David Franks, Loyalist

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David Franks, Loyalist

Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: New York, New York, NY, USA
Death: October 1794 (74)
Isleworth, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob Franks and Bilhah Abigail Franks
Husband of Margaret Franks
Father of Moses Franks; Abigail Hamilton; Mary (Polly) Franks; Jacob Franks; Rebecca Franks and 2 others
Brother of Moses Benjamin Franks; Naphtali (Heartsey) Franks; Abraham Franks; Richa (Rachel) de Fries; Phila de Lancey and 7 others

Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:

About David Franks, Loyalist

David Franks (b. 23 September 1720 in New York – October 1794 in Isleworth, England) was a loyalist in the war of the American Revolution.

~ not to be confused with

David Salisbury Franks, patriot & aide-de-camp of Benedict Arnold.


He was born in New York, 23 September 1720, the youngest son of Jacob Franks (1687‐1769) and Abigail Franks, of a large and prominent Jewish family from England. As a young man, he moved to Philadelphia, where he became a successful merchant, engaging in land speculation, shipping, and fur trading; he was also a member of the Congregation Mikveh Israel. He was elected a member of the provincial assembly in 1748. Franks, with his wife Margaret Evans (1720–1780) of one of Philadelphia's Christian families, was socially prominent in the city.

During the French and Indian War, he was engaged by the government to supply the army with provisions. In 1755, upon the defeat of General Braddock, he helped to raise a fund of £5,000 for the further defense of the colony. He signed the Non-Importation Resolution of 1765, but eventually his loyalist tendencies won over. During the revolution, he was the king's agent for Pennsylvania. Perceived as a threat to the security of the United States, he was jailed briefly in 1778 by order of Congress, and then imprisoned again in 1780.

From 1771 to 1781 he owned and occupied Woodford, a mansion in Germantown, now a National Historic Landmark, to which he added a second story and a rear two-story addition.

After living in England for a time, Franks returned to Philadelphia in 1783, where he worked as a merchant.

By various accounts, he died in the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 in Philadelphia, where he was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground[4], or returned again to England and died at Isleworth in October 1794.


His wife died on 20 September 1780 and is interred at Christ Church Burial Ground.

His nephew, Col. David Salisbury Franks, a revolutionary who served as aide to Benedict Arnold, came under further suspicion because of his relationship with his loyalist uncle.

In 1768, his eldest daughter Abigail married Andrew Hamilton (1745–1813), elder brother of William Hamilton, well-known proprietor of "The Woodlands." His youngest daughter Rebecca became the wife of then British colonel (later General) Sir Henry Johnson, and was one of the prominent young Philadelphians who attended the Mischianza Ball.

• the Franks family came from a long line of successful Sephardic Jews.

A story of their dealings in the Revolution is told in Cha. 13 of Loyalist Mosaic by Joan McGee; Dundurn Press, Toronto (1985)

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David Franks, Loyalist's Timeline

September 23, 1720
New York, New York, NY, USA
Age 22
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
January 6, 1744
Age 23
January 7, 1747
Age 26
January 25, 1748
Age 27
Age 39
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 14, 1764
Age 44
Lancaster, Lancaster, PA