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David Rowland Francis

Gov. David Rowland Francis

  • January 14, 1889 - January 9, 1893
  • Democratic
  • October 1, 1850
  • January 15, 1927
  • Kentucky
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Married Jane Perry; six sons
  • Cabinet secretary, Ambassador


DAVID R. FRANCIS was born in Richmond, Kentucky on October 1, 1850. His education was attained at the Reverend Robert Breck’s Richmond Academy, and at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated in 1870. He worked as a commission house clerk, and eventually established his own commission company, the D.R. Francis and Brother Co. Francis first entered politics as the mayor of St. Louis, a position he held from 1885 to 1889. He next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on November 6, 1888. He was sworn into office on January 14, 1889. During his tenure, Barnes Medical College was established; and the Missouri state federation of labor was formed, as was the board of mediation and arbititration. After completing his term, Francis left office on January 9, 1893. Three years later, he secured an appointment to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Interior, a position he held less than a year. He also was instrumental in organizing the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, and he served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia from 1916 to 1918. Governor David R. Francis passed away on January 15, 1927, and was buried in the Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri.


1904 World's Fair

Bridging the Century: 1904-2004

Messages and Proclamations of the Governors of the State of Missouri (Produced by the Missouri Historical Society)

Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City, MO)

The Political Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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