/ forbidden-fruit / State #14

Along with the original thirteen states in the US, there was also a fourteenth state that wasn’t allowed into the union. They called themselves “The Free Republic of Franklin,” and they almost became a colony of Spain.

The fourteenth state covered an area of 29 million acres, from the western border of North Carolina to the Mississippi river, and was named after Benjamin Franklin. Its governor was a fella named “Nolichucky Jack,” who was a colorful figure, to say the least.

After the revolutionary war, North Carolina was responsible for a huge swath of territory, but didn’t have the money to spend to defend all of it. As a cost saving measure they tried to get the Federal government to take responsibility for it and ceded their land to Washington. While this was all being slowly worked through in congress, the territory declared themselves a free republic and put Nolichucky Jack in charge. There was a vote to see if Franklin would be admitted into the Union, but it failed, leaving the territory’s status in limbo. North Carolina tried to reclaim it back again, but was thwarted by its fiercely independent citizens.

Across the ocean the Spanish monarchy offered Nolichucky Jack a substantial amount of money to make Franklin a Spanish colony, but he rebuffed them.

Eventually Washington sent a police force from North Carolina to reclaim the lands, and arrested Nolichucky Jack on charges of treason. But he escaped prison and returned home unharmed. Not long after the territory was made a state named Tennessee, the first governor of which was none other than Nolichucky Jack.

Read more about this exciting moment in history.

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