Jacob Frank of Rowan, Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, North Carolina
Jacob Frank
Rowan, Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, North Carolina

By Jerry W. Murphy

Jacob Frank was an early German settler in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina. Many of these early German settlers never obtained legal title to land and Jacob was no exception. On his land was a spring, still house and dwelling house. Jacob Frank petitioned the court for an ordinary license in 1756. Others petitioning in 1756 were John Lewis Beard, Peter Arrand, Archibald Craig, James Bower, Thomas Bashford and Robert Gillespie. The Rev. Jethro Rumple stated that Jacob Frank "ran a distillery for the benefit of those whose thirst could not be quenched by the purer and wholesome waters of the spring. No doubt many of the affrays and murders that claimed the attention of the Court took their origin in the firewater that was brewed in the boiling cauldrons and flowed down through the coiling worm of Jacob Franck's distillery, licensed and perhaps patronized by themselves."

People who sold wine, beer or other strong drink were first licensed by the colonial Governor after the tavern keeper provided a bond to assure that he would comply with the laws. The amount a keeper could charge for a specified quantity and variety of drink was part of the law. Drinks had to be sold in sealed containers, except for imported English drinks. In other words these imported drinks could be sold by the glass. Most of these taverns also provided overnight accommodations for travelers. The colonial law also furnished a scale of charges for each meal, lodging, and feed and care of the visitor's horse. These prices had to be posted in a "common room" by the tavern keeper. If the keeper overcharged a patron, he was fined 5 pounds Sterling for each offense.

The tavern keeper's license was for only one year. So he had to secure a bondsman each year, and reapply for a renewal of his tavern license to the County Court. The license could be revoked during the year for good course. Some of the courses were unlawful gaming, permitting someone to drink "more than was necessary" on Sunday, harboring any seaman, indented servant or slave without the master's permission.

Although the court records are unclear it would appear that Jacob Frank broke some of these laws. The Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, Book II, of Rowan County, North Carolina indicate this. On 10 May 1756 the Trustees of the Town of Salisbury, Esq. James Carter and Hugh Forster, let John Lewis Beard have the 4 lots were Jacob Frank now lives for 20 shillings. Then on 23 July 1757 there is the case of Robert Gillespie verse Jacob Frank. Evidence was given by Thomas Pool and Hugh McGomery. The jury of John Long, Henry Baker, David Jones, John Bryant, James Grant, Joseph Harrison, John Dunklin, Thomas Bell, William Hargrove, Henry Horah, Joseph Williams and John Potts rendered a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff and awarded him 17.3.7. Peter Arrand also had a case against Jacob Frank. It would appear that Jacob Frank did something to his competors as John Lewis Beard, Robert Gillespie and Peter Arrand had all received licenses for ordinaries or inns in 1756. On 20 January 1758, Jacob Frank admitted to the Court that he was not worth 40 shillings. Then the following day, 21 January 1758, the Bill of Sale from Jacob Frank to Conrad Michael, dated 22 April 1757, was filed as was the Bill of Sale from Jacob Frank to John Lewis Beard, dated 11 May 1757.

Jacob Frank was a sworn chain carrier for John Long's 640 acre survey on 18 September 1756. The land was on both sides of Crane Creek and also on both sides of the Main Road to Salisbury.

Jacob Frank and one assistant were at Fort Dobbs between June and November 1758. The fort was constructed about 27 miles west of Salisbury and described by Francis Brown in December 1756. Francis Brown was an appointed commissioner by the Governor to inspect the frontier defenses again the Cherokees. Who was the one assistant that was at the fort with Jacob Frank? It could possibly have been John Long. The Cherokee Indians were on the warpath in 1760. Colonel Hugh Waddell with his regiment of infantry was stationed at Salisbury for the protection of the western settlements. It is said that John Long was killed by the Indians in an expedition against a settlement of them in Turkey Cove, on the North Fork of the Catawba River according to Rev. Rumple. The records of the Inferior Court of 1760 show that John Long, deceased, left a widow named Hester Long. She became the administratrix of his estate. It should be to noted that the father and son named John Long was associated with Jacob Frank all of his known life. Were they related?

