Franck/Frank Family

          (I will first give a general outline of the family; underlined names and phrases are links; clicking on them will take you to more detailed information about that person or subject.)

This family in America is descended from Johann Jacob Franck, who was born in Sinsheim, a small town  near Heidelburg, on 28 July 1714.   He was a son of Peter Franck and Anna Catharina Ziegler. He came to America on the ship 'Friendship', arriving in Philadelphia on 3 September 1739.   He signed his name on the ship's list:

On 4 February 1740 Jacob was married in Philadelphia to Anna Maria Kunigunda Bischoff, who was born on 5 April 1718 in Adersbach, a village near Sinsheim, and probably came to America at about the same time.   The family first settled in Philadelphia for a number of years; in about 1755 the family moved to Lancaster.  Johann Jacob died there in 1787; Anna Maria in 1804.
A word about spelling:  In the early to mid-18th century the name was almost always spelled Franck.  Toward the latter part of that century the 'c' was gradually being lost and was pretty much gone by the beginning of the nineteenth.   In these pages I have somewhat arbitrarily spelled it Franck for those born before 1800 and Frank for those born after.   The reality is that there was a transition period when both were used more or less interchangeably.

Jacob and Maria, as they were known, had the following children, all but the last born in Philadelphia:

Anna Margaretha Franck, born in Philadelphia in 1740, who married first

Friedrich Lutz, and later Nicholas Groll, she later moved to Lancaster.
Jacob Franck, born in Philadelphia in 1743; he became a tanner,  married

Maria Magdalena Schlosser and they spent their lives in Philadelphia
Daniel Franck, my 4th greatgrandfather, born in Philadelphia in 1747, who married

Anna Margaretha Kuntz; he moved to Lancaster in the 1750s
Elisabeth Franck born in Philadelphia in 1752.  She married

Johannes Eberman, a clockmaker of Lancaster, and had eleven children.
Petrus Franck born in Philadelphia in 1754, died very young.
Peter Franck born in Lancaster in 1756; he also died very young.

My 4th greatgrandparents Daniel Franck and Anna Margaretha Yeiser (she was a young widow; her maiden name was Kuntz) were married on 8 April 1768 in Lancaster.  Daniel was a Revolutionary War veteran, a tavernkeeper and something of a politician in Lancaster.   He died in 1814; Margaret died in 1819.  Daniel and Margaret had the following children:

Elisabeth Franck, born in 1770 died as a child in 1773
Peter Franck born in 1772, died in 1807 but I don't know much more about him
Wilhelm Franck born in 1774, died in childhood, before 1778
Jacob Franck born in 1776, died in 1814 -- my 3rd greatgrandfather; he married

Maria Magdalena Dietrich
William Franck born in 1778, he lived the longest, died after 1843; he married

Maria Hoff but I know very little about them
Elisabeth Franck born 1780, died before 1814, no more information
Joseph Franck born in 1782, died 1786
Ann Charlotte Franck born in 1785, never married, died 1843, I know a lot about her
Anna Maria Franck born in 1787, died in infancy (1788)

I do not know much about my 3rd greatgrandfather, Daniel's son  Jacob Frank born in 1776, and even less about his wife Magdalena Dietrich.   He died relatively young, in 1814.   Jacob and Magdalena had three children:

Daniel Frank born in 1800, died in 1842.  He moved to Reading in Berks County and married

Catharina Strohecker; they had 7 children
Henry Frank, my 2nd greatgrandfather, was born in 1802 and died in 1848.  He married

Elizabeth Wagner, lived in Elizabethtown, and they had 7 children
Lydia Frank born about 1804; she died sometime after 1843.  She married

John Thomas, had 3 children that I know about, and lived in Lancaster until at least 1880.
For a long time I did not know what became of Daniel Frank born in 1800, the older brother of my 2nd greatgrandfather Henry.   But eventually I found out that he moved to Reading, married Catharina Strohecker 1798-1855, a daughter of Frederick Strohecker and Catherine Kuhn.   Daniel and Catharina had the following children:

Aaron Alexander Frank 1825 - ?
Clarinda Frank 1826 - ?, who married William Gensemer
Amos Wilhelm 'William' Frank 1828 - ?
LIttleton Frank 1830 - 1843
Jacob Frank 1833 - ?
Ann Charlotte Frank ca 1835 - ?
Lucien Strohecker Frank 1836 - ?
Daniel Frank ca 1838 - ?
For an even longer time, I was not able to trace these, except for Clarinda, who married a Gensemer and remained in Berks County, and some of whose descendants I do have; but I knew that all except Littleton were alive in 1845 when, Daniel having died, their mother Catherine petitioned the Berks County court to appoint a guardian to look after their interests in the matter of their grandaunt Ann Charlotte's will, because they were among her many heirs.

Finally, in January 2005, I did locate Aaron, who married a Sarah and moved to Ohio, where he spent his life.  They had four children that I know of and Aaron lived there at least until 1880.  His son Aaron remained in Ohio and another son, Albert, moved to Louisiana, so there is now quite a bit in my database about Aaron's descendants.  Jacob appears to have also gone to Ohio for a time but I have not really been able to trace him.  The youngest brother Daniel definitely also went to Ohio, to Darke County, and lived there at least until 1880.  His children are now in my database too.

