Based on Virginia law, Elias Francis appears in The Register of Free Negroes and Mulattoes in Surry County, Virginia as follows:

[p.392] #905.  Virginia Surry County sct.

ELIAS alias ELIAS FRANCIS a free man of Color aged 21 years son of Henry Francis and Polly Francis free persons was born free as appears by the Certificate of Wills Thompson, is of light Complexion, thin statue large light blue eyes, has a scar near the chin on the left side of his face and one on the left hand near his thumb and is 5'6 3/4" high.  The said Elias alias Elias Francis is registered of the above description in the Office of the County Court of Surry this 26th day of October 1846.         

Teste Wm. P. Underwood CC 

The person who certified Elias 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.

In the 1850 Baltimore, Maryland census, Elias is listed as a 25 year old mulatto domestic living with Catherine Johnson of Maryland.  There is no reference to the relationship between the two.  According to the census, Elias is unable to read or write.


On 18 May 1865, Elias Francis married Emily Duncan of Norfolk, Virginia at First Baptist Church in Ward 1 of Washington, DC by Reverend D. Anderson.  Emily had been freed from slavery by her mother 10 years prior.


Elias joined the U.S. Navy.  According to Elias's discharge papers, he was a Cabin Cook on the U.S. Ship Delaware, where he served from October 25, 1867 to December 5, 1870.  We know very little of what transpired during his enlistment, but the history of the ship on which Elias served gives a peek at his life during that time. 


USS Delaware may refer to one of the six United States Navy ships named for the U.S. state of Delaware.  Elias served on the screw steamer, Piscataqua, that was renamed the USS Delaware in 1869.  The Piscataqua was named for a river in New England, forming the boundary between Maine and New Hampshire. The first Piscataqua, a screw steamer, was launched 11 June 1866 by Portsmouth Navy Yard; and commissioned 21 October 1867 with Captain Daniel Ammen in command. On 16 December 1867, she sailed for the East Indies via Cape of Good Hope, arriving Singapore 18 April 1868. Serving as flagship for the Asiatic Station, she visited ports in China, Japan, and the Philippines. From 1868 to 1869, a civil war raged in Japan; during the course of this war, Piscataqua protected the lives of United States citizens and American interests. 


On 15 May 1869, her name was changed to Delaware, and on 23 August 1870, she departed Singapore for America. She arrived New York 19 November. Decommissioned 5 December 1870, she remained in the New York Navy Yard until sinking in 1876. She was sold for scrapping in February 1877.

In the 1870 census of Washington, DC, Elias was back home with his wife, Emily, and children (Richard - 4 and Emily - 2).  His occupation was listed as sailor.  The Bentley family of Washington, DC were living in the home as boarders.
On 3 September 1879, Elias died at his home (514 19th St NW) of pulmonary phthisis.  He was buried in Graceland Cemetery.  In 1897 he was disinterred and buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.  In 1898 he was moved again to a family plot in Woodlawn Cemetery.

According to the 1880 DC census, Emily (Duncan) Francis was living at home and is listed as a mulatto head of household with no occupation.  All of her children are listed: 

Richard - 14 - at home, unable to read or write
Bessie - 12 - attending school (Bessie's given name was Emily Elizabeth Francis)
Harry - 8 - attending school (Harry's given name was Henry Elias Francis)
Theodore - 6 - at home
Helen - 3 - at home
Charles - 2 - at home

According to an 8 April 1888 Washington Post article, Emily was appointed as a charwoman (cleaning woman) to the State, War, and Navy Departments.

On 30 June 1897, Bessie was married to Samuel Wade, a Jamaican man of fair complexion born in 1869.  Samuel had gained his U.S. citizenship and was living in Cleveland, Ohio.  Bessie moved to Cleveland with him.

Emily was still living at 514 19th St NW according to the 1900 Washington, DC census.  The house was paid for in full.  She stated she was born in January 1835 and had given birth to six children, although only five were still alive.  We believe Thomas is the child that had died.  Only two children were living in the household with her.  Charles was working as a hotel bellman and Helen was a seamstress.  Also, in the household was Inez Wade, the daughter of Bessie (nee Emily), who had been born in Ohio in 1898.  However, Bessie does not appear in the census that year.  In 1904, Bessie died. 

During this time, Emily's oldest son, Richard Oliver Francis, was living with his wife, Maggie, in an apartment at 523 21st St NW.  Richard was working as a watchman.  Maggie was born in Virginia in April 1872.  The couple had been married in 1887.  Maggie had given birth to three children, but none were surviving in 1900.  According to a Washington Post article of 3 November 1903, the couple was divorced.

Harry Francis could not be found in the 1900 census.
On 23 February 1904, Charles Duncan Francis married Anna T. West at 2031 11th St NE, Washington, DC, which was owned by her mother.  The home was later sold to the couple for $1.  

On 24 June 1914, Richard Oliver Francis died in his mother's home of Pyarmia and Retention.  He was ill for only one week.  Richard was buried in the family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in SE Washington, DC.

In the 1910 DC Federal census, Emily was living at home with her daughter Helen and grandaughter, Inez F. Wade.  Emily claimed that only four of her six children were alive.  Helen was the only wage earner in the household, working as a seamstress.  

Although Harry was not found in the census, based on later census records, he married a Maryland woman named Anna in 1910.

