Sanford's Birth Place: Marie Jones Francis Delivered More than 40,000 Babies in Her Sixth Street Home

Dublin Core


Sanford's Birth Place: Marie Jones Francis Delivered More than 40,000 Babies in Her Sixth Street Home

Alternative Title

Sanford's Birth Place: Marie Francis


African Americans--Florida--Sanford
Sanford (Fla.)
Georgetown (Sanford, Fla.)
Midwives--United States


A newspaper article about Marie Jones Francis, the "midwife of Sanford." Francis left behind a successful hotel and restaurant she owned in Sarasota in 1942 to return to Sanford and become a midwife. World War II caused a shortage in doctors and nurses, so Florida's Children's Bureau sent Francis to Florida A & M to acquire her practical nursing license in 1945. She specialized in premature babies and returned to Sanford to aid her mother, Carrie Jones, at Fernald-Laughton Memorial Hospital before they opened the ward in their home. "When her health starting failing," she recollects in a newspaper article, "I took over." Francis converted her house at 621 East Sixth Street to also serve as a maternity ward, where she delivered over 40,000 babies over her 32 year career. She became a midwife in the same vein as her mother, Carrie Jones, and together they ran the Jones-Francis Maternity Hall in Georgetown.

Francis served her community in several ways. She delivered babies for both white and black families from Seminole County, primarily patrons who either preferred natural births or could not afford deliveries at a hospital. In the 1950s, it cost $70 to stay nine days where soon-to-be mothers were taken care of. Francis was assisted by her sister, Annie Walker, who did the cooking. The house and ward also served as a school, where Marie Francis taught nurses the art of midwifery. Nurses would come from across the state to learn how to delivery infants naturally. A heavy burden on a single working mother, Marie Francis had three daughters, Cassandra Clayton, Daphne Humphrey, and Barbara Torre. Clayton and Humphrey became school teachers and Torre became a purchaser at Seminole Memorial Hospital.


Jerla, Michelle


Original newspaper article: Jerla, Michelle. "Sanford's Birth Place: Marie Jones Francis Delivered More than 40,000 Babies in Her Sixth Street Home." The Seminole Herald, February 16, 2003: Private Collection of Daphne F. Humphrey.

Date Created

ca. 2003-02-16

Date Copyrighted


Date Issued



Vincent, Tommy
Humphrey, Daphne F.

Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original newspaper article by Michelle Jerla: "Sanford's Birth Place: Marie Jones Francis Delivered More than 40,000 Babies in Her Sixth Street Home." The Seminole Herald, February 16, 2003.

Is Part Of

The Seminole Herald, February 16, 2003, page 1C.
Marie Jones Francis Collection, RICHES of Central Florida, Georgetown Collection, Sanford Collection, Seminole County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.




2.75 MB


1 newspaper article






Jones-Francis Maternity Hall, Georgetown, Sanford, Florida
Sarasota, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher


Originally created by Michelle Jerla published by The Seminole Herald.

Rights Holder

Copyright to the resource is held by The Seminole Herald and is provided here by RICHES of Central Florida for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project


Firpo, Julio R.

Digital Collection

Source Repository

Private Collection of Daphne F. Humphrey

External Reference

Dickinson, Joy Wallace. “A Very Rich Trail: Florida’s Black Heritage is Celebrated in an Updated and Expanded State Publication." The Orlando Sentinel, February 24, 2008, J1.
Moore, Stacy. "Midwife on Job Here 32 Years." The Little Sentinel, April 4, 1979, 26.
Flewellyn, Valada Parker, and the Sanford Historical Society. African Americans of Sanford. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.
"Oral History of Daphne F. Humphrey." Interview by Julio R. Firpo. Home of Daphne F. Humphrey. April 8, 2011. Audio record available. RICHES of Central Florida.


Sanford's birth place
Marie J. Francis delivered more than 40,000 babies in her Sixth Street home

By Michelle Jerla
Managing Editor

For 30 years, many of the babies born in Sanford got their first glimpse of the world in Marie J. Francis' house.
For more htan three decades starting in 1943, Francis was one of Sanford's prominent midwives. In a two-story house, still located at the corner of Sixth Street and Hickory Avenue, she built a maternity ward to serve the area's women.
"Some wanted a natural child birth, so they came to the Jones/Francis Maternity Hall," said Francis' daughter Daphne F. Humphrey. "She was the one that they trusted."
When Francis decided to become a midwife, she was following in her mother's footsteps.
"My grandmother was a very strong woman," Humphrey said. "She was a practical nurse, who wanted to help people. And that was installed in my mother."
Orginally from Sarasota, Francis moved her family to Sanford, where her mother lived, in the 1940s. The state of Florida sent her to school to become a midwife, and she opened the maternity ward in 1943.

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1 newspaper article



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