN in 1828. We know he married Mary Lauderdale of the Botetourt County, Looney Creek, VA Lauderdales around 1776. And we know he had some kind of military service in the VA militia and the Revolution between 1774 and 1779. Beyond those major facts, there are only disconnected clues as to who Jame Franklin was and where he grew up.

To establish myself as a reliable source, I descend from James’ son John who was born in Sullivan County, TN (NC) in the Holston Settlement, Jan 4, 1777. His son Dr. John W. Franklin (1819-1905) was a physician in Sumner County, Gallatin, TN. The house called “Oakley” on the Nashville/Gallatin pike that he built for his second wife Sara Baber still stands in 2011. My father visited that home as a child to see his Uncle John and Aunt Sue who still owned the home in the 1940’s. I have in my possession John W.'s medical diploma from Transylvania Medical College in Kentucky.
Many of the clues about James Franklin’s past are in the biographies of his children and grandchildren. But, there is much conflicting information. I’ll begin sourcing it here and follow each source with my thoughts.

From History of Tennessee From the Earliest Time to The Present
Goodspeed Publishing Co. Nashville, TN 1887
Dr. John W. FRANKLIN, physician and farmer of the Fourth District, is a son of John and Elizabeth (RAWLINGS) Franklin, and was born in Sumner County in 1819, being the ninth child in a family of seven sons and three daughters. The father was of Irish ancestry, born in Sumner County in 1776. The grandfather, James Franklin, was a native of West Virginia; he went to Eastern Kentucky when a young man, where he had an elder brother, and finally moved to what is now Sumner County, where he erected a station, Camp Fort, and made his future home.

Blog Rebuttal John W.’s Bio.
Father of Irish ancestry: taking the Lauderdale lineage this would be true. And since the Lauderdale’s also immigrated to Sumner it is possible John W.’s father felt stronger ties to his mother’s Irish background and would have even known Mary Lauderdale’s father James Lauderdale (1709 - 1796) who was born in Ireland and died in Sumner County, TN.

I have a birth date of 1777 for Jame Franklin’s son John in the Holston Settlement. Why John W.’s bio says his father is born in Sumner County is unknown? Names for settlements appear in several ways. That area of the Holston is now Sullivan County, TN. Prior to its 1779 incorporation it was Washington County, VA and/or Sullivan County, NC. North Carolina extended all the way to the Cumberland Settlements. Davidson County was originally established as Davidson County, NC. The Holston Settlement was used as a staging ground for people taking the Wilderness Road leading to Kentucky through Cumberland Gap. We can only assume that during a time of immigration these names were passed orally in confusion. My research needs to document John Franklin’s birth with first source info. I need to confirm ties to the Walnut Hill Settlement of the Holston. Some research points there.

The statement that says James is a Native of West Virginia is confusing along with the statement about his brother in Kentucky. James is enrolled in the Militia in the early 1770’s where he defends the VA/West VA border. He is tied to Fincastle and Botetourt County through is Militia service and his association with the Lauderdale family. The battle at Point Pleasant where he and his assumed brother William are listed on the muster rolls means he did spend time in West Virginia and Kentucky. The question to answer is when did James Franklin leave Maryland for the Virgina/West Virginia frontier?

Isaac Franklin’s Bio Floating around the net.
Father was Capt. James Franklin of Baltimore, Maryland and mother was Mary Lauderdale, the daughter of James Maitland Lauderdale, James Franklin's employer. James Franklin moved with Mary to East Tennessee as a "Long Hunter" in the 1770s for trapping and exploration. He participated in the Revolutionary War and was listed by General James Robertson as one of the "Immortal Seventy" who received and was granted 640 acres (2.6 km2) of land by the state of North Carolina.[1]

ISAAC FRANKLIN:  By Wendell Holmes Stephenson
pp. 12-14
' A biographical sketch published soon after Issac's death states that his father, James Franklin, was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, but a more recent account asserts that his Huguenot ancestor moved to North Carolina where James was born and reared .  However that may be, upon his mother's remarriage James and two sisters started for the tramontane region of North Carolina with sundry slaves, but were overtaken by the stepfather who forced the girls and all but one of the servants  to return with him. With the one slave James continued westward to become a pioneer in the settlement of Tennessee. (Blog comment: wish I knew the slave’s name. Will try to find.)

Family tradition has it that Franklin was a "Long Hunter" who spent several months in the central part of the future commonwealth in the early seventies, and that temporary residence there later induced him to become a permanent settler. In a mass of such untrustworthy evidence, it is a relief to find reliable authority for his association with James Robertson in the defense of the Cumberland region during the Revolution and for his acquisition in 1784, as one of the "immortal seventy", of title to 640 acres of land by act of the North Carolina assembly.  

