Abraham Franklin (ca. 1844-1905) and his wife Frances "Fanny" Franklin (ca. 1844-1908) came to Canada from Germany in 1865, via the United States. Together they had seven children: Jacob ("John"), Henry ("Harry"), Hyman ("Herman"), Annie (m. Robinson), Simon ("Sam"), Dora, and Katie.
Abraham began as a picture frame dealer on York Street, later becoming, with his wife, the owner of a second-hand clothing store on Queen Street West. By 1890, Abraham had established a jewellery store named Franklin Brothers, with his sons Jacob and Henry, and by the early 1910s also owned A. Franklin & Sons. The two businesses continued to operate simultaneously as a pawn shop, a jewellery store, and even a bicycle repair shop.
The Franklin family owned many large plots of valuable land in downtown Toronto, which they leased out to individuals and businesses, including Eaton's. Their land was located on the north side of Albert Street from James Street to Bay Street, along Gerrard Street from Yonge to Elizabeth Streets, and along Walton Street from Yonge to Elizabeth Streets. Later, the children inherited the property held by their parents, which had extended around the Queen Street West and Portland Avenue area.
In 1916, stemming from family concerns over her upcoming marriage to Elias Robinson, Annie Franklin transferred ownership of her portion of the inherited Franklin estate to her brothers—Henry, Hyman, and Simon—for a cost of $25,000 to be held in trust for her.
Scope and Content
This series contains residential and commercial leases between various members of the Franklin family and the building occupiers, as well as deeds of land documenting the purchase or transfer of land. Also included are statutory declarations, mortgage papers, and some family legal documents.
The documents have been arranged into files by property and have been described at the file level. There is also a separate file for the family legal documents and for a set of invoices submitted by the Franklin family barristers.