Wesley P. Franklin
Possessed as a general rule, of great industry, energy and enterprise, the average Montana ranchman is usually loath to retire from active participation in the industrial affairs of his community, even when he has earned well- merited rest through long years of continuous labor, but when he finally turns over the management of his operations to younger hands and moves to the nearby city, he invariably becomes one of its most valued citizens and is welcomed as a recognized addition to his community's population. Wesley P. Franklin, a highly esteemed retired citizen of Big Timber, was in many years engaged in the sheep and cattle business in Sweet Grass County, and throughout his career was known as a man of the most upright principles and highest integrity. He was born in Owen County, Indian, March 15, 1837, and is a son of John and Mary (Puett) Franklin. John Franklin was a native of North Carolina and as a young man removed to Owen County Indiana where he settled as a pioneer farmer. During the spring of 1850 he went to McLean County Illinois and there the remainder of his life was spent in farming and stock raising, his death occurring when he was fifty-seven years of age. He belonged to the Christian Church all his life. His wife who was a native of Tennessee, survived him for a long period, attaining the remarkable age of ninety-nine years and they had nine children, of whom four are living: Elizabeth, the widow of Seldon M. Paine; Noah; Nelson, and W.P.
The education of Wesley P. Franklin was secured in the public schools of McLean County Illinois and as a youth assisted his father in the work of the home farm. When his father died he began farming and stock raising on his own account and in 1886 came by way of the Northern Pacific to Montana and located near Big Timber, where he first took up a squatter's claim on Fish Creek about thirty miles from the town. There he engaged in the sheep business with his son, Herschel P., who had come to the state before him and had managed the business since 1881. They remained on Fish Creek until the fall of 1886, then removing to what was known as the Puett Ranch, a tract of 480 acres which they purchased in 1889. To this they added by purchase, homestead, pre-emption and desert claims until they had 9330 acres when all the sheep were sold and they turned their attention to raising cattle. They also did an extensive business in buying and selling cattle until 1900 when Mr. Franklin retired from the business and moved to Big Timber. He now has large interests in the A.F. K. Elevator Company, in addition to owning 4000 acres of fine ranch land situated about fifteen miles from Big Timber and is known as one of the his city's most substantial business citizens.
On March 21, 1858, Mr. Franklin was married to Miss Hannah Puett who was born in Georgetown, Illinois and is deceased, having been the mother of four children: Mrs. Estella Mowdy, a widow; Herschel P., now living in Melville Montana, married Miss Lee of Indiana; Lillian, the widow of Dr. J.C. Graham and Daisy who married (second) to Miss Bessie Bryan, a native of Philadelphia.
source: A History of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders, 1913