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1907 Past and Present Biographies

French, Edward P.

Edward P. French was born in the township of Tully, county of Onondaga, and state of New York, September 9, 1838, and was the eldest of a family of five children. With his parents he went to Grundy county, Illinois, in 1855. He was married in 1861, to Eleanor K. McFarlane, and with her went, in 1866, to Muscatine county, Iowa. In 1880 he became a resident of Greene county, and now lives on section 30, Paton township.

His grandfather, Ebenezer French, emigrated from Massachusetts to New York at an early day. He was a soldier of the war of the Revolution and the father of a large family. The eldest son, Otis, was a soldier of the war of 1812. Our subject's parents, E. V. P. and Louisa (Daniels) French, were married in 1834, and resided in New York till 1855, when they removed to Grundy county, Illinois, and there lived till the death of the mother in 1864.

Of the children, Mrs. E. J. Forbes and Louisa French now live in Des Moines; Theodore P., a member of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, died at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from exposure at the battle of Stone River, January 23, 1863; Eugenio died at St. Louis, Missouri, the result of an operation for cancer of the stomach. Eugenio was a member of Company F, Ninth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry.

Father French was a farmer but spent very many of his winters in the schoolroom. He was honored by many official positions, and was a man of unswerving integrity, always exerting a positive influence in favor of temperance and of whatever principles promoted a just cause. With his wife he was a member of the Baptist church. He died at the home of his daughter in Paton, September 7, 1884.

Mrs. Eleanor K. French was born in Warren, Trumbull county, Ohio, November 4, 1842, and is the daughter of William and Laura (Mygatt) McFarlane. Mr. McFarlane subsequently moved to Grundy county, Illinois. He was the father of eleven children. One of his sons, George M., was a soldier of the Civil War, a member of the Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Mr. McFarlane was a devoted and influential member of the Presbyterian church; was outspoken in his opinions, and had the esteem of all who knew him. He died in 1880, at the age of eighty-two years.

To Mr. and Mrs. French have been born five children: William T., who died in infancy; Eugene S., who married Sarah J. Templeton and has one child, Edward K.; Hettie E., the wife of William H. Fowler, by whom she has three children, Rex M., Dean L. and Edward D.; Clark V., who married Lena Baker and has twin daughters, Ila M. and Lyla F.; and Mary E., the wife of Herman Wuethrich, of Dalhart, Texas, by whom she has one child, Ethan L. All the children live in Paton township except Mary.

In his school days, Mr. French had the advantage of the best of schools and the best of teachers. After the removal of the family to Illinois, his winters were spent in the schoolroom, and the summers on the farm till 1866, when he engaged exclusively in teaching till 1873. From that time till 1880 he did office work. Removing then to Greene county, several years were spent, the summers on the farm and the winters in the schoolroom. In 1887, he was elected county auditor, in which office he remained five years, his son Eugene being his deputy. He was elected vice president of the Jefferson Savings Bank in 1893, which position he held till 1902, when on account of ill health, he returned to agricultural pursuits on his farm near Paton, and has since taught twelve terms of school in the home district, No. 9.

Transcribed from "Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa Together With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Prominent and Leading Citizens and Illustrious Dead," by E. B. Stillman assisted by an Advisory Board consisting of Paul E. Stillman, Gillum S. Toliver, Benjamin F. Osborn, Mahlon Head, P. A. Smith and Lee B. Kinsey, Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907, pp. 360.
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