This & That

Story published: 08-07-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site is an interesting experience

By Jack Swift

In a column a few weeks ago, I wrote about some of what I considered to be interesting and informative trips that Johnson County residents might take that were fairly close but still had a great deal of significance insofar as Tennessee history is concerned. In that column I mentioned the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site but I gave few details about it. It is a very interesting site to visit and one good thing about it is itís only a few miles away, about 50 miles. It is located at 2620 South Roan Street in Johnson City. The site is to the right on South Roan Street.

The site has a lot of Tennessee History from pre-colonial times to Reconstruction. Colonel John Tipton, a former member of the Territorial Assembly, U. S. Territory South of the River Ohio, was the first white resident. Earlier the grounds were frequented by the Woodland Indians and later the Cherokees. European explorers and traders had also been residents of that site. Tipton built a substantial log house in 1784. His career was contemporary with the State of Franklin and Tennesseeís early statehood. As opposed to John Sevier, Tipton took the side of North Carolina when the State of Franklin was proposed. Sevier became governor of the State of Franklin and ultimately the first governor of Tennessee.

The grounds at the Tipton-Haynes site was the area where in 1788 the only armed skirmish took place between the pro State of Franklin folks and the folks who sided with North Carolina lead by John Tipton. Tiptonís forces won. John Tipton, Jr. inherited the home in 1813. He served in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1803 to 1819 and was lieutenant governor and president of the senate for the last of these sessions.

In 1839, the estate was given as a wedding present to Landon Carter Haynes, who had the house enlarged and built a separate building for his office where he practiced law.

The State of Franklin was a short lived attempt for the settlers to have a government of their own since North Carolina had in a sense left them to fend for themselves following their trek over the Appalachian Mountains and their settlement in what is now East Tennessee. They had no government and a trip to North Carolinaís capital, Raleigh, was lengthy and difficult. Therefore, led by John Sevier there was an attempt to organize a state named State of Franklin. Benjamin Franklin was asked to support the cause but he declined. Jonesborough was the original capital. Greeneville was the second. The State of Franklin consisted of eight counties: Wayne (Modern Johnson and Carter counties); Sullivan; Washington (Includes modern Unicoi County); Spencer (Modern Hawkins County); Greene (Includes modern Cocke County); Caswell (Modern Jefferson & Hamblen counties); Sevier; and Blount.

The State of Franklin was set up in 1784and came to an end in 1887.

The Tipton-Haynes Historic site is an interesting place to visit and it is not that far away.