Friday, August 29, 2008

James Jefferson Frankum

Jeff Frankum was the fourth son and fifth child of William W. Frankum and Martha Goodman, born February 17, 1852, in Linden, Perry County, Tennessee. The Frankum family lived in and around central Tennessee from the time of William's and Martha's marriage in Maury County in March 1841 until sometime after Jeff's birth. At the time of the 1850 federal census the family resided in Lewis County and included children William, Samuel and Mary. In 1860 the family had shifted west to Douglas County, Missouri, and an additional two sons, Allen and Jeff, had been added. One last child, Robert, would be born in 1864.

It appears that when the Civil War erupted, the family returned to their original home in central Tennessee. Father William and eldest son William T. enlisted for service to the Confederacy and served in the 42nd Tennessee Infantry in 2nd Co. K, which was formed of men from Perry County. The next eldest son, Samuel, served the Union in the 6th Tennessee Cavalry, Company E. According to family tradition, which has not been disproved by official records, all three would die from the effects of wounds received. Even though family tradition holds that Jeff himself served in the war, no record of such service has been found for him or his brother Allen.

The first census post-war found the remaining members of the family in Hickman County, Tennessee, in 1870. Gone are father William and brother Samuel. Mother Martha is the head of household and sons William T., Allen, Jeff and Robert are living with her. Daughter Mary had married in 1865 in Lewis County to Edward "Ned" Pope and the couple moved to Lawrence County, Arkansas, sometime before 1880. Family tradition is that William T. would marry, but die shortly afterwards of the ongoing effects of wounds he had received in battle.

The 1870 census is the last record that has been found for mother Martha and eldest brother William T. One rumor that has passed down in the family is that Martha remarried to a man named Gardner, but to date no marriage record has been found and a search of census records in 1880 has yielded no information on what might have happened to Martha.

The Frankum family seems to have stayed put for a few more years. Allen married Rebecca Qualls in Perry County in February 1872. As mentioned in a previous sketch, Jeff would marry Sallie Busby in approximately 1873, but it is not clear where the marriage took place. Perhaps Sallie had ended up in Tennessee. Perhaps Jeff had begun his migration to Texas and had returned to Missouri and reconnected with Sallie there. Or perhaps Jeff had traveled as far as his sister's home and met Sallie in Arkansas.

However and whenever Jeff and Sallie met and decided to marry is a mystery, but in 1877 they were making their way to Bastrop County, Texas. They were already the parents of George Lee (who would make the journey with them) and Mary (who died in infancy, reportedly in Arkansas). Sallie was pregnant with son William Henry at the time of their journey to Texas. Jeff and Sallie would make a brief stop in Daingerfield, Texas, to await the birth of their son on October 9, 1877. During the stopover Jeff got a job splitting rails. They resumed their travel after the arrival of William Henry and arrived in Bastrop County when their son was three weeks old.

Jeff and Sallie may have been accompanied by Allen and Rebecca. Or perhaps they followed or were followed by Allen and Rebecca to Bastrop County. In any case, both families were residing in the Watterson Community of Bastrop County at the time of the 1880 federal census. Youngest brother Robert was also in Bastrop County, living with Allen and Rebecca. All three brothers appear on a list of those who ran accounts in the Charles Coffin Watterson Store between 1878 and 1906. Jeff served as a trustee of the Staten School in Watterson during the 1899-1900 school year.

Jeff and Sallie added five more children to their family while they lived in Bastrop County. Son Jim (James Jefferson Jr.) was born in March 1880 and son Jack Taylor would come along in April 1884. Daughter Martha Ann, born in May 1886, would live only a few months and lies at rest in the Old Red Rock Cemetery. Daughter Dora was added in April 1890 and finally son Charlie joined the family in January 1892.

Jeff Frankum, age 34, holding son Jack Taylor, age 2
Sarah, holding Martha Ann, age 5 months
George Lee standing at rear, age 12
William Henry, standing at right, age 9
Jim, front center, age 5
Photo taken between May and October 1886

Jeff reportedly had his share of the wanderlust that seems to have run rampant in the Frankum family. Jeff and Sallie moved to Fort Bend County, stayed one year, and then returned to Bastrop County. In 1908 they relocated to Brady, traveling in covered wagons. It is said that he wanted to return to Bastrop County, but Sallie had had enough of moving and refused. Jeff died on July 17, 1912, in San Saba and is supposed to be buried there, though it has not been determined where.

Left to right, Dora Frankum, Sallie and Jeff Frankum,
Allen Pope (Jeff's nephew) and Charlie Frankum
Notation on back indicates photo taken at Glen Flora, probably about 1908

Most of Jeff's family ultimately moved to the Wharton area of Texas. Daughter Dora married and remained in the vicinity of San Saba.

From the San Saba News, August 1, 1912, pg 3:
In Memory of J. J. Frankum
J. J. Frankum was born in Middle Tennessee, Feb. 17, 1852, died July 17, 1912, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. John Newlin, in San Saba. Deceased was married to Mrs. Sarah Sanders. Brother Frankum was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He confessed his faith at the early age of twenty five at New Hope, Bastrop county, and has lived a devoted christian until the time of his death. To them was born eight children, three girls and five boys. One boy and two girls have preceded their father to the other shore. All the other children except two were with their mother in her sad bereavement to comfort her. It is sad to part with those we love but God in his infinite power and wisdom saw fit to call him home and we can only bow to his devine will and say “Not our will but thine be done.”
A Friend.


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