Jacob Frank on 4 June 1768 in Rowan County, North Carolina married Susannah Roan with Adam Roan, bondsman, and John Frohock, witness. Susannah was the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Roan. This Henry Roan was probably the Johann Henrich Rhoen, christened 15 November 1711 at Marnheim, Pfalz, Bayern, Germany. He was the son of Friederich Casimer Rhoen and Maria Magdalena________. This area is today known as the Rhineland-Palatinate region. The township of Marnheim is near the city of Worms on the Rhine River.

Henry Roan could be the Johann Henrich Rohnn that arrived on 2 October 1749 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the Ship Jacob which carried emigrants from Swabia, Wirtemberg and Darmstadt. The township of Marnheim is about 25 miles from Darmstadt. Another possibility is the Johannes Henrich Rohn that arrived on the Ship Halifax at Philadelphia on 28 September 1753 with German passengers. In any event, Henry Roan was of German descent. This is evident by the fact that he signed his name on his land transactions in German script.

Henry Roan first appears on the 1761 Rowan County, North Carolina tax list along with Henry Roan,Jr. and Adam Roan. Lord Granville sold Henry Roan 620 acres on both sides of Second Creek in Rowan County on 21 December 1761 for 10 shillings Sterling. Henry Roan and wife, Elizabeth, later sold to Henry Roan, Jr. 220 acres of this land for 25. The 1768 Rowan County, North Carolina tax list showed Henry Roan and son Peter, Henry Roan,Jr., and Adam Roan. By 1770, only Henry Roan,Sr., his son Peter Roan and grandson, Henry Roan, remained in Rowan County.

On 15 May 1772, Henry Roan,Sr. and his wife, Elizabeth, sold to Michael Holtzhouser, a "Yeoman", 100 acres next to the lands conveyed to Col. John Frohock and Peter Roan on the south side of Second Creek in Rowan County for 70. On the same day, Henry Roan,Sr. and wife sold to their son, Peter Roan, 200 acres on the south side of Second Creek next to land conveyed to Henry Roan,Jr. and Michael Holtzhouser for 100.

Jacob Frank received a land grant from the state of North Carolina on 22 October 1782 for 80 acres on Little Coldwater Creek in Mecklenburg County. Other settlers and land owners in the area were Mathias and Jacob Mitchler (Mitchell), James Ross, Charles Savir, Mathias Boston, John Long, John and Martin Phifer, George Hartman, Nicholas and Jacob Coleman, Abram Planter, James Rape, Joseph Shinn, James Barringer, and Nicholas Cress.

Jacob's daughter, Isabella Frank, was married to Mathias Mitchler, Jr. on 12 November 1785 in Rowan County, North Carolina with John Macay as witness. Isabella was born about 1769 in Rowan County. Another daughter of Jacob's, Elizabeth Frank, was married the following year, 4 December 1786, in Rowan County to George Phifer with Henry Furror, bondsman.

On 7 August 1787 Jacob Frank was granted 200 acres on Comberford Branch of Coldwater Creek by Gov. Rd. Caswell. The land adjoined that of Nicholas Coleman, Jacob Ross, John Long, and Joseph Shinn. Then on 19 February 1791 he sold his 80 acres grant on Little Coldwater Creek for 106 to Charles Secrest. It was witnessed by Joseph Shinn and proved by him in Court during the October 1791 term.

Cabarrus County, North Carolina was created in 1792 from the area in Mecklenburg County in which Jacon Frank resided.

