Jackson County

Biography - George French

PROFESSOR GEORGE HAZEN FRENCH. A man is never doing better service to humanity than when he is devoting himself to raising the standards of public health, arousing attention to those things which menace it, and through scientific knowledge pointing the way to combat disease. One of Illinois' most eminent men, Professor George Hazen French, of Carbondale, has been identified with many hard-working bodies, men whose efforts have helped towards better things, and in the scientific world his name is widely and favorably known. He is a descendant of the first family of this name to come to America, locating in New England about 1620, and was born March 19, 1841, in Onondaga county, New York, a son of Hazen Miles and Caroline (White) French, farming people of the Empire state.

George Hazen French attended the public schools of his native vicinity and the normal school at Cortland, after leaving which he became a country school teacher and followed that profession in New York. He then came West to Belvidere, Illinois, where he taught in the public schools, spent one year in Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, and then went to Roscoe, Illinois, where he became principal of schools. About 1868 he become connected with the Illinois Agricultural College, and from 1877 until 1878 served as assistant state entomologist, since which time he has acted in the same capacity three terms. In July, 1878, Professor French came to the Southern Illinois Normal University, where until 1911 he was doctor of natural sciences and curator, and in the year mentioned he became curator of the museum, landscape gardening and physiology. After years of experiment, study and research, in 1900 Professor French gave to the world the result of his years of labor, a treatment for epilepsy, and since that time he discovered a bacteria remedy which kills the germ that causes Bright's disease, and from neither of these has he ever taken any financial remuneration, feeling sufficiently rewarded by the gratitude and appreciation of those to whom his discoveries have been such a boon. His whole life has been spent in bettering conditions in Southern Illinois, and his scholarly attainments and scientific eminence have made him respected by all who know him, while his courteous and genial manner have won him hosts of friends among his co-workers and pupils.

Professor French is a fellow of the American Association for the Advance of Science, the St. Louis Academy of Science, the Entomological Society of France, the Natural History Society of Lubee, Germany, the Entomological Society of New York, the American Entomological Society and the Philadelphia Academy of Science, and also holds honorary membership in the Southern Illinois Medical Association. He is the author of several scientific books, and has written numerous articles which have been widely copied and referred to, appearing in the leading scientific journals. Fraternally he belongs to Irvington Lodge of Masons, of which he is a charter member.

On September 10, 1872, Professor French was married to Miss Harriet E. Bingham, who was born in Bureau county, Illinois, daughter of Solon P. and Harriet (Foster) Bingham. Professor and Mrs. French are members of the First Baptist church, in which he acts as senior deacon.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 573-574.

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