When the State of Franklin Tried To Become America’s 14th State
August 23, 2010

United States Map 1783-1803 includes inset that features State of Franklin

On This Date In History: In Colonial times, the Crown made the rules and in 1763, England decreed that no settlements be made west of the Appalachian mountains.   This decree was known as the Proclamation of 1763 and the intent was to prevent an escalation of fighting between English settlers and Native Americans. 

Note that Extreme Western NC and East Tennessee Are Beyond The Boundary of the 1763 Proclamation

After the French and Indian War, English settlers poured over the mountains into the region formerly inhabited by the French.  The Indians of the region formed an alliance under the Ottawa chieftain Pontiac in an effort to push back the intrusion.  The proclamation was designed to give London control over westward expansion rather than provincial governments.   The Native Americans really weren’t too keen on the proclamation because one of the provisions was that they had to cede more land for European settlement.  But, they went along as they felt it was probably the best deal that they could get.  The Cherokee worked hard to quickly draw the boundaries so as to preclude further White settlement.  Nevertheless, frontiersman refused to abandon their outposts…remember Daniel Boone was running around what is now Kentucky in the 1760s.

Painting of Franklin in 1785 Looks As if Ben Were Asked About His Feelings Toward Having a State Named For Him

Several of the original coastal colonies stretched westward deep into the continent and colonial governments had a difficult time maintaining control of their western territories.  In the 1670’s, revolt in western parts of Virginia led to Bacon’s Rebellion.  In the case of the North Carolina Colony, the western boundary was the Mississippi River.  The vast majority of inhabitants lived on the coastal plain, east of the Appalachian Mountains and they enjoyed the most services for their taxes and they also controlled the political system.   Much as the folks in western Virginia in the 1670’s, people living in the western portion of North Carolina felt as if they had no representation in any political system and that they were forced to pay taxes in support of the regions along the coast.  In 1772, hundreds, if not thousands, of folks in the mountains of what is now eastern Tennessee formed the Watauga Association.  The effort was mainly for defense against the Indians but it also gave them a unified political voice.   When the American Revolution came about, the Wataugans used their expert aim with their long rifles to defeat the British at King’s Mountain, South Carolina under the leadership of John ” Nolichucky Jack” Sevier.   After the Revolution, the state of North Carolina wasn’t any nicer to the region than the king had been as they taxed the Wataugans “grievously….without enjoying the blessings of it.”

Sevier-A "Statesman"?

Sevier-A "Statesman"?

In 1784, it was apparent that it was politically impossible to effectively control the vast region of  North Carolina  and the state legislature offered to cede the Tennessee lands to the federal government.  In response, the Wataugans held  a convention and on this date in 1784 representatives of the people who lived in what is now eastern Tennessee voted to found the 14th state of Franklin.  Even though the new “state” was named for him, Ben Franklin declined an invitation to visit but Thomas Jefferson approved of the move. They even elected John Sevier as Governor. But, they got a little ahead of themselves as only 7 of the 13 states agreed with Jefferson and the Constitution said that they needed 9 to gain statehood. Meanwhile, back in the North Carolina capitol of Raleigh, the state rescinded their offer of secession of its western lands to the federal government  and arrested Sevier as a traitor!   Undeterred, the state of Franklin continued to operate on its own until 1789.   This was an illustration of the difficulty of the time as Raleigh making laws and decrees was one thing but being able to enforce the law in the west was another story.  Eventually, in  North Carolina gave in, pardoned Sevier and forgave the settlers back taxes and once again ceded the western lands to the Tennessee territory of which Franklin became part.  When the territory was admitted to the Union in 1796, Sevier was elected its first Governor.

James Alex Baggett Wrote About the Union Cavalry From Tennessee

 In truth, East Tennessee is a legal distinction as is Middle Tennessee and Western Tennessee.  According to the Tennessee Constitution, no more than two state supreme court justices can come from any of the regions, thus insuring that each part of the state is represented on the state’s highest court.  But, the regions also were, and to some degree still are, differentiated by their socioeconomic level.  In the 1860’s, the eastern part of the state was the poorest of the three regions and had, by far, the fewest number of slaves.  Yeoman farmers had little in common with wealthy slave owners.  At the 1861 state secession convention, 29 counties in East Tennessee and 1 in Middle Tennessee spoke out against secession and threatened to once again form an independent state aligned with the Union.   While they did not rejuvenate the state of Franklin, the folks in East Tennessee maintained their independence.  During the Civil War, most of the mountain folks of East Tennessee remained loyal to the Union and proved to be a real thorn in the side of the Confederacy, much as they had to the King and to North Carolina. 

