Place:Franklin (county), Virginia, United States

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NameFranklin (county)
Alt namesFranklinsource: USGS, GNIS Digital Gazetteer (1994) GNIS51034606
TypeCounty
Coordinates37.0°N 79.867°W
Located inVirginia, United States     (1785 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Franklin County is a county located in the Blue Ridge foothills of the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 56,159. Its county seat is Rocky Mount. The Roanoke River forms its northeast boundary with Bedford County.

Franklin County is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located in the Roanoke Region of Virginia.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The Blue Ridge Foothills had long been inhabited by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, mostly Siouan-speaking tribes lived in this area.

A few colonists moved into the area before the American Revolutionary War, but most settlement happened afterward, as people moved west seeking new lands. Cultivation of tobacco had exhausted soils in the eastern part of the state. The county was formed in 1785 from parts of Bedford and Henry counties. It was named for Benjamin Franklin. The Piedmont and backcountry areas were largely settled by Scots-Irish, who were the last major immigrant group from the British Isles to enter the colonies before the Revolutionary War. There were also migrants from coastal areas, including free people of color, who moved to the frontier to escape racial strictures associated with the slave society of Virginia.

In the 20th century during Prohibition, local wits named Franklin County the "Moonshine Capital of the World", as moonshine production and bootlegging drove the economy. As of 2000, the local chamber of commerce had adopted the title as a heritage identification for the area. Moonshine is still being made in the area. However, nearby Floyd County actually produces more moonshine per year.

Historians estimate that in the 1920s, 99 of every 100 Franklin County residents were in some way involved in the illegal liquor trade. The bootleggers became involved with gangsters from Chicago and other major cities, and some local law enforcement officials were part of the criminal activities and killing of competitors. "Between 1930 and 1935 local still operators and their business partners sold a volume of whiskey that would have generated $5,500,000 in excise taxes at the old 1920 tax rate."[1]

A lengthy federal investigation resulted in indictments and trials for 34 suspects in 1935 for what was called the "Great Moonshine Conspiracy," which attracted national attention. The writer Sherwood Anderson was among the many outsiders who came to cover the trial. At what was then the longest trial in state history, 31 people were convicted, but their jail sentences were relatively light (two years or less). Thirteen conspirators were sentenced only to probation.[1]

This period has recently received new attention by writers. T. Keister Greer's history The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 (2002) covered the trial and its background in the county. The writer Matt Bondurant had ancestors in the area, whose exploits during this period inspired his historical novel, The Wettest County in the World (2008). (The title was based on a statement by Anderson.) The book was adapted as a film, Lawless, in 2012.

Late 20th century to present

Since the 1980s, much residential development has occurred around Smith Mountain Lake. People live there who commute to work in the urbanized areas of Roanoke, Lynchburg, Martinsville, and Danville. Retirees have also moved in, and both groups have increased the county's population.

Timeline

Date Event Source
1785 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1785 Marriage records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1785 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1786 Court records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1786 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1790 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1790 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1853 Birth records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1790 6,842
1800 9,302
1810 10,724
1820 12,017
1830 14,911
1840 15,832
1850 17,430
1860 20,098
1870 18,264
1880 25,084
1890 24,985
1900 25,953
1910 26,480
1920 26,283
1930 24,337
1940 25,864
1950 24,560
1960 25,925
1970 26,858
1980 35,740
1990 39,549

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Franklin County, Virginia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.