Biography - George French
GEORGE H. FRENCH, A. M., professor of botany, zoology and physiology in the Southern Illinois State Normal University, is a native of Tully, Onandaga County, N. Y. His father, Hazen M. French, was born in Vermont, March 15, 1812, and was a farmer by occupation. His father, Miles French, was of English descent, the family having been founded in America by four brothers of English birth, who in early Colonial days settled in Concord, N. H. The mother of our subject bore the maiden name of Caroline White, was born in New York in 1813, and was a member of the White family which furnished many eminent physicians to New York. Mr. and Mrs. French were married in the Empire State, where they always lived. He was a prominent and influential citizen and was a great reader and student of history. In the family were five children, of whom three yet survive, Esther E., wife of Byron S. Lake, a mining superintendent of Central City, Colo., by whom she has two children; George H., and Emery H., who is living in De Ruyter, N. Y. He married Florence Parks, and they have one child.
Professor French was born March 19, 1841, and spent the days of his boyhood and youth upon his father's farm. He completed his education in the normal school of Cortland, N. Y. and later engaged in teaching for four years in the common schools of his native state. In 1865-66, he was engaged in teaching in Belvidere, Ill., later spent one year as a teacher in Grand Rapids, Wis., one year in Roscoe, Ill., and nine years in the Agricultural College of Irvington, Ill. He then spent one year as Assistant State Entomologist under Dr. Cyrus Thomas, and in July, 1878, he became connected with the University in Carbondale, in which he has since occupied the chairs of botany, zoology, physiology and has been curator.
In 1872 was celebrated the marriage of Professor French and Miss Hattie E. Bingham, a native of Bureau County, Ill. She was born December 25, 1851, and is a daughter of S. P. and Harriet (Adams) Bingham. Her mother was a descendant of Samuel Adams of Revolutionary fame. She is now deceased. Mr. Bingham is a resident of Lincoln, Neb., and a Deacon in a Baptist Church of that city.
Both the Professor and Mrs. French belong to the Baptist Church, and he also serves as Deacon. He takes an active part in church and benevolent work and has always been a teacher in the Sunday school. He belongs to the Entomological Society of France, is an associate member of the Natural History Society of Lubeck, Germany, an associate member of the Entomological Society of Ontario, Canada, and of a similar organization in New York, in the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences and the American Entomological Society of Philadelphia. He is evidently the foremost entomologist in Illinois, and has received insects from all over the country to name and classify. He is probably just as well versed in botany. He is the author of a work of over four hundred pages entitled "The Butterflies of Eastern United States," published by J. B. Lippincott in 1886. He is now writing a work on "Moths of Eastern United States." He has furnished many articles for scientific periodicals and papers, has been a regular contributor to the Fruit Grower's Journal since its organization, has been Entomological correspondent for the Rural New Yorker, the Prairie Farmer and the Pacific Rural Press, of San Francisco. Some of his papers have also been published in foreign countries. His membership in the foreign societies was entirely unsolicited on his part. A lover of nature, he has ever been a close student, especially of insects and flowers, and his deep researches have given him a position of prominence among scientific men, not only in his own country, but in foreign lands as well.
Extracted 22 Feb 2017 by Norma Hass from 1894 Biographical Review of Jackson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 523-524.