R. W. French
Submitted by Scott French
R. W. French - about age 40
Russell Walter French's lineage in America began with
the immigration of William French (settled in Billerica, MA) aboard
the 'Defence' in 1635 (William French of Billerica, MA; John French
of Billerica, MA; William French of Billerica, MA; Nathaniel French
of Brattleboro, VT; Nathaniel French of Dummerston, VT; William French
of Dummerston, VT; Russel French of Otto, NY; Russell Walter French
of Ashland, WI). Nathaniel of Brattleboro and four of his sons fought
in the American Revolution (23). One son, William French, was the first
casualty of that war (http://www.rootsweb.com/~vermont/WindhamWestminster.html).
Their children: (1) Ella Rosetta; born 26 Dec 1854 Ashtabula,
OH; died 1 Nov1 928, Ashland, WI; married 8 July 1872, Sumner W. Tanner;
(2) Emma Rinette; born 14 Aug 1856, Ashtabula, OH; died 4 Feb 1932,
Portland, OR; married 26 Apr 1890, Oswald Dundas; (3) Eda R.; born 26
May 1858, WI; died 6 Oct 1892, Ashland, WI; married 11 Aug 1881, Alexander
McDougall; (4) Fred W.; born 21 July 1859, Superior, WI; died 1 Mar
1937, Madison, WI; married 19 Oct 1882, Ella A. Ferguson; (5) Clara
Elizabeth; born 4 Nov 1861, Superior, WI; died 31 Jan 1892, Ashland,
WI; married 14 Apr 1883, Adolphus C. Harvey; (6) Mary Helen; born 5
Aug 1866, Superior, WI; died Dec 1953; married 2 June 1890, John G.
Noble; (7) Frank Walter; born 5 Nov 1867, Superior, WI; died 21 Mar
1944, Ashland, WI; married 8 Apr 1891, Ida Belle Pearce; (8) Rosette
Gertrude (Rose); born 16 Oct 1871, Superior, WI; died Dec 1953, Manistique,
MI; married 16 Oct 1894, Edmund E. Johnston.
On 7 Oct 1856, he became a Master Mason of the Rising Sun Lodge #22, State of Ohio.
While in Superior, WI (1856-1872), R.W. was listed as Sergeant in the Home Guard (Indian uprisings of more local concern than the Civil War) (16) and chair of the town supervisors (13). He arrived in Superior by "traveling on foot from La Cross, WI" (13).
R. W. French Hardware Store - 821 & 823 W. Second St. (corner of West 2nd St. and 9th Ave. West)
R.W. lived in Ashland, WI from 1872 until his death in 1913.
"I met R.W. French on the way here. It took us four
days to walk from Superior to Ashland (17)." Having explored the
new territory, he then dismantled the existing store in Superior and
shipped it to Ashland.
In 1873, R.W. helped organize the First Congregational church in Ashland. The first services were held in his hardware store. A short time later, he and seven other men assumed a debt of $800 to take over the existing Methodist church. Since there were more Presbyterians than Methodists or Congregationalists in the body, the First Presbyterian church of Ashland was founded (18). His name, as well as his daughters Eda and Clara, are enshrined on three separate stained glass windows within the church.
R.W. built the first sidewalk in Ashland, supported the
party of William Henry Harrison, and tinned the locally famous Time
Capsule in 1877 - opened ceremoniously in 1929.
R. W. French Store - abt. 1915
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