Select Franklin Miscellany
- Franklin Name Distribution in the 1851 UK Census
- Sir John Franklin's Disappearance
- Benjamin Franklin's Inventions
- Franklin Family Lines in the South
- Frankel to Franklin
- The Franklin Car
Franklin Name Distribution in the 1851 UK Census
The Franklin name was to be found in counties to the north and west of London. The largest number in 1851 were in the county of Gloucestershire.
Sir John Franklin's Disappearance
Sir John Franklin's last expedition of Arctic exploration left England in 1845. A Royal Navy officer and experienced explorer, Franklin had served on three previous Arctic expeditions, the latter two as commanding officer. This his fourth, undertaken when he was 59, was meant to traverse the last unnavigated section of the Northwest Passage. After a few early fatalities the two ships became icebound in the Victoria Strait near King William Island in the Canadian Arctic. The entire expedition complement, including Franklin and 128 men, was lost.
Pressed by Franklin's wife and others, the Admiralty launched a search for the missing expedition in 1848. Prompted in part by Franklin's fame and the Admiralty's offer of a finder's reward, many subsequent expeditions joined the hunt. Several of these ships converged off the east coast of Beechey Island where the first relics of the expedition were found, including the graves of three crewmen. In 1854, explorer John Rae, while surveying near the Canadian Arctic coast southeast of King William Island, acquired relics of and stories about the Franklin party from the Inuit. A search led by Francis McClintock in 1859 discovered a note left on King William Island with details about the expedition's fate.
After the loss of the Franklin party, the Victorian media, notwithstanding the expedition's failure and the reports of cannibalism, portrayed Franklin as a hero. Songs were written about him and statues of him in his home town, in London, and in Tasmania credit him with discovery of the Northwest Passage.
Benjamin Franklin's Inventions
Benjamin Franklin's inventions include the Franklin stove, the bifocal lens, the lightning rod, the odometer (for measuring distance), and the glass harmonica.
He is also credited with the following firsts:
- the first political cartoon, which appeared in his Pennsylvania Gazette.
- the first fire department in any municipality, which he started in Philadelphia in 1736
- the first electrical battery, made in his home in Philadelphia in
- the first to propose Daylight Savings Time, which he did during his time in Paris
- and the first to promote the virtues of Vitamin C. It was Benjamin Franklin who coined the phrase: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
Franklin Family Lines in
The table below tracks Franklin family lines in the South, starting with the first Franklin being born in the 1700's
||Date of Birth
||born in Amherst county, Virginia
||resident in Edgefield county,
||born in Chester district, South
||born in Virginia, moved to
|Burrell T. Franklin
||married in North Carolina in 1807
|Thomas J. Franklin
||born in South Carolina, moved to
Alabama and then to Florida
||born in Virginia, moved to
||born in North Carolina and
married there in 1817
||born in Virginia and moved to
||later resident in Georgia
|Josiah L. Franklin
||born in Georgia, moved to Alabama
||born in Tennessee, moved to
Frankel to Franklin
The surname Frankel is of German origin. It may
have resemblances to the English "Franklin," deriving from the
word franc meaning
"free." The name might also denote someone from Franconia (in
German Franken), a region of SW Germany so-called because of its early
settlement by the Franks. Or it might just be a Jewish name from
other parts of Central Europe. It was Jewish immigrants
predominantly who brought the name to America where it quite often
One family history records the arrival of Solomon
Franklin, a Jewish immigrant in 1860 to Yazoo City in Mississippi from Posen in Prussia. Other Frankels/Franklins
recorded in the 1880's in New York came from the Ukraine area.
The Franklin Car
In 1900, Herbert Franklin met a bright, young bicycle racer named John Wilkinson who had already designed two prototype automobiles. Franklin took a ride in Wilkinson's second prototype, was impressed and the ride persuaded him to invest $1,100 so that Wilkinson could build a third prototype which went on to become Franklin's first production model.
The Franklin Automobile Company was thus started and the first Franklin Model A was on the market by 1902. It holds the distinction of being the first four-cylinder automobile produced in the United States. That year Franklin sold a total of thirteen cars priced at $1,100 each. From this modest beginning, he went on to run a successful car company. For 28 years, from 1902 to 1930, the company thrived and during much of that time enjoyed the distinction of being the city of Syracuse's largest employer.
However, like other makers of high-priced cars, the Franklin Automobile Company was badly hit by the Great Depression. Car production in 1932 was only 1,898 units and in 1931 a mere 1,100 units, down from a high of 14,000 units in 1929. The company eventually went bankrupt in 1934.