It is reasonably certain also that James Franklin aided Lieutenant Colonel Kasper Mansker in building a fort near Goodlettsville either in 1779 or 1780 and that two or three years later he assisted in erecting one near Pilot Knob. (See new evidence here forthcoming 11-2014 that Revolutionary service records might indicate more clearly his role in settling the Cumberland. Hope to provide a blog post link here to explain. Writing not complete yet.)

The marriage of James Franklin to Mary Lauderdale, a native of Botetourt County, Virginia, is not of record, although it is probable that the union materialized near the beginning of the Revolution.  In 1776, newspaper sketches inform us, they removed to the Holston Valley " with the usual outfit of Tennessee pioneers, a horse, which carried the wife and her marriage portion, and a rifle with which the husband was to make his way in the world.  They resided in East Tennessee till the spring of 1780, when they removed westward, and were inmates of the fort at Mansco's (Mansker's) Lick, about a year , and until the occupants of the place were compelled by the Indians to abandon it, and seek safety at...(Nashborough)."  

A more recent account says that young Franklin, before marriage , resided with the Lauderdale family near Bledsoe's Lick, which implies that the ceremony was not performed until after he arrived in the Cumberland region.  In the 1784 Franklins settled upon the pre-empted section not far from Pilot Knob, and here their ten children were born, five boys and five girls." ( James, John, Isaac, William, Albert, Jane, Ann, Sally, Betsy, and a fifth daughter who married one Purvis)

"That James Franklin was unlettered is attested by the fact that he signed all legal documents with his mark; that he was a prosperous farmer is indicated by sundry conveyances in the deed records and will books of Sumner County... " This  unlettered fact is refuted by Kenneth Thomson 
saying that James was a man of letters. There are multiple records in the Sumner County archives of his participating in every phase of community life. He began settling land in 1788, witnessing a variety of legal documents, serving on jurys, etc. It was assumed he was unlettered due to the X on his will. But, it was due to blindness in later life. he was blind, as was his son William.

In his will, recorded in 1828, James Franklin bequeathed his land on the north side of the West Fork of Station Camp Creek to his sons Isaac and James.  To John he gave $ 100; to William two slaves, Jacob and Moses. Ann Wood and Betty Franklin, daughters, were each willed a slave valued at $500 a piece.  The remainder of his negroes and property of whatever kind was to be divided into five equal parts and distributed to his daughters Jane and Ann  Wood, Sally Gardiner, and Betsy Frankin, the fifth part to be equally divided between his son Albert and his grandson Isaac Purvis. The will further stipulated that his negroes and their increase were not to be sold by the legatees; should Betsy die without issue her share of the property was to be divided among the other daughters.  Finally, James Franklin, Jr. and John Wood, a son-in-law, were appointed executors.  They gave bond to the amount of $12,000.'

Blog Rebuttal Isaac’s Bio
This passage has been a pillar of much of my research trails. And much has been substantiated on this blog or brought evidence that points to some truth in the Isaac Bio. I have heard this story about James Franklin’s father dying and family squabble that causes him to run away. When? Who is this father? And who is this step-father and the mother that remarries? We have multiple sources that state James Franklin is born in Maryland. But, somewhere according to Stephenson there is an oral tradition he was born in Mecklenburg County, VA. Could the Franklins have immigrated from Maryland to Mecklenburg? Could the death of James’ father caused a move to be with other family? Could family upheavals caused James Franklin and his sisters to leave for Botetourt/Fincastle area where his brother William was living?

Kenneth Thomson's notes from Mollie Gardner (1834-1935)- daughter of C Bryant Gardner and Sarah Lauderdale:
The story goes that James Franklin's father dies. Some research says his father's name was John. His mother remarries a person James did not like. So he and his two sisters run away. He ends up in Botetourt County, Virginia and secures employment with James Lauderdale (1709-1796). When James and Mary are married in 1776 they leave immediately for the Holston Settlement on the Va/NC border.
Research on the sisters have a Susannah Franklin marrying Joseph Peck in 1792 and settling in Fincastle. The Peck family is well documented. But, I have yet to find out who Susannah’s parents are. Margaret Franklin married George Watwood in Botetourt County, VA in 1779 and they follow the migration party to the Cumberland, settling in Sumner County. This is documented in the Watwood genealogy with ties to James and the Lauderdales. But, again Margaret’s parents are not mentioned. They all seem to be friends with or somehow tied to the McCains (McKains, Cains). James McCain is well documented, having married Margaret Lauderdale Looney. Sister of Mary Lauderdale and widow of Peter Looney of the Botetourt County Looney family. McCain’s family is on the Donelson Flotilla to Nashville and is very political, with bondsman records, marriage and will witness, jury duty and recorded participation in government affairs from Virginia to Sumner County.

