French Family Association

Mara French, P.O. Box 1109, Sutter Creek, CA 95685-1109. 209-267-0649

Famous Frenches

John Homer French

Last updated by Mara French on 4/6/08. Send corrections or additions to Mara French.

FRENCH, John Homer (1824-1888) The State of New York from New and Original Surveys under the direction of J.H. French

Syracuse: Robert Pearsall Smith, 1860. Hand-coloured lithographic wall map, backed with modern linen, full period color, trimmed in red cloth, on contemporary rollers. Two inset maps: "Geological and Land Patent Map of the State of New York" and "Meterological Map of the State of New York." Twelve inset city plans: Buffalo, Troy, Utica, Syracuse, Albany, Oswego, Schenectady, Hudson, Auburn, Poughkeepsie, Rochester, New York City. Twelve pictorial vignettes of New York State towns and scenery, and a decorative border of scrolling vines. In good condition except for occasional expert repairs and old repair evident along right edge. 67 x 73 3/4 inches. The second edition of the best map of any American state published to its time. Ristow devoted an entire chapter to the construction of this map, and pronounced it of a "higher quality than the maps of other states published prior to the Civil War." 'American Maps and Mapmakers', pp. 355-378. Beginning in 1853, Robert Pearsall Smith contracted with a number of local surveyors to construct maps of New York counties. In 1855 he engaged John Homer French to compile a state map from the various county maps. Although the individual county maps were not all of uniform quality, they were far more consistent and comprehensive than the local surveys conducted for any other American state. French's general map of The State of New York, first published in 1859, supplanted Burr's Atlas of the State of New York (1829), as the definitive reference for the topography of the state. It remained so until two decades later, when the U.S. Geological Survey began published maps based on original triangulation. This second edition was published in 1860. Despite the quality of the map, the number of copies sold was insufficient to offset costs, and in 1865 Smith sold his publication rights to H. H. Lloyd, who brought out new editions. Cf. BMC Printed Maps X, col. 558; Journal of the American Geographical and Statistical Society 2 (1860), p. 135; Phillips, America, p. 513; Ristow, American Maps & Mapmakers, pp.355-78; not in Rumsey.

John H. French is the the son, perhaps the eldest, of Bartlett and Ruth French.  The 1850 Census (see details above) indicate that he was 24 years old at the time of the census and thus he would have been born about 1826. The census also notes that he was a student, but, since he appears to be the same John T. French of Cazenovia who started attending Cazenovia Seminary in 1844 (when he would have been 18), he must have been enrolled at another school in 1850.

John H. French also shows up on several of the Village Poll Tax Lists with his father.  These lists include residents are over the age of 21 but who do not own property.  John H. French appears on the lists of 1846, 1847, 1848, and 1850 (his father remained on until 1851).

I know nothing more of this family and I wonder if, perchance, this John H. French is the same John Homer French (1824-1888) who compiled the massive Gazetteer of the State of New York in 1860!  If you know more about the French family I would very much like to know - please contact me!