Part 1, Chapter 22 of the Laws of Virginia, October 1793, which was an Act for regulating the police of towns in the commonwealth, and to restrain the practice of negroes going at large, was passed 10 December 1793. It required every free negro or mulatto, who resides in, or is employed to labour within the limits of any city, borough or town, to be registered and numbered in a book to be kept by the city clerk. It required the age, name, color, if born free or if emancipated. The register was delivered to the free person annually and was charged $0.25. This copy had to be carried with the free person at all times. If caught without it, the person would be jailed until a copy was produced and would be fined. Free people were required to obtain a new certificate every three years.
Based on this law, Richard Francis appears in The Register of Free Negroes and Mulattoes in Surry County, Virginia as follows:
The person who certified Richard as free born was a somewhat wealthy farmer that lived in the Southwark Parish with the Francis family. There is no record of the relationship between Willis Thompson and the Francis family. However, Willis certified the born free status of most of Henry and Polly's children.
According to marriage records of the District of Columbia, Richard Francis married Mary Elizabeth Conner on 15 September 1854. However, we are unable to locate either in the 1850 U.S. census.
In the 1870 census, Richard was listed in two different households of Ward 2 in the District. First, he is listed as a Mulatto restaurant clerk, living in the household of a White restaurant keeper, John Hancock. Several other Black servants were listed in the household, including Richard's nephew, William, who was listed as a Black waiter born in Washington, DC. William was the son of Richard's brother, Thomas. Richard was also recorded as head of household for his family. The household included:
Richard Francis - a 40 year old Mulatto restaurant clerk owning $7,500 in real estate and $500 in personal estate, who was unable to read and write; born in Virginia
Mary Francis - a 35 year old Mulatto home keeper, who was unable to read and write; born in Virginia
John Francis - a 14 year old Mulatto boy attending school; born in DC
Ida Francis - a 12 year old Mulatto girl attending school; born in DC
Lula Francis - a 7 year old Mulatto girl; born in DC
Robert Francis - a 35 year old Mulatto barber born in Virginia, who was literate
Maria Suttes - a 22 year old Mulatto domestic servant born in Virginia, who was unable to read and write
In 1870, relationships of those enumerated were not included. However, we know that Mary was Richard's wife, and his children were John, Ida, and Lula. Robert Francis was the son of Benjamin Francis and Elizabeth Taylor. We believe Benjamin Francis was the brother of Henry Francis and Elizabeth Taylor was the sister of Polly Francis. That would make Robert Francis the first cousin of Richard Francis. We believe Maria Suttes was a lodger in the home of Richard Francis.
In 1878, John R. Francis graduated with honors from the University of Michigan.
In the 1880 DC census, Richard was listed as a 50 year old Mulatto who worked as a restaurant keeper unable to read or write, living at 212 G St. NW. He stated the birth state of he and his parents was Virginia. His wife, Mary, was still keeping house. John R. Francis was a 24 year old physician. Maria L. Francis (Lulu) was attending school. Richard's daughter, Ida had married in 1875, but was listed in the household as Ida Turley, stepdaughter, with her daughter, Imogene. The family also had a 19 year old Virginia born boarder, Lydia Powell, living in the home.
While Ida and her daughter, Imogene, were living with the Francis family, her husband, Hamilcar Turley, and son, John R. H. Turley, were living with Hamilcar's mother, Julia Turley, at 127 M St NW. Hamilcar was listed as a 26 year old man working as a messenger in the Pension Office. His father was born in Virginia and his mother was born in North Carolina.
On 28 December 1881, Dr. John R. Francis married Betty Govanne Cox at th 15th Street Presbyterian Church. The ceremony was performed by Minister Francis J. Grimke. Betty was from Texas, but had come to DC as a young woman to attend Howard University.
For 36 years, Richard had worked as bar and restaurant keep at Hancock's. In 1885, he was appointed to take charge of the bar in the Senate restaurant. The appointment was made by Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont, President of the U.S. Senate.
In November 1886, Lulu Francis eloped with a barber, John F. Cragwell. The couple was married in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Oddly enough, the Washington Post ran a two part story on Lulu's elopement. In the article, she was referenced as "the flower of colored Washington society". Lulu was supposed to marry a Virginian waiter named George Sneed, but eloped with a former beau less that a week before her wedding day. Lulu and Cragwell had met years before when he worked at Hancock's restaurant with her father. The couple had two children in DC: Beatrice (born 1890) and Pauline (born 1894).
