1 / Family History

My father, Harland James Franklin, was born in Bloomingdale, Pennsylvania (Luzerne County) on December 11, 1904 at the homestead of Wilbur and Del Franklin, his grandparents, and with whom he would later live. The homestead was over 75 acres with 14 outbuildings in various states of disrepair, including a blacksmith shop, a shingle mill, assorted wagon sheds and a barn. There were two main houses, the “old house” and a five–gable farm house rumored to be eventually a seven–gable one, but never quite completed.

Viola and Harland Franklin (1963)

Viola and Harland Franklin (1963)

Dad married Jenny Viola Quick (born December 4, 1901 in Mossville, PA) on July 15, 1930 in Honesdale, PA in the Methodist Episcopal parsonage with Robert S. Boyce as the clergyman. Their one recorded wedding gift was a luncheon set. They had four children: Charles, born in 1932, I was born in 1933, my sister Claire in 1934 and my sister Jolene in 1935. Jolene was killed in a tragic car accident when she ran into the car that my dad was backing down the driveway.  Needless to say, the accident haunted him the rest of his life and I heard him refer to himself as a “murderer”.

Mother and dad had probably met at the Methodist Camp Meeting Ground, a favorite haunt for the young people and a location for summer cabins. Mother was the 5th of seven children of Lloyd Marshall Quick, (born Jan 1, 1863) and Alice Recelia Keller Quick (born August 4, 1862). Alice died on October 5,1938 and Lloyd a few years later when he was living with us in Bloomingdale.

Charles and Harland Franklin (1969)

Charles and Harland Franklin (1969)

Grandpa Quick had owned a farm and also operated a sawmill in Mossvile. Their adopted son, reportedly an illegitimate offspring of Alice prior to her marriage, was killed in a tragic accident at the sawmill so I knew little about him.  However,  I was well acquainted with my uncles and aunts.

Bloomingdale, where my dad lived, and Mossville, where mom lived, are about six or seven miles apart, with Broadway and Patterson Grove (the site of the camp meeting ground) in between and Redrock mountain on beyond. The whole Bloomingdale area is hilly, and was once wooded and covered with small farms. Historically, the closest church was from the Methodist–Episcopal or ME background.  However, by the time I knew of it, the congregation had split and the splinter group became the MP (Methodist Protestant) church. Furthermore,  there were two churches in Bloomingdale (The Bible Protestant and the United Methodist, but there are presently three. The MP also split later and became the Bible Protestant, or BP church. (The BP has split two more times and is now extremely conservative, finally dismissing us as liberal Wycliffe missionaries.)  The church situation in and around Bloomingdale would make a worthy study for some aspiring anthropologist.

Three of mother’s siblings married three siblings of the Wolfe family: Aunt Annie Quick married Roy Wolfe, aunt Grace Quick married Corey Wolfe and uncle John Quick married Bertha Wolfe. From those unions I had five first cousins and from mother’s other siblings (Emma, Pearl, and Gertrude) I had 4 cousins and two step–cousins. (The cousins names were Ruth, who married George Culver, Albert, who married Betty Farver, Almond, Arnold, Edward, Margaret, Mary Ellen, Anna Mae, Alice, Marjorie, Junior and Nancy — the last two being my step–cousins, courtesy of Gertrude and her husband Otis Farver.)

Lloyd Quick’s father was John M. Quick, who married Sally Preston (born October 15, 1794 and died August 15, 1873). The father of John M. was Jacobus (James Quick, who was born January 5, 1753 and died June 27, 1847). He was married to Johanna Pelton on August 31, 1775. Johanna was born May 6, 1756 and died December 26, 1851.

Turning now to the parents of my father: His dad was Charles Franklin, born August 16, 1883, and died March 15, 1929 (?). He married Grace Rood on August 20, 1902 but she died just over two years later in childbirth with my dad. My father’s brother, Owen, had been born on November 27, 1902, but he died on March 6, 1907 at 5 years of age. Subsequently Charles, who was an optician and watchmaker,  remarried, this time to Estella Benscoter, on August 16, 1906. She was a diabetic with, as I remember, both legs amputated but she lived until the mid– or late 1930’s. They were unable to care for dad later, so he was sent to live with his grandparents. His father Charles had a brother Willie, born August 11, 1887, who was married to Maud Meller. They had three children: Harry, Paul and Mary, dad’s cousins, with Harry a close friend.

The grandfather of my dad was Wilbur Franklin, born March 31, 1856 (died October 24, 1933), and married to Della Harrison, born May 31, 1861. Wilbur was one of the first men in the area to own a car.  He was also an angry man by all accounts and it was he and Della who raised dad until he was of high school age. He then went to Benton and boarded with his father and step-mother until he finished high school. My father and Wilbur shared one trait — a violent temper (my dad’s nickname was Temp).

My family background is therefore English on my father’s side and Dutch on my mother’s, for the most part.

My father was a road equipment operator, coal miner, and then a shear operator at the American Car & Foundry (in Berwick), During the depression he peddled green groceries and rabbits, which we raised.  After two lung collapses at the foundry, he left with a medical disability and studied to become a licensed electrician.  He was also an amateur magician, and musician,  playing the piano, violin, cornet, and fife.  He loved languages, philosophy, the history of Egypt and was for many years a Rosicrucian. He was 70 when he died in February, 1976 of a stroke. My mother was a primary school teacher for 33 years, first in a one–room school for many years and later as the administrator in a consolidated school. She died in a car accident in May, 1972.

Some of this information turns up in the family Bible, a large 10 pound edifice passed on to me as, apparently and supposedly, as the religious member of the family. Other details come from my sister Claire, and from my cousin, Ava, a competent and amateur genealogist. Still other details can be found in Beyond Control, a book written by my dad. It is a humorous account of country life in and around Bloomingdale, published in 1982 and still available in some closets of some people somewhere.  It is now on this website as well.

Download my father’s book Beyond Control.

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