Caroline L FranciS


Caroline L Francis was born on November 8, 1917, in Portland, Jamaica. Her mother was a domestic helper for the wealthy McKoy family. However, she did not survive the birth of her first daughter Caroline, who was named and adopted by the oldest daughter of the McKoy family.

By 1935, Caroline McKoy had her first child, George. She and her son later relocated to 65 St. John’s Road, outside Spanish Town, in the parish of St. Catherine, to join her adopted mother, who was then managing the family farm, currently know as Clayton Heights.

Caroline met and married Stanford Francis in 1940 and began her new life. She gave birth to Cecille in 1941, Sylvia 1945, Madge 1947, Stanley 1949, Winston 1951, and Neville 1955. In 1955, Stanford joined the Windrush movement to England, Caroline was left to raise and care for the children.

By 1960, George migrated to New York, and Cecille to England to join her father. Caroline and her five children, plus two grand children (Clinton Lindsay and Patricia Mullings) were now the occupants and caretakers of this enormous two acres of rich and futile land. To feed her family, Caroline began to lease out plots of lands to various farmers, who planted
sugarcane, rice, tomatoes, callaloo, mangoes, yams, peanuts, onions, and other ground provisions. Fruit tress like plum, guava, neseberry, apple, and soursop, were scattered all over the land. She also raised cows, goats, pigs, and chickens. Caroline was always generous to her neighbors. She always shared her bounty with them. 

Holidays (Easter/Christmas/Independence Day/Labor Day) she made sure her neighbors got meat, eggs, fruits, ground provisions to celebrate the moment. Her land was the first to have running water piped in, while others had to fetch water from the various stand pipes that lined St. John’s Road. In 1963, months after JBC-TV was launched, she was the first person to have a television set in the neighborhood. She would set up benches for the children to sit and watch early evening cartoons.

Since 1960, Caroline had made trips to the Bronx, New York, where her son George had relocated. In 1965, her older brother who was living in England, and without telling her, sold the land to a developer, who gave her one year to vacate the property. In September, 1966, in a move unheard of in that time, all of Caroline’s five children migrated to the Bronx. Clinton and Patricia were left with a family friend, guardian Violet “Aunt B” Edwards. Clinton and Patricia rejoined their grandmother, uncles and aunts in the Bronx in 1973 and 1975, respectively.

Caroline L Francis was known as a loving, caring, generous person, and an avid reader, who always looked out for her family, friends, and total strangers. She loved cooking and gardening, while Christmas and Thanksgiving were her favorite holidays. There was always food at her home. When family and friends stopped by unexpectedly, she would have something cooked up. Caroline really believed in feeding the tired and hungry. 

When asked what in life she would have wanted to be if she had her way, her answer came as no surprise, a doctor! However, back in those days in Jamaica, it was impossible to be a female doctor.

Caroline L. Francis died on October 29, 1988, at age 70.