Kevin T Barksdale Wrote About the Lost State of Franklin

If the US was ever invaded, I have thought there were parts of the country that would never be conquered and East Tennessee is near the top of my list.  Today, one can find State of Franklin Blvd east Elizabethton, TN; I’ve driven by it before it may even be in North Carolina but I can’t find it on a map.  Just north of that Elizabethton is the town of Watauga.  Not far to the east in North Carolina is Watauga County.  Curiously, the town of Franklin, TN is nowhere near the region as it can be found south of Nashville.

Weather Bottom  Line:  As it turns out, the storms on Saturday morning robbed the atmosphere of so much energy when the front came through on Saturday night, it had nothing to work with.  I should not have been so wishy washy.  Declaring “If” and “Maybe” is not really making a forecast.  My bad.  We will be dominated by high pressure with relatively dry air in the region so for the week ahead, highs in the upper 80’s will feel quite refreshing.  I really do think we’ve turned the corner on excessive heat for this year.

The King Should’ve Asked The People First
March 24, 2010

If George Had Only Asked First....

French and Indian War Became Part of A Very Expensive Anglo-French Conflict

On This Date in History:  Following the French and Indian War, Britain was left with a huge war debt.  That particular conflict began in 1754 but got folded into  a larger scale European  war between the French and English that became known as the Seven Years War that concluded in 1763.  Londoners were getting tired paying higher taxes to pay for the war and so the Crown had to look for other sources of income.  King George III had risen to the head of the monarchy at age 22  at the death of his grandfather.  Now, the previous two kings had been rather weak and Parliament had seized the lead in establishing policy in the English government.  With the encouragement of his mother, George removed from power the coalition of Whigs who had been running the government.  He used patronage to establish a new coalition that would allow him to have control over Parliament.  While the old Whig coalition had been quite stable, George’s new coalition created ministries that proved not to last too long with each lasting in office but a couple of years.

Colonists Weren't Too Kind to Agents of the Crown

With the new regime and the end of the war, a new policy was set forth:  the American colonies would start to pay for their defense.  But, the colonists had been pretty much left alone almost from the outset of settlement and so any direction from across the pond was not well received.  This was especially the case since the Crown didn’t ask the assemblies of each colony but instead made decrees.  If you think about it, it really wasn’t too unreasonable for there to be some expectation for the colonies to pay for part of the costs associated with running a colonial system.  And I suspect that the colonists would have agreed.  But,  the British government passsed new laws without the advise or consent of the colonial assemblies and that ran counter to their perceived rights as Englishmen.  No matter what Parliament passed, the colonists were against it.  The Sugar Act of 1764, the Currency Act of 1764 and the odious Stamp Act of 1765 all were resisted by the colonies.  Ben Franklin was  a colonial agent in London and had long argued that the resistance was to internal taxes; taxes and duties from London on products and services that originated in the colonies.  Franklin had differentiated between these internal and external taxes or duties slapped on good imported into the colonies.

Redcoats Were Not Welcome in New York

  Charles Townsend had ascended to parliamentary power following the incapacitation of William Pitt.  He listened to Franklin and so he issued the Townshend Program that included the Townshend Duties which were taxes put on lead, paint, paper and tea imported into the colonies.  Well, in spite of what Franklin had argued, the colonies didn’t like that either because to the merchants and people taxes proclaimed by any body except for the a colony’s assembly ran counter to the rights of Englishmen.  But, perhaps a more destructive portion of the Townshend Program had nothing to do with taxation but instead actual power.  Townshend had proclaimed that the New York Assembly, the legislative body voted into office by the citizens of New York, was disbanded until it accepted the terms of the Mutiny Act of 1765.   Most people are famliar with the Mutiny Act by a more common term: The Quartering Act of 1765

