John Morgan Francis was born in Prattsburgh, New York, on March 6, 1823. After leaving home in 1838, he worked for several newspapers in Canandaigua, New York, and in 1846 he moved to Troy, New York, where he was chief editor of the Northern Budget. On June 25, 1851, he founded the Troy Daily Times. A Republican, he served as a member of two New York State constitutional conventions (1867-1868; 1894), as United States Minister to Greece (1871-ca. 1875), as Minister to Portugal, and as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Austria-Hungary (1884-1885). On December 8, 1846, he married Harriet E. Tucker of Palmyra, New York (d. 1889); they had two children, Alice and Charles S. John M. Francis died on June 18, 1897.
Alice Francis married John C. Havemeyer (1833-June 8, 1922) of Yonkers, New York. Charles Spencer Francis (June 17, 1853-December 1, 1911) graduated from Cornell University in 1877 and lived in Troy, where he worked for his father's newspaper. He gained ownership of the Troy Daily Times upon his father's death in 1897. His diplomatic career included appointments as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Greece, Romania, and "Servia" (1900-1902) and as ambassador to Austria-Hungary (1906-1910). He married Alice Evans in 1878.