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Catharine (Weyand) Frank


Jacob Frank
Courtesy Leah Kopka

Catharine (Weyand) Frank was born in about 1814 in Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Michael and Mary Anne (Ream)Weyand Sr.

She is said to have been of a family of "old German-Pennsylvania stock" and is known to have attended school as a girl.

On Oct. 24, 1839, when she was 25 years of age, she was united in matrimony with 23-year-old Jacob Frank (1816-1902), son of Henry and Elizabeth (Will) Frank. Rev. Charles Reese officiated at the ceremony held in Somerset County. The details were duly recorded in the family Bible.

Jacob's father is said to have been born in Somerset County and a well-known tavern keeper on the Bedford Pike which was a stopping place for animal drovers heading to and from Ohio. The family name at times was spelled "Franks."

The couple produced nine children, among them Henry "Teddy" Frank, Michael Frank, Mary E. Frank, Cyrus Frank, Jacob C. Frank, Joseph W. Frank, Sarah C. Frank, Julia A. Frank and Edmond Francis Frank.

Jacob initially earned a living as a farmer in Somerset County and is shown as such in the 1850 federal census enumeration. Later, he was elected tax collector.

Four of their sons served in the Union Army during the Civil War, with son Jacob losing his life by drowning. In the midst of the conflict, in 1863 or 1864, the family pulled up stakes and migrated to Illinois, putting down roots in Bloomington, McLean County. Other Somerset Countians making the move at the time were their neighbors Mary Pritts and Sarah Way from adjoining farms.

They immediately joined the Second Presbyterian Church. Jacob and one of his sons operated a grocery store on Center Street for about two decades, "doing a large and successful business," said the book The Biographical Record of McLean County, Illinois, Illustrated.

In 1870, following her father's passing, Catharine inherited $919.10 from the estate. She hosted a visit in May 1878 from her brother Samuel, who was visiting from Pennsylvania.


Looking south from Jefferson Street on Main Street, Bloomington, Illinois
Made for S.H. Knox & Co.


The Franks mourned in 1880 when their daughter-in-law Alice (Murray) Frank died, leaving behind her husband Joseph and four young children. The widower and children moved into Jacob and Catharine's home in Bloomington as shown in the 1880 census.

The family again was plunged into grief in October 1881 when their son Henry, working in law enforcement, was killed by a prisoner in the local jail.

Jacob eventually retired from his grocery business. The following years were spent quietly in their home at 804 South Lee Street. In 1890, Catherine learned that she was eligible to receive a military pension as compensation for the loss of their son Jacob, and the pension was awarded. [Mother App. #499.435 - Cert. #359.102].

Catharine became completely blind in about 1897, and "from this affliction she was compelled to confine herself closely to her home," said the Pantagraph, "but the many little acts of kindness have stamped themselves upon the memories of her many friends and she was never forgotten in her sad affliction... She was a member of the Second Presbyterian church during her entire residence in this city and served that church with untiring energy until her blindness made active life impossible." On Nov. 22, 1899, she received a telegram from loved ones in Pennsylvania advising that her sister Sarah Coleman had died at the age of 82.

Jacob and Catherine passed away a year-and-a-half apart. He went first in the middle of the night, while sleeping in a chair at home, next to the hard coal stove, on Feb. 12, 1902. Said the Bloomington Pantagraph in an obituary, "He was a conscientious, upright man and every one who knew the kindly old gentleman was his friend."

Catherine entered eternity on Sept. 22, 1903. They are interred in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington. [Find-a-Grave] In an obituary, the Pantagraph commented on the marriage which had endured for 64 years: "This union was blest in more ways than one. Not only was there a happy home, but that home was brightened by the presence of children, five of whom are still living in this vicinity." The obituary added that she was survived by 18 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren in addition to her nephew William Weyand of Bloomington.


~ Son Henry J. "Teddy" Frank ~

Son Henry J. "Teddy" Frank (1840-1881) was born in 1840 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA. During the Civil War, on Sept. 18, 1861, in Somerset, he enlisted in the Union Army and was placed in the 39th Pennsylvania Infantry, Company A. Later, he became part of the 191st Pennsylvania Infantry, Company I. Henry was honorably discharged on Sept. 17, 1864.

He was twice married. Two days after Christmas 1864, he first was wedded to Mary "Polly" Saylor (1843?-1867?). About 1865 or 1866, they migrated to Illinois, where his parents and family had settled in Bloomington, McLean County a few years earlier. There, they became the parents of a daughter, Emma Frank, born in 1866.

Sadly, though, Polly passed away in childbirth, on Oct. 24, 1868, with burial in Bloomington's Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

Henry spent two years as a widower before marrying Helena Louisa "Lena" Burcher (March 25, 1845-1926), nicknamed "Emily" or "Emma" to differentiate her from another "Lena" whith whom she had boarded earlier. Their marriage was held on Aug. 29, 1869, at the home of Rev. William R. Glen of the Old School Presbyterian Church.

Born in Berlin, Germany, and having emigrated as a girl in in 1850, Lena spent her early years in New Orleans and St. Louis before becoming orphaned. Further raised in a Methodist orphanage in St. Louis, and then placed in homes in difficult circumstances, she ran off and came to Bloomington at the age of 17 in 1862. As a single woman, she had worked as a cook in William Morgan's boarding house at the corner of Front and East Streets. Henry's brother Edmund once remarked that at the time of marriage, she "was quite young looking then."


Marriage license for Henry and Helena ("Emily"), 1869. National Archives.