Working With Colonial Assemblies Instead of Ruling By Decree Might Have Saved the Colonies For George III

During the French and Indian War, British generals had a difficult time getting provisions and quartering  from the colonies for regular Army members.  When requested, most colonies eventually voted to provide for what was requested but the process was difficult.  As part of the effort, Lt. General Thomas Gage had convinced the New York Assembly to provide quartering of British regulars.  That legislative action expired January 1, 1764.  So, instead of getting the colonies to each pass quartering legislation, Parliament just issued the blanket Mutiny Act that included the Quartering Act of 1765 which required colonial governments to not only to provide a place for troops to lay their heads, but also food and supplies.  And, neither the soldiers or the British government would pay for it.  The colonists thought that since the war with the French was over there was no need for permanent British troops since they had never been stationed in America prior to the F&I War and Parliament had no right to compel such servitude without local legislative approval.  The British said that the troops were necessary to defend the borders against Indian attacks and, as subjects, they were bound by Parliamentary Acts.    The Quartering Act was passed on this date in 1765 and when 1500 British troops arrived in New York in 1766, the New York Assembly refused to make appropriations for them in any manner and they were forced to bunk on board the ships.   See, the colonies felt like they had rights of self governance while King George looked at them as subjects to the rule of Parliament.

Tis Easy to Attact a Bear With Honey...Something George Should Have tried

The central government was probably reasonable in many of their requests.  The colonists had in fact been providing for the British troops when the need was brought to their attention by General officers who negotiated with the assemblies.  A large part of the Quartering Act was the fact that the Parliament and the king did not ask but instead imposed thier will on the people.  Was it a good thing? Probably.  Was it just? Probably.  Did the people understand it? No.  Had they simply gone to the assemblies like General Gage had, then there might not have been much of an issue.  It could be argued that same line of thinking might have held with all of the taxation efforts.   But, King George III wanted to show who held the power and so instead of convincing the people that it was in their best interest and necessary to accept these provisions, he instead wished to impose his authority.  The result was a revolution from a bunch of otherwise loyal British subjects who tried to remain Englishmen but eventually felt that they had no voice.  And therefore, they had no choice but to seek their independence.

SPC Thunderstorm Risk For Thursday

Thursday Evening 8 PM

Weather Bottom Line:  The forecast is running along as expected. Wednesday we pushed toward 70 in spite of increasing cloud cover.  There is a southern system running along Dixie that will help trigger rain in our area and perhaps some t’storms on Thursday with temperatures in the 60’s.  But, as I mentioned on Tuesday, the biggest threat for any real thunderstorm activity or even severe weather for that matter will be well to our south.  The SPC got on board and put out an outline suggesting the same thing that I did on Tuesday with the edge of the t-storm activity just on our doorstep but the biggest threat for some action will be South.  There is a cold front running down from the Northwest late Thursday evening that will pick up the system but we could see some shower activity the first part of Friday with improvements as the day progresses.  Saturday looks pretty nice with highs in the low 60’s.    Then Sunday another southern system passes us to the South and again brings rain but not real threatening conditions.  I suspect that we’ll be fine for churchgoers but rain chances increase by the afternoon.

The One American Who Should Never Be Forgotten
February 22, 2010

Gilbert Stuart's Familiar Painting of President Washington

Gilbert Stuart's Familiar Painting of President Washington

On This Date in History: On this date in 1732 George Washington was born. His birthday used to be a National holiday on it’s own.  I had to edit this post though to reflect the number of protestations from people pointing out that Washington’s Birthday is still the holiday, officially. I have to admit that I did not know that.   Back in 1968, apparently the Feds moved the recognition from Feb 22 to the third Monday in February.  It’s cheaper to have a 3 day weekend than it is to close offices in midweek.  A few years ago when it was determined that there needed to be a birthday holiday for Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.  While Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday, many states had such a designation. I broke a rule and assumed that it had been a federal holiday since I always got two days off from school.  Anyway,  since they added MLK, state governments did not want to increase the number of holidays so they eliminated the holidays for the birth of President Lincoln.  The third Monday in February is still officially Washington’s birthday, but no one calls it that.  Instead, it is referred to by the media and just about everyone else as President’s Day.  That is utter nonsense. I mean, do we need a day to remember Millard Filmore, Franklin Pierce and Chester A. Arthur? If  states wanted to eliminate a day, it could have been Columbus Day. I suppose they didn’t want so may holidays in January and February. In any event, the point of this piece was not a debate about holidays…it’s about February 22.  Today, I asked the students in my American History class what was significant about today.  One said “we have an exam” another said “it’s Monday” and another reminded me that it was his birthday.   That is the larger issue….for whatever reason, while it may not be official, pragmatically, we have lost Washington’s Birthday in the national lexicon.  The distance between the “Father of the Country” and Americans is growing.   

