YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, Frederick S. Francis, Minister
by David K. Leff
Town Poet Laureate and Deputy Town Historian
Born in Hartford and educated in the public schools of that city and New Haven, in 1861 Frederick S. Francis (1844-1911) enlisted in the Thirteenth Connecticut Regiment during the Civil War, and served throughout the conflict. He achieved the rank of sergeant despite his youth. The Thirteenth fought several battles in Louisiana and Virginia.
After the war, Francis worked a year in the south for the government. He then retuned home and began studying for the ministry in New Haven, and then under private instructors in Burlington, Vermont. His first two parishes were in Vermont, and he then served in New York for 20 years. He returned briefly to Vermont and afterward served churches in West Avon and Canton. He left the ministry about thirteen years before his death due to ill health. He then was a letter carrier with the postal service for several years. Still engaged with the local community in the year before his death, in 1910 he gave a Memorial Day talk to the children of the Sandbank School in Burlington, Connecticut.
In 1867, Francis married Diantha Smith in Burlington, Vermont. She died around 1890. After the death of his first wife, he married a Mrs. Hall from Wallingford, Connecticut, who survived him. He had a son and three daughters.
Francis died of heart failure in his room at the Valley House. The funeral was held at the Canton home of Mrs. O. F. Schwerer, his daughter. The service was conducted by Reverend C. E. Cooledge of South Manchester, Connecticut (formerly of the Collinsville Congregational Church) with assistance from Reverend Gurdon F. Bailey of Collinsville.
Frederick S. Francis is buried in the Baptist Cemetery on Canton Springs Road, Canton.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.