Edited and new material added 30 May 2014
Any information is only as reliable as its source. Evaluate the following sources accordingly.
Our Henry Franklin of Amherst County, Virginia is believed to be the man who resided in Orange County, VA from at least 1739 through 25 May 1753. With the early Franklins, however, nothing is certain. Although it seems likely that he was closely related to the Lawrence and Edward Franklin who resided in Spotsylvania [later Orange] County from at least 1722, there's no proof. Such proof might be provided by Y-DNA samples from his direct male descendants. The Franklin Surname Project is therefore willing to pay the cost of a 67-marker Y-DNA test. If you'd like to take part, please email Steve Franklin, Co-Administrator of the Family Tree Franklin Surname Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (The Family Tree Franklin Surname Project can be found at http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Franklin/default.aspx.)
Henry was married to a woman named Margaret, but opinions differ on whether she was born a Hensley or a Peachy. Could both be correct? Two wives named Margaret would explain why some sources claim that Margaret Franklin died in Apr 1788, although "wife Margaret" was still very much alive when Henry signed his will on 10 Apr 1792. Perhaps he was married to both in succession, marrying the second Margaret after the death of the first in 1788. It might also be the reason the name Hensley was repeated in the lines descending through Henry's daughters Sarah Hensley Franklin Ballenger and Elizabeth Franklin Ballenger, but seemingly not in his other lines of descent. Because of that repeat, I'm convinced that Margaret Hensley was the mother of his older children at the very least, and have her listed as Henry's wife on the Descendants Chart. On the other hand, was there only one wife, with her full name being Margaret Peachy Hensley or Margaret Hensley Peachy? The possibility of an intervening generation also exists, with a Junior merging into a Senior without record. Again, nothing is certain.
6 Jan 1743: Laurence, Benjamin, and Henry Franklyn were among the tithables ordered to clear and keep in repair the road requested by Alexander Cleveland. Benjamin Franklin [son of Lawrence Franklin] was the overseer. [Orange County Road Orders 1734-1749, p. 93]
21 Mar 1751: Henry Franklyn was appointed overseer of Cudden's Road in the room of John Cudden, to supervise the same "gang that was under the said Cudden" along with the male tithables at Tapley's Quarter. On 25 Nov 1752, Henry was replaced as overseer by James Shepherd. [Orange County Road Orders 1750-1800, p. 12, 22, on www.virginiadot.org]
10 Apr 1765: Henry purchased 156 acres on a branch of Beaver Creek for £42 from [sons-in-law] Joseph and Richard Ballenger. Witnesses: Drury Tucker and [sons] James and Henry Franklin Junior. On that same day, Henry Franklin and Drury Tucker witnessed a deed from Joseph Ballenger to Richard Ballenger in Amherst County, VA, also on a branch of Beaver Creek. [Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Deeds, Vols. 1 and 2, p. 338, 335] On 25 Apr 1765 the Sheriff of Orange County was ordered to pay 60 pounds of tobacco to Philimon Franklyn for repairing the bridge over Bever Dam Run. Who was Philimon Franklyn? [Orange County Road Orders 1750-1800, p. 95]
4 Mar 1771: Henry Franklin Senior witnessed a deed of Joseph Ballenger, along with [son] John Franklin and John Smith. [Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Deeds, Vols. 1 and 2, p. 174, from Book A]
25 Mar 1771: Henry Franklin Senior witnessed a deed of Joseph Ballenger, and was listed in that deed as the owner of adjoining land on Smith's Mountain in Amherst County. [Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Deeds, Vols. 1 and 2, p. 221]
1782 Tax List, Amherst County, VA: Henry Franklin Senior had 1 white, 3 blacks, 5 cattle, and 3 horses. He was listed next to Mary Ann Franklin, widow of the Henry Franklin who was either Henrys son or nephew.
