Tench Francis

BY NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATION STAFF

Tench Francis Jr. was born in 1730 in Fansley, Talbot County, Maryland and moved to Philadelphia with his father in 1738.

President George Washington laid the foundation for the U.S. Navy Supply Corps with the appointment of Tench Francis, a Philadelphia businessman as the country’s first purveyor of the public.

Washington chose Francis for the knowledge and experience he developed over many years, first by going into business with his father, and then starting a business with his brother in law. For many years, he acted as the agent for the proprietary interests of the Penn family.

From 1781 to 1792, he served as the first cashier of the Bank of North America and signed documents authorizing a loan of $50,000 to the new federal government.

His firm was instrumental in procuring timber for construction of the first ships for the U.S. Navy. Six frigates that Francis would go on to support during his appointment as purveyor.

FRANCIS FACTS:

– Even though Tench Francis had a reputation of being from Philadelphia, he was born in Maryland across the bay from the Patuxent River.

– The Purveyor of Public supplies was actually under Treasury until 1812, meaning Francis worked for Alexander Hamilton.

– Francis assisted Alexander Hamilton in detecting counterfeit coins for the U.S. Mint.

– Part of Francis’ duties were paying tribute to the Barbary Pirates.

– Francis headed the commission that laid out the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.