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Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa
Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887

REV. ORZO FRENCH, deceased, was born at Dummerston, Vt., June 8, 1807, and was the son of William and Lydia (Esterbrook) French. His literary education was received at Williams College, in the State of Massachusetts, from which he graduated in 1834. He entered Andover Theological College, graduated in the class of '38, and was ordained a minister of the Congregational Church at Brattleboro, in November of that year. He was united in marriage, at Harpersfield, N. Y., the birthplace of his wife, March 11, 1839, to Miss Jane Hotchkiss, daughter of Joseph and Lydia (Davenport) Hotchkiss; Mrs. French was born Nov. 28, 1813.

Mr. French entered the service of the American Board of Missions, being assigned to service in India, and on the 1st of April, 1839, accompanied by his bride, sailed for that distant region. The succeeding ten years were spent in mission work among the Hindoos, and in July, 1849, he returned with his family to America. He continued his connection with the American Board of Missions till 1851, when he came to Iowa and accepted the position of pastor of the Bentonsport Congregational Church, in Van Buren County. He continued to labor in that field till 1856, when he removed to Knoxville, Marion Co., Iowa, where he served as local pastor till 1862, removing in that year to Washington County, and for the succeeding two years served as pastor of the Franklin Church. In July, 1864, he came to Blairstown, Benton County, and organized the Congregational Society at that place, serving as local pastor till his death, which occurred Sept. 28, 1865.

Mr. French was an earnest Abolitionist, and was one of those who persisted in agitating the subject of freedom for the colored race in America. He cast his first vote for Burney, subsequently voting with the Republican party. He was also an active worker in the cause of temperance, and did good service in helping to develop a healthy public sentiment in Iowa in favor of prohibition. Mr. and Mrs. French were the parents of seven children, five of whom were born in India, one in New York and one in Iowa. At this writing only three are living — Lydia, now the wife of Dr. F. M. Elliott, of Aurora, Ill.; Elizabeth, wife of G. R. Pierce, of Blairstown, and Mary A., residing with her mother. Mrs. French continues to reside at Blairstown, where she is held in high esteem.

Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies"  [database online]  Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 323-324.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on February 13th, 2009.  Copyright © 2009 The IAGenWeb Project.

Return to: 1887 Biography Index

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