General Washington Resigning His Commission to Congress.  He Voluntarily Surrendered Absolute Power, Not Once, But Twice.  The Definition of the man, his character and integrity.

General Washington Resigning His Commission to Congress. He Voluntarily Surrendered Absolute Power, Not Once, But Twice. The Definition of the man, his character and integrity.

Recently, they came out with another poll of historians ranking the presidents. Lincoln came out on top followed by Washington. In my mind, General Washington is and always should be at the top of the list. I believe there is no other person who is more important in the history of the United States of America.  In many regards, if it were not for him, there very well may not have been a President Lincoln, or William Henry Harrison or Warren G. Harding. He should be studied more in school and his day should remain. Instead of using my words to put out a  full biography, instead, I am choosing on this day to commemorate his birth and life with some verbiage put out by historian David Hackett Fischer from Washington’s Crossing; (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) 7-8.

“He was a big man, immaculate in dress, and of such charismatic presence that he filled the street even when he rode alone. A crowd gathered to watch him go by, as if he were a one-man parade. Children bowed and bobbed to him. Soldiers called him ‘Your Excellency,’ a title rare in America. Gentlemen doffed their hats and spoke his name with deep respect: General Washington.”

“As he came closer, his features grew more distinct. In 1776, we would not have recognized him from the Stuart painting that we know too well. At the age of forty-two, he looked young, lean, and very fit-more so than we remember him. He had the sunburned, storm-beaten face of a man who lived much of his life in the open. His hair was a light hazel-brown, thinning around the temples. Beneath a high forehead, a broad Roman nose bore a few small scars of smallpox. People remembered his soft blue-gray eyes, set wide apart and deep in their sockets. The lines around his eyes gave an unexpected hint of laughter. A Cambridge lady remarked on his ‘appearance of good humor.’ A Hessian observed that a ‘slight smile in his expression when he spoke inspired affection and respect.’ Many were impressed by his air of composure and surprised by his modesty.”

Fort Necessity Wasn't Much of a Fort

George Washington wasn’t always wildly successful but his life certainly is marked by perverence and a sense of duty.  In 1754, the Governor of Virginia sent a militia force into the Ohio Valley to challenge French expansion in that area.  A young, inexperienced colonel by the name of George Washington was put in command.  Washington and his men camped at Fort Necessity, which  was but a crude outpost not far from the far more substantial French fortification in what is present day Pittsburgh, or more specifically, about where Three Rivers Stadium housed the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates.   A detachment from the France’s Fort Duquesne was attacked by Washington’s forces but a French counterattack left Washington and his soldiers surrounded.  After 1/3 of the British had died, Washington surrendered .  The British were allowed to leave but this marked the beginning of the French and Indian War.

Washington's Daring Trek To Trenton and Then Princeton

By the spring of 1775, the Continental Congress established and made George Washington the singular commander in chief.  While the Fort Necessity escapade was somewhat of a fiasco, he had more military experience than any other American-born officer who was available.  He had been an early advocate of Independence and that was important since about a third of the colonists remained loyal to the crown, a third was riding the fence and the third that favored independence initially included a portion whose support was soft.   But, above all, the reason the Continential Congress chose the aristicrat-planter from Virginia was that he was admired, respected and trusted by nearly every Patriot.

