Name: Lefford (Lafford) (RW) FRENCH
Birth: 1753 in New Jersey
Death: 11 SEP 1834 in Rutherford County (PolkCounty), North Carolina
Rev War 1776 - 19 April 1783. SC wasn't much involved until after Charleston fell in 1780.
The following is copyrighted by the person who submitted DNA for testing in the French DNA project. It is copied here with permission of the author.
John French, brick mason, was born no later than 1648 and died testate in1713 at Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County, East Jersey. He also lived Staten Island, New York. Wife Susannah (maiden name unknown) was noted on a land deed in 1687. Children named in his will were John, Richard and Ann (born 13 Dec 1692) wife of James Leith.
The son, John French, was born before 1684, lived Woodbridge, Middlesex County, New Jersey, shown in Col Thomas ffarmars militia regiment in 1715 and was still living there in 1721 when he witnessed a will. He had died or moved out of the county before William Deare, Sheriff, compiled the "List of the Freeholders of Middlesex County, N.J." in Dec 1752. He married Mary Bonamy in 1705 and she is recorded in the Woodbridge Township records as the mother of the 4 documented children, Susannah, William, Mary and Sarah.
The son, William, was born Jan 1708. A William French lived at Raritan Landing, Piscataway Township, Middlesex County, New Jersey, and had died by Feb 1784 when his will was proven and estate appraised. Documented proof that this William is the same man as William, s/o John Jr., has not been found; however, circumstantial evidence indicates they probably are the same man. William French married Annetje Sebring, license dated Dec 1742, bondsman Leffert Sebring. She was baptized in 1708. A baptismal record was found for Leffert French, son of William and Annetje; however, his wife and Leffert were not mentioned in William's will. He named his 'eldest son John' and 'son William' in his will. He left a bequest to William, "son of my brother Joseph."
Joseph French, brother of William above, as stated in his Will, was a Shopkeeper, called Joseph French of the Landing, was probably born 1714 - 1721 timeframe. He married Hannah Horn; license dated Jan 1749. Hannah Horn, daughter of the late Simon Horn and Sarah Olden, was born about 1723 in Piscataway, Middlesex County, New Jersey. Joseph and Hannah lived at Raritan Landing but apparently left about 1765. It has not been proven that this Joseph French is the father of Lafford French (see below); however, circumstantial evidence supports this relationship.
Joseph French is first documented in the southwestern part of North Carolina, Oct 1769, when he signs a petition. In Nov 1770 it is noted on the Field Return of the Regiment of Militia for Anson County that Lieut. Joseph French removed out of the county. A South Carolina land survey dated Jan 1773 mentions Joseph French land on branch of Pacolet. It is probable that Joseph had died before 1790. It is believed that this Joseph is the father of the documented French family living in the Northwest corner of South Carolina in the 1770's. It may be his widow who is shown as a female, age 45 and up, in the Lafford French household, 1800 US Census.
Documented South Carolina French Family Siblings are William, Joseph, Lafford, Sarah, Mary and Simon.
The son, Lafford French, a Revolutionary War Pensioner who entered service while living in Spartanburg district, South Carolina, was born 1753 in New Jersey and died Sep 1834 in Rutherford County, North Carolina. His first wife is unknown; they probably married 1779-1780. She died about 1805. He married, second, Elizabeth Gregory, Jan 1806, in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. Elizabeth was born about 1790 in South Carolina and died 1850-1860. The French family land was located on the north branch of the Pacolet River near the boundary line of the area then called Rutherford County, North Carolina (area is designated Polk County, North Carolina today). Affidavits found in Lafford's Revolutionary War Pension file state that he continued to live in the same neighborhood (on the North Pacolet River) until he moved his family to Rutherford County, North Carolina, about 1824.
Documented children of Lafford's first marriage are Mary, William, Joseph, James, Moses, Ruth, Sarah, Elizabeth and Lefford, Jr. Documented child of his 2nd marriage is John who lived and died in the area of the original French land in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Census records indicate Lafford and Elizabeth had additional children. Probably Margaret who married Robert Ballard and a last child, a son named Berry, shown with Elizabeth in the 1850 Census. All of their children were born in South Carolina; but no names have been discovered for another girl and boy shown in their household on earlier census records.
The following is taken from a paper published 2005; Piedmont Historical Society; Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Paper was authored by Jeanette S. French and was based, primarily, on information obtained from the copies of original documents located in Lafford FRENCH's military file stored at NARA.
Surnames have been capitalized for ease of reading and locating information; however, they were not capitalized in the original records.
