James N. Francis

Submitted: May 6, 2004

Source: Rowland, Dunbar, ed. Mississippi, Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, in three volumes. Vol. 3. [Contemporary Biography] Atlanta: Southern Historical Publishing Association, 1907. pages 254-255

Francis, James N., of Tupelo, is county superintendent of education for Lee county and is one of the prominent and able educators of his native State, where he has been actively concerned with pedagogic affairs for the past decade and a half. The paternal great-grandparents of Mr. Francis were of English birth and ancestry, and they came from the "right little, tight little isle" to America in colonial days, taking up their residence in the patrician old commonwealth of Virginia. From the Old Dominion his grandparents removed to Tennessee in 1818, and in the fifties they came thence to Mississippi, as did also the maternal grandparents. Both the grandparents of Mr. Francis were soldiers in the War of 1812, and his great-grandfathers, Francis and Malone, were patriot soldiers of the Continental line in the War of the Revolution. The Francis family has been notable for longevity and for numerous progeny in both the direct and collateral lines. The paternal grandparents of Superintendent Francis each lived to the age of eighty-six years, having reared fifteen children--six sons and nine daughters. James N. Francis was born at Ballardsville, Itawamba county, Miss., Dec. 2, 1863, and is a son of Nathaniel T. and Mary Elizabeth (Malone) Francis, both of whom were born near Winchester, Tenn., the former July 1, 1822, and the latter Nov. 8, 1830. Mrs. Francis was summoned to eternal rest Oct. 9, 1904, and her husband followed March 2, 1906. After completing the curriculum of the public schools, James N. Francis entered the Winchester normal college at Winchester, Tenn., from which institution he was graduated as a member of the class of 1888, coming forth well equipped for the work of the profession in which he has met so much of success. He taught one year in the schools of Winchester, four years in the public schools of Franklin county, Ark., and then returned to Mississippi, where his work in the educational field has covered a period of fifteen years. He was teaching in the public schools of Lee county at the time of his election to the office of county superintendent of education, in 1903, and his administration has been marked by a wise and discriminating policy, by energy and fidelity, through which he has accomplished a work of value in furthering the cause of popular education in his province, while his course has met with unqualified approval in the county. In politics Mr. Francis is a stanch Democrat; he has been a member of the Missionary Baptist church since he was twenty years of age; and in a fraternal way he is identified with the Woodmen of the World. On Oct. 16, 1890, Mr. Francis was united in marriage to Miss Jessie Caldwell, daughter of Capt. John Y. and Sallie (Willis) Caldwell, of Verona, Miss., and of the children of this union the following is a brief record: Olin C. was born Sept. 3, 1891; Grace Hermione was born Oct. 8, 1893, and died Feb. 1, 1900; Bonnie Eloise was born Oct. 4, 1895, and died May 25, 1897; Leona Lowell was born Dec. 26, 1897; Madie Vera was born Nov. 20, 1899; and Elaine was born Sept. 7, 1903.