Corpse of Charles Pierce, lynched
after killing Henry "Teddy" Frank

McLean County History Museum

Helena later told a friend that "I married soldier rather under protest, but he was so persistent in his wooing that I finally consented.... When soldier took out the license he procured them without my knowledge and he came [to] Dodson's where I was working and pulled them out of his pocket and said now you will have to marry me and I will not be put off any longer." The federal census of 1870 shows Henry working as a painter with "Emily" keeping house. Then by 1880, Henry was engaged as deputy sheriff in McLean County and served as jailkeeper/turnkey. He was considered "a well-known, well-liked and respected public servant," said the Bloomington Pantagraph. Helena became pregnant several times but lost the babies prematurely. She once wrote about her husband that "As his first wife died in child birth he did not want to see any children so he left me childness."

On the fateful evening of Oct. 1, 1881, Teddy needed to move convicted horse thief Charles Pierce to his cell, a man also known as Charley Christ and Charles Howlett. As they walked, the inmate grabbed Teddy's .44 Smith & Wesson pistol and fired. His first shot hit Teddy in the shoulder; the second shot directly in the chest, killing him instantly. A mob of outraged citizens formed within the hour. A number of officials, including future Governor Joseph W. Fifer, tried to calm the group. The mob would not be assuaged and continued to grow to several thousand. At some point they broke into the prison using telegraph poles to batter down the doors. Pierce was hauled outside, and even though he asked for time to pray, was strung up by a noose on a tree limb across the street. One spectator climbed the tree and pulled the three-quarter inch thick rope even higher, and then dropped it again, to amplify the suffocation process. A Chicago newspaper reported that as he gasped for breath, Pierce was "subjected to the grossest insult not becoming the most brutal savage. The pants were ripped from the body, and a lighted cigar stuck in the gaping mouth. One plug-ugly, more atrocious than the rest, slid down the rope with great force to the shoulders of the struggling victim. Small boys hooted, yelled, and taunted [Pierce], calling him all manner of vile names." The corpse was cut down and then displayed in the windows of the local funeral parlor for hundreds to see. It was "the county's only documented lynching," said the Pantagraph. Teddy's funeral was held at his parents' home at 309 South West Street, with the remains placed into rest in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington. [Find-a-Grave]


Miller Park War Memorial
McLean County History Museum

Helena lived for another 45 difficult years in Bloomington. To support herself, she took in washing and ironing for neighbors. An acquaintance once observed that "She owns no property and earns a living over the wash tub. Her hands are calloused and she shows the affects of poverty and hard labor. I found her severely deaf, of a shy, nervous disposition, suspicious and inclined to be emotional and hysterical." Another friend, W.M. Plumley, said that "I know her to be an industrious hard working woman. I see her working from early in the morning until late at night washing ironing and such work as this to pay her house rent and earn her daily bread." She received occcasional financial assistance from the Grand Army of the Republic and also county funds. She slipped and fell on a floor, breaking a wrist and her left hip in about 1895, limiting her ability to work.

After a special examiner was sent in 1898 to interview Helena and her late husband's siblings about her claim, she was awarded a Civil War widow's pension and received monthly checks for the rest of her life. [Widow App. #448.056 - Cert. #461.114] The examiner, Richard Lowe, wrote in his report that "Her husband's brothers are well to do men and hold positions of responsibility and trust, and in testifying showed no disposition toward bias. I also find they are and have been willing all along to render [her] material assistance, but owing to her false pride and a notion they look down upon her by reason of their superior financial positions, it was only when completely disabled by an accident a few years since that she would consent to receive aid from them."

She died on Feb. 14, 1926. Funeral services were led by Rev. Chester B. Grubb of the First Christian Church, with Mrs. Guy Palmer providing music. Helena's pallbearers included J.C. Holcomb, A.B. McKee, Samuel Doyle, Edward Frank, Michael Frank and W.J. Woose. In her will, she bequeathed the residue of her estate to the First Christian Church, "to be used in relief work," said the Pantagraph. More than six decades later, at the urging of Teddy's grand-nephew Henry Frank and local dentist Robert Bowen, his name was approved for addition to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. At the time, the pistol used in the murder was in the possession of Dr. Bowen, having previously been owned by local gunsmith Lester Stewart. The murder and lynching are widely considered Bloomington's most disgraceful, notorious event.

Daughter Emma Frank (1866- ? ) was born in 1866 in Illinois. When she was age 14, in 1880, the year before her father was killed, she lived at home and attended school in Bloomington. Research is underway to determine if, in March 1886, she wedded James Schriver ( ? - ? ), an employee of the New York Store in its carpet department.


~ Son Michael Franks ~

Son Michael Franks (1842-1926) was born on April 18 or 29, 1842 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

He stood 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and light-colored hair. When he was in his early 20s, he was employed as superintendent of the Somerset County Farm.

But as the Civil War raged, on Aug. 6, 1862, he went to Somerset and enlisted in the 133rd Pennsylvania Infantry, Company E. The regiment is known to have guarded the outskirts of Washington, DC until later in 1862, when it moved to Falmouth, VA and took part in the Battle of Fredericksburg. The 133rd Pennsylvania was in winter quarters in Falmouth until late April 1863, when it was ordered to Chancellorsville and on May 1-5 saw action at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Michael was honorably discharged at Harrisburg, PA on May 26, 1863. He is believed to have re-enlisted and claimed to have been injured in the left leg below the knee when struck by a falling tree limb at the Battle of Gettysburg.


Chancellorsville, where Michael fought in May 1863. Below: The brothers' names on the Miller Park War Memorial, Bloomington. Courtesy McLean County History Museum.



New Miller Park War Memorial with Michael's name inscribed on a plaque

After his service ended, in 1865, he joined his parents and family who had relocated to Illinois, settling in Bloomington, McLean County. He was twice married. In June 1872, he was united in holy matrimony with his first spouse, Sophia C. Elkins (1844-1881). Their nuptials were held in Bloomington, officiated by First Baptist Church pastor Rev. C.E. Hewitt.

They bore one son, J. Warren Frank.

Heartached blanketed the family with Sophia died on June 4, 1881, leaving behind her husband and young son.

