Please e-mail me your memories or thoughts of Franklin and I'll post them to this page.    Also be sure to read & sign the guest book as some people have posted their thoughts and memories there.

February 02, 2007:   Though I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, every summer was spent in Franklin where my father John Bogatay was born and raised.  Imagine my delight, a big city girl, at the sight of cows, chickens, barns and yes even out houses were exciting to this little girl.  The memories of bathing in a big tub in the middle of my Uncle Willie's & Aunt Mary's kitchen have created childhood memories for me that are priceless! 
My father left Franklin sometime in the 30's to seek employment in the auto factories in Detroit, hence my birthplace in 1943.  While Detroit will always be "home" for me, my childhood summers spent in a simpler, safer envoirment are such a delight for me to recall and I am thankful that my parents provided a place for me to delve deeper into the Austrian roots that my father came from.  Though we also grew up enjoying warmer weekends at BenHur (Michigan's SNPJ lodge), it was still the "big city"  Two of my uncles, Rudy and Louis also had migrated to Michigan so we were fortunate to have benefit of family both in Franklin and Detroit, for some reason though the memories of summers in Franklin seem to have given a real "sense of family" that are most vivid with me even today.  Ironically, this city girl now lives in a very rural area where we have but one traffic light on mainstreet downtown.  Sincerely,   Kay Bogatay Jackson, Twentynine Palms, CA  92277

February 16,2006: 
   My father and his brothers (Victor Ponce - 1916, Charles - 1914 and Leo - 1918 Ponce) were born in Franklin in approximately the years listed. They were, by family story, related to the Simoncics, and my father's father -- Nicholas Anton Ponce (originally Panz or Panzc or Pancz, I believe). As a child I was taken to Franklin virtually at birth (visited with my parents about 1951) and twice later (1956 during a terrible tornado season, and 1959), and I recall in the later trips Karlinger's Store (my grandfather reportedly had worked there as a butcher after leaving the Coal Co.; my father knew an Augie Karlinger) and I believe Steve's Place. My grandmother's home was on the approximate first west-leading road north of Karlinger's store (the Karlinger family house of the 1950s I believe backed up to my grandmother's backyard) and a 1920-ish photo of my father's family was taken on the porch of a "miner's house" that truly looks like the example on your page. I remember the 1956 and 1959 summers spending some weeks in a similar house, catching fireflies at night, my grandmother's backporch handpump and I believe catalpa trees as well as Osage orange trees.

I can recall attending a Catholic service or two with my grandmother (Marie Irma Ponce) at a church in Franklin, and of scrounging through the old "trolley station." I also recall going to the strip mine "mule ponds" (large water bodies) that had reverted to lake-like status.

Other thoughts: Victor Simoncic, as depicted in an old photo at your website, was a virtual dead-ringer for my father. The paternal Simoncic in that photo wears a moustache that duplicates one worn by my grandfather (I never met my grandfather -- he perished in a household accident about seven years before I was born). <>I recall my father often speaking of a "Dobrauc" (spelling?) family, also from his father's native Austria (I was fortunate to converse in German in 1967 with my grandmother, when she lived in Girard, and she called her native land "Oesterreich" [Austria], but I believe the region actually now has been included in Slovenia).

I believe the Union Hall pictured in a photo may be the location where my grandfather (by family lore) met and shook hands with United Mine Workers national President John L. Lewis, when my grandfather still worked for the mine.

I'm happy to dredge up these memories -- thank you for keeping a culturally historic place alive.    --John Ponce, Tillamook, Ore.

2005:  THE SLED RIDE By Betty Kissee Strickland Lawson "The North wind doth blow and we shall have snow", Betty read from her reader and felt sure it fully described Kansas winters. It would begin in November and end sometime in March, although one April 6, they awakened to a yard full of snow eight inches deep. On this particular January ,winter day, the white fluff fell but not so quietly. The sharp, North wind smite her cheeks, bit her nose, and numbed her fingers and toes as she walked directly into it to get home after school. The coal stove in the living room roared with its firey insides and the old black, coal bucket sat close by its side ready to refuel the fire, if needed. Betty snuggled close to the stove turning from front to back trying to rid heself of the cold. After supper the North wind calmed down and the large, white flakes had fallen one atop the other making a total ground cover. The brightness of the moon's beautiful glow left but one thing on Betty's, Mother's, and Daddy's mind. Daddy had suggested that if Mother and Betty would get dressed real warmly, he'd pull them on the sled with the truck. They chuckled as they put so many clothes on they could hardly bend or walk. The sled had been her daddy's when he was a boy and it hung, proud of its family heritage, in the coal shanty out back. Daddy removed it from its hook and used a rope to tie it to the back of the truck. Mother and Betty boarded the sled and off they went down the country road just South of the house. Over a bump then gliding over the new-fallen snow as though it were smooth as glass. Betty and her mother giggled and laughed like two school friends. As Daddy slowly turned the curve of the road they leaned too far to the left and off the sled they both rolled, right into a big, snow drift and it felt like a bed of feathers. They laughed about the incident then dusted off the deposits of snow from their clothing. They got on the sled once again, gave her daddy the signal, and off they went once again. The return home was full of memories of fun and laughter. Mother made hot chocolate for Betty and coffee for Mother and Daddy. They all sat by the fire warming their cold, cold bodies before hopping into bed for the night.

