Following LaSalle's trip down the Mississippi River, the Franklin County area was recognized as being populated by the Natchez Indians.

The French built their second settlement at Fort Rosalie (now Natchez) in 1716 and other settlements followed quickly. The growth of the area was slow. Notable land deals like the speculative Mississippi Company's deal led to the financial panic in 1720 known as the bursting of the Mississippi Bubble.

The Natchez Indians grew restless as French settlers began to take over their lands. They attacked Fort Rosalie in 1729 killing many settlers. Following this attack the French retaliated by virtually destroying almost all of the Natchez Indians.

With the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 after the French and Indian War, France ceded its territory east of the Mississippi River except New Orleans. This Mississippi area which included present day Franklin County became a part of British West Florida and was known as the Natchez District. The northern boundary extended to the mouth of the Yazoo River. This area witnessed a large influx of Anglo-Americans from the Atlantic Seaboard Colonies.

During the American Revolution Spain seized the Natchez District and the remainder of British West Florida. When the American Revolution ended in 1783 Britain transferred the claim to the territory north of the 31 degree latitude to the United States. But, Spain refused to recognize the American claim to West Florida. It was not until 1795 that the Spanish agreed to the 31 degree north boundary. It was not until 1798 that the Spanish actually relinquished control of the Natchez District to the United States. In the meantime, the state of Georgia complicated matters by asserting a claim to the area. Georgia had actually sold land to three companies of eager speculators. Georgia passports were issued to settlers who would travel by land through the Creek Indian territory to the western Mississippi River settlements.

In 1798 the United States Congress created the Mississippi Territory which included all the land between Georgia and the Mississippi River which was located north of the 31 degree latitude and south of a line running due east of the mouth of the Yazoo River. In 1804 this territory was expanded to include the land northward to Tennessee. It 1812 the rest of West Florida was included.

On December 10, 1817 Mississippi was admitted as a state to the United States. The eastern part of the Mississippi Territory became the Alabama Territory.

Franklin County, Mississippi was formed from the eastern part of Jefferson County and parts of Amite, Wilkinson and Adams Counties on December 21, 1809.. It was named for Benjamin Franklin, distinguished American patriot. Over the year numerous minor boundary changes create a nightmare for genealogists.

The city of Meadville was named for Cowles Meade, Virginia native, who was appointed Secretary of the Territory in 1805. He had also served as acting Governor and Speaker of the House.

Penned by W. W. Lambright in 1899
Chapter 1 Now Online

Mississippi, The Bayou State  by Henry S. Foote, 1891

Mississippi The Heart of the South
By Dunbar Rowland LL.D published 1925
Franklin County

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Carolyn Switzer

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