In October 1894, Michael was awarded a military pension as compensation for his Civil War ailments. [Invalid App. #1.161.597 - Cert. #893.534] He received monthly checks for the remaining 32 years of his life. He was an active member of the William T. Sherman Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, holding every office at one point or another. He also belonged to the Remembrance Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows and the L. of T.P.A. (?).

Michael also provided an affidavit in writing in 1913 for his widowed sister-in-law Eliza (Lape) Frank's effort to secure her own Civil War widow's pension.

Circa 1903-1907, he was employed as a traveling salesman and lived at 533 West Grove Street in Bloomington. He again grieved in October 1907 at the death of his only son. He weighed 233 lbs. in 1904 and bore burn scars on the left side of his face. In all, he spent 39 years as a widower before marrying a second time, on Nov. 1, 1922, to his late wife's relative Mary Annie Elkins (1854-1948). Rev. John L. Jackson, a Baptist minister, performed the wedding ceremony. Circa 1925, with his health failiing he wrote:

I have needed the regular attendance daily of my wife for nearly a year. I have been confinedon several occasions to my bed for several days a time and quite frequently to the house for days at the time. I allways have to have assistance in dressing and have not been able to bade myself in bath tub for 3 years. I have Vericoseal Vins in my legs, they swell up every day and keep me a wake nights with great pain and itching. I also have the Pyles, have had them for years. I have nuritis in my knees for several years.

On May 30, 1913, the Miller Park War Memorial was dedicated in Bloomington, naming Michael and his brothers Henry and Cyrus among local soldiers of the War Between the States. The monument is 78 feet tall and weighs 52 tons and includes the names of more than 6,000 local fighting men and women dating to the Revolutionary War. The second marriage lasted just a handful of years until cleaved apart by death. As Michael was actively dying at the age of 84, on Sept. 4, 1926, Dr. Ralph R. Loar was called, arriving at 9 p.m., but with the patient passing just two hours later. Funeral services were held in the First Baptist Church, with Rev. Charles Durden preaching the sermon. Interment was in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington, with his casket borne to the grave by pallbearers Alex Jones, Frank Stratton, R.R. Johnson, C.E. Dagenhart, Frank Ulbrich and W.H. Hanson. [Find-a-Grave]

The widowed Mary Annie applied for her husband's pension, but there is no evidence that it was granted. On June 1, 1927, in Bloomington, she wrote to the U.S. Pension Commissioner asking if "in some way there may be a widows pension for my self as my husband had very little to leave me & as I have no children." [Widow App. #1.554.528] She was diagnosed by Dr. Loar in 1926 has having chronic heart disease.

Son J. Warren Frank (1875-1907) was born on July 14, 1875 in Bloomington. He was but a boy of about six when his mother died. He was taken in to live with unmarried aunts of the Elkins family and remained in the household for the rest of his short years. He never married. Warren attended one year of classes at the Illinois State Normal University in nearby Normal and then a course in a local business college. Said the Bloomington Pantagraph, "For four years he was an assistant in the office of the city engineer. Since then he has worked as a surveyor and at other occupations. He took a great interest in politics." Sadly, Warren was burdened with heart disease. It began to worsen in late September 1907, "but was not in such condition that he was compelled to remain in bed or even at his home," reported the Pantagraph. Then on the night of Sept. 30, 1907, he began to suffer even more and died just after midnight on Oct. 1, 1907. The local newspaper observed that death had taken place 26 years to the day after the horrific murder of his uncle Henry J. "Teddy" Frank and resulting lynching of the killer. Funeral services were held in his father's home at 533 West Grove Street

~ Daughter Mary E. (Frank) Smith ~

Daughter Mary E. Frank (1844-1935) was born on April 5, 1844 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

On Jan. 29, 1874, when she was age 19, she wedded German immigrant John A. Smith (March 17, 1842-1932), a native of Prussia. He had come to America at the age of 24 and soonafter in about 1867 settled in Bloomington. Their marriage lasted for 58 years.

The couple bore these known children -- Catherine Smith, Harry F. Smith, Bertha McClellan Rayburn and Edward J. "Edd" Smith. Sadly, daughter Catherine died in infancy.

They were farmers for many years and were members of Downs Methodist Episcopal Church. Said the Bloomington Pantagraph, "Both were church workers and regular attendants of the Methodist Protestant church when the meetings were held in the old town hall and helped with the raising of funds to build the present church. They subscribed for The Pantagraph when it was a weekly."

They retired from farming in 1916 and moved to a home in Downs, about 12 miles west of Bloomington. During the winters between 1925 and 1930, they lived with their married daughter in Champaign. In later years, they attended Old Town Church. When they reached their 57th wedding anniversary in January 1931, the Pantagraph said that John was "quite active for his age, but Mrs. Smith is confined to her bed at the present time, not having recovered from a fall about six weeks ago. On account of her condition, there will be no formal celebration, but their friends will be welcome to call during the afternoon."

