Jeff Harvey

Continuing with William Sanders II’s “A New River Heritage, Volume IV, McClain Publishing, 1994, we come up to some of the history of Mercer County during the Civil War period via family history.

Russell French’s Unionist loyalties apparently came from his family’s opposition to slavery. Russell French was the son of Reuben and Naomi Meadows French and grandson, on his mother’s side, to Juda Lilly and Rev. Josiah Meadows (also referred to as Meador) who settled at the mouth of Little Bluestone River. He married Martha Hale, daughter of Isaac Hale and granddaughter of Edwin and Patsy Purdue Hale.

Reuben French was the son of James and Susan Hughes French, born in Culpeper, Va. and North Carolina, respectively. James French was a son of Capt. Matthew French, the namesake of the local chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution and Sallie Payne French and a grandson of John French. John’s wife Martha was first married to Capt. Cresap of the Virginia militia.

Russell French’s children were William, who served alongside his father, Clementine, Russell Millard Fillmore, Martha Jane, Nancy A. and Naomi Victoria.

The first two children never married. Millard Fillmore’s children all graduated from Concord Normal School and became teachers

Nancy A. French Meadows’ children included Vance Meadows, whose daughter Pauline married long-time park ranger J. Kent Lilly, Eliza Meadows Jennings and Donnie Meadows.

We’ll pick up from there next time.

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