Sheriff John Henry Franks

Sheriff John Henry Franks

Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, Texas

End of Watch Wednesday, May 12, 1915

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John Henry Franks

On Friday, February 19, 1915, Caldwell County Sheriff J. Henry Franks and Lockhart City Marshal John L. Smith were involved in a confrontation at the county courthouse. News accounts report that Smith was formerly a deputy sheriff under Franks, and ran against him for sheriff. Smith reportedly cursed and abused the sheriff who went to his office and got a shotgun. The two men opened fire and Smith was killed. Sheriff Franks was released under a $3,000 bond after an examining trial and the case was referred to the spring grand jury.

On Wednesday, May 12, 1915 at 9:30 p.m. Franks was returning from a motion picture show to his place of residence in the county jail when an unknown assassin hiding beneath a cotton platform at the railway depot fired two shotgun blasts at him. The first missed and struck a telegraph pole, but the second shot struck the sheriff in the back, neck and shoulder with eight buck shot killing him instantly. Other county sheriffs and Texas Rangers came to Lockhart to investigate the assassination. Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court and the Texas Governor posted a reward of $750. Texas Rangers later arrested two men, but the charges were dropped.

John Henry Franks was elected sheriff of Caldwell County on November 3, 1908. He was re-elected on November 8, 1910, November 5, 1912, November 3, 1914 and served until May 12, 1915 when was killed. He was survived by his widow, Daisy Abbot Franks, and a 12-year old daughter, Gladys. Franks was buried in Section K of the Lockhart City Cemetery next to his wife, Daisy.

The killer of Sheriff J. Henry Franks was never apprehended and the case remains unsolved.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 6 years, 6 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender unknown

Most Recent Reflection

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Sheriff Franks,
On today, the 102nd anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Caldwell County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

May 12, 2017

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