John died in Downs at the age of 89 on Jan. 7, 1932. An obituary in the Pantagraph called him a "pioneer" and counted among his descendants 10 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

As a widow, Mary permanently moved into the Smiths' home in Champaign. She succumbed there on March 21, 1935. Rev. Hampton officiated at the funeral. They rest in Hopewell Cemetery in Downs. [Find-a-Grave]

Son Harry F. Smith (1869-1928) was born on Jan. 30, 1869 in Bloomington, where he spent his entire life. At the age of 22, on July 7, 1891, he was united in marriage with Alice A. Knight ( ? - ? ), a resident of Bloomington. The family belonged to the Nazarene Church. The children born to this union were Mrs. W.A. Gordon, Mrs. Edgar R. Anderson, Charles Smith, Hazel Smith, John Smith and Dorothy Smith. Their address in 1928 was at 520 South Denver Street. After suffering a lingering illness, he died at home at the age of 59 on Oct. 9, 1928. Funeral services were held in the home, led by Rev. E.E. Robinson of the Nazarene church and Rev. J.D. Roach, the former pastor. Music was performed by Mabel Smock and Rev. L.A. Whitesell, pastor of the Second United Brethren Church. Pallbearers included Abe Alvin, Perry Graves, Frank Beal, Frank Hopkins, Grover Doin and M. Schwartz. Burial was in Bloomington Cemetery

  • Granddaughter (?) Smith married W.A. Gordon. In 1928, they lived at 804 South Lee Street in Bloomington.
  • Granddaughter (?) Smith wedded Edgar R. Anderson. Their home in 1928 was at 711 Harris Street in Normal, McLean County.
  • Grandson Charles Smith
  • Granddaughter Hazel Smith
  • Grandson John Smith
  • Granddaughter Dorothy Smith

Daughter Bertha Smith (1879- ? ) was born in 1879. She was twice married. On Feb. 24, 1898, when she was age 19 and expecting her first baby, she wedded Charles Edward McClellan (Sept. 12, 1869-1918), who was a decade older than she. Their wedding was held in Downs. The son of G.P. McClellan, Charles had been born in Heyworth, IL and grew up in the Downs and Saybrook communities. Bertha and Charles produced these known children, Eunice Casteel, Blanche McClellan, John McClellan, Claude McClellan and Erma McClellan. The family grieved when daughter Erma passed away in 1904. Their home in 1900 was on a farm in Old Town Township, McLean County, and they belonged to the Methodist Protestant Church in Old town. By 1910, the family had moved to another farm in Dawson, McLean County. The couple marked their 15th wedding anniversary in 1913 with a celebration in their Old Town home for 35 relatives and friends. At some point they relocated to the community of Downs, where Charles became employed in managing a local hotel. Said the Bloomington Pantagraph, he "was a man of genial disposition and was well liked by all who knew him." Heartache blanketed the family in mid-October 1918 when Charles contracted influenza and then pneumonia and died on Oct. 21, 1918 after six days of suffering. An obituary in the Pantagraph noted that his parents survived him as well as his brother David H. McClellan and sisters Minnie Green and Alice Batson. At Thanksgiving 1920, Bertha hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for relatives including Mr. and Mrs. George P. McClellan, Ivan Queen, and Mrs. H.F. Smith and daughter Dorothy. On Aug. 30, 1922, she traveled from Bloomington to Champaign to be joined in wedlock with her second spouse, Fred Rayburn ( ? - ? ). In reporting on the wedding, the Bloomington Pantagraph said that "She will make her home at Champaign." They resided in 1922-1935 was in Champaign, IL and frequently returned to Downs to visit her parents and family. During the winter of 1925-1926, her parents lived under their roof, and Bertha hosted an 84th birthday party for her father with 25 guests attending. At the death of her former brother-in-law David H. McClellan in October 1940, Bertha is known to have attended the funeral service.

  • Granddaughter Eunice McClellan (1899- ? ) was born in April 1898. She married George Casteel in October or November 1920 and settled in Downs.
  • Granddaughter Blanche McClellan (1905- ? ) was born in about 1905.
  • Grandson John McClellan (1910- ? ) was born in Feb. 1910. When he turned 21, a dinner was held in his honor by his grandparents.
  • Grandson Claude McClellan ( ? - ? ) was born in (?)

Son Edward J. "Edd" Smith (1886-1935) was born on July 16, 1886 on a farm four miles east of Bloomington. He grew up in Old Town Township and learned the blacksmith trade. He also was a garage mechanic. On Dec. 12, 1905, he was united in matrimony with Sarah Ann Fitchen ( ? - ? ). The couple did not reproduce. They resided in Bloomington in 1928 at 1108 South Lee Street and in Downs, IL in 1935. Sadly, Edd died in early July 1935 at the age of 50. His funeral was preached by Rev. I.B. Sipes of the Downs United Brethren Church. Performing music at the funeral service were Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Davis, Cecilia Dalton and L.C. Evans, accompanied by Mrs. Davis. Pallbearers included fellow Downs residents Frank Buhl, Forest Cole, Jess Hale, Ira Kasar, Eugene Lipp and Ellis Tinsley. Interment was in Hopewell Cemetery, with the Bloomington Pantagraph printing an obituary. Sarah Ann's fate is not yet known


~ Son Cyrus Frank ~

Son Cyrus Frank (1845-1913) was born on Oct. 27, 1845 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

Much of what we know about him is found in the 1899 book The Biographical Record of McLean County, Illinois, Illustrated (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company). As a boy, Cyrus "received a fairly good education in the public schools of Somerset," said the Record. He also learned the occupation of painting.

Cyrus stood 5 feet, 9½ inches tall, and bore a dark complexion, black/brown eyes and black/brown hair. He learned the trade of carpentry as a young man.

During the Civil War, at the age of 18 years, four months, he enlisted in 1862 in the 112th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company B. His term was to have lasted for three years, and he and the regiment were sent to the front lines. But he became ill with hemorrhoids, chronic dharrhea and declining eyesight. He remained so for several months and ultimately received an honorable disability discharge, "much to his deep regret," said the Record.


Biographical Record. Courtesy Google Books

After his discharge, when he was about age 19, he relocated to Illinois in early 1864 and settled with his parents in McLean County. He remained in Bloomington for 45 years, the balance of his life.

"Soon after arriving in Bloomington he could not withstand the appeals of the president for more men, and feeling that his health was restored and duty demanded, he listed ... and once more went to the front," said the Record. His second enlistment was made on May 9, 1864, and he was placed into the 145th Illinois Infantry. The unit was stationed in Missouri where it apparently remained for the balance of the conflict. While on duty at Rolla, MO, he claimed that in August 1864, a cow threw him into a pile of tent poles, injuring his spine. He received an honorable discharge on Sept. 23, 1864 while in Camp Butler, Springfield, IL.

