The State of Franklin (also the Free Republic of Franklin) was an unrecognized, autonomous territory located in what is today eastern Tennessee, United States. Franklin was created in 1784 from part of the territory west of the Appalachian Mountains that had been offered by North Carolina as a cession to Congress to help pay off debts related to the American War for Independence. It was founded with the intent of becoming the fourteenth state of the new United States. The Territory eventually became Tennessee which was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796.
Six of Tennessee's cities have served as the capital of the State. Two cities have been the capital more than once, while one city was the capital for only one day.
Jonesborough – was founded in 1779 and is the oldest city in the state, Jonesborough became the capital of the State of Franklin in December 1784. Franklin functioned as a state until 1788, but was never recognized by Congress.
Greeneville – was the second capital of the State of Franklin was Greeneville. Greeneville was founded in 1783 and served as the capital of Franklin from 1785-1788.
Knoxville – was the capital of the Territory of the United States South of the River Ohio from 1792 until 1796. Knoxville served as the capital of Tennessee on two occasions, the first time from 1796 until 1812 and then a second time from 1817 to 1818.
Kingston – was the capital of Tennessee for just one day! On September 21, 1807, the Tennessee General Assembly met in Kingston, declared it to be the State's capital, passed one item, and then adjourned. That one item was the acquisition of Cherokee territory that was known as Fort Southwest Point. The Indians had ceded the land around the Fort to the State with the provision that it would be named the State capital, which it was, but only for one day. Before the Indians realized that they had been tricked, the capital was moved back to Knoxville.
Murfreesboro – was Tennessee's capital city from 1818 until 1826. The capital was moved to the middle of the State as the population moved to the middle and western grand divisions of Tennessee.
Nashville – the current capital of Tennessee began as Fort Nashborough in 1779 and was incorporated as the City of Nashville in 1806. Nashville was the capital of Tennessee twice. The first time was from 1812-1817. In 1826, Nashville became the permanent capital of the State of Tennessee.
The prominent Nashville hill top site of what is now the Tennessee State Capitol was formerly occupied by the Holy Rosary Cathedral , the first Roman Catholic Cathedral in Nashville.
Selected by Samuel Morton (left), architect William Stirckland (right)
The walls were constructed of Bigby Limestone from a nearby quarry, only a few blocks away. The limestone was excavated, shaped and transported by slaves and convict labor under the supervision of stone masons. Regarded as a prime example of Greek Revival architecture it is more than 206 feet tall and covers an area of 112 feet by 239 feet. It's copied from an Ionic temple, with porticos on the north and south facades, each with eight fluted columns. The east and west porticos have six columns surmounted by parapets.
Original Supreme Court Chambers
Painting of Famous Tennesseans – How many can you name?
Current Supreme Court Chambers
Murals on the Walls of the Governor’s Outer Office Depicting the History of the State
Original State Library (the repository of all of Tennessee’s state legislative records)
Cast Iron Spiral Staircase
The focal point of the center intersection on the first floor is a chandelier
An American Eagle surrounded by 31 stars representing the number of states in the union at the time
The State Seal depicting the state motto “Agriculture and Commerce”
Half way up the first flight of stairs to the second floor
These scars are believed to have been caused by a bullet fired from the stairs above during a particularly bitter fight in the legislature over the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1866 which guaranteed citizenship to African Americans. The opponents of passage did not have the votes to prevent its adoption and, as a result of its passage, Tennessee became the first Confederate state re-admitted to the Union.
On the landing is a bust of George Washington.
On the second floor, busts of
President Andrew Jackson,
President James Polk
President Andrew Johnson
The busts of other Tennessee notables include;
Admiral David Farragut
(“Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead”)
Confederate General Nathan Forrest
(a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He is remembered as a self-educated, brutal, and innovative cavalry leader during the war and as a leading Southern advocate in the postwar years. He served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, but later distanced himself from the organization.)
