John A. Foreman, Jr.
- Media Type:
- Item Type:
- This photograph of John A. Foreman Jr. was taken during the American Civil War, 1861-1865. At the age of sixteen, John was master-owner of the brigantine, While, and active in commercial shipping on Lake Ontario. When this business began to decline, he sold the boat and organized a group of family and friends to travel to the western United States where opportunities seemed greater. After three years in Davenport, Iowa, a group of seven began the trip to Kansas on January 4, 1858. The group included John, his wife, Amanda, John's sister Mary Foreman, Leonard Willits, Freeman and Jennie Bell and W.W.H. Lawrence (who became Kansas' first Secretary of State). John and Amanda purchased land in Ottawa Township in Franklin County, Territory of Kansas. Their daughter, Frances Mary, was born in Ottawa on May 9, 1858.
In 1861, as Civil War was imminent, John took the family to Oakville for safety, and to be cared for by family. Their son, Charles E. was born in Oakville on March 23, 1862.
Major John A. Foreman Jr. was in charge of the 3rd Regiment of Home Indian guards, Kansas Infantry. He received serious wounds during the Civil War, and in the battle of Cabin Creek, Oklahoma, he was wounded in the head and side. He continued life with a bullet in his head.
John and Amanda divorced in Topeka in 1866. Leaving the children with Amanda's sister, John left for Muskogee, Indian Territory. He had already been engaged in business there. He was very successful in raising cattle, milling wheat and corn with an immense 32 horsepower windmill, and ginning cotton.
John was instrumental in beginning the Muskogee Indian Fair and served as president of the International Fair Association.
He became a surveyor for the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, laying the line to Texas. He had interests in Texas and Wichita, Kansas. On February 23, 1885, he married Mary E. Randolph, who was an invalid. They adopted a baby who was the sole survivor of an Indian raid on a wagon train, Gertrude Lee Foreman.
In the Oklahoma land run of 1889, John claimed 160 acres and went back to Texas to bring Mary and Gertrude to El Reno, leaving his property in the care of friends. On his return, he found that poachers had taken most of the land. On the remainder, he founded the town of El Reno. He died in El Reno on July 14, 1899, his wife on May 12, 1912.
Gertrude says of John that he was "a kind, soft spoken man, but one very stern who meant what he said. He was an expert shot, a good orator and a man of religious tendency". Each year John is remembered in a parade commemorating the founding of El Reno, Oklahoma.
- Personal Name(s):
- John A. Foreman, Jr., b. January 9, 1825 in Lewiston, New York. Married Amanda Mary Oakley in Oakville, Trafalgar, on April 29, 1847. d. July 14, 1899 in El Reno, Texas.
- Local identifier:
- Trafalgar Township Historical Society
- Geographic Coverage:
- Copyright Statement:
- Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Recommended Citation:
- John A. Foreman, Jr.
Trafalgar Township Historical Society
Trafalgar Township Historical Society Sponsor: Jeff Knoll, Local & Regional Councillor for Oakville Ward 5 – Town of Oakville/Regional Municipality of Halton