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.