On Monday, 20 January 1794 it was ordered that letters of Administration be issued on the estate of Jacob Frank, dec'd, to John Long and Joseph Shinn, Eqr. with security in the sum of 200. On that same day, John Long, Administrator, produced an inventory and Sales of the Estate of Jacob Frank in the amount of 159.11.9. An additional return of the Estate by John Long, Administrator, on Monday 21 July 1794 amounted to 21.8.9. Then on Wednesday, 22 July 1795, a settlement of the estate of Jacob Frank, dec'd., by the Administrator, John Long, amounting in whole to 180.3.0, as per vouchers filed 27.9.9. The balance in the Administrator's hands was 152.13.3.

Jacob's widow, Susannah Roan Frank, was second married on 26 May 1794 in Cabarrus County to James Hannah with Martin Penninger as bondsman. James must have died in the next few years as Susannah Hannah was married to John Gallimore on 27 February 1797 in Cabarrus County.

Margaret Frank, daughter of Jacob Frank, dec'd., was married to Nicholas Coleman (Kuhlman) before 1795. They had a daughter, Catherine Coleman, who was born on 17 June 1795. Catherine Coleman was married on 17 November 1823 in Rowan County to Henry Corriher.

Frederick Frank, the eldest son of Jacob Frank, dec'd., sold to Henry Furr, son of Jacob Furr, dec'd., for 15 a tract of 200 acres on the head waters of Camaford's Branch of Coldwater Creek. It joined Nicholas Coleman, John Ross and John Long. It was surveyed for Jacob Frank on 23 December 1783 and by him to Jacob Furr but not conveyed in his lifetime. The witnesses were John Yeoman, Henry Furr and John Goodman. It was proved on Monday, 17 April 1797.

On 17 July 1797, Administration on the estate of George Phifer, dec'd., was given to Frederick Frank with Martin Benninger as security. Frederick reported the inventory and sales of the estate as 48.8.7 in October 1797. Then on 17 July 1799 he made the settlement. Frederick's sister, Elizabeth Frank Phifer, was second married to John Fesperman on 16 January 1798. Elizabeth was born about 1771.

Catherine Frank, daughter of Jacob Frank, dec'd., was married on 14 November 1798 in Cabarrus County to John Reidling with George Bost, bondsman. Their children were John Jacob Reidling (b. 1799) married Mary________; Moses Franklin Reidling (b. 1800) married Sarah Rogers; Angelina Reidling married Robert Stapler; Annie Reidling married John Johnson; John M. Reidling married Anny Lord; Elizabeth Reidling married L. Thompson; Sarah Reidling married Thomas Nilson; Margaret Reidling married Henry Lipe; William Reidling; George Reidling married Frances S. Bailey; and Daniel Reidling married Elizabeth Harris.

Jacob Frank (Jr.), was also married about 1798 to Elizabeth_______. Jacob was born in 1778 in Rowan or Mecklenburg County. He and Elizabeth had a daughter, Mary Frank, born 21 August 1799 and baptized 5 January 1800 at St. John's Evanglical Lutheran Church, Concord, Cabarrus County. The child was sponsored by Mary Frank. Their other children may have been John Ballie Franks (b. 1802) married Sarah________; William M. Franks (c1805-c1849) married Margaret Weatherford(?); Robert Franks (b. c1810); and others.

The division of old Jacob Frank's land among his legatees by a jury of John Duck, John Long, Samuel Shinn, Sr., Henry Furrer and Joseph Shinn was on 15 July 1799. John Reidling was the Guardian of John Frank, Joseph Frank, Susannah Frank and Margaret Frank, the ophans of Jacob Frank. John Reidling was seconded as Guardian by Elias House, son of Mark House and Anna Maria Bost. Frederick Frank, the oldest son of Jacob Frank, dec'd., was the Guardian for Jacob Frank, minor, according to the October term 1799 Court records of Cabarrus County. The land of Jacob Frank, dec'd., was apparently divided among his four sons.

