FRANKS, JOHN - When a man decides to answer the call of his fellow citizens who wish to elect him to public office, he must, of necessity, neglect his own private interests and serve them to the best of his ability. Very few there are, especially in civic positions, whose business does not suffer from their acceptance of public life, and this unselfishness in behalf of the people should be appreciated. John Franks, one of Springfield's self-made men, who has been connected with official life in the Capital City for a number of years, was born there, January 8, 1850, a son of Emanuel and Clara (Verria) Franks, natives of Madeira. Emanuel Franks came to the Untied States in 1848 and was engaged in various occupations until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he enlisted in the Union Army, under General John M. Palmer, and served three years, during which time he was wounded in the hand. For twenty years he was janitor of the Palmer School in Springfield, and after his retirement went to El Paso, Tex., where he is now residing. His wife died in December, 1909. Mr. Franks is a member of the Portuguese Presbyterian Church.
As a youth John Franks showed his enterprise by peddling apples to the soldiers of the Union army at Camps Butler and Yates. His education was secured in the Palmer School, which he left at the age of eighteen years, and worked at various occupations until obtaining a position with the wholesale house of Smith & Hay. In 1876 he became a member of the Springfield police force, with which he was connected for nine years, and in 1885 entered into his present business, in which he has continued to this time. He hauled the first load of sand to use in the construction of the State House, and the first load of dirt in excavating for the reservoir, and his was the last team to leave work thereon. He also hauled the first load of sand to use in building the Presbyterian Church. For a time he farmed on the land where the water company's plant is now located. He was Deputy Sheriff under Tamp Elliott, Sheriff of Sangamon County, and in 1889 was elected Alderman of the First Ward, serving until 1901, when he was re-elected for a term of two years, and it was during his term that the High School was erected. He has always been faithful in the performance of his official duties and constantly looked after the interests of his constituents. Mr. Franks' politics are those of the Democratic party. In religious views he is liberal. He is the owner of considerable property in Springfield.
On March 30, 1874, Mr. Franks was united in marriage with Kate Smith, who was born in Jacksonville, Ill., whose father is deceased and whose mother is living in Springfield. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Franks: Melborn, who is Deputy Sheriff; Nellie, the wife of Patrick Ganhan, of Springfield; Leo, the wife of G. C. Watson, of Chicago; Lillie, the wife of Patrick Rourke, of Springfield; Grace, the wife of Albert Murry, connected with the Chicago & Alton Railroad; Ida, the wife of Arthur Burk, of Springfield; and John Palmer, who is in business with his father in Springfield.