John Woolf Jordan.

Genealogical and personal history of Fayette county, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) online

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ment, about the year 1773, perhaps the early
part of that year. At the age of about twen-
ty-three he married Amy First (German
Furst), who at the time was less than sixteen
years old. She was a daughter of Jacob
Furst, who came from Germany. Amy was a
daughter by his first wife, his third and last
wife being Charlotte Franks (see Charlotte).
The Firsts, or Fursts, were among the early
settlers. Shortly after marriage Michael and
his wife settled in Nicholson township, a few



miles northeast of New Geneva. He was a
man of great energy and physical endurance.
He was a muscular man, standing six feet
high, rather dark complexion and weighed
about 180 pounds. His wife was short and
small, but later became stout, in complexion
fair, with a sweet face and placid and even
disposition, and matched her husband as a
worker and manager. Constitutionally she
was a remarkably good woman. In his life
Michael was a man of correct and regular
habits and of uncommon industry. When
they set up housekeeping they did not have
much, but they toiled and saved and con-
stantly added to their savings. Of course he
Was a farmer; one of the best and most
thrifty in the country. Michael became the
largest land owner in the township, owning
nine excellent farms. He raised large crops
of grain, especially corn. He raised and fed
many hogs. He also raised many good
horses. He was one of the first to mine and
haul coal to New Geneva. Strange to say, it
was then little used as a fuel. He also hauled
stone for Albert Gallatin to build a house on
the historic Friendship Hill farm, above New
Geneva. It is said he was listed for the war
of 1812, and was to hold himself in readiness
for one year and a day. He was not notified
until a day after the time had expired, and
therefore could not be held. Michael and his
wife were at first Lutherans, but shortly after
marriage their religious views underwent a
change; and they united with the Mount
Moriah Baptist Church at Smithfield, Penn-
sylvania, in which fellowship they remained
until death. He was a deacon thirty-seven
years; a man of strong personality and a
forceful citizen. He neither had time nor in-
cHnation for pubhc office, but was alert for
the public good. His influence, with his sons,
was always a potent factor, especially in
county and township politics. He and his
sons were of the old "Hickory Jackson"' mold.
His home was a Mecca for Baptist ministers,
and the poor and worthy were never turned
away empty. He died in 1857 at the age of
seventv-eight years. His wife died in 1872
in the ninety-first year of her age. They rest
in the old Baptist cemetery at Smithfield.

Jacob, first child of Michael (3) and Amy
(Furst) Franks, was born February 20, 1798-
By occupation he was a farmer. He married



S64



PENNSYLVANIA



Rebecca Rose (date of which cannot now be
found). In early Hfe he bought a farm in
IMonongalia county, Virginia, now West Vir-
ginia, near Easton. Later in life he sold out
there and moved to his father's old home in
Nicholson township, Fayette county, Penn-
sylvania, to care for his aged mother, then a
widow. He died a little over seventy-five
years of age. His wife survived him for some
years and died at the advanced age of eighty-
seven years. They were good people and
given to hospitality and most highly re-
spected by all who knew them. Having both
united with the Baptist church at an early
age, they were faithful unto death. In pol-
itics he was a Democrat. They had eleven
children, but for lack of data only a few notes
can be given. Children: Michael, the oldest,
served in the Union army throughout most
of the civil war. He was a farmer by occupa-
tion, and for many years to the time of death
was located in Tyler county. West Virginia.
He married and raised a highly respected
family. He was a faithful and influential
member of the Baptist church, and was also
his noble wife. He was an influential, leading
citizen in his county. He died a few years
ago at an advanced age.

Of the large and respectable family of
Jacob and Rebecca the only one now living
(1912) is Mrs. Rebecca A., wife of H. T. Jaco
(insurance), of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. By
this union she is the mother of five children.
J. W., a fine dentist, owns and has his office
in the Flatiron, at the water fountain, on
Morgantown street, Uniontown, and lives in
a fine brick residence on Beeson avenue. He
is a member of the Great Bethel Baptist
Church. Another son, Charles H., also a den-
tal doctor, located in Philadelphia, Pennsyl-
vania, and is demonstrator and lecturer in
the Pennsylvania Dental College, the school
from which he graduated in igo6. He is still
single. Frank R., youngest child, is a jeweler
and has charge of the watchmaking depart-
ment of the George Bennett Company, a
wholesale house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
He is married. Mrs. Dora Moore (widow)
has been for a number of years one of the
leading clerks in the Wright-Metzler Depart-
ment Store in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, suc-
cessors to Captain James M. Hustead and
I. W. Semans, with whom she was employed.



