George Edward Franklin was born August 7th, 1896 in Richmond County, the fourth and final child of William Ryland Franklin and Apphia Judson Sisson. Many documents list his date of birth as August 30th. At some point his parents forgot his birthday and the August 30th date was used for many years until it was eventually corrected.
George appeared on the 1900 census at age three in Washington township of Richmond County, this was at his parent's first home in Haynesville. His father's occupation was watch and clock repair.
On the 1910 census George's two oldest siblings had moved out the house. Willie Franklin was listed as working as a farmer. Emma, 15, and George, 13, are both marked as working on the home farm and attending school. George walked from Haynesville to Emmerton to attend high school.
In 1913 George worked with his father to build a new home in Haynesville, half a mile north of their first home.
On May 31st, 1918 George filled out a draft registration card for WWI. He gave his home address as Haynesville, but his employer as Winchester Manufacturing Company, 203 W. Pratt St. Baltimore, MD. He identified his height as medium, his build as slender, eyes as brown and hair as light brown. He was not drafted.
In the 1920 census George was listed as living with his brother Ben in Baltimore, Maryland on Harlem Avenue. Ben has a wife and 4 year old son, Ben Jr. George's occupation was given as clerk for the Treasury Department, Ben was listed as a machinist in the drug industry. George probably took some college courses around that time.
According to his daughter, Frances, George suffered a mental breakdown and was put in a hospital in Baltimore. He returned to the Northern Neck in 1925 and began working as a cashier at Hague Bank in Westmoreland, VA. This is said to be where he met Thelma Frances Barnes. They were married on October 2nd, 1926 at the Baptist parsonage of Reverend Ogden in Kinsale.
The 1930 census showed George and Thelma renting a home in Hague and having a 2 year old son, George Edward Franklin, Jr. George’s profession was given as bank cashier. He also did some side work repairing watches and clocks, a skill he learned from his father.
George kept copies of much of his correspondence relating to his work at the bank and personal business dealings. In 1937 he wrote to Schwartzchild Jewelers in New York and ordered a variety of watch parts so that he could go into the jewelry business full time. Around that same time the family moved to Haynesville and into the same house George had helped his father build in 1913.
By 1940 George and Thelma's daughter, Frances, had been born, the census that year showed the family in Richmond County. George was working as a jeweler in a retail and repair jewelry business. He was shown as completing 2 years of college and Thelma was recorded as completing 3 years of high school. In the 1950 census the family was again recorded in Haynesville, George reported working 48 hours the previous week as a watch repairman in his jewelry store. His sister Emma lived one house down with her family, and his son George, Jr. lived two houses down and also reported working in watch repair at the jewelry store.
George operated Franklin's Jewelry Store in Warsaw for about 30 years, it was the first jewelry store in the Northern Neck. In 1968 the store burned down along with the other businesses it shared a wooden frame building with. George estimated his losses immediately after the fire at $6,000-$8,000. He must have already had it in his mind to scale back the business and work closer to home before the fire because the previous year he had put up a small cinder-block building in his yard in Haynesville. Even though he was in his 70's already he continued working on watches.
George was a Deacon of Totuskey Baptist Church as well as serving as Sunday School Superintendent, President of the Baptist Training Union, Brotherhood President, and other roles. He was also a Mason and served as Master of the Westmoreland Lodge for a time. He and Thelma traveled a bit and George took many photos.
In the late 1980's George and Thelma moved out of their house in Haynesville and retired to the Masonic Home in Richmond City. George passed away on Christmas Day 1992. He was buried December 27th at Totuskey Baptist Church by Rev. James Dunn.