1783 Tax List, Amherst County, VA: Henry was shown with 6 whites; 2 blacks. [Genealogical Publishing Company, Head of Families, First Census of the U.S. 1790, Virginia: Records of the State Enumerations 1782-1785, p. 49]
17 Nov 1784: He gave consent for the marriage of [daughter] Philadelphia Franklin to William Smith in Amherst County, with [son] Samuel Franklin as surety. [Sweeny, Marriage Bonds and Other Marriage Records of Amherst County, Virginia 1763 -1800, p. 70]
30 Dec 1786: For the benefit of the children of Henry Franklin, deceased ("namely Reubin, Aaron, Jasper, Peachie, Antony, and Henry Taltern Franklin"), Benjamin and Maryann Arnold sold her interest in two slaves, Millender and Joshua, belonging to the Henry Franklin estate to Samuel Higginbotham and Henry Franklin in return for two other slaves (Jean and Matt), £40, and "all the negroes and other property of all kinds whatsoever that would revert to us by Aaron Higginbotham's will on the death of Mary Higginbotham, my wife's mother". Both Benjamin and Maryann signed with their marks. Witnesses: Hendrick Arnold, Aaron Higginbotham, William Smith, and Benjamin Hensley. [Book F, p. 124]
10 Apr 1792: Henry signed his will . . .
Will of Henry Franklin
[Will Book 3, p. 233, copy and transcription provided by Virginia Paddock]
I, Henry Franklin of Amherst County, being weak in body [but] of sound mind and memory, do make and ordain this my last will and testament and first I give my soul to God and my body I recommend to the earth to be buried at the discretion of my Executors hereafter to be named, and as touching my worldly estate I give, devise and dispose of the same in the manner and form following. I give to my son-in-law Joseph Ballinger all the commodities I lent him some time ago, to wit, one dun colored mare with her increase, some cows, feather bed that he has now in possession. I give to my son John Franklin one dun horse, one cow and calf & her increase with one feather bed, to which things he has now in his possession. I give to my daughter Elizabeth Ballinger one dun horse and saddle and cow and calf with her increase & one feather bed, to which things she has now in possession. I give to my son Henry Franklin one brown coloured horse, one cow and calf & their increase and one feather bed, to which things he has in his possession. I give to my son James Franklin one feather bed and furniture, which things he has not in his possession. I give to my daughter Peggy Harrison one dun coloured mare and saddle and feather bed and one cow and calf and their increase, which things she has in her possession. I give to my daughter Phebe Franklin one feather bed and furniture, one woman's riding saddle & one cow and calf and their increase, which things she has in her possession. I give to my son Joel Franklin one black horse colt, one feather bed and furniture and one cow and calf which he has in possession. I give to my son Samuel Franklin my tract of land whereon I now live to be freely possessed and enjoyed by him at the decease of his mother. I give to my daughter Philadelphia Smith one dun coloured mare colt likewise what other things I have heretofore given her which she has in her possession. All the remainder of my estate after paying my just debts I give to my beloved wife Margaret Franklin during her natural life and at her decease it is my will and desire that the said estate so remaining be equally divided between my son Samuel Franklin and my daughter Judith Franklin. And lastly I constitute and appoint my two sons, viz Joel Franklin and Samuel Franklin, Executors to this my last will and testament, and do hereby disannul every other wills and legacies & Executors, ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. Given under my hand and seal this tenth day of April one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two.
Henry Franklin (Seal)
Signed, sealed and pronounced In the presence of
Andrew (x) Harrison
Wife Margaret was obviously still alive in 1792 when named in the above will, although one anonymous sources claims her death date was 30 Apr 1788. The reference to Samuel's "mother" does not preclude her being his stepmother. Witness Aaron Franklin was Henry's grandson and witness Joel was Henry's son. Who was Aaron's father?
17 Sep 1792: The will was proved by Philip Smith and Aaron Franklin. Executors Joel and Samuel Franklin posted a bond of £500, with William Ware as security.
October 1792: The estate inventory was filed by Samuel Franklin, the appraisers being Richard Oglesby, John Sale, John Brockman, and Leonard Henley. [Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Wills, p. 11, from Book 2, p. 252] Should "Henley" have been "Hensley"?
Children of Henry and Margaret Hensley Franklin: Except for Sarah Franklin Ballenger, who had died earlier, the children listed were all named in Henry's will.