My greatgreatgrandfather Henry Frank sort of disappeared for a few years during his young manhood, though there is evidence that he was in Mt. Joy, Lancaster County.  Later he and his wife Elizabeth Wagner settled in Elizabethtown, where I believe her family had been living,  by 1834,  when their second child was born there.   They lived there all their lives; Henry, Elizabeth, who died in 1874, and their sons Henry Jr and Uriah are all buried at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elizabethtown.   The children of Henry and Elizabeth Frank  were:

Henry Frank Jr born 17 Aug 1827, died as a young man, in 1849.

He is buried at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elizabethtown.
Adelina Maria Frank born 20 Jul 1834, died after 1886.  She married first

John Schriver, and had six children with him.  Later she married

Henry S. Bear of York County.
Uriah Elijah Frank born 20 Oct 1836, killed in the Civil War in 1861; he married

Emma Zearing of Dauphin County.  His grave in Elizabethtown has a Civil War marker.
William Harrison Frank born 29 Dec 1839 married .

Mary Ann Reist, had 7 children, and lived in Manheim, PA

William was a veterinary surgeon.  He died in 1886 and is buried in the Fairview Cemetery at Manheim..
Rufus Frank born 11 Mar 1842, he also served in the Civil War. He married

Harriet ?, settled in Middletown, Dauphin County, and had 5 children.

Rufus died in 1912 and is buried in Middletown Cemetery.
Penrose Frank, born 5 Feb 1844, served in the Civil War, died in 1914.  He married

Mary Elizabeth Schultz, with whom he had five sons, and died in 1914.

Penrose and Mary were my greatgrandparents.  They are buried in Erie, PA.
Harriett Rosetta Frank, born 4 Sep 1847, married

Christian Fortney, with whom she had at least 2 children, and lived in Middletown.

Harriett died in 1877; she and her husband are buried in Middletown Cemetery.

Now with greatgrandfather Penrose Frank we are almost down to the present, and I actually have a good picture of him (shown on his own page).

More details on some of the people mentioned above:

Johann Jacob Franck, My 5th greatgrandfather, arrived in Philadelphia on the 'Friendship' in 1739.  It took a great deal of courage for him to come at that time.  The large immigration of Palatines to America had been going on for a number of years by then, but 1738 had been a very bad year, bad weather, disease on the ships, and a lot of hardships generally.  This seems to have discouraged a lot of people and very few ships arrived in 1739 and 1740, although after that the number increased again.Johann Jacob appears to have stayed in Philadelphia for a number of years; his first four children were born there.  In 1753 he was left property in Lancaster in the will of his wife's sister, Maria Barbara Bischoff Zeigler (Ziegler), and I think soon after that was probably when he actually moved his family to Lancaster.  His last child, Peter, born in 1756, was born in Lancaster. Back
Anna Maria Kunigunda Bischoff 1718-1804, the wife of Jacob Frank.   I have created a  page dedicated to her and her sisters, with more information about the Bischoffs and the families (Ziegler and Saltzgeber) that the other sisters married into.  Bischoff page: 

Jacob Franck 1743-1819.  This Jacob Franck, the eldest son of the immigrant, spent his life in Philadelphia, where he was a tanner and something of a pillar of the Moravian Church.  His wife was Maria Magdalena Schlosser 1755-aft 1815, a daughter of George Schlosser and his wife Anna Maria.  I have found an interesting contemporaneous account of Jacob's activities in the Philadelphia Moravian Church, where he served for many years as a 'Chapel Servant.'  Jacob and Magdalena had four children: George Jacob born in 1772, Ann Mary born in 1775, John Jacob born in 1777, and Jacob born in 1779.   Yes, the family was fond of the name Jacob.   The first of these was called George and I believe that John Jacob died in infancy, hence a final one also named Jacob.

I had known that this Jacob was buried in the old Moravian cemetery in downtown Philadelphia, which I also knew no longer exists.  So I never pursued the matter.   But in April 2002 a friend discovered that the old Moravian stones, or some of them anyway, were moved to the (then) new cemetery Ivy Hill, outside Philadelphia, when it opened in the 1880s.   She found and photographed Jacob's stone for me, which is in very good shape for its age.   Old Moravian tombstones were always laid flat on the ground, which often resulted in their spending a good part of their time overgrown with grass.   This tends to preserve them, and it is possible that this is the reason for its excellent state.  Yes, his first name was actually Abraham; I do not know why and suspect there is a story there (the usual first name among these people was Johann) but the only places it appears are his christening record and his tombstone; he was always known as Jacob. Back

My 4th greatgrandfather Daniel Franck 1747-1814, second son of the immigrant Johann Jacob, served in the Revolution; he is listed as third lieutenant on a muster roll of  "Capt. Jacob Krug's Company of Light Infantry of Colonel Mathias Slough's Battalion of Lancaster County, destined for the camp in the Jerseys, September 9th, 1776."  I am not sure how much, if any, actual fighting he did although he is listed again several more times on militia rolls.  By 1781 he was listed among those who furnished substitutes. 