2005:  OPERATOR, OPERATOR, GIVE ME A LINE By Betty Kissee Strickland Lawson
In 1935, more than half of the homes in the United States had radios, people could afford gasoline at nineteen cents a gallon, the average home was $1,501, and bread was ten cents a loaf; yet, in Franklin, Kansas, there were only thirteen telephones, most of which were at businesses. Some of those owning these phones were Dobrauc’s Grocery, Bruffy Brothers Grocery, Pete Ginardi’s, Battatori’s Garage, Mrs. Brisart and Kissee’s. The other seven are not in my mind of cobwebs. These phones were large, wooden boxes with a crank and an ear piece in its side and a mouthpiece extending on a long neck from its middle. Ours , with much pride, hung behind the front door, as if it knew what was going on. Hmmmmmmmmm, if this old box could only talk. Oh! The tails it could and would tell. Let me iterate just a few. All thirteen people were on the same line so when you desired to make a call, you picked up the receiver (ear piece) and listened to be sure no one was using the line. Finding no one there, you turned the crank one time and waited. A lady’s, friendly voice uttered, “Number, please”. You gave her the number you desired then she graciously rang it for you. If calling Pittsburg, a larger town just south of Franklin, you might repeat a number such as 529-J or 126-B. The letters wee because two people were using that line and you must designate which you desired. Our phone number was 916F-13. When calling someone on your line, you simply cranked the proper number of “longs and shorts”. Now, about the party line in Franklin. Each person had a different ring. Ours was one long and three shorts (rings, that is). Someone else might have three longs and three shorts, and even another, one long and one short etc etc. They were clearly distinguishable. The phone rang all day and all night and one soon trained himself not to allow it to break into his night’s slumber. Strange how we can train our minds to hear only what we want it to hear. No matter what or whose ring happened along, Mrs. Brisart would answer. No matter what you did or said, she insisted it rang her residence. There were times most of us wondered if she had nothing to do but answer. It sometimes was difficult to entice her to hang up so you could talk to your party. There were many who had no phone so they would go to one of the businesses and all their boyfriends or girlfriends and talk for ages and ages, as if they were paying the bill. There was nothing to stop anyone from picking up the receiver and listening to any conversation. I am afraid I was as guilty as any teenager by indulging in this practice and got quite an education from some of those conversations. There were those who would talk about any of their promiscuous escapades, knowing anyone might be listening. I still grin as I write. There were times when Liz Manci and I just HAD to talk so I would ring Bettatori’s Garage and ask them to go get Liz. Her daddy did not like us to those at the garage but sometimes it was absolutely so important that we could not resist. We had teenage secrets and used secret words to let one another know when someone was standing close by and we could not talk for a minute. How we giggled and talked about the boys we would love to date. It was fun and memories are made of this. Storms came often and as they did, our phone rang off the wall with “no light calls” coming in one after the other. We were to be polite and simply say, “Thank you. He is out working on it at this moment. Thank you for calling.” Again and again the calls came until my daddy had repaired the problem and lights were restored. Everyone knew my daddy and when he passed away, people came to me and said, “Your daddy could fix anything and did it with a smile and a friendly face.” A sense of pride filled my aching heart for he had fixed many of my , including a broken, teenage heart which had been wounded. It soon healed with his and Mother’s understanding words. There were “connect” and “disconnect calls” that came through that phone also…people who were moving or someone who desired to have electricity. The telephone company was Southwestern Bell, nicknamed “Ma Bell”, and it definitely was a monopoly. Dobrauc’s had a phone like ours and another one to Arma. The company was CraKan, I believe. When I wanted to call my friends in Arma, I ran across the street to the store. To call Arma from our Bell phone was long distance but we could call Pittsburg free. Gossip????????? You’ve never heard the like when a couple of the camp’s ladies got on those phones. Up the line and down again, it went. No one was safe and Lord only knows we kids could not do anything wrong because the whole camp would know it before the sun set. You have heard of the three ways of fast communication….”telephone, telegraph, and tell a woman”. To be sure, they got their kicks this way, I suppose. We just had to laugh most of the time. As you sit in the comfort of your living room, using your private telephone line, stop and think how it was and how it would be if you had to stand to use your phone and possibly be sharing your conversation with thirteen others. We were just happy to even have a telephone. Well, guess I had better get off this line. Someone else might need to use it. Bye for now.

November 6,2005: 
I was born in Franklin in 1930. Doctor Keller delivered me.I was born in the middle of a snow storm on January 27th. My mother and father were Anton and Pauline Femec. My mother was Yanesh before she married my father.My Grandmother was Frances Femec and lived across the road from Matt Cukjati's farm. My aunt and uncle Joe and Jennie Gruden lived next to grandma and my uncle and aunt John and Frances Paulin lived across the road from grandma.I had two older sisters Pauline and Jennie next to our house lived Kosirs. My cousins were Jennie and Elsie Gruden . and Frances, Anna Marie and Margurite Paulin.We left Franklin in 1936 and settled in Cleveland.In Franklin my father worked at the coal mine and in 1936 his brother John was killed in the mine.I also had an aunt Annie Femec who married John Kosir. They later moved to Henryetta Okla.I have so many memories of Franklin
although I was only six when we left. We visited many times, but the time I remember most was in 1942. I have some pictures I will send from the 1920;s and !930's Would be glad to hear from anyone who remembers our families.   Thank You   Frances Kacsmar

October 5, 2005: 
My granddaddy, Troy Leo Kissee, and my mother, Betty Jean Kissee Strickland Lawson, taught my brothers and I to Polka at the community center. We did so on as many New Year's Eve occasions as possible.     Kim Strickland Bennion

December 24, 2004:  
Dr. Keller brought me and my sister into this world. 

