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John Howard Forrister

FORRISTER, John Howard. — McDonough County justly lays claim to a goodly array of men of strong characteristics — men of clear mind, sound information, undeviating rectitude and resolute purpose — whose lives have been long identified with the development of its agricultural interests, and to the intelligence, energy and stability of this representative class, is largely attributable the prestige maintained by the county through the abundance and excellence of its farming productions. Prominent among those to whom this general comment especially applies is John H. Forrister, who is recognized as one of the most worthy and successful. Thirty-eight of the sixty years of his life have been spent in McDonough County, and thirty-two years of the latter period measure his career as a progressive and prosperous farmer. Reared on a New England farm, where the soil responds only to the most arduous exertions of the husbandman, he early acquired those habits of industry and frugality to which he rigidly adhered after starting out for himself, and which laid the foundation for the substantial competency resulting from his subsequent toil.

Mr. Forrister was born in the town of Framingham, Mass., April 5, 1847. He is a son of John and Lydia Emeline (Cogswell) Forrister, also natives of Massachusetts, where the former was born in Framingham, March 6, 1816, and the latter, March 18, 1818. His father was a carpenter by trade, having served a three years' apprenticeship in that line before being placed upon a journeyman's footing. After attaining his majority he also devoted his attention to farming on a small scale, cultivating a piece of ground in the vicinity of Framingham, ten acres in extent, which he purchased in 1837 at a cost of $1,000. There he continued to reside during the greater part of his life, and the place is still held as the old family homestead. John Forrister died in 1882, but his wife still survives. They were the parents of seven children, as follows: Maria E., Abby A., Amariah. John H., Granville, Charlietta and Lydia B. The childhood and youth of John H. were spent under the paternal roof, and he utilized the opportunities of the country schools in the neighborhood. After his schooling was over, he worked three days in each week for his father, being employed the rest of the week away from home, until he reached maturity. When about twenty-two years old, he determined to try his fortunes in Illinois, and on reaching his destination at Bardolph, McDonough County, went to work on the farm of an uncle, Joseph E. Porter, with whom he remained six years. In 1876, he bought a farm of eighty acres lying west of Adair, the purchase price being $4,000. This he sold in the fall of 1884, and bought a 160-acre farm situated near Bushnell, McDonough County, paying therefor $10,000. Subsequently, he purchased another quarter-section of good farming land, and is now the owner of 320 acres, located two miles north of Bushnell, where he is successfully engaged in general farming and raising stock.

On March 16, 1876, Mr. Forrister was united in marriage, at the home of his wife's mother, near Vermont, Ill., with Anna Amelia Arnold, who was born in Uniontown. Pa., April 29, 1854. When ten years old, Mrs. Forrister was brought from Pennsylvania to Illinois by her parents, who settled in Eldorado Township, McDonough County. Mr. and Mrs. Forrister have three daughters, namely: Laura Etta, Ada Emeline and Clara Helen. Mr. Forrister is looked upon as one of the foremost farmers of McDonough County, and is a prominent and highly-respected citizen of the community with whose interests he has been so long identified.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, page 879, extracted 04 Jan 2019 by Norma Hass.

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