The town of Franklin was formed from the town of Belmont in 1836. The hamlet of Merrillsville appears on a map by the early 1830s and is shown on David Burr's 1839 map of Franklin County. The settlement's name was derived from the family name of Merrill. Three generations of Merrills came to this area from Vermont before the Port Kent and Hopkinton Turnpike was finished (1829-32) . It was along this route that the Merrill families settled, as well as the Gates, Lemsons, Loverins and Smiths. These names appear on the map of Township No. 10, Old Military tract, in the John Richards Survey of 1813.
The area was sparsely settled and land was cheap, which enabled the Merrill families to acquire hundreds of acres. Among the properties developed by the family was an inn that served as a stagecoach stop on the turnpike. This inn also served as the first post office in the town of Franklin, with John R. Merrill appointed postmaster in 1837. Members of the Merrill family were well educated and served in many areas of town government. The minutes of the town of Franklin board meetings between 1836 and 1907 reveal the many offices in which they served.