In the mean time, Dr. John R. Francis was becoming very well known among various circles within the District. He was one of the Black leaders of the city entertaining friends such as Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. John was on the School Board and confronted Congress, with other well knows Black city leaders, about the unfair treatment of Blacks. On more than one occassion, John had been interviewd by the Washington Post to discuss the treatment and advancement of Blacks in the United States. In 1894, the Secretary of the Interior appointed John R. Francis to the position of first assistant surgeon of Freedman's Hospital, with a salary of $1,800. He instituted several reforms in the treatment of patients and created the training school for nurses. In addition to assistant surgeon, John was the sole obstetrician for many years.
On 5 November 1888, Richard died of a paralytic stroke in his home. He had been ill for five months. Services were held at 15th Street Presbyterian Church and Richard was buried in Graceland Cemetery, formerly located near the intersection of Benning Road and H Street, NE. Richard was disintered in 1895 when Graceland closed and was moved to the family lot of Woodlawn Cemetery at 4611 Benning Rd SE.
In 1890, Mary was living at 1113 13th St. NW in Washington, DC. In 1898, she was living at 1625 Corcoran St NW. She could not be located in the 1900 census. On 5 Jun 1906, Mary died and was buried in the family plot of Woodlawn Cemetery in Washington, DC.
In the 1900 DC census, Dr. John R. Francis, Sr was living at 2112 Pennsylvania Ave NW with his family. The household included:
John R. Francis - 44 year old physician born in DC
Betty G. Francis - 39 year old wife born in Texas, who had 5 children by 1900 and all were surviving
Milton A. Francis - 17 year old son in school
John R. Francis, Jr. - 16 year old son in school
Hugh R. Francis - 12 year old son in school
Cedric E. Francis - 10 year old son in school
Dorothea E. Francis - 3 year old daughter at home
Jesse E. Keeman - 22 year old Black female servant to the family, who was a trained nurse
Ella Welsh - 30 year old Black female servant to the family
John's sister, Ida Turley, was living with her family at 1125 Corcoran St NW. The household consisted of:
Hamilcar C. Turley - 42 year old clerk working in the Pension Office
Ida A. Turley - 39 year old wife
John R. Turley - 25 year old son, who worked as a waiter
Imogene E. Turley - 21 year old daughter, who worked as a seamstress
Hamilcar C. Turley - 17 year old son attending school
Lulu Vashti Turley - 15 year old daughter attending school
On 8 November 1900, Ida Turley died in her home. She was buried in the family lot in Woodlawn Cemetery.
We have been unable to find Marian Louise Francis (alias Lulu) and her Cragwell family in the 1900 census.
In 1907, Hugh R. Francis, son of John R. Francis, Sr., graduated from Harvard University.
According to the 1910 DC census, John R. Francis Sr. was working in his own private office. Unsure when opened, his "private sanitarium" welcomed people of all incomes and races. Dr. Francis strongly believed affordable and effective healthcare should be available to all. His household included:
John R. Francis - head of household, 54 years old, physician, privately owned practice
Betty G. Francis - wife, 49 years old, born in Mexico, parents born in Texas
Milton A. Francis - son, 27 years old, physician, privately owned practice
Hugh R. Francis - son, 23 years old
Cedric E. Francis - son, 20 years old
Dorothea E. Francis - daughter, 12 years old
Agnes Jackson - servant, 33 year old widow, cooked and cleaned for Francis family
Isiah Jackson - (son of Agnes Jackson) servant to Francis family, 8 years old
Clarance Lucas - 15 years old, general servant to Francis family
John R. Francis, Jr. was married and living with his spouse, Alice King Wormley, and daughter, Genevieve, at 1838 4th St NW. John was a dentist.