Cyrus returned home to Bloomington, where the same year he began to earn a living doing painting work.

On Feb. 9 or 10, 1871, at the age of 25, he was united in marital union with Eliza Alice Lape (Oct. 10, 1848-1941), a native of Somerset County and the daughter of David Lape. The Lapes had migrated to Bloomington after the Civil War when Eliza was age 18. Officating at their wedding was Rev. Robert H. Read.

They went on to bear seven children -- Maude B. Radford, Clyde E. Frank, Edward R. Frank, Roy L. Frank, William Arthur Frank, May Stockdale Ely and Rose Smith.

Cyrus joined a general painting contracting firm Plumb & Buffham and was a journeyman painter there for eight or nine years. Eventually he formed his own firm, but perhaps when business slowed he joined another conractor, J.W. Evans Sons & Company, where he labored for four years. At some point he went back to self-employment and in 1898 his sons Clyde and Edward joined the business as partners, and the firm was renamed C.E. Frank & Company.

At its height, Frank & Company had a crew of 15 men and painted some of the best known buildings in the city. The company shop was located for a number of years on Washington Street near the county courthouse and then moved to 410 North Center Street. Said the Record, "With one exception, Mr. Frank has been actively engaged in Bloomington a longer period of time than any other man."

Cyrus applied for and was awarded a military pension in 1883 as compensation for his Civil War ailments. [Invalid App. #476.232 - Cert. #773.967] The amount he received each month at first was $6, later raised to $15.


Cyrus' name, Miller Park War Memorial
Courtesy McLean County History Museum.

In 1884, the Franks established a new home at 512 West Mill Street where they remained. For two years, he was a local tax collector. The couple were members of the Christian Church, and Cyrus belonged to the Evergreen City lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans organization. Said the Bloomington Pantagraph, he "never tired of telling of his experiences in that great conflict which finally united the north and the south."

Cyrus was examined regularly by military surgeons in order to continue to qualify for his pension. At one examination, in February 1906, he weighed in at 217 lbs. and claimed that he suffered from a host of maladies, among them rheumatism, rectum disease and chronic diarrhea contracted in the army, kidney/bladder problems leading to frequent nighttime urination, loss of eyesight and the onset of "nervous debility." The examiners noted that he stooped when walking, had a prostate gland twice the normal size, poor teeth and was "somewhat obese."

Having suffered heart disease for many months, and also burdened with senility, Cyrus died on New Year's Day 1913. Burial was in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington. [Find-a-Grave]

Sadly, had he lived for another five months, he would have seen his name, among 6,000, inscribed on the Miller Park War Memorial in Bloomington, dedicated on May 30, 1913. The structure stands 78 feet tall and weighs 52 tons.

Eliza Ann outlived her spouse by nearly three decades, remaining in her home at 512 West Mill Street. She endured the heartache of her son Will's paralysis followed by death in 1918.

Eliza then applied to receive a widow's pension. A number of relatives and friends stepped forward to write affidavits of support. Among them were her brother-in-law Michael Frank in addition to A. Lape, A.H. Shope and Aaron Will of Bloomington, who testified that they had known Cyrus and Eliza since they were young adults and that he had been her one and only husband. She eventually received the pension. [Widow App. #999.482 - Cert. #754.962 - XC #2.606.234] She received checks every month from the government. In 1920, the monthly amount was $30, in 1928 it was increased to $40 and in 1933 reduced to $36.

At her 90th birthday, in October 1938, she was profiled in a story in the Pantagraph.

She entered eternity just six days before Christmas 1941. An obituary in the Pantagraph called her "one of McLean county's pioneers." In August 2019, after an unsuccessful search in Washington, DC, the founder of this website filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to receive the full and complete copy of Cyrus' Civil War pension file, held at the National Archives in St. Louis.

Daughter Maude B. Frank (1871-1945) was bornon Nov. 5, 1871 in Bloomington. She grew to womanhood in the city. In 1891, in Bloomington, she married Thomas W. Radford (Feb. 22, 1868-1939). The pair did not reproduce. Initially the couple lived in Bloomington, where Thomas was a yard foreman at the Fordice Lumber Company and worked for his father as superintendent of the McLean County Mine. He is known to have been badly injured in the mine's coal shaft on Aug. 25, 1899. Reported the Bloomington Pantagraph, "While standing near a track on which cars were being run, he was caught between one of the cars and the wall of the mine and badly squeezed. He was at once released from his perilous position and conveyed to his home on Packard street, where medical attention was given him." The injuries required surgery at Deaconess Hospital. Later, circa 1904, the Radfords left Illinois and pushed west, making a home in 1920 in Colorado Springs. Eventually they relocated to Long Beach, CA. Thomas' health began to decline significantly in about 1937. He suffered a stroke and died on March 3, 1939 at home in Long Beach. Word of his death was relayed to a niece, Mrs. Harry Ely, of 1309 West Olive Street in Bloomington. An obituary was published in the Pantagraph, which noted that interment was in Long Beach. Maude outlived her spouse by six years. After a short illness, she succumbed to death on Sept. 18, 1945.

