Erie County (PA) Genealogy
Coordinated by Dennis Howard
[ New Coordinator 09/02/02 ]
Boroughs and Villages
Franklin Twp Current Government & History [link added: 11/16/07]
Welcome to Franklin Township
Welcome. I am Dennis Howard, your volunteer Franklin Township coordinator.
Franklin Township was created in 1844 from neighboring Elk Creek, McKean, and Washington Townships. Before then, and until the 1830s, the area of the township was very sparsely settled. Elk Creek to the north, with its steep ravine, was a formidable barrier to travel, preventing access into the area from the Lake Erie plain. The state road across northern Pennsylvania provided the first access into the area, cutting east-west across the center of the township.
My Howard family, brothers Henry and Levi Howard from Grafton, Vermont, settled into the township in the 1830s, along with a few dozen other hardy families. Many families, traveling west in search of new homesteads, stopped for awhile in Franklin Township. Some stayed, while others moved on, --to Ohio, Michigan, and other areas to the west. The census records for Franklin Township sometimes capture these families, for a decade or so until they headed west, and are a rich repository of this migration. My family, after eight generations, still resides on our homestead, at Howard Falls.
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, Elk Creek was finally bridged, opening Franklin Township from the north. Families began to mingle with those of Girard and Fairview, and new families settled into the township. As transportation improved, stone for the Erie County courthouse was cut from the quarry adjacent to Howard Falls, where today a small pond marks the location. There, Falls Run cascades 50 feet over Howard Falls, and races north through a deep ravine to Elk Creek.
Franklin Township remains today a rural township, and within its 5-mile square boundaries not even a gas station or convenience store will be found. Many residents are descendants of the hardy pioneers of the nineteenth century, who without any of our modern conveniences raised prosperous families. It was not until rural electrification in the 1930s, did electricity finally come to the township.
I am not in a position to do new research. However, I do have a large database containing many of the early families of Franklin Township and some of their descendants, and will respond to specific inquiries. Address inquiries to Denhoward@aol.com, with "Franklin Township" as the Subject. In addition, any of you that have historical and genealogical information of Franklin Township are encouraged to contribute that information. Over time, I will be adding information onto this site. Check back occasionally for updates.
Dennis Howard . . .
This page was last updated on Friday, November 16, 2007.
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