Ida Francis's husband and all children, save one, had died between her death in 1900 and 1910. Imogene Estelle Turley had died 28 August 1904 in the family home. Hamilcar Chester Turley, Jr. had died 7 April 1905. John R. H. Turley had died in DC 2 July 1908 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. Ida's husband, Hamilcar died at 522 U St NW on 29 December 1908. The only surviving family member, Lulu Vashti Turley, was living a prosperous life. Lulu had graduated from M Street School (later named Dunbar High School) and went on to attend Minor Normal School (later named Teacher's College), which was associated with Howard University. In 1908, she was appointed to teach in DC public schools. According to the 1910 DC census, Lulu was living as a boarder in the househild of Nicholas and Mary Colbert. Lulu was working as a teacher and was no longer going by Lulu; she is listed as Vashti in the census. On 13 January 1913, Lulu, with twenty-one other women, founded the Black sorority Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.
In 1913, Dr. John Francis established the Colored Social Settlement, which raised support for Black social services. John was known as an encouraging force in teaching Black students about their heritage. It was his philosophy that educating a Black child in their culture, history, and roots would foster a since of pride. On May 23 of the same year, Dr. John R. Francis, Sr. died at Freedman's Hospital of pyonephrosis and septicemia. He was buried in the family lot at Woodlawn Cemetery. In later years, a public DC junior high school was named to honor him.
In the 1910 census, Marian Louise Francis was listed in the District of Columbia living with a lodger, Rosebud A. Murray. She alo appears in the 1910 Seattle, Washington census with her family. The household consists of:
John F. Cragwell - head of household, 46 year old barber
Lula F. Cragwell - wife, 45 years old
Pauline Cragwell - daughter, 18 yars old
Lulu's daughter, Beatrice had married Letcher Yarborough in 1907. In 1910, the couple was living as boarders in Cleveland, Ohio in the household of Frank and Georgia Evans. Beatrice had given birth to two children, but only one was surviving. Their surviving son, Letcher Yarbrough, Jr. is not listed in the 1910 census although he was born in 1908. Letcher Yarbrough, Sr. worked as a porter in a barber shop. Beatrice no longer appears in census records, although her husband claimed he was divorced in the 1920 census.
In 1920, the widow of Dr. John R. Francis, Sr., Betty, was living alone at 1102 9th St NW.
Dr. Milton A. Francis was living 2109 Pennsylvania Ave NW with his wife, Emily, her father, Statemont Lewis, and a lodger, Florence Long. Milton had is own private practice.
Dr. John R. Francis, Jr. was living at 700 T St NW with his family. He worked as a dentist in his own private office. Listed in the household was:
John R. Francis - 35
Alice Francis - 34
Genevieve - 12
John R. Francis - 6
Betty Francis - 2 years and 7 months
Hugh R. Francis was living San Cristobal, San Juan, Puerto Rico as a lawyer. He was not found in later census records, but ship records show that he married a Puerto Rican woman named Mercedes and had two children, Richard (born in 1934) and Betty (born in 1938). Both children were born in Puerto Rico.
Cedric Errol Francis, son of Dr. John R. Francis, Sr., is not listed in census records after 1910. However, in 1917 he registered for the World War I draft and noted that he was a DC public school teacher with a wife and one daughter. There is no record of the name of his wife and child. Many years later he is found in Canada married to a Canadian woman named Edna Rea Ellis. The couple moved to Santurce, Puerto Rico, where they lived from 1930 to 1934. There is no further record of Cedric or his wife after a 1940 return to the U.S. through Buffalo, New York. According to the border crossing record, Cedric left the United States in 1919 and was employed as a salesman in 1940. He listed his permenant residence as Toronto, Canada. However, the couple was moving to San Juan to reside permenantly.
There are no further census records for John R. Francis, Sr.'s daughter, Dorothea Francis, but there were ship records that show Dorothea travelling from the U.S. to Puerto Rico to visit her brother, Hugh. Dorothea died in Washington, DC on 25 June 1939. She is buried in the family lot in Woodlawn Cemetery in Washington, DC.
Ida Francis's last surviving child, Vashti Turley, married Carl J. Murphy in about 1916. Carl Murphy took control of his father's newspaper, the Afro American, in 1926. The 1920 Baltimore, Maryland census list the household of Vashti and Carl as:
Carl J. Murphy - 30 year old newspaper editor born in Maryland
Vashti Murphy - 30 year old wife born in DC
Martha Murphy - 2 years and 9 months born in Maryland
Ida Ann Murphy - 1 year and 3 months born in Maryland
The 1920 Seattle, Washington census lists Marian Louise Francis and family.