Son Clyde E. Frank (1874-1920) was born on Oct. 7, 1874 in Bloomington. On Oct. 4, 1893, at the home of her parents at 533 West Grove Street, he wedded Minnie Dillon ( ? - ? ), daughter of L.E. Dillon. Rev. J.H. Gilliland officiated. News of their nuptials was printed in the Bloomington Pantagraph, saying that "The groom is a painter and is employed at his father's shops on North Center street. The bride is a pleasant young lady and both the young people are popular and enjoy a wide circle of friends." The Franks were the parents of Leon Frank and Hazel L. Asbury. He became a partner in 1898 of his father's painting business. He was active with the local lodges of the Knights of Pythias/Uniform Rank and Modern Woodmen. Heartbreak blanketed the family when, in about 1920, Clyde was diagnosed with cancer. He only lasted a few months and succumbed at the age of 46 on March 31, 1920. In an obituary, the Pantagraph reported that "Mr. Frank has lived all his life in Bloomington and was well known in business, church and lodge circles. he and his father were prominent painting contractors until his father's death, Jan. 1, 1913. He has continued the business since that time. He was a faithful member and worker in the First Christian church, since he was 16 years of age." His funeral service was held in the family church, led by Rev. E.E. Higdon and Rev. W.D. DeWeese. Honorary pallbearers included P.B. Johnson, Walter Schloeffel, Ivo Hurst, J. McKee, Dr. C. hanson and Frank Redman, with acting pallbearers including Col. W.M. Brown, Maj. E.C. Butler, Maj. J.C. Paul, Maj. H.C. Thompkins, 1st Lieut. Fred C. Lang and Carl Schneider. Providing sacred music were Mrs. D.D. Darrah and Ethel Gulick Phillips. His remains were placed into rest in the Bloomington Cemetery.

Son Edward R. Frank (1877-1949) was born in about 1877. He was a partner in the family painting firm in 1898. Edward was united in holy wedlock with Georgia L. Beathe ( ? - ? ) of Bloomington. The couple did not reproduce. They relocated to Baltimore, MD by 1919 and remained as of 1938, where he continued the painting and decorating trade. Frank passed away in Baltimore on June 2, 1949. His funeral service was held in Baltimore, with an obituary appearing in his old hometown newspaper, the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Son Roy L. Frank (1879- ? ) was born on June 8, 1879 in Bloomington. On Oct. 8, 1899, he was joined in matrimony with Elizabeth Bauman ( ? - ? ) of Bloomington. They did not bear any children during their marriage. He was employed for decades in the family's painting business. Active in the community, he was a member of the First Christian Church as well as the local Masons lodge and Peoria Shrine. In 1920, they made a home at 904 West Jackson Street in Bloomington, and remained there for good. On the fateful day of June 27, 1938, he put in a day of work and then came home, but collapsed and died without warning. An obituary in the Bloomington Pantagraph called him "one of the oldest painters in Bloomington."

Daughter Mae Frank (1881-1969) was born on Feb. 26, 1881 in Bloomington. She appears to have been wedded twice. Her first husband was (?) Stockdale ( ? - ? ). Circa 1920, she lived in Bloomington, and in 1922 she underwent surgery for appendicitis. Later, on April 25, 1923, in St. Louis, she wedded Harry Ely (July 25, 1878-1940). The couple did not reproduce. Circa 1938, the Elys resided in Bloomington at the addres of 1309 West Olive Street. Harry was employed for more than three decades as an engineer on the Alton Railroad and a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. They were members of the Christian Church. Sadly, after undergoing surgery at St. Joseph Hospital, he passed away on Jan. 21, 1940. Funeral services were preached by Rev. N.G. Crawford, with burial in Park Hill Cemetery. The Bloomington Pantagraph ran an obituary. Mae outlived her husband for decades. In 1941-1969, she was in Lexington, McLean County. As her health failed, she was admitted to Brokaw Hospital in Normal, IL. There, she died at the age of 88 on May 22, 1969. An obituary in the Pantagraph said that her survivors included nephew Ron Smith of Bloomington and niece Betty Claudon of Lexington.

Son William Arthur "Will" Frank (1885-1918) was born on Nov. 5, 1885 in Bloomington. He was united in holy marriage with Jennie ( ? - ? ). They established a residence at 304 East Douglas Street. They did not reproduce. The couple belonged to the First Christian Church of Bloomington. At the age of about 32, in 1917, he was stricken with paralysis and spent a year immobilized. He was taken to a hospital in Peoria seeking relief, but there was none available. He died in Peoria at the age of 33 on Dec. 11, 1918. An obituary was published in the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Daughter Rose M. Frank (1888-1962) was born on Feb. 9, 1888 in Bloomington. When she was 21 years of age, in Dec. 1909, she married C. Edward Smith ( ? - ? ). Their wedding was held in Bloomington. The Smiths produced two children -- Ronald Smith and Betty Claudon. For many decades, they dwelled in Lexington, McLean County. They belonged to the Christian Church in Lexington, and she was a member of the Rebekah Lodge of the International Order of Odd Fellows. Rose died at home at the age of 74 on Oct. 16, 1962. An obituary in the Bloomington Pantagraph noted that funeral services were held in the family church, led by Rev. Leland Beck, with burial in Evergreen Cemetery in Bloomington.


~ Son Jacob C. Franks ~

Son Jacob C. Franks (1847-1864?) was born on July 15, 1847 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

Among those who visited the newborn baby and his mother were neighbors Mary Pritts and Sarah Way who lived on adjoining farms, about three-quarters of a mile away. A record of Jacob's birth was inscribed in the family Bible. He grew up with neighbor friend Aaron Wills.

Jacob was one of four brothers to serve in the Union Army during the Civil War, but the only one who did not come home. In about 1863 or early '64, he joined his parents and family in relocating to Illinois. He never married.

Jacob joined the Union Army at Bloomington, McLean County, IL in March 1864. He was assigned to the 39th Illinois Infantry, Company B, with the name at times spelled "Franks." The regiment was deployed to the outskirts of Richmond, VA. Tragically, while swimming in the James River on May 20, 1864, he drowned.

Some 26 years after his untimely death serving our nation, his mother in 1890 began receive a military pension as compensation for his loss. [Mother App. #499.435 - Cert. #359.102].


