FRENCH, Senator Robert E.
Port Huron Daily Times, Monday, November6, 1899, page 5:
Ex Senator Robert E. French, died at hishome on Gratiot avenue on Sunday morning at 3 o'clock.
Robert E. French was born in England in 1834. At the age of eight years, with his father, he came to Guelph, Ont. His father being in somewhat straightened circumstances, Robert was apprenticed to a farmer at the age of nine years, remaining on the farm until he had attained his 14th year, when he entered the employ of a shoemaker at Elora, Ont. He was obliged to remain in the store until nine o'clock in the evening, but his thirst for knowledge caused him to study the greater portion of the night. He remained in Elora until 19 years of age.
By practicing the closest economy, he had by this time accumulated a few hundred dollars and began manufacturing boots and shoes at Drayton, Ont. In 1861 he concluded to take up his residence in the United States, and with his family he removed to Fort Gratiot. He opened up a small shop. By untiring effort and energy, giving every attention to business, he increased his business gradually from year to year, until in 1880 he was able to erect the fine double brick store, which he occupied with a large stock of dry goods, boots and shoes. In 1890 he decided to enjoy a well-earned rest from business cares, and sold out to his son, George French, closing an active and honorable business career of 39 years.
He held nearly every office of trust in the gift of the people of Fort Gratiot. He was the first mayor of the city and held the office of village treasurer, township treasurer, justice of the peace, and postmaster before the incorporation of the city of Fort Gratiot. Since the annexation of Fort Gratiot to Port Huron he has held the office of cemetery trustee, and member of the board of estimates. In 1892 he was elected state senator and was re-elected in 1894.
His official career has been faithful and honorable. Efficient and scrupulous in the discharge of public trust, honorable to all men, a kind father, a loving husband and a true friend, was R. E. French. Mr. French had been ill for several months past with a complication of diseases. The immediate cause of his death was Bright's disease.
The funeral will be held on Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, under the auspices of the Masons.
Submitted by: Robert M. Black