While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Aragorn Storm Miller

FRANKE, LOUIS (1818–1873). Louis Franke (Frankee), scholar, Texas Ranger, educator, and state representative, was born Ludwig Carl Ferdinand Francke, in present-day Germany at Guestrow, Mecklenburg, in 1818, the son of Peter Heinrich and Helen Elizabeth Henriette (von Kamptz) Francke. As the child of prominent families, Francke had access to higher education, earning a master's degree in law from the University of Jena. Following graduation Francke became active in opposition politics. After running afoul of the authorities, Francke elected to immigrate to the United States. While some sources claim that he came to Texas in 1845 and served in the Mexican War, other sources have him arriving in Texas in 1847. Here his name was naturalized as Louis Franke although he often went by Louis Frankee. Franke served briefly as a Texas Ranger before traveling to California to mine for gold. In the early 1850s he returned to Texas, settling in Fayette County. Here he married Berhardine Romberg on January 20, 1853. This couple had six sons and two daughters. By 1856 the family had located near La Grange, Fayette County, at Black Jack Springs. During this time Franke engaged as a teacher and worked for a time as a professor of music and ancient languages at Baylor College at Independence. In 1859 Franke returned to Germany in hopes of curing a medical condition he was suffering from. After a period of years Franke returned to his homestead in Fayette County. Both he and his wife were leaders in the local Lutheran community, and sometime in the 1860s they donated land for the founding of an Evangelical-Lutheran Academy in Fayette County. In 1872 Franke won election as representative for District Twenty-six—comprised of Bastrop and Fayette counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. On February 19, 1873, while serving in the legislature, Franke was robbed and fatally injured at the state capitol in Austin. He is buried in Black Jack Springs.


Fayette County History Book Committee, Fayette County, Texas Heritage (2 vols., Dallas: Curtis Media, 1996). Fayette County, Texas Marriage Records, 1838–1870 (St. Louis: Ingmire, 1980). Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "FRANKE, LOUIS," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ffr48.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on November 26, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...