~ Son Joseph W. Frank ~


Joseph W. Frank
Courtesy Leah Kopka

Son Joseph W. Frank (1849-1929) was born on March 8, 1849 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

As a teenager, he migrated to Illinois with his parents and siblings and grew to adulthood in Bloomington, McLean County. As a young man he learned the blacksmithing trade.

Joseph was twice wed. His first bride was Alice E. Murray (1854?-1880), a native of New York. Their wedding was held on Nov. 24, 1871, in Bloomington, when he was age 22.

They produced four offspring -- Mary Ella Frank, Jacob J. "Jay" Frank, William "James" Franks and Edward Lee Frank.

Sadly, after a little more than eight years of marriage, she contracted typhoid fever and died in January 1880. The widowed Joseph and children then moved into the home of his parents in Bloomington. Joseph occupied his time as a blacksmith during that period.

He spent seven years as a widower and then, in 1887, was joined in wedlock with Nelldeene White (Sept. 8, 1858-1918). Nelldeene is thought to have been married previously and to have brought a daughter to the second marriage, Florence G. During the early 1890s, Joseph accepted employment as a police officer in Bloomington and remained in the position for a number of years. His name occasionally was in the news for his work in law enforcement and at crime scenes. As well, he provided supporting testimony for his widowed sister-in-law Helena (Buncher) Frank in her application to receive a Civil War widow's pension.

The 1900 United States Census shows the family in Bloomington, with Joseph's occupation marked as "special officer." By 1903, they had moved to Chicago, where they stayed for good. Their address in 1910 was on East 31st Street. Joseph's occupation in 1910, as marked in the federal census, was "watchman - auto house," while Nelldeene's was shown as "chiropodist - at home" -- a type of foot doctor. That year, 16-year-old railroad office clerk Otto Bochum boarded in their household.

Sadness blanketed the family when Nelldeene passed away in Chicago at the age of 60 on Nov. 12, 1918. Her remains were transported back to Bloomington to rest for all time in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

Joseph outlived his wife by nearly a decade. At the age of 79, he died in Chicago on Oct. 3, 1928. His remains also were shipped to Bloomington for burial in Evergreen. [Find-a-Grave]

Daughter Mary "Ella" Frank (1873-1948) was born on Feb. 4, 1873 in Bloomington, McLean County. She was joined in wedlock with (?) Snyder ( ? - ? ). The couple dwelled in 1946-1947 in Monette, Barry County, MO. Ella died at the age of 7 on Oct. 6, 1948 in Monett, with burial in the local Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Son Jacob J. "Jay" Frank (1874-1965) was born on Nov. 10, 1874 in Bloomington, McLean County. He married Ella Tohill (Nov. 14, 1878-1957), daughter of Mary Tohill. They lived in Bloomington over the years. In July 1919, Jay acquired a retail confectionary store at 407 North Main Street from his cousin Howard H. Frank. Known as Den-O-Sweets, the business operated until about 1923, when it was taken over by J.P. Harkins and W.R. Merna as new management. The business may have struggled as just two months after buying it, Jacob contracted a case of shingles and was confined to his home. His address in 1946-1947 was 209 Willard Avenue in Bloomington. Sadly, Ella passed into eternity at the age of 79 on Nov. 14, 1957. Jay lived as her widower for another eight years. He died at the age of 90 on March 4, 1965. Interment was in the mausoleum of Park Hill Cemetery in Bloomington.

Son William James "Jimmy" Franks (1877-1946) was born in about 1877 in Bloomington, McLean County. At the age of 23, in 1900, he earned a living as a teamster in Bloomington. Then at the age of 28, in 1905, he married May Maloney ( ? -1937), a native of Bloomington. They produced a daughter, Mae Franks. The family relocated to Chicago in about 1916 and belonged to the Catholic Church. Sadly, May died in 1937 after 32 years of wedlock. James outlived his bride by nine years. He passed away at home on June 4, 1946. After funeral services were held in Chicago, the body was shipped to Bloomington for interment in St. Mary's Cemetery, with an obituary printed in the Bloomington Pantagraph.

  • Granddaughter Mae Frank (1902?-1960) was born in about 1902. She never married. She moved to Chicago and was employed for many years as a bookkeeper with the III Theater Company. She was a member of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church. Suffering from heart problems, she died at home at the age of 58 on July 21, 1960. The remains were brought back to Bloomington for a funeral mass sung at Holy Trinity Church, with burial following in St. Mary's Cemetery. An obituary appeared in the Bloomington Pantagraph which said she was survived by her uncles J.J. Frank of 209 Willard and Floyd C. Clothier of 501 East Chestnut

Son Edward Lee "Eddie" Frank (1879-1947) was born on March 2, 1879 in Bloomington, McLean County. He established a home in Indiana and was there in 1946. In July 1898, in Chicago, Edward was joined in marriage with Lillian Mae Williams (May 20, 1879-1908), daughter of Ezra "Henry" and Mary A. (Durr) Williams of Clinton, DeWitt County, IL. The newlyweds put down roots in Bloomington. They were the parents of an only child, Gladys Julia Watchinski. The family address in 1908 was 802 South Lee Street. For 36 years, Edward was employed by the Rock Island Railroad as a car foreman. He also belonged to the Fraternal Order of Eagles. Anxiety enveloped the family when Lillian contracted tuberculosis in 1907. She endured the illness for a year but could not rally. Sadly, she died at age 28 on Feb. 18, 1908. An obituary in the Bloomington Pantagraph noted that her other survivors included her brother Edward Williams and sisters Mrs. A. Sharpe of Bloomington, Mrs. James Stevens of Cleveland, OH and Dora Snavely of Enid, OK. Following funeral services held in the Williams residence, burial was in Bloomington Cemetery. Rev. F.W. Hawley led the service, with Mrs. Charles Stevenson and L.W. Ades singing hymns, and Edward's relatives serving as pallbearers -- Clyde Frank, Jay Frank, Howard Frank, James Frank, Ray Frank and William Frank. The newly widowed Edward grieved for a year and asked his aunts Julia and Sarah Frank to raise his daughter. Then, in 1909, married Mabel Berwick ( ? -1944) in a ceremony in Peoria. They adopted a granddaughter as their own, Alice Marie. Their home was at 407 East Taylor Street. Sadness again invaded Edward's world when Mabel passed away in 1944, after 35 years of marriage. He outlived his second wife by three years. Death swept him away on Nov. 9, 1947 in Bloomington. His remains are in repose in Woodlawn Cemetery in Terre Haute, IN

