Francis in 1919
|Portrayed by||Erin Cahill|
Francis Mae Stone was an eighteen year-old woman killed on June 23, 1919, after her involvement with the women's suffrage movement put her at odds with the rest of her family.
Francis was the daughter of Ambrose and Elizabeth Stone. Her father owned one of the largest brewing companies in Philly, which ensured the Stones were well off. Francis had also accepted the proposal of a young man named Lawrence Wakeley. She was close friends with her family's housemaid, Philippa "Phil" Abruzzi, whom she had taught to read. Phil's young daughter Audrey Abruzzi even called her "Aunt Frannie".
One day, while walking down a street with her parents and Lawrence, she noticed a group of women passing out forms calling for votes for women. The leader of the group, Alice B. Harris, was pelted with food by passing men but refused to back down.
Sometime later, Francis noticed Phil had a black eye. Phil admitted her husband had beat her for reading one of the forms Alice handed out. Francis and Phil started thinking how men would have to respect them if they had votes, and decided to attend one of Alice's meetings.
Francis impressed Alice at the meeting, but had only been present for a few minutes before Elizabeth arrived to take Francis and Phil home. Francis protested until Elizabeth threatened to fire Phil.
Francis would later try to appeal to Elizabeth what women voting could mean for them. Elizabeth, however, pointed out that women getting the vote would lead to Prohibition being enacted, which would ruin the family business. Elizabeth instead appealed to Francis to work against the suffragettes as a spy.
Francis appeared to go along with Elizabeth's request but found she couldn't bring herself to betray the suffragettes, confiding that Alice shouldn't trust her. Alice, however, assured her that she was an intelligent woman and that they would change the course of history together.
The meeting was quickly interrupted, however, when the police arrived and arrested the suffragettes, including Francis, on trumpted up charges.
The jailers recognized Francis from her well-known family and separated her from the others. Ambrose and Lawrence arrived at the jail hours later to get Francis. Lawrence assumed she would forget about the suffragettes and move on to a life with him, but Francis instead told him she didn't want to marry him. After Lawrence left, Ambrose warned Francis that Prohibition would ruin their family and threatened to disown her unless she renounced suffragettes. In a moment of weakness, Francis conceded.
After learning it was Phil who had sold out the suffragettes to Ambrose and Elizabeth, Francis confronted her. Phil confided that her husband had threatened to divorce her and take her daughter Audrey away. Humbled, Francis realized she could betray the suffragettes for her own safety and comfort. She resolved to go back to the jail and fight to get Alice and the others released.
As she walked out, Francis was confronted by her mother, who refused to let Francis go, believing she would ruin everything Elizabeth had sacrificed for. As she heard her mother speak, Francis realized Elizabeth wanted more out of life as well, but never believed it could happen, and that it wishing for more was simply too painful. Elizabeth, however, insisted she was happy, growing angrier. The two struggled, and Francis was accidentally thrown over the second story balcony to the floor below, breaking her neck.
Ironically, just fourteen months later, on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote. Elizabeth, who become a recluse after Francis' death, made a recording that day to play again, reliving what she'd done.
Francis' murder would go unsolved for nearly 88 years. Then in 2007, Francis' great-great-niece Emma Stone, approached Detective Lilly Rush with information about Francis' death from an heirloom that she had received from her recently deceased grandmother. Though most of Francis' family and acquaintances were long dead themselves by this point, they were able to learn about the final days of Francis' life, which ultimately led them to the record Elizabeth had made, and Francis' murder was finally solved.