Sarah Hensley Franklin (c. 1737 – 8 Jan 1777; m. Joseph Ballenger 1753)
John Franklin (25 Dec 1740/1748 - 3 Apr 1823; m. Margaret Pamela Dawson)
Elizabeth "Dolly" Franklin (m. Richard Ballenger)
The Henry Franklin who married Mary Ann Higginbotham was probably not the son of Henry and Margaret Hensley Franklin. In the above will, Henry named "my son Henry Franklin", who was obviously still alive on 10 Apr 1792. Mary Ann Higginbotham Franklin's husband died in 1782. Yet her husband was very closely associated with this Franklin family throughout his life. Was he an orphaned nephew raised by the family? One anonymous source has him listed as the son of Reuben Franklin and Margaret Peachey. As the designations Senior and Junior were often used synonymously with Elder and Younger, the entries below may refer to the son of Henry and Margaret Hensley Franklin or the husband of Mary Ann, but I'm inclined to believe they refer to Henry's son.
10 Apr 1765: Along with James Franklyn, Henry Franklyn Junior witnessed a deed in Amherst from Joseph and Richard Ballenger to Henry Franklyn. [Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Deeds, Vols 1 and 2, p. 338] The land was located on a branch of Beaver Creek in Amherst County, VA. James Franklyn was a son of Henry and Margaret Hensley Franklin; Joseph and Richard Ballenger were Henry and Margaret's sons-in-law.
7 Oct 1776: James Hill was appointed overseer for Harris Creek Road, replacing Henry Franklin Junior. [Darrell Thurman]
1 Jul 1781: Henry Franklin Junior made a property claim for "driving public beeves" in Amherst County. He made a second claim on 10 Aug 1781. [Davis, Albemarle County, Virginia Impressed Property Claims, from original p. 481 and 492. I can't explain the discrepancy between my listed source and the location.]
James Franklin ( - Aug 1813; m. Nancy Ann Crews 15 Dec 1796)
Margaret "Peggy" Hensley Franklin (c. 1757 - 1829; m. Reuben Harrison 9 Oct 1770)
Phoebe Franklin ( – 1842; m. Jeremiah Franklin)
Husband Jeremiah was the son of Barnard Franklin. Barnard Franklin was the son of Lawrence Franklin of Orange County, VA, whose exact relationship to Henry has not been proved. This is yet another example, however, of the families' close association.
17 Feb 1798: Jeremiah was surety for the marriage of [daughter] Lucinda Franklin and William Clarkson. [Jim Smoot]
20 Jun 1842: The will of Phoebe Franklin was proved in Amherst County. Executor: Henry Franklin. Witnesses John Pryor, Julius Simpson, and Thomas Lain. In it she had mentioned land owned in VA, NC, and AL. [Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Wills, p. 14, from Book 11, p. 66-67]
Joel Franklin (23 Sep 1757 – Oct 1807; m. Susannah Lewis 7 Jan 1794)
17 Sep 1792: Joel and Samuel Franklin posted a bond of £500 as co-executors of their father's will. William Ware was security.
Samuel Franklin (29 Dec 1762 – May 1836; m. Rachel Powell 1 Jan 1794)
His middle name may have been Abner.
17 Nov 1784: He was surety for the marriage of [sister] Philadelphia Franklin to William Smith in Amherst County.
17 Sep 1792: Joel and Samuel Franklin posted a bond of £500 as co-executors of their father's will. William Ware was security. Samuel filed the estate inventory that October.
Philadelphia Franklin (m. William Smith 18 Nov 1784)
15 Mar 1784: William Smith of Amherst County sold 120 acres on the south side of Otter Creek in Amherst County to George Davis for £50. The parcel adjoined Robert Johnson. Witnesses: Samuel Higginbotham, Jeremiah Taylor, Ballinger Wade, and Richard Powell. Ballenger Wade was the son of Mary Ballenger Wade and the grandson of of Joseph and Charity Wade Ballenger. ["Genealogy by Anne", from Davis, Abstracts of Amherst County, Virginia Deeds, p. 209, original on p. 489. More deeds for William Smith can be found at http://genealogy-by-anne.com/gen/history/smith-history/william-smith-amherst-deeds.html.
Philadelphia married William with the consent of father Henry Franklin. The surety was [brother] Samuel Franklin and the ceremony was performed by Rev. Joseph Ballenger, who was her brother-in-law. [Gertrude Williams; Jim Smoot, from Order Book 1784-1787, p. 60]
Judith Franklin ( – 1811)
Judith's will was signed on 12 May [or Mar] 1810 and probated Nov 1811. James Haines has claimed a death date of 18 Nov 1811.
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Nancy Denty Breidenthal