At present she has charge of the ladies' suit
department. She is considered an expert in
her line of work. Miss Anna is stiU at home.
W. Thomas Miller, a grandson of Jacob and
Rebecca Franks, living on a cozy iittle farm
in Nicholson township, near Smithfield, has
been a justice of the peace for many years,
and is uncommonly well posted as to the
duties of the office, and frequently uses his
influence for a peaceful settlement of difficul-
ties without going to law in the courts, where
the public welfare is not involved, and has
the full confidence of the people in his integ-
rity, good judgment and safe counsel. For
some years after the First National Bank of
Smithfield was organized he was bookkeeper
and treasurer, and thoroughly demonstrated
his fitness as a banker.

He has strong moral and religious convic-
tions. He is an active church and Sunday
school man and deacon in the Oak Hill Bap-
tist Church at Old Frame, of which his good
wife is also a member. He has one daughter,
Lenora, at home. Also three sons, of which
Jacob F. is a Baptist minister. The other
two, John and Charles, are well equipped by
education and training for success in life.
Rev. Ellsworth Hare, another grandson of
Jacob and Rebecca Franks, is now pastor of
a Baptist church at McKeesport, Pennsyl-
vania.

Elizabeth, second child of Michael (3) and
Amy (Furst) Franks, married. May 13, 1819,
Jonathan Higgins, a successful farmer. Eliza-
beth died at the age of thirty-six years; he
later married her sister Amy, November 19,
1837. In 1839 he moved from near New
Geneva to Adams county, Ohio, and lived
there until the time of their deaths.

Mary (Polly), third child of Michael (3) and
Amy (Furst) Franks, was born March 29,
1 801, and was married to Andrew Kramer in
1829. Andrew Kramer at the age of sixteen
years took up the trade of glass blowing and
was one of the pioneer glass manufacturers
01 the Monongahela valley. Later he oper-
ated a glass factory below Greensboro,
Greene county, Pennsylvania, in partnership
with Philip Reitz, below New Geneva, but on
tne opposite side of the river. It is worthy
01 note that the first glass made west of the
Alleghany mountains was at or just above
New Geneva, on Georges creek, promoted by



FAYETTE COUNTY



565



Albert Gallatin, of national fame, and who
lived at the now historic place called Friend-
ship Hill, at present owned by J. V. Thomp-
son, the noted banker and coal king. Galla-
tin founded New Geneva in 1797.

Andrew Kramer moved to Linn county,
Iowa, in 1839, and for years endured the
hardships incident to a pioneer life. He final-
ly conquered and made good — raised a large
lamily — some of them filling important posi-
tions in life. One, Isaac N., now at the age
of eighty years (1912), with a son, has two
extensive floral and greenhouse establish-
ments, one at Marion and the other at Cedar
Rapids, Iowa. Another son, Michael, aged
eighty-two, is living at Denver City, Col.,
who in turn has a son who is a physician. In
politics Andrew Kramer was a Whig. Both
he and his wife were Baptists. He died Sep-
tember I, 1872, in his eighty-third year. His
wife died August 25, 1877.

Michael (4), fourth child of Michael (3) and
Amy (Furst) Franks was born October 29,
1803. He lived all his Hfe in Nich-
olson township, Fayette county, Pennsyl-
vania. He was a short, compactly built man
of fair complexion, fine. auburn hair and very
regular features, and weighed about 150
pounds. He had a genial, happy tempera-
ment, was a pleasing conversationalist, and
his company was* always a pleasure. He was
a progressive farmer, and, like his brothers,
who were true to their instinct and training,
abhorred bad fences and dirty fence corners.
During his life he became possessed of sev-
eral hundred acres of well-improved land,
but in different farms. The last farm he
bought was the James W. Nicholson farm in
the early fifties.

The fine brick mansion (for that day) was
on the top of a high hill one-half of a mile
above Geneva, commanding a beautiful view
of the winding silvery band of the Mononga-
hela river, Greensboro and its neighborhood
section of the valley. To this farm he moved
and spent the remainder of his days with his
excellent wife. Michael Franks was a Demo-
crat. Both he and his wife were Baptists.
Both died at a good age, their deaths being
only a few days apart, and they were buried
in Cedar Grove cemetery, New Geneva. On
November 13, 1828, he married Charity Ken-
dall, sister of Rev. Samuel Kendall, an old-