Mary Frank, daughter of Jacob Frank, dec'd., was married on 8 July 1800 in Cabarrus County to Daniel Blackwelder with Henry Huber, bondsman. Mary was born about 1780. Their children were Hiram Blackwelder (b. 1801) married 1st Catherine Deal, 2nd Susan A. Deal; Ellen/Nellie Blackwelder married Randolph Murph; Mahala Eleanor Blackwelder (b. 1805) married Moses Barnhart; Matilda Delilah Blackwelder (1807-1875) married Frederick Walker; Celia "Seely" Blackwelder (1808-1854) married John Ritchie; Allen M. Blackwelder (b. 1811) married Martha Ridenhour; Caroline Blackwelder (b. 1815) married Adam Carriker; Edmund Wiley (1818-1871) married Elizabeth Fisher; and Maria Blackwelder (b. 1820).

On 18 December 1802 in Rowan County, North Carolina, Frederick Frank sold to John Yeast (Yost) 190 acres on Coldwater Creek for 170. It joined Griffith Rutherford, Michael Overcash and the line between Cabarrus County and Rowan County. The witnesses were John Misenheimer and Peter Stigherwalt. It was proved by Peter Stigherwalt in May 1804. This was part of a State Grant to Teaterick Leaman (Detrick Lehman), who transferred it to Frederick Frank. Frederick disappears from the Rowan County, North Carolina tax lists after 1803.

On 17 April 1804 the Court ordered John Reidling to bring the orphans of Jacob Frank to the next court to be bound.

Susannah Frank, daughter of Jacob Frank, dec'd., was married on 27 April 1804 in Cabarrus County to Daniel Harke/Herse/House with James Russell, bondsman. Susannah was born about 1784 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

The youngest son, Joseph Frank, mush have reached the legal age of twenty-one in 1808. He was married on 9 April 1808 in Cabarrus County to Millison Gisserd. There were also two deeds filed, dated 8 July 1808, which sold land on Coldwater Creek that indicated that as well. The first of these deeds was where Jacob, John and Joseph Frank of Cabarrus County, heirs of Jacob Frank, dec'd., sold to Isaac Blackwelder 147 acres on Little Coldwater Creek. This land joined that of Michael Stough, Henry Furr, John Duke and Phillip Barnhart. It was only signed by John and Joseph Frank. The other deed was that of Frederick Frank of Rowan County, North Carolina to Tobias Cress a tract of 49 acres on Coldwater Creek joined by Mitchell (Mitchler), John Duke and Charles Safried. This land was laid off from an old tract of Jacob Frank, dec'd. This second deed was actually inside the other. This seemed to indicate that Frederick Frank had sold his share of the land and moved before 1808. The deed was not filed until this later date until his brother, Joseph, was of legal age. The brother, Jacob Frank, apparently left with his brother Frederick. That is probably why he did not sign the deed to Isaac Blackwelder.

Frederick Franks moved to Tennessee as did many of the people of that area of North Carolina. He was listed on the 1812 Warren County, Tennessee tax list. His brother, Jacob Franks, appears to be residing in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1820. Many of Bedford County's early deeds mention Cabarrus County, North Carolina and indicates that as the place of origin for several of it settlers.

Frederick Franks next appears in Hardin County, Tennessee in 1830. Also listed were his sons. His apparent children were: Jacob Franks (b. ca 1795); Joseph Franks (b. 1801) married 1st _________, 2nd Elizabeth Benson; Frederick Franks, Jr. (1803-1859) married Nancy Harrison; William Franks (1807-1866) married Margaret House; John Jackson Franks (1809-1877) married Elizabeth Gallimore; there were other children. It isn't known who Frederick Franks married although both were apparently deceased before 1840. Frederick's brother, Jacob, arrived in Hardin County, Tennessee before 1840 and was a neighbor of Frederick's sons on the 1840 census. Jacob Franks, Jr. died in Hardin County between 1850 and 1860.



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Copyright 2003, Jerry W. Murphy. All rights reserved.