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Delaware County, Iowa

 Biography Directory


Jesse C. French





       JESSE C. FRENCH was born in Johnstown, Licking county, Ohio, November 17, 1832. He is a son of John and Sarah (Clark) French. John French was born in Washington county, Pa., as was also his wife. In that county they were married and afterwards moved to Licking county, Ohio, about the year 1830, lived there until 1847, moving thence to Jones county, Iowa, where the father died March 3, 1874, aged seventy nine, and where the mother still resides, being now in her ninetieth year. John French was a farmer all his life, but in moderate circumstances. He was a member of the Baptist church almost all his life and his wife continues a communicant of that church.


       The Frenche's were of Welch origin, the Clarks of German. Our subject’s grand­parents crossed the Alleghany mountains at an early day, coming from New Jersey, and settled in what was then the open Indian country. The maternal grand­parents died in Pennsylvania, and the paternal grandparents in Ohio. They belonged to the hardy class of pioneers which felled the forests, laid out the commonwealth and built the cities which have since become the glory of the American republic. Arthur Clark served in the War of 1812, and thus helped save, by the valor of their arms, the country which by their industry they made to blossom with the best fruits of an advanced civilization.


      John and Sarah French had ten children: Bethuel and Aaron, twins, both of whom are famous and now living in Clay county, Iowa; Joseph, now a farmer in Jones county, Iowa; Malinda, who died at the age of fourteen; Elijah, now a farmer in Jones county, Iowa; and Nancy, who died at the age of three; Jesse C., our subject; Eliza A., now the wife of Wilson Jenkins, a farmer residing in Dixon county, Nebr.; Joanna, wife of Eli Wilson, a farmer living in Jackson county, Iowa, and Isaac N., a farmer residing in Jones county, Iowa.


      The subject of this notice was reared on a farm in Licking county, Ohio, to the age of fifteen. His parents then moving to Jones county, Iowa, his youth was spent in that county. He received an ordinary common school education. After growing up he learned the carpenter’s trade and followed it for some years. In 1855, he bought a farm in Fillmore county, Minn., on which he resided and to which he gave his attention for some time, but subsequently sold it and purchased another one in Jones county, Iowa, which he held as an investment. He was engaged as a wagon maker at Monticello, Iowa, for two years, when he traded his town property there for a good farm in Jones county, on to which he moved and resided for twelve years. He then traded this farm for another in Delaware county, on which he lived for three years. Selling that place, he purchased three hundred and twenty acres in Milo township, Delaware county, to which he moved and on which he has resided, with the exception of three years, since. He was a resident of Manchester for three years after moving to Delaware county, having gone there for the benefit of the schools of that place.


   Mr. French owns a very desirable farm where he now lives, most of it being under cultivation and well improved. He is erecting on it a splendid residence, which, when completed, will add much to its value. This farm and all that Mr. French has represents his own labor, as he began life when a young man with nothing except two willing hands. He. subsequently, received a small amount from his father’s estate, but he made his start in life unaided and alone. He is a man who has added to the solid wealth of his county by the labor of his hands. His present dwelling is the fifth one he has erected since he has had a family.


      Mr. French married October 11, 1860, taking to wife Miss Laura Emaline Mudge, then of Jones county, Iowa, but a native of Rutland county, Vt., born July 25, 1837. Her parents were natives of Vermont. They moved from there to New York and thence to Clinton county, Iowa, early in the “fifties” and still later to Jones county, where the father died. The mother died in St. Joseph, Mo., December, 1886.


      Mr. and Mrs. French have had seven children, by name and in the order of their ages as follows: Elmer D., now a farmer in Sioux county, Iowa; he married Belle Dalglish, of Delaware county, Iowa, and by this marriage has two children: Blanche and an infant not named. Mr. and Mrs. French’s second child was Loyal N., who died in infancy; Charles H., their next, is a farmer residing in Sioux county, Iowa; Alice M. is the wife of Byron Lawton, a farmer living in Eden, S. Dak.; Ida M. is the wife of Oliver Thomas a farmer of Hazel Green township, Delaware; she has one child, Loie. Effle L. is a teacher in Jones county, Iowa, and Herbert A. is a farmer, living at home with his parents.


      Mr. French has held the usual number of local offices, and, being a progressive, wide awake man, has taken much interest in everything relating to the administration of the civil affairs of his township, and in all those matters of a more general nature, in which all good citizens are expected to take an active part. In politics he is a democrat, having cast his first presidential vote for Buchanan in 1856, and has steadily adhered to the teachings of his party since.


~ source: Biographical souvenir of the counties of Delaware and Buchanan, Iowa; Chicago : F. A. Battey, 1890. Page 408-410; LDS microfilm #985424

~ contributed by Thom Carlson