By profession he was a tavern keeper of Lancaster.  The tavern had various names at various times but seems to have been called the Plough and Wheat Sheaf at the time he owned it, at least from 1782 and probably earlier.  It was apparently a coaching inn, judging from the extensive stabling and other facilities described when it was sold in 1794.  This is probably the reason he was a signer of an interesting petition for the improvement of the main road from Philadelphia in 1770.   Apparently the bad state of the road was bad for business.  

Being an innkeeper was probably also the reason he was on the committee to plan the celebration party for the inaugaration of Governor Thomas McKean in 1799.   Lancaster was the state capital at the time and I have a very amusing contemporary account of the party.

Daniel was also something of a local politician.  He was elected an Assistant to the Burgesses and High Constable in 1777.   In 1784 he was elected County Commisioner for Lancaster County.  I don't know how long he held this office.

All in all he left quite a few tracks but I have not been able to find a will, which would clear up some remaining mysteries if I could.   He may not have written one but in that case there should be an intestate record of the distribution of his estate, but I can't find that, either.

The first several generations of Francks, both in Philadelphia and in Lancaster, were Moravians.  Daniel was born and died Moravian.   It was a religious duty for all Moravians to write their Lebenslaufen ('memoirs') before they died, but like other religious duties this one was often neglected; and when they found themselves on their deathbed without having done it, it was written by someone else.  I have Daniel's Lebenslauf and it is of that kind; it was not actually written by Daniel Franck and is more an account of his death than of his life.  It is not signed so I don't know who did write it.   While not as great a find as are those of the relatively few who actually did write their own, it is a good example of its type.

Another thing about Daniel - in spite of his Revolutionary service, I rather suspect that he was something of an Anglophile.  Although he was officially a Moravian, as I have said above, he was married in St James's Anglican Church in Lancaster in 1768.  And no, his wife wasn't English, she was a Kuntz.  And his daughter, I puzzled about why his daughter born in 1785 was named Ann Charlotte; this at a time when a more typical name for a Pennsylvania German girl would have been something like Anna Catharina.  Eventually I realized that Charlotte was Queen of England at the time of her birth.  Which was after the Revolution.

I have tried to find a portrait of Daniel - he was a contemporary of Leonard Eichholtz, another innkeeper of Lancaster, whose son Jacob Eichholtz 1776-1842, was a well-known portrait painter. Leonard Eichholtz and Daniel Franck always turn up on the same lists, and I am sure Daniel must have known Jacob.  Jacob painted many portraits of his father Leonard, and I have the complete catalogue of his known works, but there is no identified portrait of Daniel Franck.  I would move heaven and earth to see one.  And I am (distantly) related to those Eichholtzes through another of my lines  (link at bottom of page); Jacob the painter was my 2nd cousin, 5 times removed.  But Daniel Franck was not related to them; the events that made me related hadn't happened yet in his time.  Of all my ancestors, on the basis of what I know about them so far, Daniel Franck is the one I would most like to have known.    Back

Elizabeth Franck, a daughter of the immigrant couple Johann Jacob Franck and Anna Maria Bischoff, married Johannes Eberman, a well-known clockmaker of Lancaster.   They had eleven children, a very unusual number for a Franck/Frank.  Most of them were boys and most of them grew up and produced more Ebermans.  For this reason there are many more Ebermans than Franks in my Frank descendancy to this day. Back

As I have said, I know very little about my 3rd greatgrandfather, Daniel's son Jacob Frank, born in 1776 (I know there are a confusing number of Jacobs in this family).  He died relatively young, in 1814, a few months before his father, and I do have Jacob's Lebenslauf.  It is less accessible to the modern reader than Daniel's; I suspect it was written by his minister. Back

Although I don't know much about Jacob, I know quite a lot about his sister Ann Charlotte Franck.   She was described by the person who found her will for me as 'a maiden lady of means who named over 20 people in her will.'  It is one of those gold mines of information whose occasional finding keeps genealogists going.  A large amount of what I know about this family for several generations is derived directly or indirectly from Ann Charlotte's Will.   She, like her father Daniel, is a person I would like to have known and almost feel that I do.  Back

My greatgreatgrandfather Henry Frank born in 1802, a son of Jacob born 1776, is the last of this family before modern times, so to speak, but I have not been able to find out much about him.   I assume he was named Henry for his maternal grandfather Henry Dietrich.  He died relatively young, in 1848, and I have his will but it is not very informative; he just leaves everything to his wife Elizabeth, without, however, managing to mention her maiden name.   Henry and Elizabeth and their sons Henry Jr and Uriah are buried in the churchyard of Christ Lutheran Church in Elizabethtown.   Her maiden name is not on her tombstone, either.

In the spring of 2002 I finally found out Elizabeth's maiden name; it was Wagner; she was a daughter of Georg Friedrich Wagner and Elizabeth Magdalena Woelfle, and was christened at Christ Lutheran Church in Elizabethtown in 1806, where she and Henry and two of their sons are buried.  So as I had suspected, it was her family's church.  I do not yet know much about the Wagners.Back

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