My grandfather built the Franklin Post Office.   He did it so my grandmother, who didn't drive, would have an easier walk to the place.   My grandmother used to walk to the old post office to mail letters to her kids.  My grandfather built the new one so she didn't have to walk so far.  In the 1960s when we came home to Franklin, we used to go to the post office to get my grandmother's mail.  the postamster knew us as the Manci grandkids.   That wouldn't happen in today's word.

 My grandfather's name was Sam Manci.  My other grandfather was Joe Bazine and he was a coal miner and did odd jobs.   Memory of George L. Bazin II

July 27,2004:  
Anton “Tony” Zemlock was born April 22, 1919 at the family home located 1 mile east of Franklin, Kansas; the 4th child of Steve and Mollie Zemlock.  His parents were immigrants from the Austria-Hungarian Empire later known as Slovenia.  They settled for a short time in Gross, Kansas, then moved to the small acreage east of Franklin.  Tony’s aunt Anna Strukel had a boarding house for the miners on the same land where their home now stands.  His mother went to work there. Steve was an entry driver for Western Coal Mining #22.

Tony graduated from Franklin grade school in 1935.  Everyone was struggling just to survive as this was the height of the Depression so he went to work on the family farm ending any more formal education.  The young boys went to work in the coal mines with their fathers was the way of “education” back then. Tony worked at #22 for 3 years; during this time he was recognized for three consecutive months as loading the “most coal”.  A month later the mine inspection superintendent accused Tony of “robbing” too much coal. He shouted “Kreest me lad, you’re fired! Get your tools and get out of the mine!”  That was the best news he ever heard as every day that he went to the mine he was extremely frightened.

After that experience, Tony went to work for the Carr Coal Co. located at Croweberg, Kansas which was a strip mine, a safer working environment than the deep shaft mines. Many different types of methods of extracting the coal from the ground had been tried here and the deep shaft way demised.

Additional work experiences for Tony were in Defense Plants in Louisville, Ky. And Charleston, In.  After induction into the Army in February, 1942 and serving 3 years, Tony returned home to Crawford Co.  All of the life lessons Tony learned from working in the coal mines and farm may have contributed to his survival in being captured as a prisoner-of-war in “The Battle of the Bulge”. 

On November 3, 1942, Tony married Ruth McNeil at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsburg.  Returning to the states after Army discharge, he chose to take up farming rather than coal mining, returning to the homestead and farm his parents had founded.  Ruther and Tony have 2 children; Anton Zemlock, Jr. and Denise Kranker, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

On May 4, 2003, a deadly tornado destroyed the home, barns and farm buildings of many years, but not the spirit of this couple who escaped injury by huddling with their neighbors in the basement of the home they had built 40 years earlier.  Rebuilding that which was destroyed was just another job that 84 year old Tony had endured.   Memories of  Tony and Ruth Zemlock

July 27, 2004:  
Steve (Zemljak) Zemlock was born December 10, 1895, in Maribor, Austria.  He was working for Ruhr Valley Mining Co and an opportunity for him to the United States arose and he set sail for America.  He arrived at Ellis Island in 1912.

The families of Mike Zemlock, Anton Strukel, Anton Zemlock (all uncles to Steve) were in the area of Franklin and Arma, Kansas.  He arrived at Ellis Island in 1912 at the age of 17 and his name was changed (phonetically spelled) and he traveled to Gross, Kansas, where he began working as an entry driver for Western Coal Mining #19, 15 and 22.

Steve married Molly Gorisek in January, 1913 at the Catholic Church in Frontenac, Kansas.  To this union were born: Mary (Azamber), Stephina (Andreason), Molly (Markus), Anton Zemlock, Frances (Ginardi-Losik) and Annie (Gallagher).  They built a home in 1915 on a little acreage east of Franklin, where the house still stands today.

Hard times and the Depression made it necessary for people to have their own cows, chickens, hogs and raise big gardens in both spring and fall to feed all the family members.  The family worked together as a team to make a living.  Many of the girls of the families would work for other families tending younger children or doing housework.  The few cash crops raised were oats, wheat and corn, that was also used to feed the livestock.  The women tended the animals and stored up the produce and almost every family had a cellar for canned goods, crops and maybe a barrel of “vino”.  The cellar also came in handy for protection from the wind storms and occasional tornadoes that occurred.

When Anton “Tony” Zemlock graduated from Franklin Elementary school at the age of 16 his formal education ceased and he began working on the farm.  At age 17, he went to work with his father Steve at the Western Coal Mining #22 deep minds loading cars, as was the custom for sons to work with their fathers (same as apprenticeship).

