I’m gearing up for two trips to Sumner County. The first one I’m taking next week, to have my awesome history buff friend drive me around while I look at graves and try to suss out which houses are still standing.
The second I’m taking in January when a historian who’s working on a book on Isaac Franklin comes up here to see what there is to see.
I’ve been thinking about the kinds of things I want to impress upon him, what I think are the most important overview things he might need to know about Isaac Franklin and his family.
One, which is small, is that Isaac Franklin’s mom was a Lauderdale. One of her brothers is who Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is named after. The other brother, who has counties named after him, died at the Battle of New Orleans, yes, under Jackson.
Two, which is also small, is that, back in the day, when there were a ton of ferries, the Hermitage was roughly halfway between Gallatin and Nashville.
Three is that the Cages and the Douglasses were in-laws before they came to Sumner County. So, the Cages and the Douglasses were the same family and then, when they got here and lived next to the Franklins, the Franklins substantially intermarried into that extended family.
What this means then, is that, if you look at a map of Sumner County and you find where Saundersville Road now turns sharply to the north and you draw a line at that point from the river up to Long Hollow Pike, then you come east to where 386 intersects 109 and come south to the river, you have the rough boundaries of the land controlled by this family/families in the late 1700s/early 1800s (and beyond that, too). By my rough estimate, 30 square miles, almost 20,000 acres. Pretty much everything between Gallatin and Hendersonville.
Four, and most interesting to me, but maybe not that historically important, is that it seems like all houses in this clan that the kids could get to, the kids were welcome at. All adults seemed to some greater or lesser degree to oversee the well-being of all the children in the Bend.
It makes Franklin’s desire to turn Fairvue into a school a little touching to me to know that. He wanted his house to continue, after his death, to be a place open and welcoming and useful to (male, white) children.
It also makes me wonder more about Franklin remaining unmarried for so long. I wonder if a woman he loved, someone he grew up with, sits in his family tree married to someone else.