Bio – Franklin C. Darling

Darling Line
By Don Taylor

I was recently talking with a Civil War researcher and mentioned that Minnesota’s Civil War experience was quite a bit different than most of the rest of the country. Because of the War, many of the supplies promised to Native Americans by treaty were redirected to support the war effort, leaving the Native Americans to starve. Because of that, many Native Americans attacked the settlers in Minnesota in search of food, blankets, and other necessities. An uprising of the Santee Sioux in August 1862 caused the deaths of 490 settlers, including women and children. In retaliation, the United States hung thirty-eight Dakota Indians in Mankato, Minnesota, in the largest mass hanging in American History. After the hanging

soldiers forced over a thousand women, children, and elders into an internment camp at Fort Snelling, where hundreds died during the winter of starvation, disease, and hypothermia. In the Spring of 1863, about 1,300 of the survivors were forced to march to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota and hundreds more died along the way, in what is sometimes called “Minnesota’s Trail of Tears.” In September of 1862, Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey called for the extermination of 303 Dakota men and the complete removal of the Dakotas from Minnesota; in December, President Lincoln promised to help kill or removed every Dakota from the state. Newspapers called for the “utter extermination” of the Dakota. Minnesota’s actions of 156 years ago are just one small example of the atrocities committed against Native Americans in the 19th Century.[i]

Execution of 38 Sioux Indians – Mankato, MN, 1862

Sadly, my wife’s 3rd great-uncle served in Company D, 1st Regiment, Minnesota Cavalry (Mounted Rangers). He mustered in in November 1862 and thirteen months later was discharged in December 1863. There is no doubt in my mind that he participated in the “Minnesota’s Trail of Tears” as well as Sibley’s Expedition against the Indians in Dakota Territory.

Darling Research 2018 – Ancestor #48-08

The 8th child of Ahnentafel #48, Abner Darling (1780-1839)

List of Grandparents

 Franklin C. Darling (c. 1828-1905)

Franklin C Darling was born sometime in April 1928 in New York (probably Clarkson, Monroe County, New York). He was the youngest of eight children of Abner and Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling.  When Franklin was born, the Winnebago War was taking place in the upper Mississippi River region. Andrew Jackson succeeded John Quincy Adams as president in 1829.

The children of Abner and Sally Ann (Munsell) Darling

Andrew M Darling Bet. 1805-1806
Abner C Darling 29 Oct 1812
Deidamia Darling Bet. 1813-1814
Rufus Holton Darling Bet. 1815-1816
Henry W Darling 18 Sep 1818
Sally Ann Darling Aft. 1820
Hannah Darling Bet. 1821-1826
Franklin C Darling April 1828[ii]


In 1830 the Abner Darling household was in Clarkson, New York. The family consisted of Abner and his wife, Sally. All eight (known) children were living and are accounted for in the Census. The eastern section of the Erie Canal (from Albany to Brockport/Clarkson) was completed in September 1823 which opened up Western New York to immense growth. Clarkson was only a mile or so north of the Erie Canal. In 1820, Clarkson had a population of 1,612. By 1830, the population had grown over 100% to 3,251; the Darlings were a part of that growth.
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In 1839, Franklin’s father, Abner, died. Franklin’s older brother Rufus took on the role of head of the family. The 1840 Census suggests that Rufus’ household included his mother and his four younger siblings, including Franklin.

Seeing so many people heading west must have made a living near to the Erie Canal difficult. It certainly seems to have enticed the Darling family to move west.  Franklin’s oldest brother, Andrew, had headed west to Medina, Ohio (west of Akron), during the early 1830s. Andrew moved further west again in the 1840s to the Wisconsin Territory. Franklin joined his brother Andrew sometime before 1850 in Utica, Wisconsin. Andrew’s household consisted of Andrew, his wife Antoinette, his daughters Sarah and Alice as well as his mother, Sally, sister Hannah, and Franklin.


Franklin married Ellen Norton on 21 October 1854 in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. That year the railroad was completed to Madison and the Republican party was founded in Fond Du Lac County. Franklin and Ellen only had one child, a son they named Rufus, who was born between 1856 and 1857.

Franklin, Ellen, and Rufus didn’t stay in Wisconsin long. In 1859 they located in Alexandria, Minnesota.[iii] Apparently, near Franklin’s brother Andrew who had moved to Alexandria to the south shore of Lake Darling. Lake Darling was named after Franklin’s brother, Andrew.

Civil War

I have been unsuccessful finding Franklin in the 1860 Census; however, in November 1862, Franklin enlisted as a corporal for service with Company D, 1st Regiment, Minnesota Cavalry (Mounted Rangers). He served during the relocation of the Indians to Fort Snelling, during the forced relocation of the Indians from Minnesota to the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota, and during Sibley’s Expedition against Indians in Dakota Territory in 1863. He mustered out as a corporal in December 1863.

After the war, Franklin settled in Ida Township, just a few miles northwest of Lake Darling and his brother in Alexandria. During the 1870 Census, Franklin’s farm was valued at $1,000. On 1 July 1871 Franklin purchased the land he was homesteading, 160.48 acres in Douglas County, Ida Township (Township 129).

Bureau of Land Managment Map Google Map of Homestead area

Frederick Darling Homestead 1871

Homestead area today

The 1880 Census finds Franklin and Ellen still on the farm. Living with them is their son, Rufus, who is a school teacher.

In 1890, Franklin applied for and received a military pension as a Union Veteran of the Civil War. By 1900 the family moved 40 miles north to Deer Creek, Minnesota and lived in a house they owned.

