French, Marcellus (1831–1919)

By: Stephanie P. Niemeyer

Type: Biography

Published: June 13, 2008

Updated: November 20, 2014

Marcellus French, legislator, was born on February 14, 1831, in Warrenton, Virginia, son of James and Sarah Butler (Henry) French. He came to Texas in 1852. In the spring of 1857 French was one in a group of adventurers that attempted to invade Costa Rica. The mission resembled William Walker's invasion of and short-lived control of Nicaragua. The expedition ended disastrously, and French moved to Bexar County, Texas, to be near his brother, James Henry French of San Antonio.

French married Elizabeth H. Logan on October 28, 1857. Later that year he began his only term in the Texas House of Representatives for Bexar County. At the outbreak of the Civil War, French left Texas and joined the Confederate Army. He served as the captain of Company F of the Thirty-fifth Virginia Cavalry until the end of the war. Marcellus French stayed in Virginia after the Civil War and died in Houston, Virginia, on December 13, 1919. He was buried in Saint Johns Episcopal Church Cemetery in Halifax County, Virginia.

Family Search, "Marcellus French," (, accessed August 24, 2006. "Filibustering Trip San Juan River 1857-Walker Connection," Genealogy Forum (, accessed August 24, 2006. Shiflets and the Civil War (, accessed August 24, 2006. William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).

  • Seventh Legislature (1857-1858)
  • House

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

Stephanie P. Niemeyer, “French, Marcellus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 13, 2008
November 20, 2014