University of Tennessee Special Collections Library, Knoxville, TN - MS-0780
Extent: 0.6 linear feet in 6 folders
Abstract: This collection houses 303 items documenting Jefferson County, and specifically Lawson D. Franklin and his family, between 1809 and 1874. The majority of the papers, including correspondence, accounts, indentures, plats, slave records, and administration of his estate, document Franklin's business dealings.
Aquisition Information: The estate of Herbert Walters presented this collection to the University of Tennessee Special Collections Library in 1974 by way of Mrs. Herbert Walters and members of the Walters family.
Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.
Copyright: The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.
Biography / History
Lawson D. Franklin was a landowner, trader of animals and slaves, and businessman from Jefferson County, Tennessee. He was born January 19, 1804 and died April 8, 1861 (There are conflicts over Franklin's date of birth. 1801 is stated in Howard L. Hill's The Herbert S. Walters Story but most genealogical sources list it as 1804). Franklin's many business interests, including plantations and merchandising stores throughout the Southeast, a railroad company to Leadvale, and the Rogersville Bank, eventually made him East Tennessee's first millionaire.
In 1825, Franklin married Elizabeth Rogers (1809-1846). Their six children were Isaac W. Rodgers (1827-1866), Elizabeth Caroline (1831-1909), Jane June (Dates Unknown), Louisa(e?) (Dates Unknown), Robert O. (died at twenty-nine; Dates Unknown), and Lawson D. (1841-1847). The elder Lawson Franklin married again in 1850, this time to Catherine Smith (this marriage contract makes interesting reading).
Franklin built three beautiful mansions. One stands near Leadvale on the arm of Douglas Lake, where Franklin lived with Elizabeth. The second mansion, "Riverview" (now called "Fairfax") was built near White Pine, Tennessee, along the French Broad River between 1845 and 1856 (sources vary) for Isaac W.R. Franklin, Sr. and his wife, Dorcas. Franklin built his third mansion, called "Bleak Mansion," (later known as "Confederate Memorial Hall") between 1851 and 1858 (again, sources vary) on Kingston Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee, for Louisa Franklin and her husband, Robert H. Armstrong.
Collection Scope and Content Note
This collection houses 303 items documenting Jefferson County, and specifically Lawson D. Franklin and his family, between 1809 and 1874. The majority of the papers, including correspondence, accounts, indentures, plats, slave records, and administration of his estate, document Franklin's business dealings. The collection is divided into six folders.
Documents are defined as all original legal writs, receipts, bills of sale, labels, copies of recipes, inventories and accounts and accounting memos and surveys and plats. A.D.S. means the document was written and signed in the same hand. A.D. means the document was written and signed in different hands. D.S. means the document was printed and signed. Letters cover all business and professional correspondence. A page is one side of an item.
Interested researchers may also wish to consult the 477-page ledger of the settlement of Franklin's cast estate called Administration Book of Lawson D. Franklin Estates by F. W. Taylor and Robert M. Barton (CT275. F695 A5). It contains agreements, oaths, commissions, inventories of assets and slaves, and the originals of copies houses in this collection. Additionally, the Herbert S. Walters Collection houses a file on Franklin Family genealogy. Concurrently examined, these three collections provide a wealth of information about Franklin.
Source: University of Tennessee Special Collections Library -- http://dlc.lib.utk.edu/f/fa/