WWALS President Tom H. Johnson Jr. wanted to see the world-famous Franklinville Monument. Well, famous to those who know Franklinville was the county seat of Lowndes County, Georgia, before Troupville, before Valdosta.
We proceeded east on Franklinville Road to Tyler Bridge over the Withlacoochee River, looked from there at Franklinville Landing on the right (west) bank, and also looked at where Tom’s Branch crosses the road and enters the river.
But first, Franklinville Monument.
There are actually two monuments. The oldest was placed in 1935.
The newer monument was erected in 1961.
Georgia Historical Commission 1961, 11:52:12, 30.9829754, -83.2775650
When Lowndes County was created December 23, 1825, Lawrence Folsom, Sion Hall, William Blair, John J. Underwood and Daniel McCauly were appointed Commissioners to select the capital of Lowndes County. The site which they chose, named Franklinville, was designated County Seat in 1828, and was located near the center of the Lowndes County as of 1825.
In 1833, the County Seat was moved to Troupville, a small settlement about four miles west of present-day Valdosta.
Georgia Historical Commission 1961
Both signs neglect to say Franklinville backed up onto the Withlacoochee River, and Troupville was downstream, between the same river and the Little River, just above the Little River Confluence. Rivers were among the main transport routes in those days, if not by boat, then along trails near the rivers.
The old, closed, bridge over the Withlacoochee River at Franklinville Road is called Tyler Bridge. I don’t know how old it is, but most likely not nearly as old as the town of Franklinville. It was closed by the Lowndes County Commission a decade or two ago. I don’t remember what year, but it was probably more than twenty years ago. Presumably that is recorded in some old Minutes of that Commission.
On the west (right) bank of the river, near the center of this picture, is Franklinville Landing.
With the river this high (8.7′ or 128.9′ NAVD88 on the Skipper Bridge Gauge), you could take out or put in much closer to Tyler Bridge.
Downstream you can see the river was moving right along, as it bends to the east, paralleling Franklinville Road.
Here’s a map showing Franklinville Monument, Tyler Bridge, and Franklinville Landing, in the WWALS map of the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT).
As near as I can tell by the Lowndes County Tax Assessor maps, Franklinville Road east of Tyler Bridge, while closed to traffic for several thousand feet, is still owned by Lowndes County.
Looking back west, here are the culverts carrying Toms Branch under Franklinville Road.
It’s a stone’s throw from the road to the river down Toms Branch.
Here’s Tom and a couple of my dogs looking upstream on Toms Branch.
Upstream, Toms Branch comes down under Hambrick Road, then across the southeast corner of Quarterman Road, after which it is joined by Redeye Creek, which comes across Quarterman Road farther to the west.
Tom’s Branch is clearly drawn on an 1839 map of Lowndes County, which also shows a road coming south between that branch and the Withlacoochee River, to Franklinville, and continuing south, crossing the Withlacoochee twice more, and going through “Townsend” in what is now Madison County, Florida.
Map of Georgia & Alabama exhibiting the post offices, post roads, canals, rail roads & c.; by David H. Burr (Late topographer to the Post Office), Geographer to the House of Representatives of the U.S. From his The American Atlas (London, J. Arrowsmith, 1839).
Nevermind that 1839 map labels the Little River as “Sawannee R.” and Okapilco Creek as something like “Withieckochee R.” An east-west road is shown through Franklinville; that is apparently more or less the same as the current Franklinville Road.
There are more pictures on the WWALS website.
We have a pair of at-water Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail (WLRWT) signs printed for Franklinville Landing, and we will plant them there soon.
The top sign is about the entire WLRWT, with a map, a description, and information about etiquette, safety, things to bring, and WLRWT sponsors.
That bottom sign is specific to Franklinville Landing. It says from Hagan Bridge Landing @ GA 122 you can paddle 4.9 river miles to get to Franklinville Landing. Downstream, it’s 10.96 miles to Langdale Park Boat Ramp. It’s another 6.78 river miles to Troupville Boat Ramp, including a couple thousand feet up the Little River, for a total of 17.74 river miles from Franklinville to Troupville Boat Ramp.
However, it’s only 5.14 river miles from Langdale Park Boat Ramp to the GA 133 bridge on the Little River, which is approximately where the east-west road went through Troupville back in 1833. So that would have been only about 16.1 river miles downstream from Franklinville. When the Withlacoochee River was high enough for boats. Otherwise, it was a long walk on nearby roads.
There are many creeks, sloughs, oxbows, bridges, and flora and fauna to see along the river, either way.
- Pictures: Withlacoochee River, GA 122 to Franklinville Road 2013-04-20
- Hagan Bridge, Franklinville, Withlacoochee River 2018-02-11
- Franklinville Landing Clean Up, Withlacoochee River, 2019-08-03
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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