Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Lost State of Franklin (plus a giveaway)

If you live in the United States, you might recall that the original colonies to form a union during the 1770s, ultimately becoming our first states, numbered thirteen. You may also recall that the 14th state added to the union was Vermont (March 4, 1791). But did you know it almost wasn't?

Once upon a time there was a state called Franklin...

 Ten years ago this April I started writing my first novel set in the 18th century. The setting was North Carolina, a state I’ve visited many times, from childhood on. I've been sunburned beach-combing for shells on the Outer Banks... dug in a garden for arrowheads in the hills of the Uwharrie Piedmont... and had my fingers chilled by cold mountain mist on the trails of the Blue Ridge.

During the 18th century, North Carolina claimed a far more extensive territory than it does today. Several of the river valleys west of the Blue Ridge were settled before the Revolutionary War and considered themselves part of North Carolina, but those frontier settlements were far removed from the eastern political center of the state. With hundreds of miles between them—sometimes impassable mountain miles—the settlers on the frontier became frustrated with the lack of response to their needs from the North Carolina government.

By 1784 a group of these frontier citizens declared their region independent of North Carolina. They formed the State of Franklin and elected a governor (John Sevier), but they never drew enough support from outside the region for their efforts to succeed. Though it was put to a vote, the United States Congress failed to recognize Franklin. The region itself was divided, with those who clung to their identity as North Carolinians at odds with their neighbors who called themselves Franklinites.

For some four and a half years the people of the Overmountain valleys were under the jurisdiction of two governments fighting over the same territory. Understandably this led to confusion. For instance, if a couple wanted to be married, it was a good idea to do so twice, once before a North Carolina judge, once before a Franklin judge—to be sure of being legal in the end. 

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn opens in late summer of 1787, well into this unsettled situation. I thought it a fitting setting for a story about a young woman from east of the mountains and an Overmountain man who find themselves thrown together in a moment of crises with a bewildering array of paths to choose toward freedom and safety—much like the choices that confronted the people west of the Blue Ridge.


It's only 15 days to the release of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

I'm celebrating by offering a signed print copy of the book AND a copy of the East Tennessee PBS's documentary production, The Mysterious Lost State of Franklin, The story of America's first secession, both to one winner.

To enter the drawing...

1. You'll need a USA mailing address.

2. Answer the following question in a comment on this post: Had you heard of the State of Franklin before? If so, when and how did you learn of it?

Be sure to leave your email address too, so you can be contacted if you are the winner. 

3. Like my Facebook Author Page and you'll be entered twice. Let me know you did so in your comment.

Contest will run through Friday April 4 at 9:00AM Pacific time, when I'll draw and announce the winner.

photo credits: Hatteras by Sonja/arrowheads by bobistraveling/Uwharries by Blake/Blue Ridge mountains by Patrick, courtesy Flickr creative commons


  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Never heard of the State of Franklin but love to read all about it. I am a fan of your FB page.

    Ann Ellison

  2. I had forgotten all about the state of Franklin. Don't know where I'd heard of it before, most likely while doing genealogical research. My friends and I are looking forward to reading The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. I've already liked your Facebook page. Congratulations on the release Lori. Hope you've got another book in you. :)

  3. Anonymous9:54 AM

    I have heard about the lost state of Franklin, probably from a book I have read.. Wasn't from high school history that is for sure! Can't wait to read this one, looks great! I am a fan of fb.
    Jessica Weber

  4. I never heard about the State of Franklin. That was one of many things that was not taught in American history when I was in school which was a long time ago.

    Your book sounds interesting and I wish you a lot of luck with it.


  5. I've heard of Franklin, TN, but not about a lost state. It sounds very intriguing.

    Looking forward to reading The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn.


  6. I live in southwest Virginia so I've heard about it. There's actually a road in Johnson City TN named State of Franklin. I looked it up when my kids has eye doctor appointments there a few years ago.
    tissakay at aol dot com

  7. I loved this book... and while I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Tamsen and Jesse I thought the ending was perfect :) I had never heard of the lost state until I read this book... That must have been a chaotic time to live through!!! :) (Don't enter me in the contest as I am from Canada :)

  8. I have never heard of the state of Franklin. But, this looks like amazing read. Can't wait to get my hands on it.I love finding new authors and getting to know a little about between the pages of their books. God bless.


  9. I'd never heard of Franklin until a few weeks ago. Rather fascinating to hear of what could have been, but faded away into the history books, even though some gave their lives for it. Which is quite sad. I, umm, don't need to be entered in the draw. :)

  10. I have heard of Franklin. I think I saw it on How the States Got Their Shapes (I think that's the name of the show). I find it fascinating!

    I'm a Facebook fan!

    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

  11. Thanks for entering today, everyone. I'm looking forward to see who wins this copy, and the DVD. :) Blessings!

  12. I hadn't heard of Franklin until right now! Crazy! And, I'm a Facebook fan.

    My email is shannonreverett@gmail.com

  13. I haven't heard of the lost State of Franklin, but have been to that area many times. My parents were from Tennessee and about twice a hear we traveled from D.C./MD to Huntingdon, TN, always dropping in Johnson City, TN to spend the night. I went to school and graduated with your dear sweet Mama. You're blessed to have her dfor a Mom! I just finished reading Burning Sky and really enjoyed it. I've recommended it to some teacher friends not only because of the content, but also because of the questions and g!ossary I found at the end of the book. (Would certainly come in handy for students 0having to do a book report!). Keep 'em coming!! Jean McKenzie Dennis Oh, and the only Franklin, TN I knew of was the one just south of Nashville.

    My email is jeandennis@tx.rr.com

    1. Hi Jean! Thanks for reading Burning Sky. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thank you so much for recommending it, too! I hope to keep them coming.

  14. Glad to see a couple more entries this evening! Thanks everyone. :)

  15. Hi Lori!
    I learned about the State of Franklin from a television show -- "How the States Got Their Shapes". :)


  16. Whoa! I've never heard of it, and neither has my history teacher husband! He was especially curious about the details :) Thanks so much for sharing the info! I'm really looking forward to reading your book- I keep reading great reviews on several blogs I follow. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm a facebook follower too!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Thanks for entering everyone. I'm closing the drawing now. Be back soon with a new post announcing the winner!