"Franklin Family Researchers United" carries this passage from Ben Franklin's Volume I.
The William Franklin's DAR records have him serving in the same Capt. Love's Botetourt County Volunteers. He received a revolutionary war land grant in Washington, GA where he resided with his wife Mary until his death in 1797.
Future edits to this biography will hopefully reveal more about who James Franklin's parents were. I have read possible connections to Somerset County, MD. I continue to research how James became involved with the Lauderdales. Much of what is written here is trying to piece together the migration based on family associations and what we know to be true. Ancestory.com records show a George and Susannah Franklin as possible parents to James. Notes from Kenneth Thompson's information from a Sarah Lauderdale Gardner (1834-1935) interview say James' father's name was John.
There is so much going on in the Holston Settlements. The Watauga compact was established in 1772. James Robertson is leading the way establishing law, court order and government structure. His group of educated settlers are working the system of law to establish settlements and stake land with Indian treaties and land grant designations. The Lauderdales were also educated. There is evidence that says James is not. But, Kenneth Thomson rebuts that fact 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.
New conclusions around the reason James is not on the rolls of the Cumberland Compact, nor is he recorded much past what is required to participate in the migration or the war was because he aligned himself with Mansker. And made his business escorting settlers. He was a hunter, trapper, farmer and soldier, not a lawyer or surveyor. Isaac Franklin's bio as well as Franklin family lore said he was a Long Hunter and that he and Mary came over land to TN. This research continues.
Families of the Cumberland Settlements
More Lauderdale connection reveals James McKain* who is listed in the Donelson Flotilla as married to Mary Lauderdale's sister Margaret. They have a son traveling in the party named Peter Looney, Jr. (Luna) from Margaret's first marriage to Peter Looney Senior. Mr. Looney died and she remarried James McKain. James Franklin and James McKain go on to build the Station Camp Creek Settlement together. But, did they come to Tennessee together? Did James Lauderdale send both of his son-in-laws to stake out land?
A passage in the Rounsavall diaries compares the Donelson Flotilla travel choice to the overland through Kentucky choice as the two ways to leaving the Holston Settlement and make the move to the Cumberland. "Since the overland journey through Kentucky was not deemed feasible for the women, children, servants and animals, it was decided that John Donelson would lead a flotilla of flatboats down the Holston River, to the Tennessee River, from the Tennessee to the Ohio River, and then down the Cumberland River to the Nashville settlement. This was the actual plan that was carried out.
** Amos Eaton of the same Eaton Station mentioned in the party with David Rounsavall? Does that mean James Franklin's family was in that party too? And the Rounsavall party mentions Amos Heaton, but are they really referring to Amos Eaton?
Sumner County was a dangerous place in 1778. Indian attacks were frequent. 'Early Middle Tennessee History' states “Kasper Mansker as previously noted was by no means new to the Cumberland country. Now taking with him Neely, James Franklin, Daniel Frazier and others he went twelve miles north of the Bluff to the region of the he had discovered while hunting eight years before the west side of Mansker's Creek and three or four from what was later known as Walton's camp built a fort which was called Mansker's Station located near Goodlettsville."
Mansker’s Station was ready for occupancy in 1779/1780. Isaac Franklin’s bio says his mother and father move from Eastern, TN and took up residence in the fort with their two young children in 1780. By the end of 1780 Mansker Station would fall to the Indians and the fort was abandon. Everyone relocated to Fort Nashborogh which was constructed a year earlier by James Robertson. In 1780 the Cumberland Settlement census records show James Franklin and family (Mary, James, Jr. and John) on the rolls in Davidson County at Nashborough.
Station Camp Settlement
In 1782-83 James Franklin helps build up the Station Camp Community near Pilot Knob on Station Camp Creek in Sumner County. This encampment was originally carved out by Mansker's and Bledsoe's hunting parties in 1772. It is assumed James Franklin's family remained here until his pre-emption was granted in April of 1786. Though some sources say there may have been a Lauderdale homestead nearby at that time and the Franklins may have stayed there. Other families at the settlement in 1783 included James McKain, Elmore Douglass and Charles Carter according to Water Durham's 'The Great Leap Westward.'
Station Camp was one of several forts established around the Gallatin area that would offer protection from Indian attacks and bring in settlers to populate Sumner County. It is around this fort location at the mouth of Station Camp Creek and the Cumberland River that the Franklin's settled the area. Read more about the major roll of the station camps in settling the Cumberland.
Kenneth Thomson records of an interview with Carrie Franklin Childress in the 1930's, grand daughter of James Franklin, Jr. says that Mary Lauderdale Franklin is buried in the plot next to James but her grave stone was destroyed and documented as such in the 1930's. Divining rod surveys detected two graves in 2014. She dies before 1828. Research still to be done on specifics of her death.
There is another James Franklin listed as Captain in the VA 10th, commissioned on the 19th of Nov in 1776 an resigned in 1778. This is not our James Franklin. Officer Franklin was from Amherst, Va having married Nancy and he dies in 1813.
There is confusion around the title of Captain. It is possible the rank/title of Captain could have been bestowed with Kasper Mansker and his Militia defending the settlement. Another theory gives him title based on his participation in river trading as a riverboat captain. The thought is that the title came of fond respect not of an officer's military service; similar to Commodore Vanderbilt who was never actually a Commodore.
1714 - James M. Lauderdale Immigrates from Ireland
1755 - Capt. James Franklin Born in Maryland
1775 - James Serves in the VA Army
1776 - James Franklin Marries Mary Lauderdale
1776 - James Franklin Arrives in Eastern TN/NC Holston Settlement
1776 - Declaration of Independence signed
1776-79 - James Franklin Long Hunts into Middle, TN and is also shown to be enlisted in the Virginia Army at this time. (Continental Army 1777-78-79 with furlough that might correspond to time in the North Holston Settlement - then considered to be Washington County, VA.) There may be three James Franklins serving in the Revolution? One is an officer from Amherst. One is a corporal enlisted. And one serves in the militia and defending the Western Frontier. (updated 11-20-2014)
1779 - Nashville Founded, Fort Nashborough Built
1779-80 - Mansker Station Completed
1780 - James and Mary Franklin Reside at Mansker Station
1780 - Donelson Flotilla Arrives at Nashborough
1780 - James and Mary move to Nashborough
1780 - Bledsoe Lick Established
1781 - Battle of the Bluffs at Nashborough
1781 - Mansker Station Burns
1782-83 - Station Camp Fort Built built on Station Camp Creek
1784 - Rock Castle Built by Daniel Smith
1785 - John Shelby Born – the first white child born in Sumner Cty
1786 - William Lauderdale receives his Land Grant
1786 - James Franklin's Land Grant
1786 - Sumner County Founded
1788 - Pilot Knob Built by James Franklin
1789 - Washington Elected First President
1789 - Isaac Franklin Born
1794 - Treaty of Tellico brought an end to the Chickamauga Wars
1794 - VA Lauderdale's follow James Franklin to Middle, TN
1796 - Tennessee becomes a State
1798 - John Franklin, James’ oldest child, Marries Elizabeth Rawlings
1828 - James Franklin Dies
Map supplied by Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, DC 20540-4650