A Guide to the Benjamin Cromwell Franklin Papers, 1805-1915
Benjamin Cromwell Franklin (1805–1873) was a lawyer, legislator, and the first judge in the Republic of Texas. He was educated at Franklin College, Athens, Georgia. Franklin was admitted to the bar in 1827, and moved to Texas in 1835 to fight against Indians and to go to war against Mexico.
Franklin fought in the Texas Revolution, 1836, as a private in Captain Robert J. Calder's company. He also fulfilled a role as victory messenger, traveling to Galveston Island to inform President Burnet of the victory at San Jacinto. As compensation for his services, Franklin received a land grant for 320 acres and became one of the first people to buy land at the site that would become Houston, Texas. Later in 1836, President Sam Houston appointed Franklin judge of the Second (or Brazoria) Judicial District, making Franklin a member of the Supreme Court of the Republic.
In 1839 Franklin resigned and moved to Galveston to practice law. He went on to represent Galveston County in the House of Representatives of the Third, Fifth, and Eighth state legislatures. In 1870, Governor E. J. Davis asked him to serve as commissioner, to revise the laws of Texas, but Franklin declined the offer. Franklin died on December 25, 1873, after a long battle with rheumatism, and was buried in Galveston. Although not certain, it is widely accepted that Franklin County, Texas, was named for Benjamin Cromwell Franklin.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Franklin, Benjamin Cromwell," http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/FF/ffr2.html (accessed May 20, 2010).
The papers of Benjamin Cromwell Franklin, 1805-1915, include correspondence, deeds, decrees, land grants, promissory notes, legal papers, speeches, memoranda, land surveys, wills, clippings, printed material, plats, and literary productions. The papers concern his activities as a soldier in the Texas Revolution (1836); the first judge in the Republic of Texas; a member of Supreme Court of the Republic; and a representative in the third, fifth, and eighth legislatures. Additionally, the papers relate to the development of Texas, transportation, the Gulf and Inter-State Railway of Texas, and the Leftwich Grant. The papers also pertain to the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the time prior to the Civil War, including United States Senate speeches, 1860. Furthermore, the collection contains papers relating to Robert M. Franklin, attorney and judge.
The collection is open for research.
Benjamin Cromwell Franklin Papers, 1805-1915, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers