In the year 1834, in a community located within the borders of Cherokee County, North Carolina, A man by the name of Jacob Franklin was born. No doubt the Franklin family lived the average life of the Cherokee people who dwelt in the Appellation Mountains, as farmers and labourers.
One day Jacob married a woman by the name of Mary Paine. Unfortunately things were unsettled for Jacob's wife Mary, and she left the family. Mary's disappearance was so abrupt in fact, that she took their infant son James by the shirt tail and tied it to the leg of the kitchen table. After that no one ever heard from her again.
After picking up the pieces of his shattered marriage, Jacob once again entered the bonds of matremony with a woman named Mary Adeline Martin, and they had several children together.
Then the day finally came when the rising conflict between the Northern and Southern states broke out in Civil War, and turned the lives of many people upside down as they found themselves engaged in a great debate that tore the country in half. I have heard it said that the Civil War was a conflict which caused contention to the very core of every family in The United states, even to the point that houses were divided and quite literally, "Brother fought against Brother."
On the 15th of June 1862, Jacob joined the ranks of the 39th infantry unit of North Carolina. After a six month period of enlistment, Jacob gained the rank of Sergeant, but for some reason Jacob didn't feel that the cause was worth dying for and he deserted the confederacy.
The Court Marshall Hearing
For some reason or another on the 27th of July, 1862, Jacob decided that his services in the North Carolina Confederacy were no longer needed and he deserted. Unfortunately for him he was apprehended in Shelbyville, Tennessee, and a court marshall hearing was carried out. From the document to the right the recently demoted Private Jacob Franklin was apprehended in Shelbyville, Tennessee on the 1st of October 1862 and escorted back to his unit in Hamondsberg, Kentucky. To the charges he plead not guilty, however after "Mature deliberation" of a military hearing Evidence of his guilt luminated on several of his muster sheets and he was indeed found guilty of Desertion and sentenced "to be shot to death by musket" by which orders were to be carried out in Chattanooga Tennessee, with a two thirds concurrence of the court.
The Battle of Chickamauga
The Court Marshall however, would not be the end for Jacob as three months after the ordered execution date he found himself on the front lines of one of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. During the two day fight Jacob became wounded in the right leg by cannon fire. From the way that my grandmother described, it sounded like the instance was what we would have in this day labled "friendly fire".
During the confusion of the battle amid a few unnessicary changes of positioning by orders of their commanding officer General Briggs, a gap was formed in the defensive line between their own troops, and Jacob was shot while standing directly infront of one of their own cannons. The damage was so bad that his leg had to be cut off four inches above the knee. It was "A total loss" as the doctors exclaimed and it was at that point that Jacob's brief military career came to an end.
In the year 1865, a man by the name of General William Tecumseh Sherman who infamously burnt down the entire city of Columbia in South Carolina, marched his troops into North Carolina, and they ransacked several towns aquiring food and supplies from the civilians. As the unit made it's way into Cherokee county, the Troops came upon the Franklin house, and Jacob's wife Mary had just set the table for a meal. As soon as Mary saw the Union soldiers she took all of the food from the table and threw it onto the floor exclaiming to the Yank's "Eat it like the dogs you are!" One of the Soldiers was about to shoot her when he was prevented by an officer. After they left, she scrapped the food back onto the table and they survived off of it for the next week or so.
On a Soldier's Application for Pension in the State of North Carolina, County of Cherokee, dated July 1, 1901, for Jacob Franklin it states that on or about 20 September 1863 in Chickamauga, Tennessee, he lost his right leg about four inches above knee which was a total loss and that he is incapable to perform manual labor. A Dr. Abernathy makes a statement on the same application, "I have Known Jacob Franklin for many years. He is unable to do any manual labor whatever for the reason he has lost right leg at the knee and he is otherwise diseased with liver and general disability as a result."
My Great, Great, Great, Great, Grandfather
For whatever reason that Jacob left the War he still managed to risk his life for the Confederacy. Jacob had three wives and eight children, he died in 1906 and is buried in Tomotoloa cemetery, in Murphy, North Carolina.
It was said during the War that the Native American people would execute orders with religious fidelity, and scrupulous respect to private property. There were never any reports of depredation wherever they went, and they were the best Scouts that the world had seen.
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