William M. French

WILLIAM M. FRENCH, one of the representative citizens of Cherokee County, and deputy marshal of Weir City, was born in 1863 near Knoxville, Tennessee, and is a son of Jacob D. and Mary (McCammon) French.

Mr. French can trace his paternal line back to his great-grandfather, Frederick French, who was born in Pennsylvania and removed to Tennessee, where his five sons and three daughters were reared. Michael French, the grandfather, was born in 1800, near Lynchburg, Virginia, and married Dorothy Kountz, who was also born in Virginia, but removed to Tennessee.

Jacob D. French, our subject's father, was born in 1836 in the vicinity of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was engaged in farming until 1881, when he came to Kansas, and worked for a time in the coal mines at Weir City. He now lives in retirement in Kentucky. He married Mary McCammon, who was also born near Knoxville, Tennessee, and died at Weir City, Kansas, in December, 1901. The surviving members of their family of 10 children are as follows: William M., Samuel M., Eliza Jane, Martha, Marshall O., Albert B., Della and Arthur H., all of whom with the exception of the youngest were born in Tennessee. The mother of Mr. French was a daughter of Samuel McCammon, who came to America in 1802, settled near Knoxville, Tennessee, and became one of the prominent men of his day. In politics, he was a Whig and served for six years as a member of the Tennessee State Legislature from Knox County; he was also sheriff of the county for six years. He was the father of eight children, namely: Jane M., who married Caleb French, an uncle of William M.; William, who served through the Civil War in the Union Army as a lieutenant in the 2nd Reg., Tennessee Vol. Cav.; Oliver P., a captain in the same regiment; Mary (Mrs. French); Thomas; Samuel; Martha and Clementine.

The subject of this sketch was reared on a farm in Tennessee until he reached the age of 18 years, and then accompanied his parents to Kansas, and assisted his father on a farm near Crestline, until he attained his majority. He married in 1884, and then farmed for himself in the same locality until 1887. At this period he became interested in coal mining at Weir City, and afterward at Waco, Missouri. In 1892 he went to Chicopee, Kansas, where he served as postmaster for two years, and worked in the coal mines until 1899. At this time he removed to Lansing, Kansas, and was connected, until 1902, with the penitentiary mines on the prison farm. Mr. French then returned to Weir City, where he was again interested in the coal mines until 1903. He was then appointed deputy marshal of Weir City, a position he has filled ever since, with the utmost efficiency. In 1902, Mr. French went into partnership with his brother-in-law, H. M. Davis, in the furniture and undertaking business, but sold his interest in August, 1904.

In 1884, Mr. French married Norah A. Ferguson, a native of Illinois. They have four children, namely: Eveline, born in Weir City; Dorothy, born in Waco, Missouri; and William E. and Naomi, both of whom were born in Chicopee, Crawford County. During Mr. French's residence in Crawford County, he served as one of the trustees of Baker township. In politics he is a Republican.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, instructor from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 3/11/97.


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