Franklin County is a county located in the state of Tennessee. As of 2000, the population is 39,270. Its county seat is Winchester6.
European settlement began around 1800, and the county was formally organized in 1807 and named for Benjamin Franklin. During the next several decades, the size of the county was reduced several times by reorganizations which created the neighboring counties of Coffee County, Moore County, and Grundy County. One of the most notable early settlers was frontiersman Davy Crockett, who came about 1812 but is not thought to have remained long.
The University of the South was organized just before the Civil War, and began to function after hostilities ceased. It remains the only institution of higher learning in the county today.
The area became strongly secessionist, and Franklin County formally threatened to secede from Tennessee and join Alabama if Tennessee did not leave the union. During 1863, the Confederate Army of Tennessee retreated through the county, leaving it to Union control thereafter. Isham G. Harris, Confederate governor of Tennessee, was from Franklin County. He was restored to political rights after the war, and represented the state in the United States Senate.
During the temperance (anti-liquor) agitations of the late 19th century, it was discovered that by a quirk of state law, liquor could only be sold in an incorporated town. All of the county's towns abolished their charters in order to prohibit liquor sales as a consequence.
In the 20th century, Franklin County benefited from the flood control and power generation activities of the Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA helped bring new industry to the area and opened up opportunities for water recreation by its creation of new lakes, but many county residents were displaced from their homes in the process. The establishment of the federal Arnold Engineering Development Center, which lies partly in the county, also helped spur economic growth and technical development. Although the interstate highway system barely touched the county, it did provide valuable access via Interstate 24 to nearby Chattanooga.
Two notable figures who were born in the county early in the twentieth century were singer/entertainer Dinah Shore and entrepreneur/philanthropist John Templeton, later a British subject and recipient of a knighthood.
Durng this same period, Jim Crow laws took root in Franklin County as in most of the American South, and the Civil Rights movement made only very slow progress there. There were few violent disturbances compared to many localities, but it was not until the mid-1960s, a decade after the historic Brown v. Board of Education court decision, that the county's schools were finally desegregated.
Considerable industrial growth occurred in the county in the last decades of the century, including the construction of a large automobile engine plant by the Nissan corporation in Decherd. An emphasis on tourism also developed, based on Civil War history and local scenic attractions such as the dogwood forests, for which an annual festival is held.
Campus of The University of the South, atop the Cumberland Plateau
Franklin is one of Tennessee's southern tier of counties and abuts the Alabama border. It has a varied geography, extending from the southeast corner of the Nashville Basin over the Highland Rim and up onto the Cumberland Plateau, for a difference in elevation of about 1300 ft. The county is well watered and forested, and except for the steeper areas of the plateau is well suited for agriculture, having a long growing season and mild winters.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,491 km˛ (576 mi˛). 1,436 km˛ (555 mi˛) of it is land and 55 km˛ (21 mi˛) of it is water. The total area is 3.69% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 39,270 people, 15,003 households, and 11,162 families residing in the county. The population density is 27/km˛ (71/mi˛). There are 16,813 housing units at an average density of 12/km˛ (30/mi˛). The racial makeup of the county is 92.20% White, 5.49% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. 1.58% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 15,003 households out of which 30.90% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% are married couples living together, 10.40% have a female householder with no husband present, and 25.60% are non-families. 22.60% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.30% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.51 and the average family size is 2.92.
In the county, the population is spread out with 23.00% under the age of 18, 10.90% from 18 to 24, 26.40% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 15.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 94.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $36,044, and the median income for a family is $42,279. Males have a median income of $31,506 versus $21,479 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,987. 13.20% of the population and 9.60% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 17.00% of those under the age of 18 and 13.00% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Cities and towns
- Early history of the county (http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~pearidger/history/gdsfrkln.shtml)
- County geneology information (http://www.tngenweb.org/franklin/index.html)
- County secession (http://www.leonidaspolk.org/Franklin%20County%20Secession%201%2024.html)
- County Chamber of Commerce page (http://www.franklincountychamber.com/index.html)
- Franklin County on the Tennessee Encyclopedia (http://220.127.116.11/FMPro?-db=tnencyc.fp5&-format=tdetail.htm&-lay=web&entryname=Franklin%20County&-recid=33147&-find=)