Shirley Smith French, Manufacturer, was born at Garrettsville, Ohio, May 2, 1881, son of Samuel French and Mary
Jane (Johnson) French and a descendant of Schuyler French, who came from England in 1800 and settled in
Connecticut. Left an orphan at an early age, he was reared by a Garrettsville Physician. After being graduated at the
Garrettsville High School in 1900, he began his business career as a tally boy with the Republic Steel Corp at
Youngstown, Ohio. While with that company he studied engineering privately and during 1906-13 he was a member of
the engineering department of the United States Steel Corp., which laid out and supervised the construction of its steel
plant at Gary, Indiana. In 1913 he returned to Youngstown as a chief clerk of the Brier Hill Steel Corp. Three years
later he became vice-president and general manager of the William Tod Co. (later the United Engineering & Foundry
Co.), Youngstown, one of the first American companies to manufacture war munitions for entente allies in the World
war. In 1917 French was made vice-president and general manager of the General Fireproofing Co., at Youngstown,
continuing with that company until 1926. From that time until his retirement in 1930 because of ill health he was
vice-president and treasurer of the Central Alloy Steel Corp. at Massillon, Ohio, and president of the Berger
Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary, at Canton, Ohio. he was a member of the Iron and Steel Institute, Masonic order,
Union Club (Cleveland), Youngstown and Youngstown Country clubs (Youngstown) and Canton, Congress Lake and
Brookside (Canton). He took an active interest in civic affairs and was a director of the Youngstown and Canton
chamber of commerce. Personally he was an affable, kindly man, energetic and a great tenacity, and enjoyed wide
popularity. His favorite recreations were golf, reading and travel. He had a gift for music and sang in public from
boyhood. Politically he was a Republican and in religion was a Methodist. He was married at Gary, Indiana April 3,
1909, to Maude Alice, daughter of Charles Henry Jenness, a salesman, of Ft. Wayne, Indiana and they had four sons:
Charles Samuel, John Bruce, James Jenness and Shirley Smith French. He died at Youngstown, Ohio, September 18,
The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Volume XXVII, 1939
James T. White & Co.
|Shirley Smith French, Sr.
May 2, 1881 ~ September 18, 1936
This biography was written in 1939, three years after the death of Shirley. I have been in contact with a cousin who
has confirmed with me that Shirley is the son of Samuel and Mary French. Shirley is a Descendant of Wareham
French. Schuyler was his uncle (Samuel's brother).
Shirley was not orphaned as stated in the biography. His father died when he was 16 and his mother sometime after
1900 as Shirley and Mary are listed together in the 1900 census. We have assumed that because his father was 65 at
the time of his birth, Schuyler was an influential part of Shirley's upbringing, therefore family stories carried through
were remembered as such.
When the biography was written, the biographer must have written the bio from interviews conducted with members
of the family who may have confused the facts. The history, biography of his career, marriage and children is correct.
Although the family heritage can be proven, we can only assume that the information regarding the biography was
collected from family members and cannot prove where the biographer obtained his facts. The book in which the
biography was obtained stated only that this book is "the completion of fifty-one years which the publishers have
devoted to recording American history".