Steve Zemlock worked 38 years in the deep shaft coal mines.  He retired in1959 and lived on the farm east of Franklin, until his health failed.  His wife Molly died in March, 1967 after 54 years of marriage.  Steve passed away December 8, 1977 and was buried in Franklin Garden of Memories on December 10, 1977 which was his 82nd birthday.   Memories of  Anton “Tony” Zemlock and Ruth (McNeil) Zemlock

May 3, 2004:  Dear Fellow Franklinites, Even though we live in the Chicago area, we still consider Franklin home.  It was very hard for us when we had to sell our old homestead in Franklin (now at Prospect) but our heart will always be there.    My parents Rose and Jaacob Podpechan came to Currantville in 1906 where my sister Roseann was born in 1908. They then moved to Franklin in 1909.  I was born in the Tassi home in 1910. We lived there till December of 1923.  We moved to the corner house in January 1924.  My sister Mathilda was born in that home.    Mary Podpechan Straus

April 9, 2004:  
A description of some of the early Franklin Community from the memories of Mary Lipasek Maxwell when she was a child.  She was born to immigrants from Slovenia -- Frank and Mary Cukjati Lipovsek in Franklin in 1912 and lived at the Lipovsek (later Lipasek) family homestead in Franklin until her marriage to William (Bill) Maxwell in 1937 when they moved to Chicago, IL.  They later returned to Arma and then back to her family homestead in 1979.  In 2003 she outlined her memories of people, events and thoughts from her childhood.

We called the corner where Karlinger store stood “Karlinger Corner”.  North of Karlinger corner there was a butcher shop -- I think before Prasnickers had the filling station.

Next was Prasnicker’s gas station/beer joint -- also snacks. 

Dobrauc Grocery was 1 block north of Karlinger Corner, next to Prasnickers.  We shopped at Dobrauc for groceries, shoes, some clothing in the early days.  Antone Dobrauc (we called him “Skinner”) delivered groceries later by car.  They always gave Dad a sack of rock candy after he paid his bill.  That rock candy was soooo good!  We shopped at Dobrauc Grocery because Mr. Dobrauc helped Dad when they came to America.  Karlinger’s groceries were a little bit higher in price, too.  The Dobrauc family house was attached to the back of the store.  The Dobrauc girls worked in the store.     

Simoncig.  They would deliver meat.  Ma would go out to the road and tell what kind she wanted.  He would cut the piece, wrap it and Ma paid him.  He went on to the next.  At one time a guy would come around and sell loaves of bread -- hard crust.  He delivered with horse and buggy.  I wonder how sanitary it was.  Later,  the Soldoncik brothers took over and delivered meat to people west and all around.  They delivered meat in a covered wagon from house to house.  They sold beef steak to Ma for 25 cents.  Sometimes she bought 10 cents worth.

There was a Methodist Church on the corner south of Karlinger’s store.  We went there a few times to summer school to learn to sew.  That was a lost cause.  I was so bashful, I couldn't get the instructions.  I was so scared I wouldn't ask for help.  Don't remember how long we went to the classes.  Rosie went, too.  We worked with some white material -- donut remember what we were sewing.  Ma and Dad let us go so we’d learn.

People were party crazy in those days.  We would go to see friends, the accordion players would come along, and we’d dance.  (We also danced at an empty house in Arma.  Whenever we found an empty house, we would dance.  We were desperate for entertainment.)
 Our farm was west of Karlinger Corner.  The road to our house went south past our house all the way to Hwy. 57 in those days

Our neighbors would go by with horse and buggy and would wave.  Ma asked him one day if he saw our “green” cow that had strayed.  My mother spoke (and understood) very little English.  When she told Dad what she had said to the Endicotts, my dad had a good laugh.
West to the bridge from our corner, we would play on Sundays.  We would walk on the top of the bridge.  My cousin and I would go under the bridge and would hold onto the rods and work our way back and forth.  There was always some water there -- fun!

Renigers Dance hall was west of our house.  My brother and cousin, Frank and Phil, played at dances.  There were lots of fights on Saturdays.  Men would drink, then fight.  Once they fought so hard, they knocked to coal heating stove over.  We had lots of fun.  Later it was torn down and they built a dance hall a mile north.  We had fun there, too.

My parents, Francisek and Marija Cukjati Lipovsek, were immigrants.  Like many others before them, they were lured by the promise of work in the coal mines of Southeast Kansas and the opportunity for a better life.   Francisek and Marija Lipovsek immigrated from the country that is now Slovenia to America aboard the S. S. Samland, arriving at Ellis Island on November 6, 1906.  It had been a long voyage, and they had many miles to go before reaching their final destination.  For several days they had traveled by train from Slovenia through Vienna to Regensburg, then Nurenberg, through Wurzburg and Frankfurt, Koln and finally to Antwerp where they boarded the S.S. Samland for the long eleven day voyage .

Never in their young lives had the two traveled any distance from their farm homes as children or as a married couple.  Francisek was 24 and Marija was 20.  The sadness upon leaving their families behind and the anticipation of a new life in a new country must have been overwhelming as they traveled through Slovenia,  Austria, Germany, Belgium, boarded a huge ship to cross the Atlantic Ocean and to finally arrive in New York at Ellis Island, before the long trip to their final destination in Kansas and the coal mines where Francisek would work.

The ocean voyage aboard the vessel Samland was long.  Personal hygiene on the ship was difficult.  As they left the ship at Ellis Island, Marija bent to wash her face at the water’s edge .  To her dismay, the water was coated with oil from the ships in the harbor.  As they were being processed through Ellis Island, they somehow were separated – a very frightening situation for Marija  spoke no English and was pregnant with their first child.  Immigration officials were preparing to deport her when, fortunately, Francisek found her and they were cleared to continue their journey.

They traveled by train from New York to settle in Fleming, Kansas near family members who had immigrated earlier.  The ship manifest records $10 in their possession when they boarded the ship.  Thus, they traveled to Fleming, Kansas, with all their possessions in a steamer trunk, a smaller trunk and $10 to buy food and train tickets to complete the journey to their destination in America.