  • Granddaughter Gladys Julia Frank (1900-1957) was born on Aug. 3, 1900 in Bloomington. When Gladys was age eight, her mother died, and she was taken into the home of unmarried great-aunts Julia Frank and Sarah Frank. On Christmas Eve 1919, at the age of 19, she was married to World War I veteran William Harry Watchinski (Nov. 10, 1899-1969) in nuptials held in Chicago. William had served in Troop B of the 6th Cavalry during the war. The couple produced two children -- William Edward Watchinski and Claire E. Kopka. Circa 1947, her address was 407 East Taylor Street in Bloomington. She passed into eternity in Bloomington on Sept. 7, 1957. Her remains are interred in East Lawn Cemetery. William survived his wife by a dozen years and married again in 1959 to Edith Smock (March 23, 1909-1972), daughter of Oliver Jacob and and Henrietta "Etta" (Baxter) Smock. The second marriage endured for a decade before the separation of death. William passed away on Jan. 11, 1969. Edith joined him in death in Bloomington on Nov. 21, 1972. Their son William served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and Korea. Their daughter Claire (Dec. 4, 1928-2018) married John Joseph Kopka (July 17, 1923-2019) and resided in Bloomington. Claire died on July 19, 2018 and John on March 18, 2019.


Gladys Frank in younger years and with husband William Watchinski
Courtesy Leah Kopka


Daughter Florence G. (?) (1877- ? ) was born in March 1877 in Illinois. She was 10 years of age when her mother married Joseph W. Frank. Circa 1900, unmarried at age 23, she lived with her mother and stepfather in Bloomington.


~ Daughter Sarah C. "Sadie" Frank ~

Daughter Sarah C. "Sadie" Frank (1851-1919) was born on April 19, 1851 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

During the mid-1860s, she migrated to Illinois with her parents and siblings. Sadie never married and spent her years living with her parents and single sister Julia. She was a longtime member of the Second Presbyterian Church.

In August 1911, she and her niece Gladys Frank traveled to Chicago to visit with relatives. Tragedy consumed her at Christmas 1917 when her sister and housemate Julia died after being struck and killed by a moving vehicle in Bloomington. Sadie only lived for another two years after the accident. She became bedfast in March 1919 and remained so for the final six months of her life. As she lay dying, her sister Mary E. Smith spent the final hours at her bedside.

She succumbed in Bloomington on Oct. 4, 1919 at the age of 68. Funeral services were held at Beck's Chapel, led by her pastor, Rev. W.B. Hindman. Pallbearers included her nephews Howard Frank, Jay J. Frank, Roy L. Frank, Edward L. Frank, W.J. Frank and Harry Smith. Her remains were lowered into eternal repose in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Daughter Julia A. Frank ~

Daughter Julia A. Frank (1854-1917) was born on Feb. 27, 1854 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA.

In the midst of the Civil War, in 1864, she moved west to Illinois with her family. As with her sister Sarah, she never married bu was close with her nieces and nephews.

Her address in 1917 was 802 South Lee Street in Bloomington, and was considered "an estimable woman," said the Bloomington Pantagraph.

Tragedy ended her life just before Christmas 1917. She and her niece Gladys were in town on a Saturday night, shopping and viewing the retailers' holidays displays. While crossing the street at the Main and Washington intersection, near the First National Bank and McLean County Bank, an automobile driven by Edward Brown struck both women and knocked Julia down. Her head hit the pavement and rendered her unconscious, while Gladys' arm was injured. The driver testified that the two women suddenly started to run across the street directly in front of his vehicle which "was going not over two miles an hour when it came into contact with Miss Frank." Reported the Bloomington Pantagraph, "There were many people in the uptown district at the hour that the accident happened and the affair created some excitement."

Julia was carried to the Coblentz Drug Store and then rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital. She lasted the night but succumbed the next day, Christmas Eve morning, 1917. Burial followed in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery. [Find-a-Grave]


~ Son Edmond Francis Frank ~

Son Edmond Francis Frank (1856-1933) -- also known as "Edward" and "Franks" -- was born on May 12, 1856 in Somerset, Somerset County, PA. He was but a boy when he joined his family in migrating to Illinois, settling in Bloomington, McLean County.

He was united in matrimony with Mary Hunter ( ? -1939).

They bore a son, Howard H. Frank.

In 1898, he was employed as a baggage master for the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Circa 1903, he earned a living through his work at Hunter & Frank. Then in 1919, he sold his interest in Hunter Ice Cream factory to his son Howard. Circa 1926, he lived at 612 Washington Street in Bloomington. At the age of 76, Edmond died in Bloomington on Jan. 28, 1933. He rests in Park Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum. [Find-a-Grave]

Son Howard H. Frank ( ? - ? ) operated a confectionary store in Bloomington on North Main Street in 1919. That year, he bought out his father's interest in the Hunter Ice Cream factory on North East Street and then sold his retail business to his cousin, Jacob "Jay" Frank


Copyright 2002, 2009, 2012, 2014-2015, 2017, 2019 Mark A. Miner

Miller Park War Memorial images courtesy Bill Kemp, Librarian of the McLean County Museum of History.