Franklin was born in Culpeper County on August 24, 1827. He was the son of Francis Benjamin Gaines Yates and Elizabeth Polly Jury.
In 1850, Franklin was working as a laborer and living with a family in Loudoun County, Virginia.
At the age of 26, Franklin married Emily Jane Griffith on December 23, 1853, in Loudoun County, Virginia, when she was 20 years old. (Franklin's older sister Malinda married his wife Emily's older brother John). They had eleven children - Mary (Mollie), Lorenza Catherine, Benjamin, Sarah Elizabeth, Turner Jackson, Cora Frances, James Edward, Roberta Amanda, Charles William, Laura Virginia, and Emily Estelle.
In 1860, Emily and Franklin lived with their children and Emily's sister Margaret in Culpeper County, Virginia.
Franklin served as a private in the Confederate Army, 13th Virginia Infantry Regiment, Company E, between April 17, 1861 and November 8, 1861. According to records, he became ill on August 15, 1861 and was absent until discharged in November 1861.
Franklin reached 76 years of age and died in Charles Town, Jefferson, West Virginia on March 23, 1904. According to his obituary, his death occurred from complications from a cold he developed following his 50th wedding anniversary a few months before. All eleven of his children survived him. He was buried at Edge Hill Cemetery in Charles Town.
His estate was probated in Jefferson County, West Virginia, with his two youngest daughters, Laura and Estelle, names as executrices.
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