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Louis Franke - 1818-1873

German born Louis Franke arrived in Texas in 1845. He came with a master’s degree in law from the University of Jena. Franke volunteered to be a Texas Ranger in the Mexican War. When Franke heard about gold being found in California. Like many young men he sought his fortune. Mining for gold was not to his liking and Franke returned to Fayette County, Texas.

He married Berhardine Romberg in 1853. They had eight children. They were early settlers in Blackjack Springs, in Fayette County. He taught music and other courses at Baylor College in Independence, Texas. He and his wife donated land for the Evangelical-Lutheran Academy in Fayette County. In 1872 Franke won the election to represent Bastrop and Fayette County in the Texas Legislature.

At seven in the evening on February 19, 1873, while serving in the house of representatives he was mugged of his $260 salary on the steps of the capitol. He broke his thigh and suffered a serious head injury falling down the steep steps of the capitol during the altercation. Franke was taken to a friend’s house but died of his injuries. The muggers were never caught.

His body lay in state at the capitol where a service was held. Then his coffin was carried down Congress Avenue to the train station, followed by both houses of the legislature, Governor Richard Coke, Supreme Court members, and a military escort. His body was returned to Blackjack Springs by train for burial.

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