time Baptist preacher. To this union were
born: i. Isaac K., born January 4, 1830;
married Mary Eberhart, of New Geneva, a
daughter of Martin Eberhart, a glass manu-
facturer. He was a farmer and mill owner,
etc. Later in life he moved to Kansas and
died some years ago, aged seventy-six years.
His widow is still living with a son in Okla-
homa, a large land owner and wealthy. She
is now (1912) enjoying good health at the age
of eighty-one years. 2. Michael W., born
April 29, 1832, was much like his father in
looks, size, build, and complexion, except
that his hair was darker colored and inclined
to baldness. He was a farmer, but often in
township ofifices, and in November, 1878, was
elected county treasurer for three years. Also
he was later made cashier of Internal Reve-
nue of the Twenty-third District. In political
faith he was a Democrat. He was a courte-
ous, pleasing gentleman and made and held
friends wherever he went. On May 17, 1864,
he married Martha J., daughter of John Bell,
of Greene county, Pennsylvania, a wealthy
and well known farmer. He died at his home
near New Geneva, December 14, 1899, in his
sixty-eighth year. His wife died March 23,
1904. aged about sixty-seven years. He and
his wife were buried in Cedar Grove
cemetery. He left children: Charles Boyle,
a sketch of whom follows ; Emma, mar-
ried (first) James C. Long, (second)
Jesse Dills; they own and cultivate the
old Franks homestead. 3. Estella, married
Allen Fast, a teacher and clerk, and resides
in Masontown. 4. Frances A., born Oc-
tober 28, 1842; married John Morris, a farm-
er. Both are dead and survived by four sons.
5. Aniedee ]\I., born January 18. 1848, a pow-
erfully built man of great physical strength;
in the prime of life was a farmer and car-
penter. He was a good, useful and upright
citizen, a Democrat, and he served as county
commissioner with credit to himself and to
the county. He was a man of good business
judgment and always stood squarely for the
right. Both he and his wife were Baptists.
On March 3, 1866, he married Nancy Lon-
ganecker. He died at his home in Union-
town, March 3, 1906, and was buried in
Cedar Grove cemetery. He left a family.
Holly W., of the J. S. Douglass agency, is
his son. His widow also survives him. 6.
Alice R., born May 21, 1851; married James



566



PENNSYLVANIA



K. Dills, a farmer of Nicholson township; has
a family of grown-up children. Several oth-
ers died in infancy.

James, fifth child of Michael (3) and Amy
(Furst) Franks, married Maria Chick, a
cousin of William Chick, of Uniontown. He
was a successful farmer and lived on the
farm where William Trader resided until the
time of his death, and now owned by his son,
William H. Trader, Jr. In about the year
1847 he moved to Wayne county, Ohio, and
settled on a fine farm a few miles from
Doylestown. They raised a large family.
He died at the age of seventy-six years. His
wife lived to a good old age. Their children
that are living are well settled in life, mostly
on large, well tilled farms, prosperous and
favorably known in Fayette county. In re-
ligion Baptists, in politics Democrats.

Samuel, sixth child of Michael (3) and Amy
(Furst) Franks, died in infancy.

Samuel, seventh child of Michael (3) and
Amy (Furst) Franks, was born in Nicholson
township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania. He
married Susan Trader (sister of the late Will-
iam H. Trader Sr.). He died August 12,
1894, in the eighty-eighth year of his age.
His wife died April 24, 1865, in her fifty-ninth
year.

Like his brothers (except Abraham), a
farmer, and pursued farming throughout his
long life. He inherited the strong traits of
both parents, some of which were honesty,
amiableness of temper, with a kindly disposi-
tion toward all. He possessed a modest ap-
preciation of the humorous side of life. Con-
sequently he had many friends and but few
if any enemies, but was firm in his convic-
tions as to right and wrong. He was always
cheerful, happy and contented, never moody
or fretful. After this simple analysis of the
man it would scarcely seem necessary to add
that he was a model citizen, father and hus-
band. At an early age he united with the
Mount Moriah Baptist Church at Smithfield,
Pennsylvania, under the pastorate of Rev.
John Patton. His wife, Susan, was noted for
her kindness and sweet disposition. She was
a Presbyterian and died in that faith. Her
pastor was Rev. Ashabel Fairchild, widely
known as a theological writer. In politics he
was a Democrat. The children that grew up
and married are the following: Sarah A.,



