At the current time, the country of origin of the ancestors of Jeremiah Franks is not known. Some researchers believe that the family came from Germany as is presented in this work published in An Itawamba Sampler: A Chronicle of Itawamba County, Mississippi's History and Heritage (Itawamba Historical Society, edited by Roy Turner and Bob Franks, Mantachie Printing, Mantachie, MS, 1990).
"During the early 1700's the American colonies saw a large influx of German immigrants, especially in the colonies of Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. Many of the immigrants were Palatines, people from Palatinate, a county no longer known in the geography of Europe. Palatinate was located along the Rhine River in Southern Germany, including present-day Bavaria. The major reason for these people immigrating to the American colonies was religious freedom.
During the reign of King Henry IV, the Protestants were treated with marked favor, and in 1598 he proclaimed an edict in the city of Nantes granting to the Protestants the right of religious liberty. The celebrated Edict of Nantes continued in force for eighty-seven years until the reign of King Louis XIV, when, in 1685 it was revoked and once again were the fires of persecution lighted in Europe. Soon after, Louis XIV revoked the edict, he was not not content with persecuting his subjects in France. He spread desolation into Germany. The Palatine lands along the beautiful Rhine River, were the fields of bloody carnage under the grand and cruel Louis, who threatened the utter extermination of not only the strong men, who might oppose him in battle, but for the helpless females and innocent children as well. Their only was, in his view, the sin of Protestantism in conflict with his Roman Catholic Church.
The peaceful inhabitants of the Palatinate, plundered of all of their earthly possessions, were driven in mid-winter as exiles from their native land to seek an asylum in some safe and friendly country. They left and beheld their comfortable cottages, barns and storehouses smoldering in the flames behind them, while they and their helpless wives and children, feeble and in starving condition, were winding their weary way over vast fields of snow and ice, leaving their bloody footprints in the frozen snow, seeking shelter and finding none. Large numbers perished by the way, others dragged along their feeble bodies until at last they found safety in the Netherlands.
A young man named Jacob Franck, was a part of this group of refugees who found safety in the Netherlands, and in September of 1733 he boarded the ship Pink Mary, in the port of Rotterdam, along with one hundred seventy other Palatines headed for the American colonies. He arrived in the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on 29 September 1733. For at least twenty three years he and his family lived in the colony of Pennsylvania with other German settlers until around 1756.
Jacob Franck moved his family south and settled in the frontier village of Salisbury in the colony of North Carolina. Many Pennsylvania Germans were moving here during the 1750's. Jacob Franck, in 1756, petitioned the colonial courts for a license to operate in the village of Salisbury. He was one of the first settlers in Salisbury but never obtained legal title to his land in the village (a circumstance common to many of the early German settlers in Rowan County, North Carolina). His spring, still house and dwelling house seem to have been located in the south portion of the east square of the village. Shortly after settling in Salisbury, Jacob began operating a liquor distillery. For some reason, Jacob was not able to prosper. He lost his property in 1758, and was declared by the colonial courts "not worth forty shillings." During this time, Fort Dobbs was located near Jacob Franck's home. In the early days of Salisbury the colonists were having troubles with the Cherokee Indians. The small village, consisting of just eight log houses and four inns, had a militia. Jacob Franck was a member of this frontier militia, and between June and November of 1758, Jacob and one assistant were present at Fort Dobbs. Their services were recognized by the colonial assembly, which awarded them 20 pounds and 9 shillings proclamation money at the conclusion of their sojourn at the fort.
Colonial records of Rowan County, North Carolina are scarce and no will of Jacob Franck's has yet been found. Therefore the children of Jacob Franck are not known at this time. according to early North Carolina tax records, there was only one Franks paying taxes in the year 1759 in Rowan County. His name was William Franck. The 1790 Federal Census of Rowan County lists the following Franks families: William, Frank, John Frank and Martin Frank. However, by 1800 the following Franks families were listed in Rowan county: Frederick Frank, Jacob Frank, Frederick Frank, Jr., John Frank, William Frank, Sr., William Frank, Jr., Martin Frank and William Frank.
By 1810 only three Franks families were listed in Rowan County. They were John Frank, William Frank and Peter Frank. Around this time many Franks families of Rowan county, North Carolina had moved across the Appalachian Mountains and settled in White county, Tennessee. Early tax lists of White County, TN show the following Franks families living there in 1811: Henry, James, John, Joseph and Lemuel. These same records show that Frederick Frank paid taxes there in 1812 and by 1825 Jesse Frank paid taxes in White County. The 1820 Federal Census of White county shows the following Franks families: Elijah Franks, Henry Franks, Jacob Franks, Jr., Jacob Franks, Sr., John Franks, Peter Franks, Joseph Franks and Charles Franks. Further south in Tennessee in Lawrence County, near Alabama the Lewis and Robert Franks families were listed.
According to the census records the Franks families began arriving in Marion County, Al during the 1820's from Tennessee. During this time there was a toll road running through Marion County, and according to Marion County historians, a Jacob and Elisha Franks were the first toll gate keepers on this road during the 1820's. Hamilton, the county seat of Marion county, was once named Tollgate and is located at the site of the old toll road crossroads.
It is interesting to note that in 1871 a man by the name of Abner Markham applied for pension money for service in the War of 1812. He declared that he was married and his wife's name was Sarah Franks to whom he was married at White County, Tennessee, March 1817. He had volunteered in Captain Daniel Newman's Company, third Regiment at Sparta, Tennessee in October of 1814. He was discharged at Nashville, TN in March of 1815. During the war he marched from Sparta to Nashville, thence to New Orleans by water, was in all paramount battles at New Orleans and continued there until the end of the war. Signing the affidavit was Jacob Franks who said that he served in the same war on the same date and same regiment from White County, N. In 1871 Jacob Franks was living in Marion County, TN. This affidavit is further proof that the Franks families of Marion County, AL were from White County, TN.
During the 1800's there were numerous Franks families living in Marion County, Alabama. By the 1850 census, there were eighty-seven people by the name of Franks living in fourteen households and it is evident that all of these people were related in Marion County, AL. However, as early as 1836, some of these Franks families had moved across the state line into Itawamaba County, Mississippi. In 1840, the following Franks families were living in Itawamba County: Jeremiah, John, and Oliver. In 1841 Charles, Benjamin, Jacob and John Franks had moved their families into Itawamba County. However, these families were all from Marion County and many of them had moved back to Marion County by 1850. it is interesting to note that on the census records all the older Franks men and women were born in North Carolina with their older children born in Tennessee and younger children born in Alabama. This shows that it is probable that all these Franks families were closely related. Also many children in these different families had the same names."