Surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago, I found a little tidbit as to why Francis may have been shot. You may remember a Confederate soldier walked up to the little boy, placed a gun to his head and shot him. This new information came, from all places, from his Grandmother!
Eliza Warfield was the mother-in-law of Francis’ father W.J.Q. Baker. She owned a partial interest in the Bon Air plantation. Eliza and her family were devout Unionists. During the Civil War, some of her property was taken by Union Soldiers and after the war ended, she appealed to the Federal Government for reimbursement. In her testimony, transcribed by Dr. E. Russ Williams, she stated the following:
[During the war]…then were living of Mrs. Baker’s [her daughter] children Eliza Louisa, Frank Winston, and Helen Lamy, were the surviving children, Frank Winston having been murderously shot by a Confederate soldier in December 1863, while quietly and peaceably riding in broad day light along the principal street of our little city in company with a little Negro boy that had been given to him and was his play fellow. Frank Winston was ten years old at the time of his death. No motive was ever assigned by the murderer for the brutal deed. At that time there was a large number of Confederate troops in and near Monroe, and Southern feeling ran very high and all suspected Unionists had to be very circumspect, and in fact most of them kept indoors as much as possible, and it was thought by many that this innocent little boy was murdered on account of the well known Union proclivities of his family.
There we go. Francis’ family were loyal Unionists in a city swarming with Confederate soldiers. He was simply the innocent victim of blind hatred of his family’s political leanings.