Lesser Franklin's story
Was born in Germany March 11 1852 and died in 1910 in Leymen, Cook, Illinois.
He is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery
Lesser Franklin was born in Germany on Mar 11 1852. His father was Moses Franklin and Mother was Magalie (maiden name is unknown right now)
Lesser arrived at New York in a small sailboat from Germany with a group of other adventurous young men, and was faced with the task of supporting himself and learning a new language.
Lesser Franklin worked westward with the wagon trains and new settlers, earning money and saving most of it. When he had saved enough, he bought a team of horses and a covered wagon, stocked it with assorted merchandise that would appeal to settlers and followed land-seekers as a they moved to the open country in the west. He was a good salesman and was successful -- so good that he added another store-on-wheels to his outfit
Lesser finally set up headquarters at Platteville in southwest Iowa, built a home.
On Nov 14 1875 he marries Sarah "Sallie" King, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Hankins) King, in Taylor County, Iowa
He had 4 children in Taylor county, Iowa.
Dora born 1877 in Platteville,
Egington 1878 in Platteville,
Pearl 1881 in Bedford and
Rose 1883 in Bedford.
(Gustave "G.K." was born in Minnesota.)
Dora was born in Platteville, Taylor county, Iowa on Aug 10 1876
10 AUG 1876
Egington was born in Platteville, Taylor county, Iowa on March 25 1878.
The Bedford Newspaper writes " —Dr. Franklin, of Platteville, was in town Tuesday, seemingly very much elated over an affair that happened at his residence this Saturday, and declaring that he was now worth five thousand dollars more than before. This statement of his good fortune at once drew forth an inquiry as to the nature of the same, when we learned that he is the happy papa of a beautiful little boy, 3 days old, of standard weight." April 1883
Lesser and Sarah are in the 1880 census record in Bedford, Taylor, Iowa.
Here he engaged in the land business along with his mobile stores. Ads in the newspapers said he " sold wood, and paid the best price for wool."
He felt that land was basic, as it offered home sites as well as a living.
On May 13 1880 the Bedford paper wrote "—Mr. L. Franklin has opened up a real estate and collection office in Bedford,and may be found in Flick & Huston's office, over Bagby & Thompson's store."
and later in the same paper
—L. Franklin will issue his Real Estate Journal next week and all persons'who have farms for sale should leave a description of the same with him not later than Tuesday of next week, the 1Oth. The Real Estate Journal will be published quarterly and no opportunity for the appearance, of these descriptions will occur again until the next issue.
Pearl was born in Bedford, Taylor county, Iowa in May of 1880
The Bedford Newspaper writes "—As we write this paragraph the smoke from an excellent cigar, the gift of Dr. Franklin, floats in fragrant clouds around the editorial brow. -It'a girl; it was born last Monday, and Doc is as happy as a clam at high tide."....May 1880
Rose was born Jun 10 1883 in Bedford, Taylor County, Iowa
The Bedford Newspaper writes "—Dr. L, Franklin is the happy father of a little daughter, born on Sunday last." ......June 14 1883
The Bedford Iowa Newspaper wrote " —Mr. L. Franklin accompanied by his family, started to-day for Worthington, Minnesota, where he will make his future home. We regret to see Mr. Franklin leave Bedford, inasmuchas he is an energetic, enterprising citizen and a pleasant, genial one as well. His estimable family will also be greatly missed in the city. We commend them to the people of Worthington and wish them unbounded prosperity in their new home."
on Oct 11 1883
By May 1 1885 he has moved to Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota. Here G.K. (Gustave) Franklin was born in October of 1885.
He opened a general store and also engaged in the sale of land
Gustave (G. K.) was born in Minneapolis, Minn. on Oct 7 1885
He gave up business in Minnesota in 1887. And for the next 4 years engaged in the real estate operations in Chicago and vicinity.
In a Chicago city directory I found Lesser Franklin living on 3529 Grand Boulvard in 1888, 1889 and 1890.
He moved his family to Chicago in 1888 where he opened a general store and became active in the sale of real estate (lots for home sites rather than acres for farm sites). Business was good, and he sold his store and devoted his time to real estate.
First school was in the front room of the flat above the second store in the brick building. Lesser furnished this room with standard school desks and seats, blackboard and books and engaged a teacher not only for Rose and myself but for all other children who cared to come. The store under this schoolroom started out as a grocery but later became the first Franklin Park Post office. (first postmistress, Helen Woodruff)
The brick school was built in 1888
When we moved out there (Franklin Park) the house was not quite finished, so far a few months we lived in the two front bay-windowed rooms of the brick hotel which at first was managed by Mr Himebaugh and his large family.
........Pearl Franklin Clark
In 1888 Lesser and Sarah were buying and selling land in the Hermosa area.
His attention was first directed to the disposition of a large tract of land in the town of Jefferson. For nearly a year he kept public and patronage turned toward "Edington Park"
In 1889 Lesser and Sarah began operations on an extensive scale in the Beverly Hills area between Ashland Ave and Blue Island Ridge subdividing, improving, and selling 153 acres of land, which he made familiar as a household word under the name of "Englewood Heights".
The hotel was built in 1890 and razed in 1956
The redbrick and limestone matched the construction of large commercial building on Franklin Ave and Calwagner Street (both built by Lesser Franklin's instruction.)
He subdivided forty acres, about ten miles northwest on the Milwaukee Railroad, into home sites and sold them quickly. Next came one hundred acres in the southwest (Beverly Hills area) - another sellout. Then four hundred acres about 15 miles northwest on the Milwaukee Railroad where it crossed the old Wisconsin Central Railway just west of the Des Plaines River and on the crossroads of two main highways. This was big enough to be called a town site, and he named it Franklin Park. Now he became both a subdivider and builder.
In Lesser's endeavors he purchased his first tract of Land on Jun 20 1890.
This land was platted and recorded on Oct 7 1890
The second tract was platted and recorded on Oct 28 1890
The 3rd tract of land was platted and recorded on Jun 22 1891.
These all equaled over 600 acres of land.
Lesser purchased farm land, subdivided it and sold lots to prospective homeowners.
In 1892 the Village was incorporated and named for the Franklin family.
His house was built in 1893.
A timeline in the files at the Franklin Park Public library says that the Franklin house was built in 1893 and that the estate covered one half block (not sure what that comes up to in acres.)
The last tract of land was recorded on Mar 25 1893
At the close of the 19th century the country suffered an economic depression. Caught in it, he was faced with financial ruin. he labored desperately to remain solvent by such unusual transactions as exchanging lots for a drug store in South Bend, Indiana, for a stable of horses in Missouri, for a men's store in Berlin, Wisconsin, a sawmill in Mississippi, and mineral lands in Louisiana. -- (per editor's notes in Franklin Park Founders Journal)
He would send his son G.K. to one of these places to run the business, acquire knowledge and experience.
After the turn of the century further developement of the land was stagnated.
In the midst of the depression, he was offered a 1/4 million dollars for all his interests in Franklin Park, with the exception of his home. While this tempted Lesser, his deep sentiment for and attachment to his pet project prevented him from selling out to the syndicate.
His trade of lots for various business ventures followed in his pressing need for cash.
Lesser Franklin died in Franklin Park, Cook, Illinois, USA on Apr 19 1910.