Old Franklin, TX

By: James L. Hailey

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

Old Franklin served as the original county seat of Robertson County when it was established by the Republic of Texas Congress in 1837. Between 1830 and 1835 a large contingent of surveyors and rangers congregated in the vicinity of Old Franklin. Construction began in earnest in 1837 when Francis Saulter, Robert Henry, and John Chalmers divided property they had acquired from Edward McMillan into town lots. Soon A. W. Cooke established a general store, S. M. White and Thomas Eaton opened a saloon, and Matthew Groom founded a blacksmith and livery stable. In the summer of 1837 the county let a contract for construction of a courthouse and jail. The project was not completed at that time and remained unfinished until 1839. "Three Legged Willie" Williamson presided over the first session of district court in the home of William Love, and Francis Saulter served as first chief justice of the new county. In 1839 Oak Grove was headquarters for the ranger company led by Capt. Eli Chandler. By the mid-1840s Indian raids in the area were no longer a threat. In 1846 Old Franklin opened its post office, which lasted only five years. Franklin Academy opened in 1838 under the guidance of Francis Saulter (who donated the lot) and operated until his premature death in 1842. By the end of the decade many settlers of Old Franklin had abandoned the town for farms on the rich blackland prairies. In 1850 county voters moved the county seat from Old Franklin to Wheelock, and Old Franklin was abandoned. Franklin, the present county seat of Robertson County, is close to the original site of Old Franklin.

J. W. Baker, History of Robertson County, Texas (Franklin, Texas: Robertson County Historical Survey Committee, 1970). Ivory Freeman Carson, Early Development of Robertson County (M.A. thesis, North Texas State College, 1954). Katherine Galloway, Ghost Towns of Robertson County (Franklin, Texas, 1975).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

James L. Hailey, “Old Franklin, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/old-franklin-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995

Old Franklin
Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: No
Belongs to
  • Robertson County
Associated Names