THE FRANKLIN TIMES
On July 3, 1886, George E. Goodhead issued the first edition of the Franklin Transcript, the forerunner of the Franklin Times. Along with other news items, it contained an obituary notice for Samuel Keplinger and made mention of the fact that William Jennings Bryan, then a young lawyer from Jacksonville who was later to be a three time candidate for president of the United States, had visited the village and subscribed to the Transcript. His primary intent had been to collect a debt for a client from a farmer who lived some distance from town. He had applied at a local livery for transportation, owned by Jack Meredith, and the drive, George Dunston, drove him to his destination. There is no mention of whether or not Bryan was successful in collecting the debt.
A very good picture of Franklin in the year 1886 is found in this sketch penned by the publisher of the Transcript.
"Franklin is a thriving town of 800 souls, in the heart of a large territory of as fine grain and grazing country as can be found on this footstool. The farmers are generally well-to-do, and very little land is encumbered. The town of Franklin has a fine coal shaft with capacity for 100 miners at present, a bank, two flour mills, a sawmill, a wool carding mill, six general stores, a confectionery and restaurant, a tine, stove and furniture store, a boot and shoe store, a newspaper and job office, a fine new post office, two livery stables, a lumber yard, a new depot, barbershop, meat market, brick yard, and the usual number of shops, etc. The Methodist and Christian church denominations each had church buildings. The Baptists hold services in the Christian Church. The Catholics are having a $10,000 building erected. Our school building is a fine new brick structure with accommodations for 300 pupils. The Jacksonville, Southeastern Railroad gives us an outlet for our coal, stock, grain, etc."
Mr. Goodhead remained here for a few years and then sold the paper to N. G. Reinbach and C. H. Tietsort, who changed the name of the paper to the Franklin Times. When Tietsort retired, Bruck Reinbach became his brother's partner. However, in 1897, Bruck transferred his affections to a Waverly Newspaper, and W. N. Luttrell became N. G. Reinbach's associate. Luttrell eventually bought up Reinbach's interest in the paper and assumed total control of the destinies of the Franklin Times on January 1, 1911.
Warren N. Luttrell was a descendant of one of the early pioneer families of the area. His great-grandparents, Thomas and Tabitha (Rutherford) Luttrell, had settled in the Hart's Prairie area in 1821 or 1822, and operated a grist mill on Apple Creek. Thomas Luttrell was also one of the five district judges in Morgan County. Warren's grandparents were John Rutherford and Margaret Alice (Duncan) Luttrell. His parents were Isaac Newton and Catherine (Brewer) Luttrell of this community.
Under Luttrell's management, new equipment was installed that was unsurpassed by any other newspaper office in any town equal to the size of Franklin. The Franklin Times was considered one of the outstanding papers in the county. Miss Maude Anderton was the local editor, linotype operator, and the publisher's assistant. Mr. Luttrell was the sole owner until his death on Aug. 10, 1942. His paper always stood for the best. Nothing for the good of Franklin ever escaped his notice, and he was always in the forefront fighting for the community's best interests. After his death, his daughter Eleanor and her husband, Herman Ramsey, continued to publish an outstanding paper. They have two sons, Jerry Warren and Stephen Hendricks Ramsey. In February 1976, the Ramseys sold the Franklin Times to Ira J. Lionts who is the present editor and publisher.
The name of the first postmaster of Frankin is not known for sure, but there is little doubt that it was Jacob Dickenson, the village tailor who once had a little shop approximately located where Watson Chance's home now stands. On days when the stage passed through Franklin and brought the mail, the people of the community would congregate at the tailor's shop. It was customary for the postmaster to open the mail pouch and call aloud the names of the persons to whom the letters, newspaper, and parcels were addressed. If he or she was present, delivery was made on the spot.
Other postmaster throught the years have been John M. Coons, John H. VanWinkle, G. H. Wright, Ripley Mayfield, N. G. Reinbach, William Whalen, C. F. Miller, R. C. Hills, George Brown, William Neece Jr., Charles Watts, Weldon Tranbarger, William Haycraft, Robert Tannahill, and Mary Hocking. Presently, Ann Dodsworth is the postmistress, and Ann Tannahill is her assistant.
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