William Franklin is on the Militia muster rolls during the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774 with James Franklin. The William Franklin's DAR records have him serving in the same Capt. Love's Botetourt County Volunteers. William received a revolutionary war land grant in Washington, GA where he resided with his wife Mary until his death in 1797.
Many, many founders of the Cumberland are tied to the Battle at Point Pleasant and the Va Militia.

At this point all possible siblings are dead ends to the source of parents. Some directions I will be heading in the coming months will be based on a passage I found in The “Franklin Family Research Volume 20.” It states:  

 p. 658: Sumner Co., Tennessee .... same of earliest settlers .... James Franklin
p. 662: John Franklin who was left off the “early settler” list of Sumner Co., thought his brother James Franklin is listed, was born 1776 probably in NC. This John Franklin was the father of Dr. John Franklin, one time a well know physician who was born in Sumner Co., where he lived in,1819.
p. 662: Sumner Co., This Franklin family was related to the Cleveland family and was the same family to which Jessee[sic] Franklin, once Governor of NC, belonged.
p. 664. Sumner Co., John Franklin and William and Richard Franklin, John Donelson, William and Samuel Round, Thomas and John Purnell, Ince and John Stockley, the Crosbys and Capt. Henry Smith and William Walton were all neighbors at Snow Hill, Somerset Co., MD.: all belonged to the same church and persons bearing the same names found their way to the Cumberland settlements nearly 100 years later, intermarried and prospered.

Snow Hill, Maryland is a well known Huguenot settlement. So this trail could be interesting. If anyone doing research on this branch of the family has information please contact me by commenting on this blog. Thank you.

Picture sources:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Military Service Timeline Reconstructed

As a little nod to Veterans Day I thought I would post my research on James Franklin’s service records. Special, considering our Veterans date from 1775 to 2011 and James Franklin is in the 1775 group.

Prior to the Revolution James Franklin is listed as a Private with Captain Phillip Love's Company of Volunteers from Botetourt County, VA. They marched with the Virginia Militia in August of 1774 as part of Lord Dunmore's Colonial Army of Virginia against the Native Americans of the Ohio in West Virginia. Fascinating are the cast of characters that participated in this battle near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. So many on the
roster would ultimately ended up in the Cumberland Settlements with James Franklin. Also listed in Love’s Company is William Franklin (assumed brother who is wounded) and James Neeley. Sprinkled in other companies are well-known TN founders like Evan and James Shelby, William Neeley, Samuel and John Savage, James Knox and James Robertson. The majority of the men fighting were Militia from Fincastle or Botetourt County, VA.

Lord Dunmore was widely accused of pushing this battle to divert Virginians from differences with the royal administration of the American colony, and for this reason the fighting at
Point Pleasant has sometimes been called the first battle of the Revolution.

Tracking the Officers

Three people are tied to James Franklin’s Revolutionary service after Point Pleasant. DAR records list James as served with Captain Pleasant, Col. Parker and Captain Anderson in the Virginia 5th and 3rd Regiments. A thorough investigation of Revolutionary War service records confirm James Franklin listed in service with these officers.
Col. Josiah Parker
Also, in order to follow the paper trail of these men we have to understand the history of the Virginia 5th and 3rd Regiments of the Continental Army. The 5th Virginia Regiment was raised on December 28, 1775 at Richmond, Virginia for service with the U.S. Continental Army. The regiment saw action at the Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Siege of Charleston. The regiment was joined to the 3rd Virginia Regiment on May 12, 1779. General William Russell and Col. Josiah Parker were two of its commanders. Service records also indicate Captain Pleasant’s Company in the 5th is also recorded as Captain Mosby’s company.

Militia to Civilian to Patriot
Service with the VA Army around 1776 was not organized. A common occurrence was varied enlistment times. Since there was no draft or requirement to serve, sometimes service lengths were negotiated. The typical service time was one to three years. But, negotiating in 3 month pay clips was not uncommon. Many former militia who were used to serving close to home were not keen on relocating to far-away battle fields for long periods of time.

It is possible James takes a break from service sometime in early 1776.  It is during this time he marries Mary Lauderdale and relocates to the North Holston Settlements. The North Holston was then Washington County, VA. Eventually it became Sullivan County, NC then later TN. In 1775 the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals opened up this territory for settlement.