born 1836, wife of the late John Whetstone.
Elizabeth, married John Jaco, who enlisted as
a private in the civil war in the Sixty-third
Pennsylvania Regiment. He was wounded
in one of the Seven Days' battles of the Wil-
derness. Was taken to the hospital at Wash-
ington City, D. C, and died at the age of
about thirty years. The wife is now dead.
William H., a physician; read medicine with
the late Dr. F. C. Robinson, of Uniontown,
and took a full course in Jefferson Medical
College, Philadelphia, graduating some time
in the early sixties. Shortly after he went to
Brimfield, Noble county, Indiana, where he
began the practice of his chosen profession.
Being an ardent student, of good judgment,
patient and sympathetic, he rose rapidly in
favor with the people. He married May Gib-
son, of near that place. Later he moved to
Ligonier, in the same county, where he now
lives as a retired physician. Mary (MoUie),
married Luther Wheeler and lives at Deer
Park, IMaryland. Amanda, married Harry
Zimmerman, who for many years has held a
responsible and lucrative position with the
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company at
Cameron, West Virginia, where they reside.
Eliza J., married Charles Griffin, son of the
late W. P. Griffin, of Nicholson township.
They live at Chanute, Kansas, and are well
fixed in life.

Abraham, eighth child of Michael (3) and
Amy (Furst) Franks, was born in Nicholson
township, Fayette county, Pennsylvania, Oc-
tober 29, 1806, where he grew to manhood.
His early education was limited to the mea-
ger advantages of the stibscription schools of
that day, but by severe application of mind to
the pursuit of knowledge he succeeded in
storing his mind with a degree of education
far beyond the average teacher of the day in
the community.

For a few years he taught school in his
own neighborhood and also in the High
House settlement. He then engaged in the
mercantile business at New Geneva. At the
age of twenty-eight years he sold his store
at New Geneva and went westward, expect-
ing to go to Chicago, Illinois. Chicago at
that time, 1834, was merely a trading post.
Going by the way of Wayne county, Ohio,
he concluded to stop ofif at Doylestown and
visit some of the Franks living in that sec-



FAYETTE COUNTY



567



tion. While visiting Abraham Franks, a son
of one of the former settlers of the Franks
region at High House, Pennsylvania, this
Abraham was persuaded to remain and go
into business with him. To this'he agreed,
and they conducted successfully for years a
general store business at Doylestown under
the firm name of Abraham Franks, Sr., and
Abraham Franks, Jr. He married, Septem-
ber g, 1S48, Amanda, daughter of Abraham
Franks, Sr., and Lydia (Blocker) Franks.
Soon after his marriage he was elected to the
state legislature on the Democratic ticket.
He was re-elected and served with credit to
himself and the people ot his district. On
leaving the legislature he returned to Doyles-
town and engaged in the hotel business (no
bar or liquor sold) for several years. Tiring
of this, he moved to his farm and for a num-
ber of years engaged in farming. In 1861 he
again returned to Doylestown and again en-
gaged in the mercantile business, and so con-
tmued until 1878, when he retired from active
business life on account of age. On December
3, 1887, his wife died at the age of fifty-eight
years. He was among the early settlers of
Wayne county, Ohio, and aside from his
more public life, as already stated, was one
oi the prominent citizens of the county, and
was for many years a justice of the peace.

He was an able and intelligent man and
wrote much for the papers. However, he
lacked the oratorical gift of expressing him-
self orally, which proved somewhat of a bar
to his public advancement.* At an early age
he united with the Baptist church at Smith-
field, Pennsylvania, and throughout his long
life was a consistent and upright fojlower of
his Lord and Master. He was an everyday
Christian, and this was the testimony of those
who knew him best. He died January 26,
1890, at the age of eighty-three years, two
months and twenty-seven days. He was a
model husband and father. Constitutionally
kind and sympathetic, he was an example
worthy of imitation by all.

Amanda, wife of Abraham Franks Jr., was
born at Chippewa, Wayne county, Ohio, Au-
gust I, 1829. She united with the Baptist
church at an early age. She was a woman of
strong Christian character and her faith and
trust in her Saviour seemed to increase as the
vears passed by. In her last sickness she was
a great sufiferer for many months. But her



patience and fortitude were said to be beau-
tiful and sublime. As before noted, she
passed through "the pearly gates ajar" to
rest in the heavenlv Beulah land on Decem-
ber 3, 1887.

To this union were born two children:
Jennie, born at Doylestown, Ohio, May 17,
1850, and Louis Kossuth, born in Chippewa,
Wayne county, Ohio, November 29, 1854.
Jennie was given the advantages of the best
schools the town afiforded, and displayed
quite a talent for music, for the development
of which she had training under the best in-
structors the town afiforded; also a course at
Wooster, Ohio. She was bright and well
equipped to maintain a high standard of use-
fulness and social distinction. While in
Wooster she met Rev. J. W. Lowe, minister
of the Disciple church. This mutual ac-
quaintance ripened into love. They were
married in May, 1872. At the date of this in-
formation (1894) they had one daughter,
Lucy Virginia, a young woman of twenty-
one years, an accomplished musician.

