August 23 was an independence day of sorts.

Today in 1784, several years before the Constitution, people in what is now eastern Tennessee announced they’d started a state called Franklin.


Actually, it was named for Benjamin Franklin, though a state named for Aretha seems like a good idea.

Anyway, the area then was part of the state of North Carolina, which extended further west than it does today.

White settlers in that far western section often grumbled about how the state government wasn’t paying attention to their concerns.

One of their biggest concerns was that North Carolina would cede the land where they lived and worked to the federal government to raise money.

The locals decided they could head all that off if they set up their own state, called Franklin.

They set up a state capitol in a small log cabin in the city of Greeneville, and set up courts and levied taxes and did state government things.

Meanwhile, North Carolina was also setting up courts and levying taxes and doing state government things.

This led to legal and physical clashes with Franklin, whose governor was even arrested for treason.

All this came at a time when Franklin was also clashing with Native American communities, who had lived in the area long before the Americans had.

The US Congress eventually said no to statehood, and just a few years after proclaiming independence Franklin ended up rejoining North Carolina.

But a few years later, the US government did took those western counties and organized them into a new territory called Tennessee, which became a state in 1796.

Its first governor was John Sevier, who happened to be the guy who’d been arrested for treason while serving as governor of the lost state of Franklin.

Next time you’re off the coast of Cyprus, you can check out a unique art museum.

Yes, I said, off the coast.

It’s a museum of underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor, whose work is not only thought-provoking, it apparently increases the biomass of nearby coral reefs and habitats too.

State of Franklin (Tennessee Encyclopedia)

On this day, the state of Franklin starts its brief existence (National Constitution Center)

This Sculpture Museum Is 32 Feet Below Water (Hyperallergic)

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