"Uncle" Simon Franklin


Simon Franklin's homestead patent was issued on August 6, 1915. Depending on whether he did the five year, or three year "proving up" of his homestead, that would put him arriving in Courtland between 1910 and 1912. His 160 acre homestead was north of Courtland, and he was a neighbor of Eugene Yoakem.


At the age of 72, Simon Franklin married Mary Davis on November 1, 1914.  She was well known in her home city of El Paso, Texas, and was 32 years old. Not much is said about Mary after the wedding. Simon Franklin's death certificate states that he is married, yet  according to an article in the April 27, 1918 edition of the "Courtland Arizonan," there is no mention of her attending the funeral. Further records for Mary have yet to surface. She may have decided that a frontier mining town, and ranch life was not her cup of tea and returned to Texas.


Simon Franklin was known around Courtland as Uncle Simon, and well liked. He was a tall, black man, standing about 6'2".


Uncle Simon was born a slave in 1842, in Bumler County, Tennessee. During the Civil War, he served under Dr. Franklin. After the war ended, he enlisted in the regular Army where he served 30 years. Nine of those years were in the Infantry. Then he served another 21 with the Calvary, ten of which was with the 9th Calvary Band. He retired as a First Sergeant.


The Spanish Flu pandemic claimed Uncle Simon's life on April 19, 1918. He was 76 years old. His funeral was the biggest that Courtland ever had, complete with a military escort of 25 men from Camp Harry Jones in Douglas, a gun salute, and a flag draped coffin. You can read the full article here.


A marker for Uncle Simon's grave was ordered from the War Department, arriving in November 1918 and being placed on his grave.


Sadly, this marker was vandalized (photo below). In January 2018, a replacement marker from the Veteran's Association was ordered and received, The new marker was placed on September 15, 2018 (see slide show below).



Replacement of Simon Franklin's Headstone


On Saturday, September 15, 2018, a few of the folks from the Ghost Town Trails Tour group, and two members from BLM worked to replace Simon Franklin's broken grave marker with a new one.





























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