Family of Dr. O. M. and Anne Ohisen Franklin

Oliver Morris Franklin, born August 1, 1886, in a suburb of Chicago, was seven years old when his father was accidentally killed. About 1900 he and his sister moved with their widowed mother to Braman, Oklahoma, to be near relatives. As a teenager, Oliver worked as a telegrapher in the depot in Mooreland, Oklahoma, and later as a Santa Fe Railway agent.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

Then he decided to attend Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, Kansas, where his mother was operating a boarding house. He received his D. V. M. on June 13, 1912, and then took a job at the Experiment Station as an assistant in the Department of Veterinary Medicine where he was assigned to work on blackleg experiments. He developed the first reliable preventative for blackleg, a virulent and invariably fatal disease that overnight would destroy twenty-five to thirty-five percent of a herd of calves. With certain prominent cattlemen, he formed a company to produce and distribute the product throughout the cattle industry.

This company, the Kansas Blackleg Serum Company, was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1916. Soon it was decided to move the company to Texas, and Amarillo was chosen as the site because, among other reasons, many prominent ranchers in the area were shareholders in the new operation. A new plant was built for their laboratories in Amarillo, and the new corporate offices of the company were located in Denver. Eventually the Franklin Serum Company, as it was called later, would have worldwide distribution of their products.

In May, 1952, a dinner was given for the employees of the company in celebration of the 100,000,000th dose of the vaccine produced. (The container for this dose is mounted and on display in the Franklin ranch house.) The 250,000,000th dose was produced in 1971. In spite of this success, Dr. Franklin remained the same quiet, shy and unassuming person he had always been. While working at the Experiment Station at Kansas, Dr. Franklin met his future wife Anne Ohlsen, who was working in an office in the same building. Born December 30, 1889. in Whiting, Kansas, she was the daughter of Danish immigrants, and she and her two sisters were reared on a farm outside Whiting. Oliver and Anne were married on April 2, 1917, and lived in Wichita, Kansas, before moving to Amarillo.

Their oldest son, Theodore Eugene, was born in Wichita. After moving to Amarillo, Oliver and Anne became parents of five more sons: Paul Edward (died in 1979), John Oliver (died in 1947). James Benjamin, Hans Joe, and William Frederick. In December of 1936, Dr. O. M. Franklin and Mrs. Anne O. Franklin purchased the 14-section ranch in Gray County that had belonged to W. W. Mars. In May, 1949, as Dr. Franklin was planning to retire from the serum company, he decided that they would move from Amarillo to the ranch. At first they considered remodeling the original ranch headquarters, but after seeing the beautiful location of the old rock house that had been built for the Harrahs in 1884, they decided to build there. Although the rock house was an integral part of the history of Gray County, its condition was such that it was not feasible to try to restore it.

The rock house was razed and construction on a new ranch house began in the summer of 1949. In 1950, after Dr. Franklin had retired, the Franklins moved to the original headquarters house that had been built in the 1890s. When the new house was completed in 1951, they moved into it and lived there until 1965 when they moved into Pampa because of health reasons. Anne Ohlsen Franklin died on December 5, 1971, less than a month before her 82nd birthday. Dr. Franklin continued driving the 25 miles from Pampa until two days before his death on April 14, 1973, at the age of 86. They are both buried in the family plot in Llano Cemetery in Amarillo.

“The Cross F Collection” contains hundreds of recipes — many of them giving information about the persons who used them. Pictures of the Franklin family accompany some of their recipes. These include Mamaw and Papaw’s Date Cake (O. M. and Anne Franklin’s recipe), Uncle Joe’s “Going to the Ranch” Breakfast, Louise’s Skewered Beef, Larry’s Ice Cream Dessert, Jeanie’s Southern Pecan Pie, Ann’s Prize-Winning Cherry Pie and Jane’s Watermelon Ice Cream. There are pictures of Christmas dinners at the Franklin Ranch and of many scenes on the ranch. “The Cross F Collection” is a beautiful book — valuable for its historical information as well as for its wealth of recipes — around 450. The museum has copies of “The Cross F Collection” and also copies Of “He Made the Ranges Safe: O. M. Franklin and the Blackleg Story,” written in 1993 by Ted E. Franklin, DVM — the oldest son Of Dr. O. M. and Anne Franklin.

These books were donated to the museum by the Franklin family and may be purchased at the White Deer Land Museum, 112 South Cuyler, Pampa, TX 79065.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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