(Secretary of State under FDR during World War II – U.S. Senator, Congressman and Captain in Fourth Tennessee Volunteer Infantry)
(his independent creation of a Cherokee syllabary, make reading and writing in Cherokee possible. This was one of the very few times in recorded history hat a member of a pre-literate people created an original, effective writing system which was adopted by the Cherokee Nation in 1925. Within a few years, literacy among the Cherokee exceeded that of the white population in Tennessee His image is also prominently recognized in the Oklahoma State Capitol)
(an American soldier, frontiersman and politician, and one of the founding fathers of the State of Tennessee. He played a leading role, both militarily and politically, in Tennessee's pre-statehood period, and was elected the state's first governor in 1796. Sevier served as the only governor of the State of Franklin, an early, unsuccessful, attempt at statehood by the trans-Appalachian settlers. He was brigadier general of the Southwest Territory militia during the early 1790s. Sevier served six two-year terms as Tennessee's governor, from 1796 until 1801, and from 1803 to 1809, with term limits preventing a fourth consecutive term in both instances. His political career was marked by a growing rivalry with rising politician Andrew Jackson, which nearly culminated in a duel in 1803. After his last term as governor, Sevier was elected to three terms in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1811 until his death in 1815)
Admiral Albert Gleaves
(Born in Nashville, TennesseeGleaves graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1877. Assigned to many ships and stations, he commanded USS Cushing during the Spanish American War. Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1915,for his outstanding contribution he was awarded the Army and Navy Distinnguished Service Medals. In 1919 he was promoted to Admiral Admiral Gleaves made outstanding contributions in the field of gunnery and torpedoes. While carrying out some tests on torpedo steering devices he changed these weapons from instruments of luck into instruments of precision. The gear which he tested in Gushing provided the imprints which made the torpedo the "terrible weapon" of World War I)
(was born into slavery who became a barber and a businessman and in 1873 became the first African American member of the Tennessee Legislature. The plaque beneath his bust also commemorates nine African Americans who followed him in to the state legislature in the mid-to-late 19th century)
During a 1988 hallway restoration, the ceilings were stripped of dirt and overpainting … and revealed the original design, color and brush strokes,
Two bas-reliefs dominate the walls off the second floor lobby.
Commemoration of the passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution
Commemoration of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
(The Tennessee Legislature became the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. This state’s House had been divided on the issue and the ratification passed by a single vote when an outspoken opponent of the amendment changed his vote on a third ballot to break the prior tie votes on the issue)
The Tennessee State Capitol also has the distinction of being the only one in which persons are interred within the walls of the building. There are four people either buried inside the capitol walls or on the grounds. William Strickland became ill while the capitol was being constructed. Since he considered it his finest achievement, Strickland asked to be buried in the Capitol building. Strickland did die before the construction was complete, and he is buried in a crypt in the north wall.
Later, after Samuel Morgan’s death, his family also asked that he be buried in the capitol. As a way to honor Morgan, the state agreed. He is buried in a crypt on the south wall.
As with most state capitol complexes, there are a number of statues, monuments and memorials on its grounds.
(the most decorated allied soldier during World War I)
(Army General and 7th U.S. President)
(17th U.S. President)
The Tomb of James and Sarah Polk
(11th U.S. President … the only president interred on any state capitol grounds)
Replica of the Liberty Bell
Memorial to the Holocaust
Memorial to the African American Victims of the Middle Passage
(served in various combat roles in the Confederate army from 1861-63 during the Civil War. As a Confederate courier he was captured around November 20, 1863. Suspected of espionage, he was offered his life if he would name is conspirators, to which he replied, “I would die a thousand deaths before I would betray a Friend”. He was executed by the Union Army after a captivity of only seven days).
Edward Ward Carmack
(was an attorney, newspaperman and political figure who served as a U.S. Senator from 1901 to 1907. Following his political service, and after an unsuccessful run for Governor of Tennessee, he became editor of the one-year-old Nashville Tennessean. He was shot to death on November 9, 1908 over a feud precipitated by his editorial comments in the paper)
Answer Bell (As part of the Bicentennial Mall carillon project, the final bell, or answer bell, was installed and “answers” the 95 bells on the mall each hour)
Plaque to the Daughters of the Confederacy
Garden Plantings of the State Flag
The three stars represent the three Grand Divisions of the state, East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee. The blue circle around the stars represents the unity of the "Grand Divisions" of the state. The blue bar at the edge of the flag was purely a design consideration.
When asked about the blue bar, Reeves stated that "The final blue bar relieves the sameness of the crimson field and prevents the flag from showing too much crimson when hanging limp."