LEN KUBIAK'S TEXAS HISTORY SERIES-HISTORY OF FRANKLIN, ROBERTSON COUNTY, TEXAS
FRANKLIN BULLETIN BOARD
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HISTORY OF Franklin
By Leonard Kubiak with contributions from Friends of Franklin!
For thousands of years, the region that was to become Franklin was home to a variety of Indian tribes that made
their villages along the Brazos river and hunted the area that eventually became Franklin.
Artifacts identified as belonging to the Paleo-Indian (10,000-6,000 B.C.) and Archaic (6,000-200 B.C.) cultures
have been found in the area, indicating it was continuously occupied for more than 10,000 years. When the first
Europeans arrived in the region, it was dominated by Tawakoni, Tonkawa, and Waco Indians. Occasionally,
Comanches, Kiowas, and Lipan-Apaches came into into the area, hunting buffalo and raiding enemy Indian
villages. Large buffalo herds grazed upon the open prairies between the Trinity and Brazos rivers in the early
Up Until the mid 1800's, Comanche Indians Still Claimed the Franklin
Region as Their Home.
Then the territory came under Mexican jurrisdiction although still settled primarily by Indians. In order to
gain greater control of the territory being claimed by the French and worried about the expanding influence of
the United States, the mexican government began issuing land grants to bring in white settlers from the States
and make them Mexican citizens.
Historical Marker at the Franklin Cemetery
In 1825, Robert Leftwich, agent of the Tennessee Colony, received a commission from the Spanish government to
bring 800 settlers to Texas. Adjustments were made which allowed Sterling C. Robertson (17851842) to become
impresario of the large tract.
Robertson's land was organized as the Mexican municipality of Viesca in 1830. However, after the death of Ben
Milam at San Antonio in 1835, the citizens of Viesca voted to rename their municipality Milam. A final change
of name occurred December 14, 1837, when the Second Congress of the Republic of Texas created a large county
out of Bexar, Milam, and Nacogdoches counties, and named it Robertson, for the early impresario.
PHOTOS OF EARLY-DAY FRANKLIN
Old Franklin Hotel
FRANKLIN FIRST NAMED MORGAN (Established in 1872)
Franklin, Texas was originally named Morgan named after a International Railway Company official. Morgan was established in 1872. By 1879, Morgan had some 200 residents became the county seat of Robertson County transferring the seat from Calvert Texas.
MORGAN CHANGES ITS NAME TO FRANKLIN (1880)
When the community of Morgan applied for a post office in 1880, they were notified by the state that another Texas post office was named Morgan. So Morgan was changed to Franklin after the name of the original county seat. The first county judge of new Franklin was T. J. Simmons. The post office of the new county seat opened in 1880 with J. C. Mitchell as postmaster. The next year the community's first school building, a frame structure, was built; it burned in 1894, and another was erected which served the district until 1924, when a brick building was constructed.
The stone courthouse of Franklin was completed on January 7, 1882. By then J. A. Keigewin was publishing the town's first newspaper, the Franklin Weekly. By 1885 Franklin had three hotels, three churches, two gristmills, a school, and a harness and saddle plant operated by Elias Reynolds. A fourth church opened in 1892, but all the church structures were destroyed by a 1913 windstorm that also damaged every public building in the county. In 1890 Isaac R. Overall advertised a mineral springs, attracting visitors to his hotel and spa for the next several years. Franklin reported a population of 250 in 1882, of about 1,000 in 1890, and of 1,087 in 1942. In 1905 the First National Bank of Franklin was chartered, and the First State Bank was established in 1913. By the 1970s Franklin, an incorporated community, had a mayor-council form of city government.qv In 1989 it had a population estimated at 1,462 and twenty businesses. In 1990 its population was reported as 1,336 and the current population is around 1500.
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