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Thomas Edward Frank

Thomas Edward Frank

Article written by Ann Lewis - now deceased

Submitted by Donald A. Frank.

Thomas Frank homesteaded 160 acres - 10 miles SW of Guthrie in April 1889 when he was 21. In his teens he followed the lure of the West from his birthplace in Princeton, N. J. He worked on ranches in N. M., in a cook shack in Montana, on farms in Nebraska, one belonging to Buffalo Bill. He had helped drive cattle across the Indian Territory and had made up his mind that is where he wanted to live.

Two other men were squatting on the place he chose, one killed the other and skipped. To homestead he had to live 6 months on the land and make improvements. To get money to build and have the sod broken by the use of oxen, he would bum a ride on a freight train and work in Nebraska. He built a 3-room house which still stands and where 7 of his children were born.

He married Katherine Ploeger December 9, 1896, born in Kansas of Albert Ploeger and Elizabeth and granddaughter of Phillip and Josephine (both families taking claims in 1889 near Seward.) Their lives were published in Portrait and Biography Records in Oklahoma in 1901. Except for Katherine Frank and her sister, Bertha Bross, all of the Ploegers went to Idaho in 1910.

One daughter, Ether Ploeger Parrish of Portland, Ore., is still living and hopes to make a visit to Oklahoma the summer of '78.

In 1910, Tom Frank bought the farm on the north of his homestead with a bigger house where he lived until he died at 91. Katherine lived alone there until her death in 1967, also at the age of 91. Both farms are still in the family belonging to Helen Boling, a granddaughter. Tom was an astute farmer who managed to hold his land during all the trails of nature and the depression. He ran 2 thrashing crews to raise wheat to help the European starving people after WW I. One was an old steam driven machine. When wheat prices were set at $1 a bu., Dad took a financial beating.

Katherine was a fine Mother, cook, and housekeeper. She was a great gardener and all our vegetables and fruit was home canned. She baked bread until her death and it disappeared fast when the grand kids came by. Our clothes were handmade often from clothes given her, and usually our underwear out of flour sacks. They raised 8 children, and has 23 grandchildren. Besides her social club, and quilting, she liked to travel. She made her first trip by air to Washington, D. C. when she was in her eighties and made it alone. Each of her granddaughters received a handmade quilt. There are over a hundred descendants, many in Oklahoma and some as far away as Saudi Arabia temporarily. They could well be proud of these descendants--doctors, pilots, ranchers, a lawyer, a grand daughter who not only is an ordained minister, but also a pilot, etc.

Of their children: Albert lived 3 days; Carl born 1898 married Fern Huffer. They reside in the panhandle of Oklahoma; Clarence born 1900, died in 1919; Elizabeth born 1903 married Raymond Beck, both deceased. Edward born 1906 married Violet Benson of Idaho. he now lives in Arkansas, with his wife Martha; Lawrence married Launa Hetzler, lives near the Guthrie Lake; Anna married James Lewis (now deceased), lives in Maryland; Mary married Lewis Cassidy and resides in Virginia. Tillie born 1915 married Gordon Bowen and lives near Guthrie.

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Updated: Wednesday, 06-Aug-2008 06:56:31 CDT

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