Lafford FRENCH, aged eighty years, in his declaration of 19th October 1832,
stated that he was born in New Jersey in the year 1753 and had lived in
Spartanburg in South Carolina when called into service and until about eight
years ago when he moved into Rutherford County where he then lived. He
stated that he volunteered in the fall of 1778 or 1779 - but couldn't
remember which year. He also said he served in a company of Rutherford
Militia commanded by _____ James McFADDIN in an expedition against the
He named John GRANWAY [Greenway?] and John MOORE and John MILLS as persons whom he was
known to in his present neighborhood and said he lived 17 miles from the
Rutherford County Court House. He stated that his first service was in a
_____ of South Carolina Militia commanded by Coln THOMAS senr and Capn David
McDOWELL. He also said he served a whole summer every other week guarding a
block house at the head of Pacolet River in Greenville, South Carolina.
John MOORE, residing in the vicinity of Lafford FRENCH, appeared in open
court 25th October 1832 (Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions, for the county
of Rutherford in the state of North Carolina) and stated that he had for
many years been acquainted with said FRENCH, that he believed him to be the
age he represents and that he believes it to be the opinion of the
neighbourhood where he resides in this county and in the adjacent state of
South Carolina that he was a soldier of the revolution. . . concurs in the
opinion that he did so serve.
Lafford FRENCH died 11 Sept 1834 per the military records.
[Elizabeth GREGORY, widow of Lafford FRENCH, pension application on Lafford's service.]
9th day of Nov 1854
William WILKINS gave a deposition when Elizabeth FRENCH applied for pension
on the service record of her husband Lafford FRENCH
". . . Said WILKINS further Says that he became acquainted with Said Lafford
FRENCH & his wife Elizabeth about the year 1807 Shortly after he settled in
their neighborhood & that he deponant is now Seventy two years of age last .
. ." [signed] W. Wilkins
Notary Public &
[Gabriel CANNON is identified as State Senator for Spartanburg South Carolina]
Declaration made 10th day of November 1854:
Lafford's wife, Elizabeth Gregory, declared that she was married to the said
Lafford French in the month of January 1806 by William McDOWELL, Esq., of
Spartanburg Dist. South Carolina - that she has no Record ______ of her
marriage but that the births of their children was a matter of Record, which
was lost. . . . She also stated that she lived near the South Carolina line
& that she is poor & having a son living in Spartanburg finds it more convienent
to go to Spartanburg Court House than to Rutherford North Carolina.
[about this time, the area where Elizabeth lived was split from Rutherford
County North Carolina and became Polk County, North Carolina.]
On the 18th day of April 1855 personally appeared before me (a magistrate)
duly authorized by law to administer oathes for all general purposes for the
County & State aforesaid Elizabeth FRENCH aged about 77 or 78 years as well
as she can recollect, a resident of State & County above written. . ." This
declaration was witnessed by Alauson PADGETT of Polk County, North Carolina
and by L. F. FRENCH of Spartanburg District South Carolina. It was
notarized by B. U. PADGETT, J.P. & Chairman of the Court. Following this,
John ARLEDGE signed and sealed the record as Clerk of the Court of Polk
County, stating that he had affixed his own private seal (the County not
having a Seal of office).
Declaration made Sept 21, 1855:
John FRENCH, abt 50 years of age, son of Lafford FRENCH & Elizabeth GREGORY,
stated in his declaration that he had heard his father speak of his brothers -
William, Joseph & Simon - that they had moved to the state of Kentucky so he
was informed, & he supposes they are dead.
In addition to Lafford's 3 brothers identified by John, other researchers
have identified 2 sisters - Mary FRENCH (married William MOORE) and Sarah
FRENCH (married Hugh MOORE). Their information was proved by NARA military
records found for William and Hugh MOORE.
Father: Joseph (undocumented s\o John) FRENCH b: BET 1714 AND 1721 in OF Raritan Landing, Middlesex County, New Jersey
Mother: *Hannah HORN b: BEF 6 FEB 1726 in OF Raritan Landing, Middlesex County, New Jersey
Unknown (Wife of Lefford FRENCH) b: BEF 1764
BET 1779 AND 1780
in Probably North Pacelot River area of Spartanburg, South Carolina
- Mary FRENCH b: 20 SEP 1780 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- William FRENCH b: 15 FEB 1783 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- Joseph FRENCH b: 23 JUN 1785 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- James (s\o Lefford) FRENCH b: 19 JUN 1788 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- Moses FRENCH b: 14 AUG 1791 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- Ruth FRENCH b: 18 AUG 1793 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- Sarah FRENCH b: 10 APR 1795 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- Elizabeth FRENCH b: 11 OCT 1797 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
- Lefford II FRENCH b: 3 FEB 1802 in Spartanburg area, South Carolina
Elizabeth (2nd wife of Lefford) GREGORY b: ABT 1778 in of South Carolina
in Spartenburg, South Carolina
- John FRENCH b: BET 1806 AND 1807 in Spartanburg Co., South Carolina
- Margaret FRENCH b: ABT 1812 in Spartanburg Co., South Carolina
- Berry (circumstantial) FRENCH b: BET 1824 AND 1825 in South Carolina