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I have been doing genealogy for 30 years. My Great Aunt Ella introduced me to this fascinating adventure when I was a teenager and boy did I get hooked. She inspired me and taught me the importance of my roots and where I came from.

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Monday, August 20, 2018

Opal French And Her Brother Allen

Opal French was born Grace Opal French 26 Sep 1915 in Butte, MT. Her brother Allen Julius French was born 2 Nov 1913 in Helena, MT.

Their parents William Mansford French (1867-1943) & Emma Augusta Kreichlt (1891-1965) divorced before 21 Sep 1918 and by 1930 census their children were living with Emma's sister in California. Allen was age 17 and Opal was 14.

Emma re-married to Carl William Nelson and they had a daughter named Ruth Nelson.

Then our siblings lives started to fall apart.




Inmate # 58466 San Quentin
Crime: Assault With A Deadly Weapon
Rec: 20 Dec 1935
Term: 0-10 yrs
Age: 20

Alias: Josephine Sylvester, Grace French, Grace Eisonhart, Opal De Leon

Priors: San Diego: Vagrancy & Drunk Floater
San Diego: Vio- Suspended sentence 20 days 



Opal had escaped from reform school in Montana before going to California.


I found these newspaper clipping.




Allen Julius French 



Inmate #54528 San Quentin
Rec: 5 Aug 1933
Crime: Burg 1st degree & Burg 2nd degree run concurrent
Term: 0-20 & 1-15 yrs
Paroled: 21 Nov 1934
Discharged: 5 Apr 1936



I did not find any newspaper clipping for him.

In the 1920 census Emma was listed with Carl Nelson in Cascade County, Montana with their 1 month old infant (Fern P. Nelson) as well as Allen, 6, and Grace, 4, who were using the name Nelson at that time.

 In 1930 his children Allen, 17, and Grace, 14, as well as their half-sister Ruth Nelson were living in Los Angeles County with their mother’s brother Allen Kreichelt and Emma’s mother Rose Smitchger. It is believed Emma had died. William’s children were using the name French again. 

On 3 Oct 1942 William was admitted to the Oregon State Hospital, a residential facility in Salem, Oregon for the treatment of people with mental illness. Eight months later he died of “senile exhaustion” at the institution. He was 3 weeks from his 76th birthday.

I think Opal French Marriage
16 Jun 1938 • Nevada, USA John Kerul

I never found a death record for Opal, but her brother did get a job as a brakeman for the railroad and married 12 Nov 1936 in Montana, to Elva M Sunders(1918-) and they had two sons Robert Allen French and Allen Thomas French. I was happy to find he went on to a better life and had a family. Allen died 30 Aug 1989 in Riverside, CA


Opal you photo tugged at me to tell your story. I feel I may have disappointed you. Maybe someday I will find out why you went to reform school and to prison, what was hurting you inside so badly? Where are you now? Did you have any happiness? I sure hope you did. 

It was nice to get to know you and part of your life. Rest well now knowing you were not forgotten, I am here telling your story.


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