Louis K. was born in Chippewa, Wayne
county, Ohio, November 29, 1854, as before
noted; he was given the advantages of the
common schools and also started in a college
course; but owing to the advanced age and
consequent infirmities of his father, was pre-
vented from completing his college course.
The practical part of his education was re-
ceived at an early age and in his father's
store, the latter proving of great advantage
in all the succeeding years of his life. At the
age of twenty-five years he engaged as a
partner in the drug business, and was thus
engaged for three years, making of it a finan-
cial success. On August i, 1883. he married
Linda Wharton, of Ashland county, Ohio.
Since his marriage he has pursued various
callings, serving as deputy county treasurer
of his native county for two years. In June,
1912, the writer found him a farmer, cultivat-
ing a fine farm a few miles from Doylestown,
where he was enjoying the comforts of a
good home. He drives to and from his farm
and greatly enjoys the blending of country
and town life. He possesses strong physical
and mental vigor, is kindly and hospitable in
disposition, but has a high standard of posi-
tive convictions in morals, religion and pol-
itics.



568



PENNSYLVANIA



He is a man of strong personal influence
in the community where he lives, and is most
highly respected. His politics, like his
father's, were cast in the mold of the old
Jeffersonian Democracy. His wife is a be-
fitting helpmeet and at once a loving com-
panion and mother and a practical and thor-
ough housekeeper and homemaker. Their
children are: Metta C, a teacher, at home;
Kent Wharton, in Ohio University, veter-
inary department; Carrie, at home.

George, ninth child of Michael (3) and
Amy (Furst) Franks, died at the age of
twenty.

John, tenth child of Michael (3) and Amy
(Furst) Franks, also the seventh son born
consecutively, was born in Nicholson town-
ship in the early part of 181 1. His education
was that of the average country boy of his
day — reading, writing, spelling and some
arithmetic. Like his father and the remainder
of the family, he possessed strong instinct to
stick close to the bosom of mother earth.
Here it may be stated that while a youth he
learned the trade or art of weaving, and in
addition to the more ordinary products of the
loom that were used in those days largely for
home clothing and other household purposes,
he made the heavy bedspreads (or coverlets)
with their beautiful inwoven figures, very pop-
ular in those days. But he soon quit weav-
ing and from that time on was a farmer.

On April 10, 1837, he married Mary, daugh-
ter of Peter and Ann (Fuller) Hess. The
marriage took place at the home of the bride,
a few miles northwest of McClellandtown, the
officiating minister being Rev. William Wood,
a noted Baptist preacher and evangelist, and
who in turn was the father of the late Rev.
W. S. Wood, of Mount Pleasant, Pennsyl-
vania, a noted theologian and preacher. They
set up housekeeping, and for a short time
lived on William Greenlee's farm, near what
is now Ruble, in Georges township.

In the year 1838 Peter Hess sold out and
moved to Fayette county. Ohio, which was
then a new country, beginning to settle up.
Peter Hess wished to have all his children
settle near him. In a short time thereafter
John Franks, with his wife, followed and set-
tled on a farm on Compton creek, in Fayette
•-ounty, Ohio, four or five miles from Wash-
ington Court House. Here John contracted
malaria so badlv as to make life miserable.



and they remained there only a little over two
years, when they returned to Fayette county,
Pennsylvania. It was while in Ohio that
Peter Hess, the oldest child, was born, the
birth occurring December 18, 1839, of whom
more hereafter. A second child born in Ohio
died in infancy. As before stated, John re-
turned to Fayette county, Pennsylvania, and
settled on the farm in Nicholson township, on
which his brother-in-law, Andrew Kramer,
had lived. In 1847 ^le moved to the farm lying
close to New Geneva, where he remained to
the time of his death, which occurred October
16, 1858.

John Franks early united with the Mt.
Moriah Baptist Church at Smithfield. Later
in life he was made a deacon. He was a man
of strictest moral integrity, never broke his
word though he might suffer loss thereby.
His word was considered as good as his bond.
This was certified by all who knew him most
intimately in life. He never sought public of-
fice, but nevertheless was a forceful person-
ality as a citizen and in every sphere of his
lite!

At the time of his death (at forty-eight) he
was the owner of two valuable farms in Nich-
olson township. The home on which he



Online LibraryJohn Woolf JordanGenealogical and personal history of Fayette county, Pennsylvania (Volume 2) → online text (page 48 of 57)