Colonel John Tipton

Colonel John Tipton: Maryland to Tennessee

Colonel John Tipton and his family moved from Virginia to East Tennessee in 1783. The Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site is located on part of the 100 acres of land upon which the Tiptons settled.

In the seventeenth century Colonel John Tipton’s ancestors emigrated from England to Jamaica and then to Maryland. Born in Maryland on August 15, 1730, Colonel Tipton moved to Frederick County in northern Virginia, where he married Mary Butler around 1750. When the Colonial Virginia Assembly created Dunmore County in 1772, Colonel Tipton was one of the first justices of the peace in the new county.

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Battle of the State of Franklin – February 27-29, 1788

By 1788 the State of Franklin had existed for over three years with no major conflicts with the North Carolina loyalists. Tensions, however, between the Franklinites and the North Carolina loyalists (or also called Tiptonites) developed into open conflict in February of that year.

In early February of 1788, the North Carolina sheriff of Washington County, Jonathan Pugh, was ordered by the county court under Colonel John Tipton to seize property of John Sevier, the Franklin governor, for his owed taxes to the state. Sheriff Pugh obeyed the orders and seized some of Sevier’s property, including several slaves, from his home while he was absent in Greene County. Sevier’s property and slaves were brought to Colonel Tipton’s cabin for safekeeping by Sheriff Pugh. This action led to the Battle of the State of Franklin.

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Becoming Tennessee

In 1787, delegates from each state met in Philadelphia to correct weaknesses in our first national government operating under the Articles of Confederation. Rather than revise the Articles, however, the delegates drafted a constitution that provided for a more powerful national government with legislative, executive, and judicial departments. After approval by Congress, the Constitution of the United States was submitted to the states for ratification.

In North Carolina, delegates met during the summer of 1788 to consider ratifying the Constitution. Colonel John Tipton was one of five delegates from Washington County. During the convention a draft of a bill of rights and a list of amendments to the Constitution were debated. In the end, the convention neither rejected nor ratified the Constitution. Colonel Tipton and all but two delegates from the state’s western territory (present-day Tennessee), along with one hundred and eighty one other delegates voted against ratifying the Constitution until a list of rights were added to it, while only eighty three delegates voted in favor of ratification.

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