Soon after they arrived, Francisek began to work in the mines nearby.   Then, they moved to Skidmore.  They moved to a rented house in Franklin, following mine work to the area.  In 1917 they moved to a farm they had purchased in Franklin with the money earned from the long, hard days in the mine.  Francisek and Marija, hopeful to build a better life in America, now owned land and built a new home in their new country.
Francisek worked in the area coal mines when work was available.  Before sunrise he walked to work through fields and sometimes through a creek for over a mile, returning home after 4 pm.  He was responsible for the purchase of the tools he used in the mine – shovel, pick, pit helmet with a carbide lamp, etc.  His tools were stored in a dynamite box.  The demand for coal was lower in the warmer season so he worked 3 days a week in the summer.  Francisek had an entry in the mine which enabled him to earn more money.  He worked at Western Coal Company mines #16, 20, 21, 22 and 50.  The work was hard, dirty and dangerous.  Records of mining accidents reflect the hazards encountered every day, and Francisek’s name is included in the accident records.  It has been said that if one’s ancestor was a minor, his name would be listed in these records at least once.

During the miner’s strike, Marija and the neighboring women would beat their wash tubs in protest as the company “scabs” walked down the road toward the mines.  It was a difficult time for the miners and their families.

In those days there was no workman’s compensation or unemployment insurance – now work, no income.   They lived off the land as much as they could.  When Francisek came home from a long, hard day’s work at the mine, he would eat supper, then hitch up his horse and plow the fields of grain.  The family raised cows, pigs, chickens.  Marija planted a vegetable garden.  From their orchard they gathered fruit for the family.

Over time the spelling of the family surname evolved to Lipasek.  Francisek Marija became Frank and Mary.  They raised 11 children.  And, they were proud when their children went to school, encouraging them to learn new things.
In 1940 Frank took the oath of citizenship of the United States of America – a very proud day in his life and that of his family.  He died the following year in the home he built on the farm they built in their new homeland.

Frank was a kind and gentle man.  For 35 years he worked hard in the mines and in his fields to provide a better life for his family.  This immigrant family and many others followed their dream to America, worked hard, built a new home on land purchased with the fruits of their labor and raised a family.  They are a special tribute to the essence of America.    Mary Lipasek Maxwell

March 30, 2004  My grandmother lived in Franklin.  I don't know the street but it was rural and did have a great well with an old bucket lowered by rope.  It had a history to it as pioneers going west stopped and got watered up there.   I am 77 and remember it as a young child.  We would visit from northern Minnesota.  My grandmother was Louisa Tomc Karlinger. Her husband was Frank.  In her kitchen was water piped in but you had to pump a handle instead of turning a tap.  An old player piano was in the living room with rolls of music.   Frances Wilhelm, Bullhead City, Az.

March 22, 2004
 I was born in Franklin.  Dr. Keller was the attending physician.   The house where I was born has been gone for a long time.  My father worked in the coal mines. He was G. L. Buckley. He married Jenny Florence Shell and they had 7 children.  I was next to the youngest.  We moved to Kansas City about 1928.    Dorothy Elizabeth Buckley Nicholls, Joplin, Mo.

March 15, 2004   I remember going to my grandmother’s house during the summer. It was set back from the main highway about a block and then about three blocks from the Post Office and a small store. She kept cows, chickens, a hog and bees. My brothers and I used to talk to the post office to get the mail and then to the store for “Rainbow” bread. We had never, and I have never since, seen so many really big bugs on the roads and roadsides. She did not have running water, but depended on a well just outside the summer kitchen. When we would come to spend the summers, she would put a big rock on top of the well cover so my youngest brother couldn’t climb into it. If you, or anybody, remembers my grandmother, I would sure love to hear from you.  Mary Lou Rago  E-mail me at:

November 11,2003  Memories of a cousin:  She told me the neighbors had beautiful plums and that she and her siblings would hop the fence,  pick and eat them.  The neighbors never complained and she surmised they didn't mind.  She said there weren't any other little kids nearby so they probably knew who picked the plums.

She also told about delivering milk or cream her mother sold to a neighbor, and sometimes the woman would give her a nickel for bringing it.  She
thought she was rich!

October 24, 2003  It is said that the first two settlers in Franklin were Mr. Keel who lived on the corner of 3rd & Vine and Mr. Gartner who lived on east 2nd street across from Joe Youvan... There are memories of  them talking about the Indians that were around here, in fact that's why Gartner choose the site on 2nd street because it was the highest elevation in Franklin so he could keep an eye on the surrounding prairie. There are also memories of a  gypsy camp... and  Pretty Boy Floyd was spotted here too.  

