Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FRANCIS, Teneh, lawyer, born probably in Ireland; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16 August 1758. He was the son of John Francis, dean of Sirmore and rector of St. Mary's Church, Dublin. His brother, Richard Francis, was an eminent lawyer, and author of "Maxims in Equity," and another brother, Rev. Philip Francis, was the father of Sir Philip Francis, the reputed author of the "Junius Letters." Tench was educated in England, and prepared for the bar, after which he immigrated to Talbot County, Maryland, and became attorney for Lord Baltimore, in Kent. He was clerk of Talbot County from 1726 till 1734, and in 1734 represented his County in the Maryland legislature.
He subsequently settled in Philadelphia, was attorney general of Pennsylvania, from 1741 till 1755, and recorder of Philadelphia from 1750 till 1755. He was an eminent lawyer, and, according to Franklin's "Gazette," 24 August 1758, served in his several offices "with the highest reputation."
His son, Teneh Francis, merchant, born in Fansley, Talbot County, Maryland, in 1730; died in Philadelphia, 1 May 1800, for many years acted as agent for the Penn family in connection with their proprietary interests. He became the first cashier of the "Bank of North America," which office he held until his death. He is said to have contributed £5,000 for the support of the Revolutionary army.
Another son, Turbutt Francis, soldier, born in 1740; died in 1797, was named for his mother, a Miss Turbutt. Before the war of the Revolution he was a lieutenant in the British army, but afterward fought with his countrymen for independence, rose to the rank of colonel, arid his correspondence with Sir Philip Francis shows that in 1770 Colonel Francis had purchased for his cousin, Sir Philip, a tract of 1,000 acres in Maryland, for which 125 or 130 guineas were to be paid. He was also anxious that his relative should secure from the English government a grant of land, which he thought might be purchased from the Indians for from 2,000 to 3,000 guineas. This tract, which he described as "a prodigious fine country," was north of the Ohio and between the Scioto and the Wabash. The colonel also asked his correspondent to "obtain for us the carrying place of Niagara" and "a grant of the Salt Lake, and the land for one mile around it, in the Onondago country." To this Sir Philip replied that, although he had really very little " interest" (influence) with the authorities, he would take the matter into consideration.
About a year afterward, it appears, Colonel Francis had succeeded to some extent in improving his own prospects, as Sir Philip writes to a relative, under date of 1 May 1771: " If you have not made a thousand compliments to Tubby Francis for me upon his change of condition, you deserve to be hanged. I have used that honest fellow infamously; but really, between ourselves, I cannot prevail upon myself to talk to a man who makes so light of getting large provinces into his possession." Subsequently, when Sir Philip had become a member of the "new council" of India, he again wrote to Colonel Turbott, saying: "At present I am bound to the Ganges; but who knows whether I may not end my days on the banks of the Ohio. It gives me great comfort to reflect that I have relatives who are honest fellows in almost every part of the world. In America the name of Francis flourishes. I don't like to think of the quantity of salt water between us. If it were claret, I would drink my way to America."
John Brown Francis, grandson of the younger Tench, senator, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 31 May 1791; died in Spring Green, in Warwick, R. I., 9 August 1864, lost his father in infancy, and was adopted by his maternal grandfather, Nicholas Brown. He was educated in the schools of Providence and in Brown University, where he was graduated in 1808. He spent a year in the counting house of his kinsmen, Messrs. Brown & Ires, of Providence, and subsequently attended the Law School at Litchfield, Conn. In 1821 he went to live at Spring Green, a family estate on the shores of Narragansett Bay. In the same year he was elected to the legislature from the town of Warwick, and was annually chosen till 1829, when he resigned. In 1831 he was a member of the state senate, and in the spring of 1832 was elected governor by a coalition of the Antimasons and the Democrats. He had been a Federalist and a National Republican, but after this he was known as a Democrat. He was reelected governor every year till 1838, when the state fell into the hands of the opposite party. In the free suffrage troubles of 1842 he again appeared in the state senate as a member of the " Law and Order" party, and in 1844 he was chosen by the legislature to fill the vacancy in the U. S. Senate occasioned by the resignation of William Sprague. He held a seat in that body during the remainder of the session then pending, and the whole of the short session of the succeeding winter, his time expiring 4 March 1845, was subsequently, for eight or nine years, again in the state senate, and continued to wield an important influence in the politics of Rhode Island. In 1856 he declined a reelection and withdrew from public life. From 1828 till 1857 he was a trustee of Brown University, and from 1841 till 1854 held the office of chancellor in that body.
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