HON. FREDERICK CHRISTIAN
was born at Waschbascherhof, Bavaria, Germany, December 23,
1828. He attended school until fifteen years of age, when he was apprenticed to
learn the harness and saddle making trade at Kaiserslautern. At the age of
seventeen he came to America, stopping at New York, where he worked at his trade
for nearly two years, making harness and saddles for the United States
Government, to be used during the Mexican War. In 1848 he left New York city and
went to Buffalo, thence to Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Louisville, working at his
trade in all these cities. From Louisville he went to New Orleans, but not
finding work at his trade in the Crescent City he took a job of chopping wood
and clearing land. This, however, was but temporary employment, and he soon went
to Natchez, where he obtained work at his trade.
In December, 1851, he started for California, crossing the Isthmus on foot and arriving at San Francisco in February, 1852. He spent nearly two years in the mines, on the Yuba and Feather Rivers and at Shaw's Flat, Murphy's Camp, and Columbia. Returning to San Francisco in the latter part of 1853, he established the second shop in that city for the manufacture of harness and saddles. In 1855 he came to San Jose and thence to Santa Clara, where he permanently located, establishing his harness and saddlery works. Mr. Franck, being a man of broad intelligence, soon became a prominent citizen and took a leading part in public affairs. He was a member of the Board of Town Trustees for eight years, and on the organization of the fire department was elected its Chief, which position he held for six years. In 1871 he was elected a member of the Assembly, and so well did he perform his duties that he was reelected in 1873. As a legislator Mr. Franck had an opportunity of showing his ability. He made no pretension to oratory, but whenever he gave his support to a measure it was sure to succeed. He had a gift of persuasion unexcelled. He could grasp the strong points of a question and present them in a manner that nearly always proved irresistible. He soon made himself familiar with all the details of parliamentary practice, and was recognized as a valuable friend or dangerous enemy when a bill was before the House. This power he used in all cases for the benefit of his constituents, and in those days of local legislation Santa Clara County received all she asked for. Mr. Franck never forgot his constituents, and, day or night, was ready to work for them. Whenever he has been willing to accept the position, he has represented his party in the Republican State Conventions, and was elected a delegate from the Fifth California District to the National Republican Convention of 1888. He was one of the incorporators of the Bank of Santa Clara County, of which he is one of the Directors and Chairman of its Finance Committee.
He was married,
September 23, 1857, at Santa Clara, to Miss Caroline Durmeyer. They have two
children: Caroline S., a student at the University of the Pacific, and Frederick
C., Jr., attending the Santa Clara public schools. Mr. Franck is an Odd Fellow,
and has occupied all the chairs in the subordinate lodge, and is also one of the
charter members of the Encampment at Santa Clara. It was during his
administration as Noble Grand that the Odd Fellows' Building at Santa Clara was
erected. In 1870 he visited his old home in Bavaria and made a tour of Europe,
calling at all the principal cities and places of interest. Mr. Franck's worldly
affairs have greatly prospered, and he is ranked among our first capitalists,
and no one deserves it more than he. A wise and honest legislator, and a
conscientious citizen, he is a man whom the people delight to honor.
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Frederick Christian Franck was the first Santa
Claran to be elected a State Senator.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight