Friday, December 3, 2010

John and Juda Franks

When my  ancestor, John E. Wilson, married his third wife,  Nancy Franks,  in March 1831 in Livingston County, Kentucky, Nancy's father, John Franks, signed the consent note.  I descend from John E. Wilson's second marriage so Nancy Franks isn't my ancestor, but since I don't like loose ends, I wanted to know more about John Franks.   

My first thought was that since John Franks does not appear on the 1840 Livingston County census, maybe he  had died shortly after signing the consent note.  So I looked for a will or estate settlement in Livingston County.  No luck, but no problem. There were other records to check.

My local library has many  Kentucky tax lists on microfilm so I began reading those. Taken yearly, tax lists provide a variety of information,  including the amount and location of land owned, how many white polls in the family and if slaves were owned. I knew that if a man was listed on the tax lists and then disappeared, it might indicate he had died or had moved away.

 John Franks was listed on Livingston County tax lists from 1831 to 1837 (1832 and 1834 tax lists are missing).  In 1831, 1833 and 1835 he owned no land, but in 1836 and 1837, he owned 100 acres of land on Crooked Creek, which is today in Crittenden County. In 1838, John Franks was not listed, but Judah Franks was shown with 115 acres on Crooked Creek. Was she John's widow and, if so,  was she listed with the same land John had owned prior to 1838? Juda Franks also appeared on the 1840 Livingston County census as well as the 1840 and 1841 tax lists (the 1839 list is missing) , but did not appear on the 1842 Livingston or Crittenden County tax lists.   Hmmm. Did she die between 1841 and 1842?

A deed in Crittenden County Deed Book A, page 560 provided the information I needed. In this deed, dated 6 April 1842, it stated that John Franks, deceased, was the father of Nancy Wilson (wife of John E. Wilson), Sarry Chandler, R.C.W. Franks, James D. Franks, William M. Franks, John M. Franks and Jesse B. Franks and died seized and possessed of a small estate consisting of about 115 acres of land on the waters of Crooked Creek.  It also stated that Juda Franks, late relict of John Franks was also deceased. Bingo!  This document ties Nancy Franks Wilson to both her father and mother, John and Juda Franks, who are both deceased at the time of this deed. By listing Juda as the relict of John Franks, I know she survived him. If he had been living when she died, she would have been listed as his consort.  From the tax lists, it appears John Franks died 1837/1838 and Juda Franks died 1841/1842. 

The name of another child of Juda/Judith Franks was found  in Crittenden County Court Order Book 1, page 72, when Cinthia Ann Franks, infant orphan of Judith Franks dec'd, made choice of James Parris as her guardian. Since she "made choice" of her guardian, we know she was at least 14 years old, the age at which a minor could choose her own guardian. 

Still another child is identified in Crittenden County Circuit Court Case #2 (Franks vs Franks) in which the heirs of John Franks sued for the distribution of property. Among the heirs listed is "Pherby Stevenson, who had intermarried with David Stevenson ..." 

Could there have been more children?

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