At some point in 1777 James enlisted in the VA 5th.  The VA 5th is famous for participation in Washington’s battle at Trenton and the winter in Valley Forge. It is unlikely James was in service at this point in the war. James Franklin’s records do not pick back up again until Private James Franklin is listed in Dec of 1776 on the company payroll of Captain John Pleasant of the 5th VA regiment. In July of 1777 Mosby’s 5th payroll notes state that soldiers who were owed back pay were left in Virginia and had only joined up with the company one month ago. Captain Mosby is in charge of the 5th under Col Parker in Nov of 1777 where Private Franklin is listed as on furlough. All muster rolls and pay rolls from this point forward have James with an official enlistment date of December 1777 with the 3rd VA Regiment stating a commitment of 3 years. But, it would seem he again was in and out of active service. It is well documented the the Continental Army had problems paying its soldiers. When he did finally return in the winter of 1778-79, he was promoted to Corporal of the VA 3rd under Anderson’s Company.

Middlebrook Muster Roll

In Nov 1778 and January 1779 James is still on the Muster Rolls of the 3rd VA reg under Captain John Anderson. The company is part of the famous Washington’s 1778-79 winter Second Middlebrook Encapment in Boundbrook, NJ. Middlebrook is written at the bottom of the roll. The 3rd VA Regiment would patrol in the NJ/NY area throughout 1779. No other records for James appear after December of 1779. The history of the 3rd VA regiment states it begins its participation in the Southern theatre in 1780. Most of the regiment was captured at Charlestown, South Carolina on May 12, 1780 by the British and the regiment was formally disbanded on November 15, 1783. All evidence points to James Franklin’s discharge at the end of 1779, before the 3rd marches to the Southern theatre and Charleston. He plans his move to the Cumberland by Spring of 1780.

RECAP James Franklin's Path to the Cumberland
1774 - James fought at the Battle of Point Pleasant
1776 - James and Mary Lauderdale are married and move to the North Holston Settlements
1777 - First child John born in the Holston in January
1777 - November listed by Continental Army as “on furlough”
1777 - Enlists for 3 year commitment in the Continental Army on December 1st. (Records show he only served 2 of the 3 - or they counted time in service around the beginning of the Revolution)
1778-79 Winter Encampment at Middlebook, NJ.
1779 - Second child, James, born in the Holston in October. This would put James and Mary together around January 1779. With furloughs in 1778 prior to his promotion to Corporal and encampment at Middlebrook there is certainly enough time for a second child to be born. Or the birth date is one year off, aligning with winter of 1777-78 right when James Franklin signs an official enlistment. I will need to find source record of James Jr.’s birth to better establish that timeline. But the encampment at Middlebook and 2nd child’s birth does not align well.
1780 - Isaac Franklin’s Bio states Mary and James arrive in the Cumberland in the Spring of 1780. It is possible just James arrived and Mary stayed behind until proper living quarters were established.
1780 - helped build Mansker Station
1780-1782 - Listed  in the Cumberland Settlements census. James Robertson names him as part of the “Immortal Seventy”
1782 - Daughter Jane stated to be born in the Holston. This would put James in the Holston around August of 1781 or Mary in the Cumberland? Jane may have been born in the Cumberland.
1783 - Helped Build Station Camp fort near present day Pilot Knob, Sumner County, TN
1786 - Land Grant, Pilot Knob/Station Camp Creek, Sumner County, TN (Then Davidson County, NC)

So while the puzzle pieces do not fit neatly together, there are some major periods of time that do align and overlap to match with records. One would assume the above timeline is approximately James Franklin’s and Mary Lauderdale’s path to the Cumberland Settlements based on James’ service in the Continental Army. These records also firmly establish James Franklin as a Patriot.

Sources: Revolutionary War Rolls. membership access to Revolutionary War Rolls and Service Records. Downloads of first source microfilm obtained in this search. Public Member Search.
Image posted: Middlebrook Muster Roll

Settlements along the Holston

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Daughter Jane and the Wood DAR Legacy

The first real bit of leg work to help our cause must firmly document that James Franklin is a Patriot from the Revolutionary War. This documentation is necessary so the DAR will help. Not knowing if distant cousins want to be blogged about here, I will reveal that I have had help. Information that has come to light in recent weeks that will prove our cause. Thank you cousins. The first clue started with DAR entry records under Jane Franklin Wood.

Jane Franklin, daughter to James Franklin and Mary Lauderdale, sister to John and James, Jr, was born in the Holston Settlements in 1782. It is possible she was born in the Cumberland or somewhere in between. She later marries John Wood. Tennessee Probate data lists Jane as James Franklin's daughter and son-in-law John Wood as executor. At some point the Wood family leaves Sumner County and moves to Missouri, It is there in 1848 that Jane Franklin Wood dies.

