Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JOHN FRENCH. Among the comparatively small element of foreign-born citizens who have cast their lot with the people of Greene county and have won success through their industry and close application is John French, blacksmith foreman in the Frisco shops. He comes of a sturdy family, one that has always been strong for right living and industrious habits, for education and morality, and for all that which contributes to the betterment of the communities in which they have resided. Many years ago, in fact, nearly a half century ago, our subject, unaccompanied, although scarcely more than a boy, crossed the great Atlantic, having bid a permanent farewell to his native isle, and cast his lot among the Americans who have treated him so kindly and well that he has been pleased to remain with us.
Mr. French was born in Durham county, England, April 16, 1846. He is a son of John and Elizabeth (Robertson) French, both natives of England, also, where they grew up, were educated and married and spent their lives. The father learned the blacksmith's trade when young, in which he became very skillful and at which he spent his life. The grandfather of our subject was also a blacksmith by trade. The parents of our subject have both been dead many years, the mother dying in 1888. To them ten children were born, namely: Allen; Elizabeth is deceased; Annie is deceased; Polly; James is deceased; John, of this sketch; William is deceased; Robert; and the two youngest died in infancy.
John French spent his boyhood in England, and there received a common school education, and when a boy learned the blacksmith's trade under his father, who owned his own shop. Our subject worked in different parts of England at his trade, and in a few years became an expert in his line. He immigrated to America in the spring of 1865, reaching our shores about the unsettled time that marked the closing of our momentous conflict, he being at that time nineteen years of age. The great armies of citizen soldiery had not had time to return to the pursuits of peace and he found it hard to get a start, and for a time worked as a laborer in Cincinnati, Ohio, later worked at his trade there. He came to Greene county, Missouri, in 1900, having previously worked at his trade for different railroads, and since coming here he has been employed by the Frisco, and has been promoted for his skill and faithfulness to the position of foreman of the blacksmith shop, the duties of which responsible place he is worthily discharging, having a large force of men under his direction.
Mr. French was married, in November, 1868, to Mrs. Jane Wright, who was born in the state of New York, June 18, 1840, and there she grew to womanhood and was educated. To our subject and wife five children have been born, namely: Alice is deceased; Mrs. Susan Tingell, Mrs. Martha Player, Mrs. Jessie Weaver, John C. is a soldier in the United States army, being with the troops in Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914.
Politically, Mr. French is a Republican. Fraternally, he belongs to the Knights of Pythias.
Springfield-Greene County Library