Captain William Henry Franks, second child of Rosannah “Rosey” “Rosa” Bramlett and Nehemiah Franks, was born Dec. 1, 1832, in Laurens Dist., S.C. He died April 26, 1915, in Laurens, S.C., and was buried in Laurens City Cemetery with a Confederate marker inscribed “1st Sgt. C. S. A.” His obituary was published in the June 10, 1915, edition of the Southern Christian Advocate:
Captain William Henry Franks was born at the old Franks homestead near Laurens Court House, on December 1, 1832, and fell on sleep at his home in the city of Laurens at the close of the day, April 26, 1915, being thus well on his eighty-third year. His was not only a long but a useful sojourn on earth. He was above reproach as a man, as a citizen and as a member of the Church. He was a man of remarkable vigor of both mind and body; and all of the energies of his being were directed to the maintenance of those ideals that make for sobriety, truth and usefulness, both in his private life and in the larger affairs of the community in which he lived. During the years 1855-60 he was a member of the United States army, and saw active service against the Indians of the western plains, and in the campaign of General Albert Sydney Johnston against the Mormon uprising under the leadership of Brigham Young. When it became evident that there would come a clash between the sections of the question of States’ Rights, he resigned from the United States army and cast his lot in with his beloved South land, and for four years proved him self a faithful, effective soldier. When the issues of that bloody struggle were finally settled he returned to his native county and devoted his energies to the pursuits of peaceful citizenship with the same fidelity and zeal that had characterized his public service. On February 21, 1867, he was happily married to Miss Nannie Ballew, the oldest daughter of Rev. David L. Ballew, a faithful and gifted preacher of South Carolina Methodism. For over forty-eight years this devoted couple walked life’s joys and sorrows. Prior to Brother Franks’ death they were looking forward with pleasurable anticipations to the celebrating of their golden wedding anniversary. Of this union there were born eight children, only three of whom remain to mourn, with their mother, the departure of their father. They are W. DeSaussure Franks and Rutherford G. Franks, of Laurens, S. C., and H. Marvin Franks, of Charleston, S. C. Besides three members of his immediate family, Brother Franks is survived by one sister, Mrs. Susan E. Bramlett, of Laurens County. In 1866 Brother Franks joined the Methodist Church in his native town, after having been soundly converted, and to the day of his death he enjoyed his religion, loved his church, was loyal and faithful in his attendance upon her services, and liberally supported with his means her institutions. He was a true friend of his pastor. He was a man of integrity, loving truth and honor, and he exemplified in his daily living these shining virtues. He has left his sorrowing companion and his three sons the rich heritage of an honored name and a stainless career. He was tenderly laid to rest in the family plot in the city cemetery on April 27, by loving hands and in the presence of a large concourse of relatives and friends who showed their love and respect by piling rich floral tributes upon his last resting place. The funeral services were conducted by his pastor, who loved and honored him. May the loving Heavenly Father comfort the sorrowing loved ones and lead them by the kindly offices of the Holy Spirit into that rest late of which he has triumphantly entered. J. R. T. Major.(Vol. 79, No. 1, p. 7, col. 1)
In addition to his cavalry service on the frontier, William enlisted and served as a first sergeant in Company B, First (Butler’s) Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, for at least three years. His NARA Compiled Service Records indicate he enlisted Feb. 24/26, 1862, at Charleston, S.C.
Three other children not named in the obit are Benjamin J., Marian L. and Jennie Franks. Two others may have died young and do not appear in census data. Both census data and the obit say the couple had eight children.