White County INGenWeb


CHESTER CLARK FRENCH, the third son of David S. French, D.D., and Hannah L. French, was born at Covington, Fountain County, Ind., February 21, 1850. His father was born and reared in Miami County, Ohio, and his mother in Philadelphia, Penn. In the spring of 1858,his father having just finished a term of office as Treasurer of Fountain County, the family moved to a farm in Vermillion County, Ill., where Chester was given plenty of work and there his habits of morality and industry were formed. Schoolhouses were scarce, and to walk two and a half miles through driving winds and snow to school, in winter, was almost a daily occurrence. In the spring of 1868, his father moved to Mahomet, Ill., and in the spring of 1866 resigned the pastorate of the Baptist Church at that place and accepted a call to Bloomfield, 111. He rented a small farm two miles from town, which he made interesting for his family of boys in the summer, but sent them to school in the winter. It was there that, during a series of religious meetings, Chester United with the church. In the fall of 1868, the family moved to Brookston, and there Chester entered the academy to prepare for college. In the fall of 1870, he received a teacher's certificate, taught his first school at Henderson's Schoolhouse, the same winter, and during his thirty six months of actual teaching succeeded well. In the fall of 1871, he entered the University of Chicago and studied three years, doing chores mornings, evenings and Saturdays, to meet expenses. Among his patrons was Charles H. Reed, State's Attorney for Chicago, and afterward attorney for C. J. Guiteau, the assassin. Mr. French acquired a liberal knowledge of the higher mathematics, of the sciences and of literature, and of the German, Latin and Greek languages. He next began the study of medicine, under John Medaris, but in August, 1874, relinquished study and in partnership with his father purchased the Brookston Reporter. In 1878 Mr. Chester French became and still is sole proprietor. In August, 1878, he was appointed Clerk in, the United States Railway Mail Service. In 1880, he was commissioned Census Enumerator, and in 1882 was elected Clerk of Brookston, and reelected the following year. He has also been twice commissioned Notary Public in White County. Mr. French is favorably known as a vocalist and orator as well as lecturer, and his interest in educational institutions is unbounded. He has been a great traveler, and is the possessor of a large variety of relics and mementoes collected in his rambles. At the Fourth of July celebration at Monon, in 1883, Mr. French delivered the oration, by request of the Committee of Arrangements, this being one of dozens of other orations and speeches made by him on similar occasions.

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