Marshall County

FRENCH, Marion J.

Marion J. FRENCH, an enterprising and progressive farmer residing on section 6, Evans township, is the son of Elbridge E. and Elizabeth (JUDD) FRENCH. The father was born in Maine, in 1823, was reared to manhood in that state, and come with his father, Elbridge E. FRENCH, Sr., and family, to Illinois, in 1850. The mother, who was born November 8, 1830, was but an infant when brought to Marshall county, and was reared on the farm where our subject now resides. She was the sister of Benjamin JUDD, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. In 1855 she was called to her final rest, but the father is still living. To them were born two children – Marion J., whose name heads this sketch, and William, deceased. After the death of his mother our subject was taken to the home of his Grandmother JUDD, who died April 1, 1879, at the age of seventy-five years, and on the farm where he still lives grew to manhood.

Alfred JUDD, his uncle, remained single, and unselfishly devoted his life to the care of his mother. His birth occurred on the 5th of November, 1822, and at the age of nine years, with his parents, he located upon the farm which was ever afterward his home. His education was such as the district schools of the neighborhood afforded, but he was always a great student, and devoted much time to general reading, so that he became one of the best posted men of the locality. He made agriculture his life work, and all his interests seem to center around his farm and his home. On the death of his father, he purchased the interest of the other heirs in the old homestead, and as years advanced added to the original tract, made extensive improvements upon the place, including the present substantial building there found, and placed the land under a high state of cultivation. He accumulated much property, which at his death was left to his brothers and sisters, or their legal heirs, his nieces and nephews, twenty-one in all. He was a man of the strictest integrity and honor, straightforward and reliable, and his advice was often sought by his neighbors, who placed in him the utmost confidence. After a long and useful life, replete with many acts of charity, his earthly career was ended on the 2d of September, 1895, and he was laid to rest in the Cumberland cemetery. Among his may worthy deed was the giving of six acres, which now forms the grove lying between the cemetery and the Cumberland Presbyterian church. He cared nothing for the honors or emoluments of public office, and the only position he would accept was that of school director, which he filled for several years.

Mr. FRENCH was born October 19, 1853, and during his boyhood and youth attended the common schools of Evans township. On the 20th of May, 1880, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. STRATTON, who was born November 11, 1859, and obtained her education in the schools of Bennington township. Her parents, James and Marsha (CHALCRAFT) STRATTON, were both born near London, England, the former in 1820, and the latter in 1826. The father crossed the Atlantic to America in 1836, settling first in Indiana, but four years later became a resident of Illinois, remaining a short time at Round Prairie, Marshall county. Later he located in Bennington township, where he was numbered among the early settlers, and upon the wild prairie improved a fine farm. There he died in 1892, but his wife, who survives him, still lives on the old homestead. In their family were ten children, namely: Mrs. Ruth A. BALL; James H., deceased; William R., David M., Mrs. FRENCH, Mrs. Sarah E. LITCHFIELD, Mrs. Louisa M. CARRITHERS, Mrs. Naomi A. LITCHFIELD, James L. and Emma M. The mother is a faithful member of the Christian church.

To Mr. and Mrs. FRENCH have been born three children – Hattie E., Lola M., and Ralph W. and the family is pleasantly located upon the old Judd homestead on section 6, Evans township, where nearly the entire life of our subject has been passed. He gives his exclusive attention to his farming interests, owning six hundred and thirteen acres of valuable and productive land and the neat and thrifty appearance of the place plainly indicates that it is under the supervision of one who thoroughly understands the business which he is following. On political questions he affiliates with the democratic party, and has served as school director in district No. 3 Mrs. FRENCH, a most estimable lady, holds membership with the Christian church.

Extracted April 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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