Last updated on September 30, 2019
The birth of San Francisco is associated with the history of Agusan and Surigao del Sur. Before San Francisco became a municipality, it was part of the District of Gibong, which was then governed by Deputy Governor Francisco Cataylo. During this period, the district comprised the barrios of Santa Ana, Caimpugan, Ebro, Borbon, La Caridad, Prosperidad, Azpetea and Los Arcos, with Santa Ana the seat of government. Like other barrios, Santa Ana comprised several sitios, including Sitio Hagpa, which was the site of the present day San Francisco. Hagpa was coined from a Manobo word for “swampy” as the sitio was a small village nestled along the Adlayan River and inhabited by Manobo tribes.
The opening of the Province of Agusan del Sur to most parts of Mindanao came during the government of President Ramon Magsaysay who ordered the first road survey to be conducted by the Department of Highway in 1952. In early 1954, road construction began paving the way for the institution of public land subdivision and the in-migration of different local tribes and settlers from the various provinces of Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon.
Hagpa was later renamed San Francisco in honor of Deputy District Governor Francisco Cataylo. In early 1955, the first local government was established as San Francisco was created as a Municipal District. Francisca Tesoro Samson was appointed as the first Municipal District Mayor by then Provincial Governor Felixberto Dagani. In June 21, 1959, through Republic Act No. 2518, San Francisco was officially created into a regular municipality of the Province of Agusan. In the same year, the first local officials of the municipality were elected with the Atty. Paquito Fuentes as the first elected municipal mayor, who served for three consecutive terms of office. He was succeeded by his vice mayor, Cresencio Ausmolo who stayed in office by operation of law during the latter half-portion of his last term.
Eight years after its creation as a regular municipality, on June 17, 1967, through Republic Act No. 4979, the Province of Agusan was divided into the Provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, in which San Francisco was part of the latter. The continued growth of Agusan del Sur also saw the development of the municipality of San Francisco. Its growing population later paved the way for the creation of the municipality of Rosario through Republic Act No. 5760 approved by President Diosdado Macapagal on June 21, 1969, just two years after the creation of Agusan del Sur. As a result, the several barrios of San Francisco including Bayugan III, Wasi-an, Santa Cruz, Cabawan, Cabantao, Marfil and Tagbayagan were incorporated in the newly created municipality. The barrios of Buenasuerte, Caimpogan, Pasta, Lapinigan, Ebro, New Visayas, Bayugan II, Borbon, Tagapua, Pisaan, Santa Ana, Hubang, Alegria, San Isidro, Das-agan, Ladgadan, Lucac, Bitan-agan and Poblacion consisting of five barrios as stated in PD No. 86 dated December 31, 1972, remained to form part of the 39,253-hectare Municipality of San Francisco. The barrios of Rizal, Ormaca, Mate and Karaos were later created and added to form final 27 barangays of the present day San Francisco.