The theme that runs through the narrative of this man is one of unflinching respect.  He was physically imposing for his time, and even would be today, standing somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 foot 2 inches with an extremely sturdy stature.  We know about crossing the Delaware River on Christmas Eve 1776.  It was a  brilliant plan, but the weather was dangerously awful and it was Christmas Eve for his men too.  So, it took great leadership to be able to get his men to execute the plan at night in sleet, rain and snow on Christmas Eve and do so by crossing a river under conditions that would make it near impossible to cross in daylight.

George Washington Cut an Impressive Figure

Washington’s mere presence was enough to bring the most arrogant of men to attention.  He served as the President of the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787.   It was a long hot summer and tempers flared to the point that several times, the conventioneer threatened to pack up and go home.  But, when necessary, apparently all George Washington needed to do was rise from his chair and talk of dissovlement abruptly ended.  Washington was the only president to be elected unanimously by the electoral college and he was elected unanimously twice.  He followed the example set by Cincinattus, of Roman lore, and returned to his farm after his service.  (The city of Cincinnati was so named in honor of General Washington)   In fact, it is extremely unusual for someone to give up absolute power voluntarily and George Washington did it not once, but twice, when he surrendered his sword  to Congress after the Revolution and then again refused to stand for a third term.  In many ways, he set the tone that the nation has generally followed in the over two centuries that have followed.

We could use General Washington today. Without him, there may never have been a United States of America and the freedom that has spread around the world in the past two centuries may never have come to pass. May his life always be remembered in the singularity of respect that it deserves and demands.

Weather Bottom Line:  I may update this later but, basically, I told you it would rain, though the weekend warmed up even more than I anticipated. Dont’ get used to it.  Look for falling temperatures by Monday evening and then we’re back well be below average for the foreseeable future..perhaps into mid March.  As it stands,  a second push of decidedly colder air comes down on Wednesday and late Tuesday into Wednesday we may get some light snow squeezed out from the denser, Arctic air.  Perhaps and inch of snow would fall over a 36 hour time frame.  That would come after some insignificant light snow or flurries Tuesday with moisture wrapping around the low as it scoots to the northeast…but that won’t  be much of a big deal. It’s not really coming together much but…if the data changes just a bit, we may have another significant snow event left in us for the first week of March..but, well see.

Who Pays Paris’ Phone Bills? Join Or Die!
May 9, 2009

Who Pays That Phone Bill?

Who Pays That Phone Bill?

Hold The Phone, Paris!  Did you see the movie, Pledge This?  Well, not too many other people did either.  See, it was a vehicle of that noted actress and producer Paris Hilton.   It was only released in 25 theatres nationwide and now the investor who sunk over $8 million into the project want’s his money back.(see NY Post Story Here)  Seems that he thinks that Paris didn’t do enough of promotion.  But, her attornies say that she is the “single busiest person on the planet.”  Actress?  That’s for you to judge.  But, executive producer?

Paris or Marie?

Paris or Marie?

  Let’s let Paris tell us what an executive producer does:  “I’m not sure what a producer does, but-I don’t know. Help get cool people into the cast.”  And finally, in another part of the testimony, a lawyer was asking questions about her phone bills.  Paris was flummoxed.  She said she’s never seen a phone bill before.  When asked who does see her phone bills, she answered, “I don’t know. Like, I’m assuming whoever pays my bills.  I never ask about that stuff.”    Somewhere, the Ghost of Marie Antoinette may or may not be whispering in Paris’ ear, “let them eat cake.”

 

Philadelphia Gazette May 9 1754

Philadelphia Gazette May 9 1754

On This Date In History: From someone a bit more notable and less forgetable than Paris Hilton…You may recognize this snake from the HBO Miniseries “John Adams”.   This was actually the first political cartoon to appear in American newspapers.  It was constructed by Benjamin Franklin and the pieces of the snake represent each of the colonies or sections of the colonies.  There was a superstition that a snake cut into pieces would re-unite after sunset.  It went along with Franklin’s editorial referring to the “disunited state” of the colonies and how they were better off united. 

