French, John C. (ca. 1820–1889)

By: S. W. Pease

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 4, 2020

John C. French, businessman, was born in New Jersey or Pennsylvania in the 1820s. He and his brother Samuel moved to San Antonio in the 1840s. French entered the employ of Lewis and Groesbeck, dealers in groceries and banking. The firm became Groesbeck and French in 1854 and later was run by French alone. In 1858 the French Building was completed; in 1868 it became the Bexar County Courthouse and in 1879 housed the city government. San Antonio's first regular bank was organized by French and Erasmus André Florian; it operated until the Civil War forced French to withdraw from active business, though he still retained large interests in San Antonio. He helped promote the Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific Railway Company (see SAN ANTONIO AND MEXICAN GULF RAILWAY). French married Sally Roberts. He died in Cuero on May 16, 1889, and was buried beside his daughter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Frederick Charles Chabot, With the Makers of San Antonio (Yanaguana Society Publications 4, San Antonio, 1937).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

S. W. Pease, “French, John C.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 14, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 4, 2020