Franklin Township was
formed between 1872 and 1876. Its present boundaries include all
of the Sections of T30N and R21W plus Sections 13-36 comprising
the south twelve Sections of T31N and R21W. It is bounded by Polk
County on the north, Jackson Township on the east, Campbell Township
on the south, and Robberson Township on the west. Within the township
boundaries are the head waters of the Sac, South Dry Sac, and Little
Sac Rivers, the latter of which has been dammed to form Fellows
Lake, one of Springfield's water sources.
Early settlers of Franklin
Township include: James K. Alsup and Daniel Johnson, Samuel Scroggins,
1831; John Headlee, Benjamin Johnson, and James Dryden, 1832; Larkin
DeWitt, Robert Ross, Thomas Whitlock, 1832. Early mills were a sawmill
operated by Dysart & Headlee on the Sac River in 1848 and a
steam grist mill in 1858. The first cemetery in the township was
at Mt. Comfort Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which was organized
Early settlements and
communities include: Abbott, settled by the Scroggins family; Fruitland
(formerly New Hope); Hickory Barren, a popular overnight stop for
travelers between Springfield and Buffalo; and Hunts Mill.
The second oldest commercial
cave in Missouri is to be found in the Franklin Township. Located
just off Hwy. 65 on Hwy. H, Crystal Cave was opened in 1893 by Alfred
Mann. Previous owners were William A. Wallace and William Jenkins.
The Mann family was originally from Brighton, England, and lived
in Springfield before acquiring the cave property. Alfred Mann died
in 1925, leaving behind his three spinster daughters, Margaret (Maggie),
Ada, and Agnes. The three sisters operated the cave during their
lifetime, the last of the trio passing away in 1969. The cave property
passed to Estle Funkhouser upon the death of Ada Mann. She operated
the cave for thirteen years when her health no longer permitted
her to continue. The present owners and operators of the cave are
Loyd and Edith Richardson, Edith being a sister to Estel Funkhouser.
to the list of Greene County's townships.