Age: 24, credited to Hartford, VTVITALS
Birth: 02/16/1837, Bedford, NHADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
West Lebanon Cemetery, Lebanon, NH
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
Horace French was born in Bedford, 1837, Feb. 16, and was a son of Phineas and Betsy Foster French. His father was a farmer and tanner. After residing on the old homestead for thirteen years Mr. French went to Milford, where he remained six years, being employed by Moses French in the old Souhegan cotton mill. He then went to Clinton, Mass., where he remained two years, thence to Derry, where he attended school for one year. During the four years next ensuing Mr. French attended Kimball Union academy at Meriden, from which he graduated with honors, Cyrus Richards being principal at that time.
While at this school, during the latter part of the year 1860, Mr. French with his two classmates, Frank Rew and Banti Daniels, discussed the rumors of war that were then rife. They agreed that should the call come they would enter the service of their country. Accordingly, on April 12, 1861, the day on which Fort Sumter was fired upon, these three young men journeyed on foot from Meriden hill fifteen miles to Hartford, Vt., which was the nearest place to enlist. On May 10 they enlisted in Co. F, Third Vermont Vols., under Capt. Tom Seaver, who is now living in Woodstock, Vt. Col. Samuel E. Pingree, since governor of Vermont, commanded the regiment.
The company rendezvoused at St. Johnsbury, Vt., and on July 24, 1861, went to Camp Lyon near the Chain Bridge above Washington. Mr. French was promoted to orderly sergeant, then to lieutenant, and was detailed as an aid-de-camp on Gen. L. A. Grant's staff, who was then commanding the famous old Vermont brigade.
Mr. G.G. Benedict's history of "Vermont in the Civil War" gives Captain French special and prominent mention in many instances and shows him to have been in the thickest of the engagement at the battle of the Wilderness, and one of the bravest of the men there. Captain French also received favorable mention in General Grant's report of the engagement. Benedict's history says: "During the battle of the Wilderness Gen. L.A. Grant was directed to withdraw his brigade, but how to do it in the face of the increasing force with which it was in such close contact was a problem. The enemy pressed close on the retiring line of the Second and Fourth regiments, and occupied for a short time the ground, strewn with their dead, on which they had fought. Lieutenant French, of General Grant's staff, who had been sent by him to order back the Fifth, had his horse shot from under him and was captured while on his way with the order."
While a prisoner he was confined for a year in fifteen different prisons and pens. Here he suffered untold hardships, the stories of which can be told only by veterans who were at that awful strife. After escaping twice and being recaptured, he was exchanged at Fort Fisher and brought to Annapolis, where he reenlisted, remaining until the end of the war. After his reenlistment he found a captain's commission awaiting him, and he held that rank to the close of the war. Captain French was mustered out with his regiment in 1865 at Burlington, Vt., having been in the service four years and three months. He then went to Hartford, Vt., just across the river from his present West Lebanon residence. Here he married Mary E. Gillett in 1865, and together they went to the settlement of Olcott's Falls (now Wilder), Vt., and there were pioneers in the little town which sprung up on the banks of the Connecticut River, and is now well known for it's paper manufacturing industry.
He erected the first house ever built there and his was the first family that ever lived there. On the fifth anniversary of his marriage he removed to West Lebanon, where he has since resided. Mr. French is postmaster of West Lebanon and occupies one of the finest residences in the village. He is a citizen highly respected by all.
Politically he is a Republican; his religious belief is that of a liberal Congregationalist. Mr. French is a member of Franklin lodge, No.6, F. & AM., St. Andrews Royal Arch Chapter Masons, No. I, Mascoma lodge, No.20, I.0.0.F. of Lebanon, also the GAR He was appointed an aide on Commander Shaw's staff at Chicago, and is entitled to the rank of colonel.
Mr. and Mrs. French have had by their union eight children, four of whom are now living. It is doubtful if a family in New Hampshire can be cited where four sons have met with greater success than these. To all who know Mr. French his stature is a predominating feature, and his four sons aggregate in height twenty five feet. All of them are over six feet tall and two of them six feet four inches.
Samuel Pingree French, named after his father's former colonel, aged 32 years, graduated from Dartmouth college in 1893. For eight years he has been principal of the Ponahou preparatory school in Honolulu. The school has nine grades and the building was erected at a cost of $75,000. Leaving his wife and two children there, Mr. French is now completing a one year's post graduate course at Harvard college
Frederick Reginald French, aged 31 years, ls in Santa Barbara, Cal. where he has a lucrative position as consulting engineer. He graduated from Dartmouth college in 1894. Ernest Eugene French, aged 25 years, is on his last year in the Berkley Law School in San Francisco, Cal. He graduated from Dartmouth college in 1898.
John McQuesten French, named for John McQuesten of Bedford, "the old philosopher and farmer", is 24 years of age. He is a civil engineer and superintending the harbor in Manzanillo, Mex.
A very tender place is touched in Mr. French's heart when mention is made of his daughter, Bessie Foster French, who died last May at the age of 37 years and 4 months. She was an accomplished young lady, beloved by the entire community in West Lebanon. Her life was one that remains a pleasant memory in the hearts of a legion of friends.
Source: "History of Bedford, New Hampshire, 1737-1900." Concord, N.H.: Bedford, 1903.
