Biography of Dr. Jedidiah T. French
Marion County, IA Biographies





JEDIDIAH TINGLE FRENCH, M. D.
Although Dr. Jedidiah Tingle French passed away in Hutchinson, Kansas, while on a visit there, the greater part of his active life was passed in this county and he was known as one of the best and most prominent physicians of the early days. The life of the pioneer doctor was by no means an easy one and Dr. French never spared himself. His reward was a warm place in the hearts of the people whom he served and the knowledge that he aided in making the conditions of pioneer life endurable. He was the owner of a drug store in Knoxville during his later years.

Dr. French was born on the 23d of April, 1823, at the old homestead one mile from Lebanon, Ohio. His father was Daniel French, who was born on the 9th of August, 1791, in New Jersey and married Amy Tingle, who was born on the loth of May, 1798, at Lebanon, Ohio. Daniel French was a son of Joseph French, whose birth occurred on Christmas day, 1767, in New Jersey, and who married Miss Anna Robertson, who was born on the 25th of February, 1768. Amy (Tingle) French, the wife of Daniel French, was a daughter of Jedidiah and Elizabeth (Reeder) Tingle, the former born May 8, 1766, in Delaware, and the latter June 4, 1776, in Loudoun county, Virginia. Jedidiah Tingle passed away in Warren county, Ohio. His parents were Jedidiah and Amy (Waite) Tingle, natives respectively of England and Delaware. His wife, Elizabeth (Reeder) Tingle, was a daughter of David and Mary (Adams) Reeder, the former of whom was born March 14, 1749, in New Jersey, and was killed by a horse near Lebanon, Ohio. David Reeder was a son of Joseph Reeder III, who was born April 24, 1716, at Newtown, Long Island, and who married Susana Gano. Joseph Reeder II was the father of Joseph Reeder III and was in turn a son of Joseph Reeder I, of England. His father was, according to tradition, Wilhelm Leser Reeder of Germany. Eleanor (Leverich) Reeder, the wife of Joseph Reeder II, was a daughter of Caleb and Martha (Lavaine) Leverich, the former of whom was born in 1638 at Duxbury, Massachusetts, and died in 1717 at Newtown, Long Island. His father was William Leverich, who graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree at Cambridge University, England, in 1625 and received the Master of Arts degree from that institution in 1629. He emigrated on the ship James to Salem, Massachusetts, October to, 1633, and died in 1677. Susana Gano, previously mentioned as the wife of Joseph Reeder III, was a daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Britton or Bretin) Gano, residents of Staten Island, New York. Daniel Gano was a son of Stephen and Ann (Walton) Gano, and a grandson of Francis Gano or Ganeaux, as the original spelling was, a Huguenot who came to New Rochelle, New York, in 1686. He was a native of the Isle of Guernsey and lived to the remarkable age of one hundred and three years.

When three months old Dr. French accompanied the family on their removal to Shelby county, Indiana, and settled upon one hundred and sixty acres of heavily timbered land, the nearest neighbor being eight miles distant. There amid frontier conditions Dr. French grew to manhood. He did all kinds of farm work, cleared timber land, made brick and worked at the stone mason's trade. His father, who was a master mechanic, gave his son expert instruction in the various lines of work of which it was necessary for the pioneer farmer to know something. The Doctor acquired a limited general education by attending the subscription schools of the period for four weeks to two months each winter. There were no holidays in his early life, as his time was spent in hard work upon the farm when not in school or incapacitated by sickness. At the age of nineteen years and four months he began the study of medicine, thus carrying out a desire that had never left him since his fourteenth year. Without advising with father or mother he consulted Dr. G. C. Paramore at St. Omar, Decatur county, Indiana, and arranged for the use of the Doctor's medical library and for private instruction in medicine. For three months he borrowed books and carried them home, going three miles and back each week to recite his lessons. He then taught school for three months, receiving ten dollars per month and his board, in the meantime continuing his medical study. In April, 1843, when recovering from measles his father was stricken with a disease called the black tongue, from which he died. A number of others in that region succumbed to the disease, including an uncle and aunt of the Doctor. The latter himself contracted the malady but recovered and was subsequently placed in charge of thirteen patients by Dr. Paramore, and of these twelve recovered. These cases were the first that Dr. French had. In the fall of 1843 he again taught school, receiving two dollars per pupil and "boarded round."

