Profile of John L. H. Frank (b. 1837) from historical Dayton, Montgomery county (Ohio) book in 1897

photo of John from book Profile of John L. H. Frank (b. 1837) from historical Montgomery county (Ohio) book in 1897.


"Hon. John L. H. Frank," Centennial portrait and biographical record of the city of Dayton and of Montgomery county, Ohio. 1897 (A. W. Bowen & Co. Logansport, IN), pages 256-258, accessed on the Internet Archive at

Transcript of Profile [paragraphs, emphasis, & lists added]

HON. JOHN L. H. FRANK, ex-judge of the probate court, Dayton. — This well-known attorney was born March 31, 1837, in Nordhousene, county of Brackenheim, kingdom of Wurtemburg, Germany, and was the second in a family of five children, all of whom are now residents of this country.

His parents were natives of Kaltenwesten, on the Necker, Wurtemburg, but at the time of their marriage, in 1835, moved to Nordhousene, in the same county, where the judge's father became proprietor of the Waldhorn hotel. Subsequently they moved to Heilbronn, on the Necker.

Young Frank had an uncle and an aunt living in Leroy, Genesee county, N. Y., who requested him to come to America, and in March, 1852, when not yet fifteen years old, he started by steamboat down the Necker to the Rhine, thence through France by railroad to Havre de Grace, a seaport in France, where he took passage for America. Travel in those days was not made easy as it is now, and the boy of fifteen had neither friend nor acquaintance on this long and strange journey; but he possessed a determination to fight his own way through life, and this quality, thus early manifested, and joined with constant industry and rigid integrity, helped him in later years to win success.

Upon reaching his destination, young Frank

  • soon became employed in the cultivation of fruit trees in his uncle's nursery, where he worked faithfully until 1855, 
  • when he removed to Rochester, continuing the same business at the Mount Hope nursery
  • The following year [1856] a branch of the Mount Hope nursery was established at Columbus, Ohio, and here he prosecuted his labors, attending at intervals Antioch college, at Yellow Springs, Ohio, until the summer of 1859
  • He being then in limited circumstances, a kind friend offered to lend him money to complete his studies, but, declining the generous offer through fear of debt, he went to Missouri to work in the Herman nursery, where he was employed until the spring of 1861.

At the first call for volunteers,

  • he enlisted in company B, Fourth Missouri volunteer infantry, in the three-months' service, but severe exposure brought on an attack of typhoid fever, and he was discharged in the fall of the same year [1861]. 
  • He soon after re-enlisted in the Tenth Illinois volunteer infantry, and although not perfectly recuperated, he stood the hardships of one campaign until the fall of 1862, when he was again discharged on account of physical disability. 
  • Judge Frank was soon after given a position in the quartermaster's office at Saint Louis, where he remained until 1864, using his spare moments in reading Blackstone and other elementary works furnished him by Judge Eaton.

About a year after he had left Germany, his father died [around 1854], and in a few years, he sent for his mother and the rest of the family, the former dying in Dayton, April 27, 1877; two of his brothers and one sister reside in Dayton and one sister in Mattoon, Ill. [Illinois]

In 1864 Judge Frank came to Dayton, where he continued his law studies under the tutorship of Craighead & Munger, making rapid progress, and being admitted to the bar September 2, 1867, when he at once opened an office and practiced his profession successfully for several years.

He was married August 11, 1873, to Mary Lutz, a native of Germany, who came to this country in childhood with her parents and grew to maturity in Dayton. Nine children have been the fruits of this union, five sons and four daughters, all but two of whom are living.

Politically, the judge has always been a republican, and in the fall of 1875 was nominated and elected to the office of probate judge, commencing the duties of his office February 14, 1876. In 1878 he was re-elected to that responsible position, which was one of the strongest possible indorsements of his official worth and integrity, in view of the fact that Montgomery county was then largely democratic. Since leaving the bench, Judge Frank has devoted himself to his profession, his business being largely an office practice, and his clients coming, in the main, from those of German descent. He ranks high among the safe and honorable practitioners of Dayton, and well deserves the confidence that is reposed in him.