October 14, 2003    I read of your plight in our local newspaper - I too am from a small town here in New York and admire your community's spirit.  I'll keep checking your website for future developments.  God Bless, Paul Worboys, Honeoye Falls, New York    

October 13,2003
 Hello Anybody and Everybody in Franklin, Kansas.   We are enclosing an item in our local Sunday newspaper about your town.  We admire your faith and spirit, which is all about "positive thinking".    Also enclosing a token gift to help your rebuilding projects.  God Bless America and all ambitious Americans in Franklin, Kansas.    Howard and Eltha Aldridge, Fairport, New York

September 26,2003   I was born in l924 and my grandfather's shop was in business then. It must have been opened in the early l900 because he also had a ice cream counter. It was a one man operation. He butchered the cattle in a building behind the shop. I can remember him carrying a half of beef from the slaughter house to the shop on his shoulder and then watching him skinning it . He bought his cattle from various farmers including Dr. Keller. When his grandson Al Vignatelli was old enough to drive, he would go with him to buy cattle and bring it home. He helped him in the shop until World War 2 when he had to go in the service. I think the shop was closed shortly afterward with many unpaid bills. The Vignatelli's moved there house from east of Hank Marrotti store to 7th & Broadway around l935 and I think that's when the gas station and beer hall was opened. I left Franklin in l94l so I am not sure of all the dates but they are pretty close.  Thanks, Clem Stafford

July 9, 2003  Just had to write something to you all, we knew a tornado went through Franklin but never knew how severe it was.  In checking back issues of the Pittsburg Sun we found out about the devastation.  We are the Podpechan family.  My mother is Marie Straus (Mary Podpechan).Mom, her sisters Roseann & Wilma Podpechan Prosence are living with me.  I read all about This tragedy to mom, she was so upset. This website was a wonderful idea, mom  enjoyed hearing about Barbara Digite and wondered about the rest of her sisters and brothers.
My grandparents came to the Franklin area in 1908.  Jack Podpechan was a coal miner.  They had 6 children Roseann, Mary, Wilma, Louise, Bill (Johnny) and Mathilda (Peppie), and Francie.  They told me about how busy the town was, they had a street car that went to Girard and Frontenac.  How the neighbors helped each other out when someone had a new baby or when it was time to butcher the hogs.  They shared their home brew beer and someone always had an accordion handy to play those old Slovenian Songs.

 Mom remembers the Rezins, Volks, Nomals, Digitis, Walkers.  They told me about the mine, strikes, disasters and how one of their friends, who came to USA with them, John Vertnik was killed in the mines leaving 6 children.  I spent my summers at my grandmothers place in Franklin, I remember going for mail at the old Post Office Where Mr. Markovic was the postmaster. Grandma's box number was 88.  Would love to have that old box if anyone knows where it is.

 I too, remember Karlingers Store, Mr. & Mrs. and Rudy.  Rudy would deliver grams groceries in the truck.  I remember going to a place that had a bar, I would go to the back door and get ice cream.  It was the best ice cream I ever had .  Grandma had little pink dishes that she always served the ice cream in
(old depression glass).  I would hurry home so the ice cream wouldn't melt, running on that old red dirt road.  I remember Bruffy's leaning store, the old Red brick school house.  And the old Catholic Church, on the road behind grandmas house.  I made friends with a few young girls in the neighborhood.  Joanne Maghe & Joanne Tassi.  I did get to deliver milk for grandma, but oh how I was afraid of the dogs.

We were last there in April of 2001, when we had to clear out the old home after Aunt Mathilda died.  We found some of grandpa's pay stubs from the mines, sometimes earning only a few dollars a week.  One week, he owed them money , after they took off for dynamite, mule usage et al. Wonderful memories for all of us. Please save Franklin. 
Sincerely, Polona Straus Filpi, Marie Straus, Roseann Podpechan, Wilma Prosence
P.S. Our deepest sympathy to the Maghe Family on the loss of their Mom. Our Prayers are with you. 

June 10, 2003  Following is a letter from Barbara Digite Krabbe, who lived in Franklin during the 20's, to Andy Bertuzzi who was born and raised in Arma where his granddad built and ran the Star Bakery on the main drag.
Hi Andy,  Sure was happy to get the pictures and history of Franklin. I left Franklin in 1926 but I do remember all the stores and Dr. Keller.  Our post office box was no. 219. Couldn't wait to get there after school to see if we had mail.
It sure did bring back a lot of memories.  I could write a book about Franklin during the time we moved there in 1921.  We did live in Arma on the highway, a dirt road at that time.  The house we moved  to used to be a butcher shop near Karlinger's store.  They moved it when we lived in Franklin.
It just seems so many years ago.  Going to the coal mines to pick coal every night after school.  I graduated from the 8th grade in May 1926.  No high school.  That was it, but I sure did learn  a lot by experience.  Always had a job and made it.  After 92 years I am still learning.
One of the pictures, did you notice the flag was still there.
Well, Andy guess I will sign off.  Have a Dr. appointment in the morning.  Give Betty my love.  Love you.  Barbara
P.S.  Barbara is my late mother's first cousin..  

June 6, 2003  About Franklin!!  I know you and Carol both tried to prepare me but I guess I still didn't believe it.   I was overwhelmed and dumbfounded (which seems to happen to me often) to put it mildly.  I pulled into my old driveway, got out, surveyed the surrounding area and just stood there in disbelief.  Mary Lynn and I just looked at each other neither one of us knowing what to say.  The only thing  recognizablewas 1/2 of the huge tree my Dad used to sit under in his later years and the driveway entrance.  I drove into Carol's and Frankie's as well.  Can't imagine how they must have felt initially!!  It really hit home when I drove up towards Harold's, turned around and headed back north.  When I got to Marriotti's/Carol's house and looked towards my old house: you see nothing!!!!  Everything is totally gone!!!!  So uunbelievable so terribly sad!.  I hope people show interest in rebuilding and this will not be a deathblow to Franklin.  Your heart just goes out to people like Carol's and Frank's mom, Marie Schaffer, Pichlers, Chelesniks, Maghe's - people who have lived in those houses 50 to 60 some years and now have to regroup and start over with nothing in their final years.  It doesn't get much sadder than that, does it???  Jim Thornton

June 2, 2003  I was raised in Franklin from 1952-1976. My early childhood memories were of our home @ 3rd & Prospect.  I can recall once going into our cellar during a storm and staying a while with the kerosene lamp. Its light reflecting off the canning jars. I can almost remember
the smell of the kerosene mixed with the smell of the potatoes kept there. I can still see our  pigeons flying across the neighborhood when Dad would whistle for them to come.

