Frances Jones was born the granddaughter of a cotton planter. Her family moved from Tennessee to Mississippi during her childhood. In 1912, she married Rice Gaither, a wealthy newspaperman with the New York Times. The couple moved to New York City, where she pursued a writing career. Frances Gaither gained fame for her work The Fatal River: The Life and Death of La Salle (1931), a biography of the French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, the discoverer of the Mississippi River. During the 1930s, she wrote popular books for children. Later she wrote novels about American slavery, including Follow the Drinking Gourd (1940), The Red Cock Crows (1944), and, Double Muscadine (1949).