FRANCIS NEWTON FORESTER or Frank was born Abt. 1810 in TN, and died 25-Jul-1887 in Pike County, AR. He married ELIZABETH ANN RIDDLE 28-Feb-1848 in Home of Eliza's Parents, Dade Co., GA, daughter of SAMUEL ? and JEMIMA. She was born Abt. 1830 in TN, and died Abt. 04-Nov-1895 in Pike County, AR.
Notes for FRANCIS NEWTON FORESTER:
Francis Newton's Forester's recorded birth dates are inconsistent-varying from 1806 to 1819.
The 1850 Dade County GA Census implies (with a declared age) a birth year of 1819.
The date of 1816 is from the family Bible (dated 1886) of Peter Edward Forester. 1808 from bible of his son William Francis Forester & wife Rosalie Octavia Williams Forester in possession of Isaac Thornton's heirs.
Holograph by Wanda W. Smith after interviewing Peter Edward Forester notes b.d. as 1806 (sic). This data was transcribed by Beatrice Thornton Keeling and her niece Wanda Willard Smith. It included a list of Francis Newton's 15 siblings, but they are not ordered.
Birthplace discrepantly reported as Scotland, TN & NC: 1850 Census declaration NC. TN probable; reported to be at or near McMinnville, Warren County TN, but no documentation. Scotland highly unlikely, NC unlikely but possible.
FRANK'S TRAVELS AND RESIDENCE
The PEF Bible notation for Frank is:
Francis Newton Forester, born 1806, Scotland, England, Cuba, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas.
[Note: TN is omitted here in contradiction of declarations elsewhere as his birth state and sworn by his widow Eliza in her pension application. FL, KY, LA & MO omitted despite Frank's Army service therein.
THE SEAFARING YEARS
Frank's youthful seafaring episode is reported from multiple sources. Frank went to sea at age 13. The place listings of Scotland, England, Cuba and New York are plausibly Ports-of Call during these times.
His grandson, Hansford Walter Forester, reported to WWF abt 1950 that while at sea FNF managed things of value and garnered quite a lot of money.
(Note:How does such a report jibe with his enlistment in the army in 1834? The author thinks it implausible that he made a lot of money, and then lost it, and took refuge in the Army.)
From Bible of PEF: "Francis Newton went on shipboard at age 13. He sailed back and forth for years (sic) of to Scotland, England, Cuba and New York."
In 1892 his widow Eliza declared that at age of enlistment in the Army, Frank was 5'10" in height, with black eyes, black hair and dark complexion, occupation a farmer, and that he was born at or near McMinnville, Warren, TN. (His dark complexion, hair and eyes makes Indian ancestry plausible, but without documentation it is mere speculation.)
6TH INFANTRY REGIMENT-THE FIRST INDIAN WAR
Frank was in the Florida Campaign (Florida War)---the first Indian War of the United States---from 1834-1837.
His service record (summarized in 1893) places him:
Enlisted 1 Oct 1834 @ Nashville TN
The mustered recruits marched abt 300 miles to Jefferson Barracks MO)
Assigned to Co. A, 6th Inf. Regt.
Joined company Mar 3, 1835.
March 1835 to Feb 29, 1836 Jefferson Barracks, MO, just south of the town of Saint Louis (now relocated across the Mississippi to East St. Louis IL)
Dec 1, 1835 promoted to Corporal.
(Clearly the month of March was used to travel down the Mississippi to LA)
April 36 to Oct 8, 1836 @ Camp Sabine LA
(Camp Sabine is 125 mi. inland (north) from the Gulf Coast on the left bank of the Sabine River.)
Oct. 9 1836 to Dec 19, 1836 @ Fort Jessup LA
(Fort Jessup lies a one day's march NE from Camp Sabine.)
Jan 5, 1837 to Jan 12, 1837 @ Fort Brooke FL
(Fort Brooke site is now within the city limits of Tampa FL)
Feb 1837 to July 26, 1837 @ Fort Dade FL
(Fort Dade site lies about 45 miles NE of Fort Brooke)
July 28, 1837 to Oct 1, 1837 @ Fort Brooke FL
Discharged Oct 1, 1837, expiration of service, a Corporal.
[Note: Frank was actually enlisted by a Sergeant in McMinnville, Warren County, TN. One month later a company of recruits rendezvoused with and was sworn in by an US Army Lieutenant at Nashville.)
Frank declared his army pay to be from $6 to $8 per month.
