a Pecan Shell
Settled in 1835, the community got its post office (in Issac Nelson’s
cabin) in 1853 when it was hardly more than the juncture of two roads.
The post office closed in 1859 but was reestablished eight years later.
In 1870 the towns first livery stable was opened and its owner B.
F. Nidever started a stage line to Cooper.
The population reached 200 by 1884 with all essential businesses in
place – including a restaurant.
In 1886 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway came through just
north of the town and three years later the town became a stop. The
population swelled to 1,000 by 1890 and businesses grew to include
two new hotels by 1892.
The Texas-Midland Railroad arrived in Delta County in 1895 to serve
other towns and this diminished both Ben Franklin’s status and economy.
The population fell to just 343 by 1904 and only two businesses survived.
By the mid 1920s the decline settled at 300 residents – but the remaining
two businesses had closed their doors.
1929 showed an increase in population (500 residents) and new businesses
opened. Postwar departures for better jobs left Ben Franklin with
a mere 150 people by the mid 1960s.
The current (2006) estimated population of 75 has been used since
Photo courtesy Mike
Price, April 2008