David Franks (loyalist)
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|Born||23 September 1720
New York, USA
He was born in New York, 23 September 1720, the youngest son of Jacob Franks (1687‐1769) and Abigail Franks, of a large and prominent Jewish family from England. As a young man, he moved to Philadelphia, where he became a successful merchant, engaging in land speculation, shipping, and fur trading; he was also a member of the Congregation Mikveh Israel. He was elected a member of the provincial assembly in 1748. Franks, with his wife Margaret Evans (1720–1780) of one of Philadelphia's Christian families, was socially prominent in the city.
During the French and Indian War, he was engaged by the government to supply the army with provisions. In 1755, upon the defeat of General Braddock, he helped to raise a fund of £5,000 for the further defense of the colony. He signed the Non-Importation Resolution of 1765, but eventually his loyalist tendencies won over. During the revolution, he was the king's agent for Pennsylvania. Perceived as a threat to the security of the United States, he was jailed briefly in 1778 by order of Congress, and then imprisoned again in 1780.
After living in England for a time, Franks returned to Philadelphia in 1783, where he worked as a merchant.
By various accounts, he died in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia, where he was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground. Others claim he returned again to England and died at Isleworth in October 1794.
His wife died on 20 September 1780 and is interred at Christ Church Burial Ground.
In 1768, his eldest daughter Abigail married Andrew Hamilton (1745–1813), elder brother of William Hamilton, well-known proprietor of "The Woodlands." His youngest daughter Rebecca became the wife of then British colonel (later General) Henry Johnson, and was one of the prominent young Philadelphians who attended the Mischianza Ball.
- History of Woodford, Woodford official site
- Article at JewishEncyclopedia.com
- David Franks: colonial merchant, by Mark Abbott Stern, Penn State Press, 2010.
- David Franks at Find a Grave
- "Jewish Residents in Eighteenth-century Twickenham", by Hilda F. Finberg, read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 19th June, 1947.