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Posted 12/24/2023 in Informational

Franklin County TN

Franklin County TN

Learn About Franklin County TN

Hero Photo:  Original Franklin County TN Courthouse burned down 1936

Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Tennessee, Franklin County TN stands as a living mosaic of American history, woven from threads of native heritage, pioneering spirit, and the indelible marks of civil conflict. Established in 1807, this picturesque county, with its rich agricultural lands and historic towns, echoes the stories of early settlers, Native American trails, and the tumultuous era of the Civil War. 

Franklin County TN MapFranklin County TN Map

You can see the highlighted area showing Franklin County TN on the map above.

As the home of Winchester TN, its charming county seat, and the backdrop to pivotal chapters in America's past, Franklin County TN offers a unique window into the evolving tapestry of American life, where each layer of its history contributes to the diverse and resilient character it holds today.

Franklin County TN: Before European Settlement

Long before European settlers arrived, the land that would become Franklin County TN was home to Native American tribes.. These tribes had well-established communities, with traditions and lifestyles deeply intertwined with the region's rivers and forests. They were skilled hunters, fishermen, and farmers, whose respect for the land was paramount in their culture.

Franklin County TN Settlement and County Formation

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, European settlers, drawn by the lure of fertile lands and new opportunities, began to arrive. These settlers, mainly of English, Scottish, and Irish descent, established small farming communities, laying the groundwork for future development.

On December 3, 1807, Franklin County TN was officially formed from parts of Warren and Bedford counties. The county's establishment was a reflection of Tennessee's ongoing westward expansion after it achieved statehood in 1796.

With Winchester TN being the largest town, it had the local newspapers that covered the county.  The first newspaper created in 1839 was The Highlander that was created and run out of Winchester.  In 1850 a new newspaper, The Winchester Independent,  was created by Alexander R. Wiggs,.though it closed down just 3 years later in 1853.  The next newspaper was the Winchester Appeal in 1856 that didn't even last a year.  And in 1857 the Home Journal was created and ended up lasting much longer than the other papers.

Winchester TN in Franklin County TNWinchester TN Square in Franklin County TN

The Trail of Tears

A defining moment in the county's history was its role in the Trail of Tears during the 1830s. The Indian Removal Act mandated the forced relocation of Native Americans, including the Cherokee, from their ancestral homes. This tragic event saw thousands of Native Americans pass through Franklin County, a journey marked by suffering and loss.  

You can read more about this in another article we wrote about the Trail of Tears in Winchester TN.

Trail of Tears in Franklin County TNTrail of Tears in Franklin County TN
{painting of the Trail of Tears)

Franklin County TN:  Civil War and Reconstruction

The Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad was completed through the county in 1851.  It had stops in most of the county cities including Winchester, Estill Springs, Cowan, and others.  By 1960, there were 13,000 people in the county

Franklin County, TN, like many other counties in the South, has a complex and impactful history related to the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. The Civil War brought turmoil to Franklin County. As part of the Confederacy, the county was deeply affected by the conflict and its aftermath. The Reconstruction era was a time of significant challenge as the county grappled with the social and economic changes following the abolition of slavery.

Although Franklin County TN was not a primary battleground, its location made it strategically important.   The county's proximity to major transportation routes and resources made it a site of military interest. There were skirmishes and troop movements within the county, as Confederate and Union forces maneuvered through the region. The area witnessed the passage of soldiers and the impact of war-related activities, including the movement of supplies and troops.  

If you look along he streets, you'll find Civil War plaques along 41A as well as other local streets.

The war brought significant hardship to the residents of Franklin County. The economy, heavily reliant on agriculture, was disrupted. Farms and plantations faced labor shortages due to the enlistment of men in the war and the eventual emancipation of enslaved people. Families were divided, with members often fighting on opposite sides of the conflict.

The University of the South in Sewanee TN, was founded by the Episcopal Church.  It was organized just before the Civil War and began full operations shortly after the civil war ended.

University of the South in Sewanee TN -- Franklin County TNUniversity of the South in Sewanee TN -- Franklin County TN

Franklin County TN: The 20th Century

The 20th century heralded significant changes to Franklin County TN. Post-World War II industrialization began to reshape the county's economy, with manufacturing and industrial jobs gradually overtaking agriculture. This era brought new opportunities and challenges as the county adapted to a changing economic landscape.

The Tims Ford Lake was built in the late 1960's through early 1970's bringing in jobs, homes, and recreation to the area.

Franklin County TN Courthouse Franklin County TN Courthouse in Winchester TN
c 1952

Preservation of History and Heritage

In recent decades, there has been a renewed focus on preserving Franklin County TN's rich history and heritage. For example, the Franklin County TN Historical society and local groups have been instrumental in maintaining historical sites and educating the public about the county's past, including its involvement in the Trail of Tears.

Franklin County TN Today

Today, Franklin County TN is a fusion of its historical past and modern developments. Its economy is diverse, with agriculture, industry, and tourism playing significant roles. The county's natural beauty continues to be a major draw, with attractions like Tims Ford Lake and South Cumberland State Park.  

The cities in Franklin County include:

  • Winchester TN: The county seat of Franklin County TN, Winchester is a historic town known for its charming downtown area and historical significance.
  • Decherd TN: A small city located near Winchester, Decherd is known for its close-knit community and local industries.
  • Cowan TN: Cowan is a historic town, famous for its railroad heritage and as a gateway to the Cumberland Plateau region.
  • Sewanee TN: Home to the University of the South, commonly known as Sewanee, this town is renowned for its educational institutions and scenic beauty.
  • Estill Springs TN: Known for its natural springs, Estill Springs is a town with a rich history and a serene natural environment.
  • Huntland TN: A small town in the southern part of the county, Huntland has an agricultural background and a close community atmosphere.
  • Monteagle TN: Partly located in Franklin County, Monteagle is best known for its mountainous terrain and as a summer resort destination.

Franklin County TN Demographics And Details

Franklin County Tn is in the 931 area code

Franklin County TN Demographics Summary Includes

    • Founded: 1807
    • Area: 576 square miles
    • Population: 43,000 (approx) as of 2022
      • Population per square mile: 77 (Tennessee: 168, US: 94)
    • Colleges:  University of the South (Sewanee) and the University of Tennessee Space Institute

More Franklin County TN Demographics: 

(all numbers rounded - as of 2021/22)

  • Veterans:  3,400 (2022)
  • People born out of the USA:  3%
  • Housing Units: 20,000
    • Owner occupied units: 76%
  • People per household: 2.42
  • Education (age 25 or higher):
    • High School or higher : 90% (similar to Tennessee and US )
    • Bachelors Degree or higher: 22% (Tennessee 30%, US 34%)
  • Total Businesses:  717

  • Economics
    • Median Household Income:  $58k
      • Median Tennessee Household Income:  $64k
      • Median US Household Income:  $75k

Things To Do in Franklin County TN

Check out the list of things to do in the Tims Ford Lake Area.

Tubing on Tims Ford Lake in Franklin County TNTubing on Tims Ford Lake in Franklin County TN

Franklin County TN's history mirrors the complex tapestry of American history. From its early days as a frontier area through the trials of war and the challenges of industrialization to its current status, the county's journey is a story of resilience, growth, and a deep connection to its past. This enduring legacy offers a unique perspective on the evolving narrative of America.

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The Ultimate Guide To The Tims Ford Lake Area

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Winchester TN   ||   Tullahoma TN   ||   Lynchburg TN   ||   Estill Springs TN   ||   Decherd TN   

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