On the 19th of December, 1843, Dr. French married Miss Mary Ann Crisler, and after a week resumed his teaching, but after finishing the term he abandoned pedagogical work. He and his wife began housekeeping on a farm of fifty seven acres which he had purchased. He cleared the standing timber and built a comfortable, though small, residence and there the family resided for five years. He labored unremittingly, making and laying brick in addition to his farm work. On the sth of May, 1849, the family started for Iowa and on the 28th of that month arrived at Bellefontaine on the Des Moines river. There were three children in the family when the removal was made to this county. Their first residence here was a log cabin near Bellefontaine which Dr. French repaired. He and his entire family were taken sick soon after coming here and they would have actually suffered from want of food if Colonel Doud, one of the first settlers of the county, had not visited them and given them provisions. Dr. French never forgot this kindness and was a warm friend of Colonel Doud during the latter's lifetime as well as his family physician. There was a great deal of sickness in the early days and it was no unusual thing for a whole family to be stricken at once. Malarial fever especially was prevalent until January, 1850. While living upon the farm Dr. French cultivated his land, cut wood. split rails and did all manner of work as well as practiced his profession. However, his services as a physician were called for more and more frequently and after two years he was compelled to leave the farm and devote his entire time to his professional duties. He rode over a territory thirty miles in extent east and west and twenty five miles north and south. In October, 1851, he removed to Hamilton, Marion county, and practiced there for six years, having nearly the exclusive practice in that region. His first typhoid cases occurred in 1856 and out of fifty three patients treated he lost but one, which is a remarkable record, especially when we consider that at that time the profession knew practically nothing of the disease. Some idea of the demands made upon the pioneer physician may be gathered from the fact that he traveled almost continuously for fifty days on horseback, snatching such sleep as he could. There were no buggies then nor were there any good roads or bridges.

On the 21st of June, 1857, Dr. French removed to Knoxville and on the 1st of August of that year opened a drug store on the east side of the town square, which he conducted successfully for twenty seven years and also practiced his profession. In 1860 he discovered a remedy for diphtheria, which was the means of saving many cases that would undoubtedly otherwise have been lost. For over fifty three years he was in active practice and his record was one of unusual success. His death occurred in Hutchinson, Kansas, on the 24th of September, 1903, when he was eighty years of age. His demise was much regretted in this county and his memory is still held in honor and esteem.

To Dr. and Mrs. French were born nine children, namely: Elizabeth D., born November 15, 1844, is now the wife of W. E. Burns, of Denver, Colorado; Caroline A., who died on the firth of November, 1867, was the wife of Lieutenant Melvin Stone of Knoxville; Parthena J. passed away on the 2d of September, 1849, when ten months and sixteen days of age; James Allen, born on the 5th of August, 1851, resides in Knoxville; George A., born on the 3d of July, 1854, passed to his reward on the 28th of July, 1905; William A., born December 16, 1856, died October 16, 1858; Mary Alice, whose birth occurred on the 9th of February, 1859, is now the wife of J. S. Bellamy, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work; Amy May, born August 13, 1861, is now the wife of C. H. Sweetser, of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and an infant, born April 16, 1865, died nine days later on the 25th of April.

Mrs. Mary Ann (Crisler) French, the mother of these children, was born on the 22d of January, 1822, in Boone county, Kentucky, and died June 4 1900, at Knoxville, Iowa. Her father was Lewis Crisler, whose birth occurred June 1, 1773, in Madison county, Virginia, and who on the 18th of August, 1806, was married in Boone county, Kentucky, to Miss Mary Zimmerman. She was born on the 4th of April, 1778, a daughter of Christopher and Mary (Tanner) Zimmerman, whose marriage occurred in Culpeper county, Virginia. Lewis Crisler, the maternal grandfather of Mrs. Bellamy, was a son of Leonard and Margaret (Clore) Crisler, the latter a daughter of John and _____ (Cafer) Clore. Leonard Crisler was a son of Fawatt and Rosina (Garr) Crisler, natives of Virginia and Bavaria respectively. His mother was born of the union of Andreas and Eve (Seidelnian) Garr, natives of Bavaria, who emigrated to America in 1732. The parents of Andreas Garr were John and Elizabeth Garr,

From:
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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