In Capt. Horace French, West Lebanon and the region round about, have a personality that is a power for good. Known of men in New Hampshire and Vermont, he has never been found lacking in those qualities that make the man of the hour; the kind of man needed in every walk of life, as well as in any emergency. His title of "captain" was won in the service of his country, and in those days when he and others offered their lives to save that country from destruction. A student at Kimball Union Academy, he closed his books upon the first call to arms, and walking to Hartford, Vt., fifteen miles away, he enlisted in Co. F, third Vermont volunteers. Of this company Thomas Seaver, for many years since Windsor County (Vt.) judge of probate became captain, and Samuel E. Pingree, later governor of Vermont, was a lieutenant. With the regiment, Private French went into camp at St. Johnsbury and when it reached the front he was first sergeant of his company. Subsequently he was commissioned a lieutenant and became an aide on the staff of Gen. L.A. Grant, continuing as such until the Battle of the Wilderness, when he was made a prisoner. While in the hands of the Confederate army, he was confined in no less than fifteen different prisons. Thrice he escaped, only to be recaptured. When once he was made free he found a captain's commission awaiting him. After the expiration of his enlistment he at once reenlisted. All told, he served four years and three months in the army. Histories of Vermont in the army of regiments and brigades refer to the valiant service of Captain French. A single instance of this nature will show the character of these references. It was on the occasion of a visit to Vermont of President Roosevelt, when at White River Junction Senator Redfield Proctor espied Captain French in the assembled multitude. At the close of the president's remarks the senator called Captain French to the platform and, introducing him to the president, said "Mr President, I wish to introduce to you one of the bravest men in the army". "The senator has paid you a great compliment", said the president, "That statement in which he places you among the bravest men in the army means a good deal".
When the war ended, Captain French returned to Hartford and there married, in 1865, Miss Mary E. Gillette of that town. Upon their marriage the couple built for themselves a home in that part of Hartford now the village of Wilder, but then known as Olcutt Falls. Theirs was the first house built in the village and they the first family there to live. In 1870 they moved to West Lebanon, which has since been their home.
It was but natural that an energetic, buoyant spirit like Captain French should have entered zealously into the life of his adopted home. He identified himself with its' affairs, ever showing that public spirit so beneficial to any community, and now, though he has reached the psalmist's limit of life, his days are an inspiration for all. Of strong domestic tastes, Captain and Mrs. French have long possessed an attractive residence, the distinctive name of which is "Home Acre", the grounds containing, as its' name indicates, just an acre. "Home Acre" does not owe its' present beauty and attraction to the lavish expenditure of wealth. On this single acre, less that occupied by the house, are many trees indigenous to the Connecticut valley. There are maples, birches, hemlocks, willows and others. There are the native ferns and vines and shrubs. From the first dawn of spring till winter comes again there is a constant succession of flowers.
Captain French was born in Bedford, NH, February 16, 1837, the son of Phineas and Betsey (Foster) French. At thirteen he left home and worked successively in Milford, Clinton, Mass., and in Derry. He eventually entered Kimball Union Academy, Meriden, where the beginning of the Civil War found him. For more than a decade he has been the postmaster of West Lebanon, as is elsewhere mentioned.
Captain French is a member of the Masonic Order and has ever been active in GAR circles. Seven sons and one daughter were born to Captain and Mrs. French, and they sent four of their sons through Dartmouth, a record of parental devotion of which they may be proud. Of the sons, Samuel Pingree is a professor in Oahu College, Honolulu; Frederic Reginald, a successful civil engineer, died in Mexico in 1905; Ernest Eugene is a lawyer at home; while John McQuesten died the past winter in California.
A daughter, Betsey Foster, died after living to womanhood, beloved and mourned by all who knew her.
Source: "At the Meeting of the Valleys," The Granite Monthly, Vol. II, No. 6, June 1907
State of Vermont. County of Rutland, SS
In the matter of the invalid pension claim no. 570,999 of Horace French, late 3rd Regt., Vermont Vols. ON THIS thirty first day of December. A.D. 1886, personally appeared before me, a notary public in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer oaths Carlos Carr age 47 years, a resident of Brandon in the County of Rutland and State of Vermont whose Post office address is .Brandon, Rutland County, Vermont well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows:
(Note Affiants should state how they gain knowledge of the facts to which they testify)
I knew Lieut. Horace French, late 3rd Regt. Vermont Vols. In the latter part of the year 1863 when he had been detached from his Regt. as the Acting Provost Marshall of the 2nd Brig., 2nd Div., 6th Corps. It is too long ago for me to fix the exact date. At the above mentioned period the claimant was, to the best of my knowledge and belief, sound and well physically. I never knew or heard anything to the contrary. I have heard and believe that the claimant was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. The next time I saw him after that Battle was about the early part of the month of July, 1864. I had been taken prisoner on the Weldon Railroad, June 23, 1864 and was sent, finally, to Macon, Ga. where I found the claimant. At this time the claimant was sick he was thin and much emaciated and he seemed to be utterly friendless. I cannot say what ailed him. He was the first Vermont officer whom I saw and his condition appealed to my sympathies. I attached myself to him and for about six weeks I took care of him! Had I not looked after him, I believe that he would have died. He was in such a weak and deplorable condition that he seemed to have lost all hope his brain seemed to be affected at least he had not the strength and energy to take care of the starvation rations doled out to us. I know that he was very sick indeed and that he was unable to do any manual or mental labor. But to say what diseases affected him I am not physician enough to say. Sometime in August, 1864 I was sent to Savannah, Ga. And I do not recollect of seeing the claimant after that. and I…further declare that I have no interest in said case and am not concerned in its prosecution.
Carlos W. Carr
(If Affiant signs by mark, two persons
(Signature of Affiant)
Contributed by: Contributed by Elizabeth French Stilwell, San Diego, California, great-granddaughter of Horace French.