Revolutionary soldiers leave strong heritage


Revolutionary soldiers leave strong heritage

By MICHAEL ACKLEY

The words on a memorial at the entrance of the historic Williamson County Courthouse have faded some after 100-plus years in the Tennessee sun but remain legible: “This Tablet is Placed Commemorative of the Revolutionary War Soldiers Who are Buried in Williamson County.â€

The words on a memorial at the entrance of the historic Williamson County Courthouse have faded some after 100-plus years in the Tennessee sun but remain legible: “This Tablet is Placed Commemorative of the Revolutionary War Soldiers Who are Buried in Williamson County.â€

The tablet is not long enough to include the names of all the Revolutionary soldiers buried in the county because when it was erected in 1910, there wasn’t a lot of information on how many soldiers came to the county to start their lives.

Accounts of this Williamson County period are still sparse, but historians say more than 200 Revolutionary War-era soldiers are buried in the county. Many of them came from North Carolina, which offered parcels of land to soldiers as part of payment for enlisting in the revolutionary cause.

Williamson County, named for Dr. Hugh Williamson, a revolutionary colonel and surgeon, was a part of North Carolina before the war began in 1775. A few counties in Tennessee failed in their attempt to break away from North Carolina in 1784, a year after the Revolutionary War ended, and form the State of Franklin.

North Carolina eventually ceded Tennessee land to the federal government, but the Tennessee we know today didn’t become a state until 1796 due in part to North Carolina’s efforts to settle this land by offering large parcels of land to soldiers and others.

The City of Franklin was formed three years later in 1799, largely due to a small-time surveyor, Andy Maury. He bought more than 100 acres from Maj. Anthony Sharpe, a Revolutionary War veteran who held 640 acres in what is now the Hard Bargain neighborhood of Downtown Franklin. Andy Maury laid out the “square†of downtown Franklin and designated land for a courthouse and public use. Maury originally was going to name the city “Marthasville,†after his modest wife, but she rebuked it and Maury chose Franklin after Benjamin Franklin.

There were only a few battles in Tennessee during the Revolutionary War, mainly against the Cherokee Nation, an occasional ally of the British. However, Tennessee forces continued to engage in bloody conflicts with Native-Americans throughout the 19th century. The Franklin Home Page will report on their rich heritage in the weeks to come.

Names like Murfree, Moore and Mallory, should be familiar to Franklin residents – they’re some of the names on the courthouse memorial and a visit to the tablet may be a fitting way to honor their memories on this July Fourth observance.

Michael Ackley covers the city of Franklin for BrentWord Communications. Contact him at michael@franklinhomepage.com.

About The Author

Kelly Gilfillan is the owner-publisher of Home Page Media Group which has been publishing hyperlocal news since 2009.

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