NELSON GILBERT FRENCH was born August 7, 1907. He was the son of Samuel J.T. French Sr. and his wife Alma Ashley Cavileer French. He also was a great-great-great-grandson of American naval Captain Micajah Smith, of Chestnut Neck, on Little Egg Harbor in Atlantic County NJ. Captain Smith brought in the large British freighter Venus, of London, in August, 1778. This and other American activities in and near Chestnut Neck brought about a British attack, which was unsuccessful in the first week of October 1778. This became known as the Battle of Chestnut Neck.
The elder French and his brother William were prominent lawyers in Camden. William eventually was made a judge, and Samuel J.T. French Sr. was involved in civic affairs in Camden, chairing one of the early commissions working on bringing a bridge or tunnel between Camden and Philadelphia. He also ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat against Charles A. Wolverton in 1932. By 1913 the French family was living at 513 State Street in North Camden. Besides Samuel Jr. there were three other children, Nelson, Lillian, and Richard French. The family would summer at the Jersey shore, spending vacations and weekends at Port Republic NJ.
Both Nelson French and younger brother Samuel graduated from Camden High School, Nelson in 1926 and Samuel two years later. Both French brothers were well known baseball players. Nelson was a star pitcher for Camden High and had a tryout with Connie Mack's Philadelphia A's, and his brother caught him. The French brothers teamed up as pitcher and catcher in Camden for teams such as the Carmen F.C. and the East Side Athletic Association. The brothers also pitched for the Port Republic team in the South Jersey League, which their father managed in the early 1930s.
After graduating from Camden High School in 1928 Nelson G. French went on to a career which culminated as his serving as Secretary at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. He died at Port Republic NJ in June of 1974.
Sam French's Boys Form Battery for Local Club.
Following in the footsteps of their famous dad, the French boys , Nels and Sam, have taken to baseball in a big way, forming a battery that mows the opposing batsmen down with disastrous regularity. Not so many years ago these lads were performing on the North Camden sandlots in those "choose-up-side games." And--inevitably--Nels was always on the pitcher's mound while his younger brother Sam was behind the plate taking care of the servings of his older relative.
Then as they aged and became more mature they tired of their unorganized efforts so the Carmen F.C. was formed in the neighborhood with the French brothers as the battery.
The next step caused the boys to separate for a while as Nels became a flinger for the Camden High School team which cleaned up in South Jersey in 1926 to win the district championship.
Again last year the favorite sons of Sam French came into prominence as a battery for the Port Republic team in the South Jersey League which lost the crown to Vineland after a tough race.
During last year's play, Pere French managed the "Port" team with great success and although they are in no league this year the members of the club are again trying to get Sam, Sr., to handle the reins from the managerial seat.
Sam and Nels are still performing with the Port Republic boys but have also cast their lot with Ed Goldie's East Side A.A. Club which is playing independent ball.
And what did they do the other night but help the East Siders to a 10 to 1 win over the Triangle nine. Nels was on the mound, as usual, and during the course of the fray fanned seven of the enemy batsmen while only allowing them four hits which were good for one run.
While his brother was pitching a snappy brand of ball, Sam was handling his shoot faultlessly and also added to hits to the East Side cause.
When the University of Delaware trackmen staged a 14 event meet of the Charles S. Rogers trophy ,Stretch Pohl came off with the prize with a total point score of 26.
From these results, it might be said the boys are keeping the trophy in the family for they both got their starts at Camden High School in days gone by.
At one time Charles S. Rogers was known as Cholly to Camden High football rooters and later received the monicker of "Camden Comet" when burning up the Penn opposition on Franklin Field. Now Cholly is the coach at the "Mudhen" institution as well as donor of the trophy. Likewise, Stretch also got his start out at Farnham Park where he was a versatile trackman.
And the Pohl lad did not drop his activities after he left the Purple and Gold institution as he continued to decision his track opponents while at Mackenzie Prep before going to Delaware.
In the 1932 Penn Relays, Stretch entered the decathalon and gave a good account of himself although succumbing to the skill of some of the most versatile trackmen in the country.
Although the decathalon was abolished at the relays this year, Pohl has kept plugging at his favorite events, which enabled him to win the covered Rogers Award from his teammates.
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