Charles Francis was enumerated in the 1910 DC census as living in an apartment at 1407 W St NW with his wife, Annie, and daughters (Velma, age 5 and Dorothy, age 1).  The couple was renting the apartment and Charles was providing for his family by working as a janitor at the "Captain's House".  We assume Charles was a waged employee at the Navy Yard, which employed many Blacks in DC during this time period.
In the 1920 DC Federal census, Emily and her daughter, Helen, and grandaughter, Inez were living at 2116 M St NW.  Helen was working as a seamstress out of the home and Inez was a teacher in DC Public Schools.   On 18 June 1925, Emily died of insolation (sunstroke) in her home.  She was buried in the family plot at Woodlawn Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Harry Francis and his wife Anna were renting a home at 1413 May St in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife Anna.  A Lodger named William York was living in their home as well.  Although Harry was 71 years of age, he was still working as a laborer for a lumber company.  Anna was contributing to the household by working as a laundress out of their home.

During this time, Charles Duncan Francis was living at 2030 Vermont Ave NW.  He worked in the Federal government as a messenger, one of the few positions Blacks were allowed to perform at that time.  His houselod included:

Charles D. Francis - 41 years of age, head of household
Annie T. Francis -  39 years of age, wife
Velma V. Francis - 14 years of age, daughter
Dorothy V. Francis - 10 1/2 years of age, daughter
Theodore A. Francis - 6 years and 5 months, son
Charles D. Francis - 1 year and 3 months, son
Mamie B. Hilliard - 24 years of age (widow born in Virginia), lodger

Harry and his wife Annie lived at 1420 Silver Court in Baltimore, Maryland according to the 1930 census.  No further record have been found on the couple.  However, Wade Montgomery remembers Helen and Charles Francis travelling to Baltimore to bury their brother.  The date and cause of Harry and Annie's death is unknown.

Helen Francis and Inez Montgomery were renting a home at 2213 L St NW.  Inez continued to work as a teacher in DC Public Schools. 

Charles Francis continued to live at 2023 Vermont Ave NW.  His household consisted of:

Charles D. Francis - a 52 year old messenger for the Treasury Department
Annie Francis - 48 year old, wife, seamstress for a private family
Dorothy Francis - 20 year old, daughter
Theodore Francis - 16 year old, son
Charles Francis - 11 year old, son
Kenneth Francis - 9 year old, son

Charles Duncan Francis, Sr. became a widow 23 February 1950.  He remarried a Washingtonian woman named Kathleen when he was in his 80s.  On 17 November, 1966, Charles died from a fall down the stairs.  He was suffering from dementia.

Helen Gertrude Francis never married.  She lived with her neice, Inez Wade, until her 1 June 1937 death during childbirth.  Inez's husband, Joseph O. Montgomery died in 1940.  Their only child, Joseph Wade Montgomery, was raised by Helen.  Eventually, Helen moved in with Joseph and his family.  Helen died in March 1972.

2.  Elias K. Francis (1825 VA – 1879 DC)

                 m.  Emily DUNCAN (1835 VA – 1925 DC) was slave in Norfolk (owned by Richard Gatewood) until her mother paid for her freedom in installments – was paid off in 1855
                        3.  Richard Oliver Francis (1866 DC – 1914 DC)

                             m. Maggy L. ? (1872 VA - ?)

                        3.  Emily Elizabeth Francis (1867 DC – 1904 DC)

                             m. Samuel Arthur WADE (1869 Jamaica - ?)

                                    4.  Inez WADE (1899 OH – 1937 DC)

                                        m. Joseph O. MONTGOMERY (1881 DC – 1940 DC)

                                                5.  Joseph Wade MONTGOMERY

                                3.  Henry “Harry” Elias Francis (1871 DC - ? Baltimore, MD)

                             m. Anna ? (1868 MD - ? MD)

3.  Theodore A. Francis (1873 DC - ?) 

                        3.  Helen Gertrude Francis (1876 DC – 1972 DC)

3.  Charles Dunbcan Francis, Sr. (1878 DC - 1966 DC)

                             m.  Anna T. WEST (1877 DC – 1950 DC)

                                    4.  Velma Viola Francis (1905 DC – 1987 DC)

          m.  Albert Toussaint LISER (1896 Martinique -1977 DC)

                 5.  Orville Francis LISER (1925 DC – 2002 MD)

                      m. Constance BROADNAX (1925 DC - 2005 DC) 

                  5.  Albert Toussaint LISER, Jr. 

                     m. Margaret Lucille LEWIS (1928 PA – 1983 DC)

                 5.  Gaston Emile Liser (1928 DC - 1957 DC)

                 5.  Female twin of Gaston Liser – stillborn

                 5.  Daughter Liser

                 5.  Daughter Liser

                 5.  Lupita Liser (1933 DC – 1979 DC)

                 5.  Daughter Liser

                 5.  Daughter Liser

                 5.  Son Liser

                 5.  Verochia Barbara Ann Liser (1940 –  1941) 
     4.  Dorothy Vashti Francis (1907 DC - 1967 DC)

          m. Lawrence MULLINS (? DC - ? MD)

4.  Theodore Francis (1914 DC - 1976 DC)

     m. Marguerite B ? (1914 DC - 1963 DC)

4.  Charles Duncan Francis, Jr. (1918 DC - 1998 DC)

4.  Kenneth Vincent Francis, Sr.

     m. Eleanor WASHINGTON

            5.  Daughter Francis 

                                                5.  Daughter Francis
                                                5.  Son Francis
                                                5.  Son Francis  

                                                5.  Daughter Francis