Letter writer: WNC has already tried statehood

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[In reference to the commentary, “Sayonara, Raleigh: It’s Time for Us to Go,” June 8, Xpress] I was surprised [the writer] didn’t mention that Western North Carolina had tried this before.

Western North Carolina in the years just before and after the Revolutionary War was a different place than it is today. It was in a different place. It was where eastern Tennessee is now.

Sparsely settled East Tennessee was the first frontier and was supposed to be administrated by North Carolina. Henry Earnest, my ancestor, and a group of prominent men, including John Sevier (who went on to be Tennessee’s first governor, serving seven terms) felt like they had to do something about the lawlessness and disorder.

Henry rode his horse to Fayetteville, N.C., then the capital. He was not successful in getting any relief. Shortly thereafter, the group founded the state of Franklin. There are many reasons it failed, but I think it was that middle Tennessee was growing by leaps and bounds, and plantation economy trumped the mountain yeoman farmers.

Then there were the Cherokees, which the new republic was loath to deal with. Andrew Jackson solved that problem.

Maybe we shouldn’t worry too much about Donald Trump. We survived at least one racist maverick president.

— Robert Rhea Earnest
Waynesville

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3 thoughts on “Letter writer: WNC has already tried statehood

  1. boatrocker

    The Lost State of Franklin is fascinating to read about for history geeks.
    Much like Jackson’s Trail of Tears, so does Trump propose one for all those pesky non Christians.

  2. Sasha

    A lot of non-white people didn’t survive Jackson’s presidency, so I don’t think that comparison will bring anyone much relief.

  3. Talca

    Mr. Earnest: There is a map of the proposed state of Franklin and a reproduction of a portion of Benjamin Franklin’s written response about naming the place after him at the Chester Inn museum in Greeneville, Tennessee. Regarding Mr Trump. he’s a pussycat compared to Mr. Jackson. Enjoyed your letter very much. The thought of riding a horse half way across North Carolina sounds daunting.

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