I can still see the old "Company Store" filled with hay & Eddie (Markovitz) at the post office south of it. There was Hank's (Mariotti) store with the
men around the stove. Hank always had a kind word and a story or photo of John Wayne. Bruffy's (George and Dan) was my favorite place. The store leaned so badly that it had a series of wooden braces placed on the north to hold it upright. The store's floor had a distinct wave to it. My folks bought the store and house in 1962.

Remember the Community Hall and Vignatelli's Hall. They were both the site of many gatherings and dances.  Between the halls was Pete's (Battitori) Garage. Pete, Tommy Langford and Bill DuPree were mainstays.  (Later years would find Ray Saia there with Duke. Ray's
special lace paint jobs on motorcycles were amazing to me.)

As I got older I started school. In 1958 we were using 2 down stair's and one upstairs' rooms as our classrooms. All were on the south. We did not have to use the outhouses, but we did use the coal shed. In fact that was how you knew you had come of age (you were told to carry in buckets of coal for the heater).  Sometimes you would have the honor of pulling the rope to ring the bell in the tower or be able to retire the flag at the end of the school day. The highlight of my school year was when we had the Christmas programs on the old stage in the southwest upper room.

The north end was where we went when Dad or my uncles wanted a beer. The cribbage games @ Steve's (Prosnicker) were intense. I would have soda pop and try to win a lucky gum ball from Steve's gum ball machine. I did not often go to Karlinger' but was always intrigued by the mix of groceries, drinks, and the tables by the door. The south end's main attraction as we started that long trip to Pittsburg
was Ginardi's.

Dad and Mom always had stories to pass on about the long gone buildings, the soccer games, the mining troubles, the strike, and the world's longest unbroken sidewalk where my great-grandmother, Kathryn Brisart, became the first person killed while walking from Franklin to Arma.

Most of all I remember the people of Franklin. I get misty eyed even now thinking of them. How I loved to hear them speak in their native tongue or their broken English. Those are memories that I will never be without. It is in honor of those people, those Americans from foreign lands, that Franklin must survive and rebuild. Thank all that have stayed and all that have come to Franklin for keeping the dreams alive.

Joe Lee Maghe

May 28, 2003  
To the tornado victims,
    I live in Arma, Ks, and I write a monthly article for our Methodist newsletter. Here is the one that I wrote for June.
    The storm was over and as I stood out in the open, I realized that all of my possessions and comforts of my home had been swept up in a swirling wind. I looked at my feet and saw a piece of glass that still had the word "mom" on its surface. There lay a greeting card signed by the grandchildren. A tear left my eye. A single tulip from a bouquet that sat on my dining room table was stuck in a branch of what was a beautiful tree.
    As I stood there in disbelief, I felt a touch on my shoulder. It was my children and their families. And as I looked toward them, I saw my friends and neighbors all gathered around. Another tear slid slowly down my cheek as I bowed my head. I looked to the ground and saw two large pieces of wood that formed a perfect cross. I then knew that Jesus stood there with us. I heard His comforting words that were calming. He said not to despair for the possessions that blew away, and those that lay in the ruble, did not have hearts or feelings. He reassured me that all I would need to survive was everyone around me with Him at my side.
    Life will be a difficult trial for some time to come. The memories of what I possessed and of this day will be with me forever.
    Out of the storm, reality set in my heart and I realized that what I lost was a house, but what I have left is my home, which is in my heart. It is a comforting safe place to be with Jesus living there.
    I did not suffer the loss that others suffered for which I am so thankful, but as I toured the remains of what was a small town, I felt the hurt and then courage of the people.
    The bright side of this terrible tragedy may be that we all learn to value life with Jesus more than our worldly goods.
"On the Bright Side"
Dolores Bierbrodt

May 24, 2003  
Of course my dad and mom grew up in Franklin. One of my first memories is our visit to Grandma Mary Lipasek’s home when I was younger than 6 years; I can still remember the pump on the back porch that supplied water for the home.  

My dad would often take Brother Larry and me along to Karlinger’s store. I remember being fascinated by the ceiling fans. And we were often along at Steve’s Place; Daddy would have a beer and Larry and I would get a Grapette soda (pop) and some kind of snack, like chips, peanuts or pretzels. This was a real treat for us.  

When I visited my mom as an adult in the 1980s and 1990s, my routine daily run--which I did in all weather from Kansas hot to Kansas cold -- was from our house in Arma, along the Arma-Franklin sidewalk, turning west at Karlinger’s Corner, past Aunt Mary Maxwell’s house a mile or two and then return. Occasionally, I’d stop on my return to visit Aunt Mary and have a beer with her. Sometimes I’d run down past Grandma’s house up toward Pernot’s.  

