Biography of John W. Franks

JOHN W. FRANKS, deceased. In every community some men are known for their upright lives, strong common sense and moral worth rather than for their wealth or political standing. Their neighbors respect them, the young generations heed their example, and when they go to the grave posterity listens with reverence to the story of their quiet and useful lives. Such a man was John W. Franks, who was born in Hardin County, Tennessee, July 13, 1837, and died on his farm near Timbo, in Stone County, Arkansas, November 20, 1886. His father, Jack Franks, died in Tennessee.

John W. Franks received no educational advantages in his youth, and at the time of his marriage could hardly write his name, but at odd times thereafter he applied himself to his books and became reasonably well posted in the three R’s. From Tennessee he went to Mississippi; in 1859 came to Baxter County, Arkansas, and located near Big Flat, which was one of the roughest places in that part of the country, but the soil was rich and fertile, and there he determined to pitch his tent.” He was industrious, made good crops, and was ably assisted by his young wife who was as ambitious as he. They had a young yoke of oxen, a few household articles, and in this way commenced their married life. During the Civil War Mr. Franks became a member of an Arkansas regiment, C. S. A., with which he served for some time. He continued to live in Baxter County until 1879 or 1880, when he moved to the splendid farm near Timbo which he had bought about four years before. This farm comprised 464 acres, and had 300 acres under cultivation. One year after locating here he opened a general store near Timbo in a little log house 18×20 feet, and although he commenced on a limited scale he succeeded in that as he did in everything. He afterward built a larger house, as his increasing business demanded it, and was following this business at the time of his death. He was a member of the A. F. & A. M., the I. O. O. F., and was prominent in both orders. His wife, Etha Malinda Welch, was born in Tennessee, and is still living, an earnest member of the Presbyterian Church.

To their marriage nine children were born, the two eldest of whom died in infancy. Those living are: Nancy E., wife of James H. Rose, of Big Flat; Eliza Jane, who also lives there; Mahala, wife of W. A. Williams, of Searcy County; William M.; J. W., who is a member of the business firm of Franks Bros.; Christopher C. at home, and Charles. William Martin Franks received his education in the home schools, and was brought up in his father’s store and on the farm. He continued to till the soil until September, 1892, when he was married to Miss Palestine, daughter of William H. and Elizabeth Bolinger, of this county, and engaged in the mercantile business, being associated with his brother as a member of the firm of Franks Bros., of Timbo, where they are doing a profitable business, and have a well-stocked establishment.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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