Sumner Co., TN Probate Data: by Spero (p 47)
"JAMES FRANKLIN , SR. WILL  Son John. Son Isaac. Land Station Camp Creek.
Line of James Franklin, Jr. Son James. Son William. Daughter Ann Wood
Betsy Franklin. Grandaughter Polly Purvis. Daus. Jane Wood, Ann Wood. Sally Gardner, Betsy Franklin. Son Albert C. Franklin. Grandson Isaac Purvis. Appoints son James Franklin &; son-in-law John Wood Exec. Dec 10. 1828.
Approved 1830  (p 91/2)"

The DAR listings show the Wood family has entered the DAR on Jane Franklin's line for years.
They also have double legacies recorded under the John Lauderdale line.

I feel this link to so many DAR legacies is the path to establish that James Franklin's grave is one of a Patriot. And under the officer listings outlined in the DAR Record I will attempt to reconstruct James Franklin's Continental Army service by following the path of Captains Pleasant and Anderson as well as Col. Parker. Look for that blog post to come!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Family & Community

Things are rumbling again around the grave site restoration. I'm encouraged. We have a cousin that is well connected in Sumner County and is ready to take on some phone calling and paper trail generation with the DAR. As I know progress I will update it here.

She shared with me her revelation around James Franklin's tile of Captain. This title has been somewhat of a mystery. He was not an officer in the Revolution. But, he did help defend the Cumberland Settlements in the local militia. So it could be a title of endearment?
James Franklin reached the rank of corporal in the Revolutionary War. His DAR records state he served  as a private and a corporal in the 3rd and 5th. SOURCELineage book, Volumes 144-145‎ - Page 207 James Franklin (1750- 1828) served as private and corporal in the 3d and 5th
 Virginia regiments ... He was born in Maryland ; died in Sumner County, Tenn.

If it was not a military title, then where did it come from? Are records confused with James Franklin, Jr who did serve as a Captain in the Civil War? My cousin has another brilliant theory. The Franklin's were well-known traders in the Cumberland. The Franklin brothers, along with their father, ran boats between Gallatin and New Orleans. It is possible the title Captain came in reference to being a river boat captain. Very plausible.

From "Old Sumner"
By 1807 the oldest Franklin children were reaching maturity. James, Jr. and John were farming and trading in the Pilot Knob area and apparently were sending flatboats to New Orleans laden with local produce and returning them laden with merchandise. They had the same year hired their brother Isaac, then eighteen years of age " as their agent" for transporting on the Mississippi the surplus products of the county to New Orleans, and bringing back merchandise in their room.

As history plays out Isaac would learn the trading business and later move from trafficking merchandise to trafficking people. This also set the stage for the Franklin family to become well-known dry-goods merchants in Gallatin, TN. They were also horse traders of the finest thoroughbreds for generations. Though I have heard two different branches of the family mention the "horse trading" description was used as a derogatory comment in later generations by in-laws as views changed about slavery. No doubt they had a reputation as tough business men.

But, this blog is not about later generations, it is about preserving the burial site of a Sumner County/Cumberland Settlement Founding Father and Revolutionary soldier. Let's hope the Captain sees his resting place restored very soon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Facebook and Modern Communication

Image courtesy of Jack Masters & Bill Puryear 

Life takes busy turns. I'm wishing for action items to help move the grave site restoration along. But, life for everyone keeps getting in the way. I still feel connected as I have time. "Thoroughfare for Freedom" the new book by "Cumberland Pioneers" authors Jack Masters & Bill Puryear has hit bookstores. I'm saving up for my copy. You can purchase it here. There is also a Facebook group called Descendants of the Long Hunters that is fun to follow. Lots of great genealogy content with links to family info. Much of it first source.

My action items:
Connect with the DAR in Gallatin.
Connect and obtain a bid from an expert in cemetery restoration. There are contacts through Rock Castle.
Get a plan on paper and create a budget to project costs.
Have buy-in and possible donation from land developer.
Set up 501-c3 and Paypal with bank to take donations online or handle mailing in a check.
Promote to the Franklin family at large and to historical organizations to raise money.
Research possible grants to fund the project.
Determine long-term sustainable maintenance of the plot - possibly this is the land developers contribution.
Once money is raised and project is complete, organize a dedication party. Cousin Julie has info on this.

If I just have a plan and costs - I can raise the money.
Please feel free to comment or connect me with the right people to get the ball rolling. Thanks! and be sure to check out these fabulous books about our Cumberland Pioneers.