After Ellen’s death on 21 May 1903, Franklin relocated to the Minnesota State Soldiers’ Home in Minneapolis, near Minnehaha Falls.  He lived there until his death on 13 August 1905. The Minnesota Death Records, 1866-1916 Index indicates he was buried in Deer Creek, Minnesota; however, I have been unable to confirm.


Stories about my wife’s third-great uncle didn’t pass down to our family. We didn’t even know there were Darling cousins in Minnesota until I began researching Andrew and Franklin Darling. So, we didn’t have anything to do with the atrocities that occurred. It is easy to ascribe our current values to our ancestors when we know they participated in the brutality of a brutal time. I know both sides, native and white, engaged in unspeakable acts. I like to think I wouldn’t succumb to such mayhem, I’d be above it, but if I were living in the 1860s…. I think the most important thing is to remember what occurred in the 19th century and try not to allow it to occur here in the 21st century. Yes, it is happening around us today, the Darfur genocide in Sudan is still ongoing. Likewise, the Genocide of Yazidis by ISIL has massacred thousand in the past few years. World War II and the Holocaust is still in the living memory of many.

Somehow, someplace, we, as human beings, need to learn not to exploit, our fellow human beings. We need to stop the violence and stop trying to impose our way onto other people. If we can remember the horrific actions of our ancestors and vow never to follow their violent example, there might be hope for us after all. Hopefully, learning the history of my ancestors will help me to not follow their example.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Check with Find-a-Grave for info on Franks possible burial in Deer Creek.


  • 1830 Census (A), Abner Darling – Clarkson, Monroe, New York – Page 271. Source Citation
1830; Census Place: Clarkson, Monroe, New York; Series: M19; Roll: 94; Page: 271; Family History Library Film: 001715 4.
  • 1840 Census (FS), Family Search, New York, Monroe, Clarkson, Page 177 – Rufus H Darling.
  • 1850 Census (FS), 1850 Census – A M Darling – Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch: 12 April 2016), Am Darling, Utica, Winnebago, Wisconsin, United States; citing family 1092, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • 1870 Census (FS), Family Search, 1870 Census – Franklin Darling – Ida, Douglas, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), Franklin Darling, Minnesota, United States; citing p. 5, family 47, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 830,423.
  • 1880 Census (FS), Family Search, 1880 Census – Frankland [Franklin] C Darling – Ida, Douglas, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 26 August 2017), Frankland C Darling, Ida, Douglas, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district ED 8, sheet 424D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0618; FHL microfilm 1,254,618.
  • 1880-09-25, Page 3 – AN OLD SETTLER DEPARTS. – Death of Abner C. Darling., Appleton Crescent, Appleton, Wisc. (
  • 1900 Census (FS), Family Search, Franklin C Darling – Deer Creek Village, Otter Tail, Minnesota. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 May 2018), Franklin C Darling, Deer Creek Township Deer Creek village, Otter Tail, Minnesota, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 155, sheet 8B, family 157, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,779.
  • Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior, Accession MN0950.015 – Darling, Franklin C. 7/1/1871.
  • Find a Grave, Ellen Darling – Memorial 64565031. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 11 May 2018), memorial page for Ellen Darling (12 Apr 1836–24 May 1903), Find A Grave Memorial no. 64565031, citing Fairview Cemetery, Deer Creek, Otter Tail County, Minnesota, USA; Maintained by T Burt (contributor 47009168).
  • Minneapolis City Directory, Minneapolis Public Library, 1904 – Page 465 – Frederick Darling.
  • Minneapolis City Directory, Minneapolis Public Library, 1905 – Page 048 – Minnesota Soldiers’ Home.
  • Minneapolis City Directory, Minneapolis Public Library, 1905 – Page 493 – Frederick Darling.
  • Minnesota Death Records, 1866-1916, Family Search, Frank C. Darling – burial 14 Aug 1905 – No Image. “Minnesota Death Records, 1866-1916,” database, FamilySearch( : 10 March 2018), Frank C. Darling, 13 Aug 1905; citing Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, cn 301, Public Health Center, St. Paul; FHL microfilm 1,499,032.
  • Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990, Family Search, Frank C. Darling (1829-1905) – No Image. “Minnesota Deaths and Burials, 1835-1990,” database, FamilySearch ( : 10 March 2018), Frank C. Darling, 13 Aug 1905; citing Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota, reference; FHL microfilm 2,117,555.
  • Minnesota, Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records, Family Search, F [Franklin} C Darling – Nov 1862-Dec 1863. “Minnesota, Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records, 1869-1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 16 March 2018), F C Darling, 1869-1940; citing Military Service, Minnesota, Minnesota, United States, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul; FHL microfilm 2,316,990.
  • United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865, Family Search, Franklin C. Darling – No Image. “United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865,” database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Franklin C. Darling, Corporal, Company D, 1st Regiment, Minnesota Cavalry (Mounted Rangers), Union; citing NARA microfilm publication M546 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 2; FHL microfilm 821,931.
  • United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934, Family Search, Franklin C Darling – 1890. “United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 13 March 2018), Franklin C Darling, 1890.
  • Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911, Family Search, Franklen [Franklin] C. Darling & Ellen Norton – No Image. “Wisconsin, County Marriages, 1836-1911,” database, FamilySearch ( : 9 March 2018), Franklen C. Darling and Ellen Norton, 21 Oct 1854; citing, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, United States, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison; FHL microfilm 1,266,973.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


[i] End Genocide dot Org indicates that an estimated nine million Native Americans died from violent conflict or disease. End Genocide’s website also indicates that about six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. See:

[ii] Per the 1900 Census and consistent with most other records.

[iii] Alexandria Post News, 4 June 1903, p.3,col.3

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