Franke, Louis (1818–1873)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: June 13, 2008

Updated: November 20, 2014

Louis Franke (Frankee), scholar, Texas Ranger, educator, and state representative, was born Ludwig Carl Ferdinand Francke, in present-day Germany at Guestrow, Mecklenburg, in 1818, the son of Peter Heinrich and Helen Elizabeth Henriette (von Kamptz) Francke. As the child of prominent families, Francke had access to higher education, earning a master's degree in law from the University of Jena. Following graduation Francke became active in opposition politics. After running afoul of the authorities, Francke elected to immigrate to the United States. While some sources claim that he came to Texas in 1845 and served in the Mexican War, other sources have him arriving in Texas in 1847. Here his name was naturalized as Louis Franke although he often went by Louis Frankee. Franke served briefly as a Texas Ranger before traveling to California to mine for gold. In the early 1850s he returned to Texas, settling in Fayette County. Here he married Berhardine Romberg on January 20, 1853. This couple had six sons and two daughters. By 1856 the family had located near La Grange, Fayette County, at Black Jack Springs. During this time Franke engaged as a teacher and worked for a time as a professor of music and ancient languages at Baylor College at Independence. In 1859 Franke returned to Germany in hopes of curing a medical condition he was suffering from. After a period of years Franke returned to his homestead in Fayette County. Both he and his wife were leaders in the local Lutheran community, and sometime in the 1860s they donated land for the founding of an Evangelical-Lutheran Academy in Fayette County. In 1872 Franke won election as representative for District Twenty-six—comprised of Bastrop and Fayette counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. On February 19, 1873, while serving in the legislature, Franke was robbed and fatally injured at the state capitol in Austin. He is buried in Black Jack Springs.

Fayette County History Book Committee, Fayette County, Texas Heritage (2 vols., Dallas: Curtis Media, 1996). Fayette County, Texas Marriage Records, 1838–1870 (St. Louis: Ingmire, 1980). Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939).

  • Thirteenth Legislature (1873)
  • House

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Franke, Louis,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2008
November 20, 2014