Franklin Collett Wilkes, born about 1822, moved to Texas as a Methodist minister in the 1850s. In 1857, while serving as the local pastor, he became the first president of Waco Female College. He then served as presiding elder of the Galveston district of the Methodist church during 1858. Once the Civil War had begun, he joined the Confederate Army. On April 24, 1862, at Hempstead, he was elected colonel of the Twenty-fourth Texas Cavalry, which marched to Arkansas that summer. Wilkes and most of his regiment were captured at Arkansas Post on January 11, 1863, exchanged at City Point, Virginia, in April and returned to active duty with the Army of Tennessee around Chattanooga. In July 1864 Wilkes was transferred to the Retired Invalid Corps and assigned to the District of Texas. In September, however, he was captured in Tensas Parish, Louisiana, and again imprisoned, first in Fort Lafayette and later in Fort Warren. He was exchanged in March 1865, and in April he made a personal effort to arrange a cease-fire in the Trans-Mississippi area. After the war he returned to the ministry and served in Brenham in 1866 and in Austin from 1869 to 1873. He was also general agent for Bayland Orphan's Home for Boys and traveled over the state seeking funds for its maintenance. Wilkes was chaplain of the Texas Senate in 1881. He resigned because of poor health and moved to Lampasas, where he died on December 8, 1881. He was buried in that city.
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Dallas Weekly Herald, July 20, 27, 1872, January 13, December 14, 1881. Dayton Kelley, ed., The Handbook of Waco and McLennan County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1972). Howard N. Martin, "Texas Redskins in Confederate Gray," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 70 (April 1967). Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817–1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867–1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937).
- University Presidents and School Administrators
- Civil War
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Alwyn Barr, “Wilkes, Franklin Collett,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 24, 2020, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/wilkes-franklin-collett.
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.