Biographical Sketch of John Francis
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John Francis, one of the leading pioneers and public men of Allen County and his section of the state, was born in Norfolk, England, April 24, 1837, and soon after be had attained his majority came to the struggling territory as an ardent advocate of free statehood. In the fall of 1858 he settled at Osawatomie, and during the following winter was one of John Brown’s closest followers. In March, 1859, he took up his residence on a pre-emption claim in Allen County. In July, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Fifth Kansas Regiment, and served until November, 1863, when he was discharged for disability. Soon afterward he was elected clerk of Allen County and, by his re-election in 1864, held the office for two terms. He then served for two suecessive terms as county treasurer; performed the duties of clerk of the District Court from 1865 to 1868, and in 1869-77 was a resident of Iola. During that period he was a merchant of the place, although, by appointment and election, he acted as state treasurer in 1874-82. In 1899 and in 1901 he was chosen a member of the State House of Representatives, at the latter session being chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Later he served on the tax commission of the state, in which capacity he added to his reputation as an able and conservative official.