Charles FRENCH 1759-1819 (aka Carl von Cluge)
His birth name was Carl Hans Paul KLUGE
Why was he described as "Count von CLUGE" ?

Madras Artilleryman 1790
Ahrensburg Casrle
Ahrensburg Castle

Charles (Carl) was born at Ahrensburg Castle in Holstein (then Denmark) on 22 Aug 1759, the son of Johann Gottlob KLUGE
Johann was the StableMaster and CellarMaster at Count von Schimmelman's Ahrensburg Castle.  (I have an Ahrensburg Village Clans Book as evidence)

According to family legend, Carl changed his name to Charles FRENCH on marrying the daughter of a Colonel FRENCH,
and this is the name he used when enlisting in the East India Company Artillery in Kent England in 1785.

Charles sailed to Madras in British India on the "Earl Talbot", departing Portsmouth 16 Oct 1785
In 1789 he married Elizabeth JACKSON at Trichinopoly  (as a "widower to a widow")

By 1792 Charles was a sergeant in Captain Tanner's Company 2nd. Bn. Coast Artillery, and a family was commenced, baptised at Trichinopoly, Mount, and Fort St. George. Their children were:

  • Charles Augustus, born Trichinopoly 1792, 277 identified descendants, 
  • Carolina, born Trichinopoly 1794, married David ROSS, 8 children, Carolina buried 1869 Nellore
  • Edward, born Mount 1796 ....
  • Sophia Ann, born Fort St. George 1798, died 1806 age 8.            
  • Mary 1799, married Charles Palmer of Palmers Bank Penang.
  • George Arthur, born Fort St.George 1799, Captain in Royal Navy,  married Ann, son George 1837
  • Thomas, born 1808, buried Madras 1861 (The Times of India) 157 identified descendants,
    • married Margaret TOWICK in 1825 (son Thomas Ross 1826)
    • & married Arabella  in 1828 (14 children including Thomas Richardson  & Indiana)
  • Henry Arthur, born Trichinopoly 1812, married Mary Hankins (d/o Col. Wm. Hankins) in 1836, they have 150 identified descendants, Henry Arthur died at Vepery in 1866.

Carl as Charles appears in the Invalid Rolls from 1803 to 1807, thereafter in Supernumerary and Pensioner Rolls until his death in 1819.

He died intestate, leaving 14-14-0 to wife Elizabeth, with 7-year-old Henry Arthur to raise. Tracing the fate of widow Elizabeth is an ongoing task.

Grandson Charles John  stated in 1880 in a letter to Prince Bismark that his grandfather was killed in action at the 1799 battle at Seringapatam against the Mysore Tipu Sultan,  (but  research shows that although involved at Seringapatam, he survived that battle). Charles John clearly knew of Carl's German origins, but was confused about his status.  It was Carl's father's employer von Schimmelman who was a Count.

About 600 people in 8 generations of descendants of the original Charles (Von Cluge) FRENCH, have been identified.
Carl's brother Augustus Christian Wolfgang KLUGE also born at Ahrensburg, 1766-1834 has 87+ descendants in Germany. I regularly correspond with one.
Interestingly,Vincent Cluge FRENCH was "Colonel on deputation" of the Indian Expeditionary Force that fought in WW1 against his cousins, descendants of August.

Three generations of descendants were given "Cluge" or 'Clough" as their middle name:

    Gen.3    1837    grandson Arthur Cluge (or Clough) Henry Arthur's eldest son

    Gen.4    1864    great-grandson Vincent Cluge engineer and soldier, Charles Augustus' grandson

    Gen.4    1873    great-grandson Samuel Herbert Clough, Thomas' grandson

    Gen.4    1880    great-grandson Kible St.John Clough, Arthur Cluge's son

    Gen.5    1875    GG grandson Charles Edwin Cluge Charles Augustus' Great grandson

    Gen.5    1912    GG grandson Frederick Geneste  Cluge, Thomas' Great grandson

made on a Mac    email address updated December 2016