John F. Cragwell - 58 years old, born in Virginia, barber in hotel
Louise Cragwell - 56 years old, wife
George Swayze - 21 years old, son-in-law, born in Louisiana, mail clerk for the U.S. Postal Office
Pauline Swayze - 28 years old, daughter, stock girl for a retail merchant
Letcher Yarbrough - 11 years old, grandson, born in Pennsylvania
On 11 May 1925, Betty Cox Francis, the widow of Dr. John R. Francis, Sr., died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Washington, DC. According to the 1920 DC census, Betty's son, Milton, and his wife, Emily, continued to live in DC. Milton was still a general practice physician. It appears the couple never had children. Milton died in his home on 22 July 1961. The only other surviving child, Dr. John Richard Francis, Jr., is not listed in the 1920 U.S. census. Although he nor his family are listed in other census records, Dr. John R. Francis, Jr. died between 1942 and 1946.
Vashti Turley still lived in Baltimore with her husband and family. The enumeration in the 1930 Baltimore census was:
Carl Murphy - head of household, 41, newspaper publisher
Vashti Murphy - wife, 41
Elizabeth Murphy - daughter, 13
Ida Murphy - daughter, 11
Vashti Murphy - daughter, 9
Carlita Murphy - daughter, 9
Frances Murphy - daughter, 7
Lola Savage - ward, 16, born in Virginia
In Seattle, Washington, John F. Cragwell was the proprietor of a barber shop, Lulu was keeping house, and their grandson Letcher Yarbrough (21 years old), was a mechanic in a steel plant.
2. Richard Francis (1826 VA – 11/5/1888 DC)
m. Betty Govanne COX (1860 – 1925 Philadelphia)
4. Milton Augusta Francis (9/5/1882 in DC - 1961)
m. Emily Beatrice LEWIS (8/27/1882 DC - ?)
4. John Richard Francis (4/29/1884 in DC - ?)
m. Alice K. WORMLEY (May 1886 DC – 5/23/1946 DC)
5. Genevieve Francis (11/10/1907 DC – 1/1994 DC)
m. ? BURKE
m. Mary CARTER
5. Betty Francis (1917 -?)
m. James H. M. HENDERSON
4. Hugh Richard Francis (Dec 12 1886 - ?)
m. Mercedes ? (7/24/1904 Vega Baja, PR - ?)
5. Richard Francis (7/4/1934 Santurce, PR - ?)
5. Betty Francis (1/31/1938
4. Cedric Errol Francis (March 9 1890 – ?)
m. Edna Rea ELLIS (6/22/1896 - ?)
4. Dorothea E. Francis (5/18/1897 – 6/1939)
m. Sylvanus HART
3. Ida A. Francis (10/1860 DC – 11/8/1900 DC)
m. Hamilcar TURLEY (12/1857 DC – 12/29/1908)
4. John R. H. TURLEY (11/1874 DC – 7/2/1908 DC)
4. Imogene Estelle TURLEY (4/1879 DC – 8/28/1904 DC)
4. Hamilcar Chester TURLEY (1/1883 DC – 4/7/1905 DC)
4. Lulu Vashti TURLEY (2/1885 DC - 1960 in
m. Carl MURPHY (1889 – 1967 Baltimore, MD)
5. Elizabeth MURPHY (3/11/1917
m. ? MOSS
5. Vashti MURPHY (1/9/1921 MD – 11/26/1981 MD)
m. ? MATTHEWS
5. Ida Ann MURPHY (9/20/1918 MD – 4/13/1996 MD)
m. Samuel Edward SMITH
5. Carlita MURPHY (1/9/1921 MD – 7/4/2006 MD)
m. Leeland JONES (1921 - ?)
5. Frances Louise MURPHY (10/8/1922 MD – 11/21/2007 MD)
m. James E. WOOD
3. Marian Louise “Lulu” Francis (1863 – ?)
m. John F. CRAGWELL (circ 1862 VA - ?)
4. Beatrice CRAGWELL (circ 1890 DC - ?)
m. Letcher L. YARBROUGH (circ 1888 VA - ?)
5. Unknown YARBROUGH (died before 1910)
5. Letcher L. YARBROUGH (circ 1908 PA – 10/17/1992 WA)
4. Pauline CRAGWELL (circ 1892 DC - ?)
m. George SWAZYE (circ 1899 LA - ?)5. Pauline I. SWAZYE (circ 1925 WA - ?)