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Captain Samuel Brady crossed the area around as part of his campaigns against an unknown tribe, escaping by leaping the Cuyahoga River in present-day downtown Kent and hiding in Brady Lake. Aaron Olmsted of East Hartford, Connecticut purchased this township at a cost of The area under the Franklin Township name included all of present-day Portage County and much of present-day Summit County as well as parts of present-day Trumbull County. The following year, the township was surveyed into individual lots. The first settlers arrived in November when John Haymaker and his family moved west from Warren to the banks of the Cuyahoga River.
They were joined by John's brother George and their father Jacob Haymaker and their families early the next year, and built a gristmill in The first village, known as Franklin Mills, or locally as the "Lower Village", developed mostly around the original Haymaker property.
In , Joshua Woodard arrived in the area and began constructing buildings just north of the village forming the "Upper Village" that would come to be known briefly as Carthage. When construction began on the canal in the mids, land speculation was rampant in many areas of northeast Ohio along the canal, including Franklin Mills. As a result, an industrial and business region was established along the east side of the river in what is now downtown Kent. Factories and mills were either planned or constructed along the Cuyahoga River, some of which either were never built or ultimately failed, due mostly to effects of the Panic of By the canal was completely shut down.
During this time, what would become the Franklin Township Hall was constructed in as the intended home of the Franklin Silk Company. The company failed before the building was finished so the township took over the building, finished construction, and began using it for the seat of township government beginning in In , the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad was built across the northern part of the township with a station at Earlville, a small settlement that once existed along present-day State Route 43 north of Kent.
Though the railroad did little in terms of spurring economic development in the township, it would indirectly lead to later economic and population growth.
The arrival of the Atlantic and Great Western in the township in and the establishment of Franklin Mills as the site of the railroad's maintenance yards and shops the next year fueled a new spurt of prolonged economic and population growth in the village, culminating in it being renamed Kent in and formally incorporating in Franklin Township also touches the city of Hudson on the northwest corner, Shalersville Township on the northeast corner, and Rootstown Township on the southeast corner.
Within the boundaries of the township is the unincorporated community of Twin Lakes , a residential area on either side of State Route 43 just south of Sugar Bush Knolls. Immediately south of Twin Lakes is the location of the historical town of Earlville which existed primarily in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a stop on the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad. Most of the city of Kent, all of the village of Brady Lake, and a small part of Sugar Bush Knolls occupy land that was once part of the township.
Sugar Bush Knolls withdrew in and both Kent and Brady Lake formally separated from the township in Located on the western end of the Glaciated Allegheny Plateau , the topography of Franklin Township includes rolling hills and varied terrain.
Lake Rockwell, the main drinking water source for the city of Akron , is in the northeastern part of the township. It was created in and impounds water from the Cuyahoga River , covering approximately 1. Brady Lake , which is largely within the village limits of Brady Lake , is used for recreation along with East Twin Lake and West Twin Lake, which straddle each side of State Route 43 in the northern part of the township.
During the spring and summer months, thunderstorms are fairly common and the area is susceptible to tornadoes. Franklin Township is not considered part of the Lake Erie snowbelt , though lake-effect snow does occur at times.
The township is in what is referred to as the "secondary snowbelt", meaning it will receive heavier snowfall totals from lake-effect snow when certain wind directions are more prevalent, but typically sees far less snowfall than areas to the north closer to Lake Erie. Initial population growth in Franklin Township was influenced by the location on the Cuyahoga River which led to the development of industrial and manufacturing jobs. As of the Census , there were 5, people, 2, households, and 1, families residing in the township. The population density was There were 2, housing units at an average density of The racial makeup of the township was There were 2, households out of which The average household size was 2.
In the township the population was spread out with The median age was For every females age 18 and over, there were About 2. Educationally, like Kent, Franklin Township is above the national, state, and local averages for residents who have attained a bachelor's, master's, or above a master's degree. At the Census, approximately The location of Franklin Township along the Cuyahoga River and later the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal and multiple railroad lines made it attractive initially for the establishment of small gristmills and factories. Progressively larger factories would later develop due to increased power potential of the river and later due to the ease and lower cost of transportation of goods to other markets.
Changes in the structure of the railroad and declines in the manufacturing sector during the midth century combined with the rapid growth of Kent State University following World War II led to the university becoming Portage County's largest employer and influencing the development of other areas of the township's economy. Arts and entertainment accounts for 7. The average commute time was approximately 20 minutes. The township is governed by a three-member board of trustees, who are elected in November of odd-numbered years to a four-year term beginning on the following 1 January.
Two are elected in the year after the presidential election and one is elected in the year before it. There is also an elected township fiscal officer, who serves a four-year term beginning on 1 April of the year after the election, which is held in November of the year before the presidential election.
Vacancies in the fiscal officership or on the board of trustees are filled by the remaining trustees.
Preschool , elementary , and secondary education is mainly provided by the Kent City School District with a small portion of the northwest part of the township a part of the neighboring Stow-Munroe Falls City School District. Kent Schools also operates a preschool program housed at Davey Elementary School, and is a member of the Six District Educational Compact with five surrounding districts to facilitate vocational education with many of these programs housed at Theodore Roosevelt High School.
Department of Education's prestigious Blue Ribbon School award.
WNIR , at It also the flagship station for Kent State football and men's basketball broadcasts. The Record-Courier , a daily paper based in Kent which covers news for Portage County, is the main source of printed media for Franklin Township.
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The township provides limited services to residents including curbside recycling pickup, seasonal leaf and Christmas tree pickup, chipping and mulching, and road maintenance. Waste collection is handled individually and township residents maintain their own wells and septic systems.
Portage County handles the townships's curbside recycling collection. State Route 43 is the main north—south highway with Diagonal Road a secondary road northeast to Mantua via Streetsboro. SR 59 is a three-lane road before widening to five lanes just east of the junction with State Route State Route passes through the southeastern part of the township as a two-lane highway mainly running north-south before turning to an east-west direction and widening to a four-lane divided highway for a short distance in northern Brimfield Township and southern Kent.
Hospital care is provided mainly through Robinson Memorial Hospital.
The bed main hospital is located in Ravenna and the system operates additional facilities throughout Portage County. Although the city of Kent incorporated in and the village of Brady Lake would follow in , until , the U. Census Bureau counted most of the population of Kent and all of Brady Lake as the "incorporated portions" of Franklin Township.