Born in Virginia on September 23, 1745, Sevier made his first mark on history as a Revolutionary War hero during the Battle of King’s Mountain (1780). Only a few years later, he was a key player in the settlers’ revolt against North Carolina and became Governor of the short-lived State of Franklin (1784-1789) which formed from North Carolina’s western lands after that revolt.
On May 16, 1785, a delegation submitted a petition for Franklin’s statehood to Congress. Eventually seven states voted to admit what would have been the 14th state. This was less than the two-thirds majority required. Led by Sevier, the fledgling government began operating as an independent republic after the failed statehood attempt.
As the new government began to make treaties with Native American tribes, create courts, assess taxes, and organize counties, the Governor of North Carolina asked the group to disband and return their allegiance to his state. When this offer was rejected, North Carolina moved in with troops under the leadership of Col. John Tipton and re-established its government. The two rival governments now competed side by side.
Loyalties among residents remained divided and came to a head on February 29, 1788, when Sevier and a group of his supporters attacked Tipton and his men at Tipton’s farm. Sevier and his troops were defeated.