Sept. 14, 1836 - 1907
|Rev. J. M. Franklin was born on the fourteenth of September, 1836, in what was known as the “Anacoco Settlement” in Natchitoches (now Vernon) Parish, and his early character is interwoven with the best of the history of this section of the country. When eighteen years of age he evinced a perfect faith, and entire trust in the infinite goodness of God, recognized the beauty and simplicity of the teachings of the “Man of Galilee,” and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South; and in 1860 was licensed to preach. He was one of the pioneer preachers or the Shreveport District, always uncompromising with sin in any form. Manly, earnest, courageous, he knows no faltering when duty called, and under the benign influence and example of a pure and upright life, the churches under his care prospered and flourished spiritually.
It was in1870 that Brother Franklin moved to Fort Jessup and became so intimately associated with the people of Sabine, visiting the homes, performing marriage ceremonies in the families, baptizing the children, burying those whom God had called to a higher life, encouraging a meek submission to His will and restoring peace to the troubled and bereaved bosom. In this field and in this manner did he labor until 1887, when he became interested in the educational advancement of his parish. Not content with the duties that lay along his track, but with a longing to secure educational facilities for the youth of his community, he located at his own request, undertook the securing of funds and construction of the Fort Jessup Masonic Institute, which stands as a monument to his energy and industry. In order to more effectually carry his design for higher education to a successful termination he finally succeeded in having the institution transferred to the Parish School Board, thereby enlarging hits usefulness in the education of the children of his country. After earning the plaudits of the people, rounding out an earnest, useful life, he could have rested from his labors and enjoyed that satisfaction which comes to every man as a reward for duty well performed. But not so with him who saw other fields of usefulness before him. Hearing the “cry form Macedonia” he again applied to, and was admitted into the Louisiana Conference and was assigned work in the Arcadia District as an intenerate preacher, where he remained until he was superannuated in 1903.
Brother Franklin was married to Miss Malissa Conerly in 1856, and, after her death, to Mrs. Martha Tally in 1869. To the first union was born an only son, Dr. J. R. Franklin, and to the later were given seven children, three of whom, with his son Rolly, preceded him to the better world. In 1862, knowing no higher patriotism than to consecrate his life to the defense of his country, his home and fireside, he joined the Confederate army, and as a brave soldier fought valiantly for a cause he thought just.
He was a kind and indulgent father, a devoted husband, affectionate brother, generous citizen, faithful and unselfish friend; he was unimpeachable in his business transitions and beautiful in his every day life and conduct. In all of the forms of his activity, individual domestic, social, ecclesiastical or political, he accepted what his heart deemed generous and noble, and put all else far from him. Of him it may be truly said, “ His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature stand up and say to all the world, ‘this was a Man’”.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1907|