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John A. Franz - Larned Cemetery, Larned, Pawnee County, Kansas

John Franz spent the first thirty-one years of his life in Germany. He was well educated and learned the trade of miller from his father. When he was old enough, he served his required year in the German Army and fought during the Franco-Prussian War.

Johann Adam “John” Franz was born in Germany on August 6, 1848. The area where John grew up was more of a manufacturing region than an agricultural one. However, that did not stop him from settling in Pawnee County and learning a new trade – farming.

In February of 1800, John came to America and paid $200 for a relinquishment in Grant Township just east of Brown’s Grove. In addition, he took a tree claim and was able to improve upon both. On his quarter section of land, John built a sod house and started farming and stock raising. He grew wheat and feed for the cattle. During the blizzard of 1886, John lost 200 head of cattle. There were also years that the wheat did not mature or was affected by drought.

But John refused to give up. Eventually, his finances improved, which started with rethinking his cattle business. He began buying cattle and selling them as two-year-olds at the Kansas City markets. He also began buying and selling land. As farming became more profitable, John got out of the cattle business. By 1908, he had accumulated seven-quarters of land.

John was married twice. His first wife, Emma Barbara Zitzman, was born in the same community in Germany as John. The two were married in 1870, and the first six of their nine children were born in Germany. One daughter died in infancy, but the other five came with their parents to America. The last three children were born in Pawnee County. Unfortunately, Emma died in 1886 at thirty-five (causes unknown).

Clarissa Catherine Smith was John’s second wife. They were married on March 17, 1889, in Rush County. Five more children were born and joined the four children from John’s first marriage.

John was part of the betterment of Pawnee County as he was one of the Farmers Elevator at Rozel, stockholder of the Bank of Burdett, trustee of Grant Township, and elected county commissioner.

At age 82, John died on December 8, 1930. He shares the same stone in Larned Cemetery with Clarissa. Emma, and two daughters, Lena, three months old, and Anna, eight years old, are also buried in Larned Cemetery.

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