Here’s the rub….this cartoon first appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette on this date in 1754.  That is well before the colonists were talking separation from the crown.  Nope, this was done in relation to the French and Indian War and the debate on whether the colonists would join in the fight against the French and their Indian allies.  It showed up again in 1765 when the issue of the Stamp Act arose.  Newspapers reprinted the cartoon though there were different interpretations of what it meant.  Many colonists opposed to the Stamp Act associated the image with eternity, vigilance, and prudence.  Those who were loyal to the King saw the cartoon with more biblical traditions, such as those of guile, deceit, and treachery.  Franklin was opposed to the use of the cartoon at that time but it showed up in publications nearly every week for over a year. 

Printed without permission!!  Had the legal establishment been what it is today, Franklin may have sued. But I guess he was a pretty big hitter himself.

Preliminary Storm Reports May 8 2009

Preliminary Storm Reports May 8 2009

Sat Morning

Sat Morning

Weather Bottom Line:  The situation on Friday was interesting.  A derecho or something similar came across the plains toward the Ohio Valley.  It’s orientation was such that it ran across a warm front with the jet stream to the north.  The jet should have kept it going.  I had thought that it would run out of steam when it got to the Appalacian Mountains.  That part was correct.  But, it is very interesting.  When you look at the storm reports, there were 23 tornado reports and 176 wind reports.  They stretched from Missouri to Eastern Kentucky.  I believe every county in Southern Missouri was under either a t’storm or tornado warning at one time during the day.  There was a report of 106 mph winds in Carbondale, IL.  Most of the counties  in South Central and South East Kentucky were under some type of warning.  Yet, when you look at the damage reports above, you see a gap along the Ohio River from Louisville to the southeast.  Very odd.  We had a couple of inches of rain and minor flooding…but the wind damage was east and west.  I suspect this will make a good graduate student thesis in the future.

After a front moves out early Saturday, a secondary cold front comes down  later on Saturday…may trigger some showers or scattered t’storms but nothing overly rambunctious. The deepest moisture should get kicked east before it gets here.   Cooler air will filter in on Sunday as high pressure builds in with highs on Mother’s Day in the 60’s and some sunshine.  Right now, don’t etch it in stone, but late next week there is some inkling of something worthwhile in the t’storm department.  Should be dry at least through the first couple of days of the week.

http://alphainventions.com/

alphainventions

Join or Die
May 9, 2008


What you see is the SPC severe risk for Friday and Saturday.  Friday is the one with the small area of the slight risk to our South.  Pretty unlikely for us to get anything worthwhile.  We’re in the midst of a series of shortwaves wandering across the flow.  So, look for rain and perhaps some t’storms on Friday afternoon or Friday night.  The bulk of Saturday looks pretty good.  Do your yardwork then. My yard looks like a jungle with all of the rain we’ve had.  Next round of rain and t’storms comes Saturday night into Sunday with the biggest risk for bad stuff in Arkansas.  Those folks have just been getting hammered this spring, haven’t they? Don’t plan on a picnic for mom because the rain may end by the afternoon but it will be windy and getting cooler.  In spite of the big slight risk area, there is nothing that jumps out at me right now for there to be a huge concern at this time, but we will monitor it and I’m sure the risk area will be refined.

On This Date In HistoryYou may recognize this snake from the HBO Miniseries “John Adams”.   This was actually the first political cartoon to appear in American newspapers.  It was constructed by Benjamin Franklin and the pieces of the snake represent each of the colonies or sections of the colonies.  There was a superstition that a snake cut into pieces would re-unite after sunset.  It went along with Franklin’s editorial referring to the “disunited state” of the colonies and how they were better off united. 

Here’s the rub….this cartoon first appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette on this date in 1754.  That is well before the colonists were talking separation from the crown.  Nope, this was done in relation to the French and Indian War and the debate on whether the colonists would join in the fight against the French and their Indian allies.  It showed up again in 1765 when the issue of the Stamp Act arose.  Newspapers reprinted the cartoon though there were different interpretations of what it meant.  Many colonists opposed to the Stamp Act associated the image with eternity, vigilance, and prudence.  Those who were loyal to the King saw the cartoon with more biblical traditions, such as those of guile, deceit, and treachery.  Franklin was opposed to the use of the cartoon at that time but it showed up in publications nearly every week for over a year. 

Printed without permission!!  Had the legal establishment been what it is today, Franklin may have sued. But I guess he was a pretty big hitter himself.