So I visited Franklin often over recent years, usually on foot. It was always worth the trip.      
Dr. Joe Eugene Lepo
Associate Professor of Microbiology
Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation, and Department of Biology
University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL 32514
(850) 857-6098
Fax: (850) 474-3130
Home: 3405 Riverside Drive, Pensacola, FL 32514
May 22, 2003  
I've lived in Franklin for 33 years, moved here with my parents when I was 11.  My dad and some of his friends brought the old schoolhouse .  I can remember walking to Karlinger's and Hank's stores to buy candy and whatever Mom needed and didn't want to go to Arma to get.   I was the altar boy at St. Philip Neri for several years with Billy Bogatay.      Andy LaSota

May 21, 2002      I have so many wonderful memories of growing up in Franklin.   The joy of knowing everyone in the town and always feeling safe.   I remember Halloween and trick or treating.  Enis Krasovec had a notebook that we all had to sign when we came to her house.  She enjoyed seeing each and every one of us.   My graduating class from grade school had a total of 9 students.   We attended the 3 room school house that was just east of 69 Highway.   It was such a big deal when we moved upstairs in the 7th grade.   The old swing sets and merry-go-round where there was no thought of lawsuits and safety devices were so much fun.  We would swing until we were as high as the top bar and no one was concerned about falling.   It was such fun.   Remember the Christmas programs?  Everyone came.    And those costumes ????

The community hall also holds many, many wonderful memories.  All the polka dances, the church bazaars, birthday parties, just about any event was at the community hall.  If those walls could talk!    I remember as a little girl going to the dances at the halls.  All the kids went and we had just as much fun as the adults.  The adults would all take a turn dancing with the kids.  We were involved in all the festivities.  I remember the New Year's parties and what a big deal to stay up so late.  We all had party hats, streamers and noise makers.  

Do you remember the old post office and Doc Keller's office?  I remember going to his house many times or he would come to our house.   No need to make an appointment 1 month in advance to see him.  

What about that by-pass going in?  Wasn't that a big deal?  And Karlinger's store.  Can't you just see the pop machine and that candy counter where you could slide open those glass doors and get your candy bar out for a nickel?   The big oak table in the front where the guys could visit and play cards while sipping a cold beer.   I can still hear the sound of that screen door closing.   I can just see Rudy fixing a sandwich after slicing some lunch meat from the meat counter.

And didn't Ginardi's corner signal that you were entering Franklin.   Funny how a name sticks to a location long after the people or business are gone.      

More memories to come!     Phyllis (Liposek) Bitner

 May 20, 2003  I grew up in Franklin and graduated from Arma in l94l. At that time (late 30) you either lived in the North end or the South end. My Grandfather, Burt Guistetto (big Bert) had a butcher shop between Hank Marroiti's and Bruffy Bros. on the east side of the main drag (Hwy69) On the west side was the Post Office, Pete Battatori's garage, Frank Prete's barber shop and Nick Vignatelli's gas station, restaurant and beer bar. We walked to school in Arma till about l94l when they got a bus. If there were any activities at school or we could go to the show in Arma, we walked.  There are a lot of memories there for me and I know a lot of people who lost so much. We all grieve Josephine Maghe's death. Her house was the Bruffy's house, which was next door to my Grandfather's house after the Bruffy store was torn down. I sincerely hope Franklin will rebuild, many good people still live there and it is a nice community. Thank you Phyllis for your web-site. Sincerely, Clem Bardazone Stafford

Wed, 14 May 2003
  As I look at the Franklin web site photos, my heart is very sad. This scene is worse than a war zone. It's been many years since I roamed the streets of Franklin but I know every one of them. My heart and prayers go out to all of those poor people. How will they ever recover from that. I wouldn't know where to begin. This is too overwhelming.  Frank Jeler

Wed, 14 May 2003 I'm so sorry to hear about this devastating catastrophe, and our hearts are with all those unfortunate people in Franklin who lost there homes, and even worse, family and friends.    Allen Pier

Wed, 14 May 2003 I remember all of the stores, Karlingers, Mariotta's (sp?), the General Store, and my favorite, Bruffy's where Dan and George always were there for you in good times and bad.  I can't remember Dan's wife's name... just remember a tiny gray haired (with lots of those waves they wore then) lady.  If we had the money (which usually we didn't) I was allowed a 5 cent comic book... but in the meantime, I read all I could while Mom waited her turn for one of them to wait on her... I remember going to Pete Battori's garage when there was a problem with Dad's old car and Pete and Bill  were there.  Bill liked all kids, even the pesky ones who asked all of the "dumb" car questions... I remember Dr. Keller's office ... someone had a small brown monkey or type of orangatang? (anyway, small with a red butt!) in a cage out back.. it was fascinating to watch the only monkey  in probably a 100 mile area.. especially at my age.. took the edge off seeing the doctor too!  I was baptized in the Catholic Church on the
west corner (South of Karlinger's store) where in later years a house was built.   I remember going into the cellar at Steve Prasniker's and getting a big cold bottle of Pepsi... it was the best drink in the whole world... the cellar always smelled of beer.. a few bottles of which my  Dad thoroughly enjoyed!  I remember the glass round gas pump right in front of Steve's where they pumped gas... I also remember going to my Dad's soccer games  at the Franklin grade school... with their blue jerseys and red satin like material shorts... many a time we stood and watched.. Dr. Stumfoll (the Pittsburg optometrist) who passed away said that's where he first met my Father and he loved those soccer games..he never failed to ask how he was when I was in his office.   Jo Ann  Burgar 

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