David R. Francis

 

David R. Francis

Term: 1885 - 1889
Party: Democratic
Born: October 1, 1850
Richmond, Kentucky
Died: January 15, 1927
 
David R. Francis (Mayor 1885-1889)-Background
Mayor (1885-1889). David R. Francis was born at Richmond, Kentucky on October 1, 1850. Francis received his early education in Richmond. He graduated from Washington University at St. Louis in 1870. In 1876 he married Miss Jennie Perry, daughter of John D. Perry of St. Louis, and they had six sons.

Francis' first employment was as a shipping clerk. In 1877 he founded the D.R. Francis and Brothers Commission Company. In 1883 he became vice-president of the Merchants' Exchange and was made its president in 1884. He was an officer in several St. Louis corporations.

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David R. Francis (Mayor 1885-1889)-Administration
In 1885 David R. Francis became the thirtieth Mayor of St. Louis.

The Democratic City convention nominated him for office of Mayor in 1885 and he was declared elected.

Mayor Francis reduced the rate of interest on City indebtedness from six per cent to four per cent. Reforms were inaugurated in the conduct of business by the departments of the city government. He was instrumental in getting the gas rates to the consumer, reduced from $2.50 to $1.25 per thousand feet. He directed the start of an expansion of the Waterworks with a new pumping station and reservoirs at Chain of Rocks in north St. Louis. The reconstruction of city streets to make them more durable was pushed forward. The city's population increased from 350,518 in 1880 to 451,770 in 1890.

Mayor Francis helped St. Louis to become famous as a Convention City. He vetoed what was known as the 'Electric Elevated Railway Bill', because he felt it did not adequately compensate the City for a valuable franchise. Francis, and other leading businessmen, in 1886, organized the Merchants' Bridge Company to build the railroad bridge just south of the Bissell's Point Waterworks station. In 1887 he approved the start of Milk Inspection Service in the City.

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David R. Francis (Mayor 1885-1889)-Post-Administration
In 1888 Mayor Francis was nominated for the office of Governor of Missouri and was elected. David R. Francis was the only St. Louis Mayor to become State Governor. He took office in Jefferson City in January of 1889 before his term as Mayor ended. George W. Allen, President of the Council, acted as Mayor during the last few weeks of the term.

In 1896 Francis became U.S. Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President Cleveland. He was one of the main promoters of the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, serving as president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. In this capacity Francis was host to many Heads of State who visited the Fair. In December of 1916 he donated to the City the ground for Francis Park. President Wilson appointed him U.S. Ambassador to Russia in 1916 and he was there during the Russian Revolution of 1917.

David R. Francis died January 15, 1927. Interment was in Bellefontaine Cemetery.

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