description

COONS, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (1826 in St. Louis, Missouri –1892 in St. Louis). Benjamin Franklin Coons, merchant, led wagon trains to Santa Fe in 1846, 1847, and 1848, and by September 1848 had established himself as a merchant in El Paso del Norte.
In 1848 th US Army announced that a military post would be established at the pass. It would be called "The Post Opposite El Paso" referring to El Paso del Norte. Taking advantage of the potential, Benjamin Franklin Coons (usually referred to as Mr. Franklin) acquired the Ponce ranch and began increasing its' facilities in anticipation of the Army's arrival in September, 1849. Leasing these facilities provided Coons with income in addition to his trading interests. He then proceeded to build a tavern, warehouse, stables, and store just west of the army post. and leased the main buildings and six acres to the United States government for $250 dollars a month as the site for the first military post in the area. The arrangement was short lived. 1850, Conns tried to bring a wagon train of goods to San Antonio. The first wagon train, plagued by unscrupulous drivers and a scarcity of water, took nearly five months to travel from San Antonio, and most of the shipment was ruined as a result. Also, that summer Coons absorbed a loss totalling nearly $18,000, having accepted several bills of credit that later proved to be forgeries. In 1851, following Coons' disastrous 1850 attempt to bring a wagon train of goods from San Antonio, the Army announced it was pulling it's troops out and moving them into New Mexico. Because Coons was unable to continue payments on the ranch, Ponce repossessed. He went to California in late 1850, regained a measure of financial security, and returned to El Paso early in 1851. Unfortunately for him, when the United States troops left Coons' Rancho in September, 1851, Coons lost his most reliable source of income and was soon forced to default on his property payments. His ranch repossessed, he returned to California to seek yet another fortune. He apparently achieved some measure of success herding sheep, moved back to St. Louis in 1856, and married Sophie Delor in 1859.
Although Coons stay here was brief, his memory lives on in the name of our Mount Franklin. The little village would be known as 'Franklin' for many years - even after it was incorporated as El Paso in 1873. The "Post Opposite El Paso" would return in 1853 by order of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. On March 8th, 1854 the post received it's official name, Fort Bliss, named for Lt. Colonel William Wallace Smith Bliss, formerly adjutant to Zachary Taylor. Bliss, who died in 1853, is buried at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery. (Source http://www.elpasohistory.com/elpasohist; http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcodb)

Uploaded on 07.28.2014 by El Paso Museum of History

Northeast / Ft. Bliss, (1850 - 1859), Meet El Pasoans

  • Fort Bliss; El Paso; Franklin Mountains

Your comment will be visible after the El Paso Museum staff has reviewed it. This usually happens within 24 hours.

Thank you for your comment

Benjamin Franklin Coons

Report this entry

Choose the most important reason for this report

Your name

Your email address

Optional detail

Thank you for your report

More from the same community-collection

Aerial View Of Fort Bliss

Area view of Fort Bliss between 1910 and 1920.

Camp of U.S. Army

Between 1910 and 1920 the 13th Cavalry of the U. S. Army camped close to El Paso.

Buffalo Soldier, Fort Bliss

A salute to black cavalry soldiers, the sculpture by Jimmie Bemont is titled "Buffalo Soldier: The Errand of Corporal Ross"....

Bliss Replica

This replica gives the visitor an idea about the construction of the old Fort Bliss buildings.

The Fighting Jew

Samuel Dreben WWI soldier of fortune - 1918. Dreben enlisted on June 27, 1899 in the 14th Infantry Regiment and...

El Paso County Historical Society

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society(EPCHS) has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso....

Prince John Magruder

John Magruder was a career military officer who served in the armies of three nations. He was a U.S. Army...

Col. McMaster

Col. McMaster was assigned to Fort Bliss from 1915-1916. Col. McMaster father of Richard Keith McMaster, author of Musket, Saber...

First Lieut. Charles B. Gatewood

First Lieutenant Charles Bare Gatewood (April 5, 1853 – May 20, 1896) was an American soldier born in Woodstock, Virginia....

Capt. Emmett Crawford

In the spring of 1882, the 3rd Cavalry was transferred to Arizona to deal with the Apache. Crawford was assigned...

Second Lieut. Britton Davis

In the spring of 1882, the 3rd Cavalry was transferred to Arizona to deal with the Apache. He and Lt....

B. G. Henry H. Sibley

He went to Richmond, Virginia, and there persuaded Jefferson Davis to adopt a grandiose plan to seize not only New...

Col. Alexander W. Doniphan

With the outbreak of hostilities between the United States and Mexico in May 1846, Col. Alexander Doniphan and his Missouri...

Brave Rifles - Veterans

The Air Defense Artillery Association welcoming Desert Storm troops

Earl A. Buckhart on troop horse.

The story of this photo was written on the back. "This picture taken June 1920 at Ft. Bliss, Texas, at...