Reconciliation of this service record (above) with Frank's poor memory of detail is illuminating. In his bounty land warrant applications (1850) and also in his widow Eliza's pension applications (1892), the recalled identification of unit names, officers etc. are discrepant and confused.
(Note: It may be of interest that Frank, a marginally literate man, signed these bounty land applications. The applications were penned by Gallatin Stevens, of Dade County.
Example: Frank dated his discharge as "a few months before peace was made", rather indefinite.
Example: Frank volunteered (voluntarily enlisted) and was in the "6th Infantry Regiment of the Regular Army". He enlisted (volunteered) from TN. In his first applications confusion is apparent whether he was in the "Tennessee Volunteers" and "Tennessee Infantry". Both differ from the US Army, referring to citizen-soldiers (militia) serving for a short time and for a specific purpose.
Example: He declared he was in a 'Grenadier Company'. In fact, Frank was a dragoon, or mounted infantryman.
Example: Some 13 years after his Indian War service, Congress voted Veteran's benefits: Bounty land. In his bounty land warrant application (1850) Frank claimed service at "The Battle of the Black Swamp", a notoriously disastrous debacle of December 1837 commanded by a questionable character, Zachary Taylor.
Yet (according to the archival record) Frank had been discharged a couple of months previous to this date. Frank was indeed discharged at Fort Brooke, at Tampa Bay. When did he actually leave the theatre of operations? We can only speculate. He could hardly have been wealthy. His gross base pay during a three year hitch amounted to less than $300, unless there were augmentations for hardship duty.
In July of 1852, Frank, apparently newly aware of entitlement to travel pay from/to McMinnville. [Sworn in Trenton GA by JP Alex Hannah] Frank claimed 95 miles McMinnville to Nashville and 600 miles Tampa Bay to McMinnville.
WHERE DID HE FIRST SETTLE?
After Army service Frank settled in the Northwestern extremity of GA. between Lookout Mountain to the east and Sand Mountain, AL to the west. The county is drained by Lookout Creek, tributary to the Tennessee River quite near Chattanooga. It is remote from the rest of GA, and is most easily accessible from TN and AL.
WHAT WAS THE POLITICO-ECONIOMIC SETTING?
The Cherokees, through their strong political and cultural structures during 2-300 yr. of contact with Europeans, had assimilated a good deal of white culture, dress, and technology. Tribal Rolls were kept. Many lived as farmers, raised livestock and crops, used wagons for transport, etc. Along Lookout Creek, a Cherokee planter/entrepreneur operated a mill(s)?. Some were tradesmen, storekeepers, etc.
The State of GA, when Colonial status terminated, had, with statehood, retained a relationship (treaties, etc) with the Cherokee Nation, somewhat parallel to that between the Federal Government and all the other tribes. Gradually GA had annexed/distributed to whites more and more Cherokee land, and finally took the remainder-all at the time of the "Trail of Tears".
Concurrent/consequent to the historical passage of the Indian Removal Act (1830), and specifically, concurrent with the expulsion of the Cherokees to Oklahoma (Trail of Tears-1838) the county of Dade was created (1837), coincidentally the year when Frank mustered out after completion of his Indian War service.
WHEN DID FRANK COME TO DADE COUNTY?
In 1892 his widow declared Frank lived in Dade Co. for 17 years. Thus he came early...in 1838 or 1839.
We know from Deeds in the Dade Co. Archive that he was actively trading land 1845-1856. He was married to Eliza(beth) Ann Riddle in Dade County at the Riddle home early in 1848.
WHAT DID HE DO THERE?
Although Frank was a farmer, he was also a land speculator. A superficial listing shows 13 deeds (during nine years). The acreage turned over aggregates nearly 2000 acres. Clearly he did not farm it all. Two deeds (deals) with Alex. B Hannah, the JP who married him in 1848. Two deeds (deals) with Jos. Killian, Sheriff. (His sister-in-law, Sarah Riddle later married a Caleb Killian, probably related to the Sheriff.)
Congress passed the act granting bounty land 9/28/1850. Frank first applied 3/15/1851. Warrant No 21509 issued/sent 10/20/1852
EMIGRATION TO AR;
The Westward Movement was endemic. Many Georgians relocated to AR before the Civil War. Quality land was cheaper/easily accessible; prospects seemed brighter. There is evidence Scott Forester was in AR before FNF came, perhaps evaluating the prospects.
They traveled the winter of 1856-57.
Despite difficulties the prospect of moving was not intimidating to these hardy people. Farmers emigrated in winter, between harvest and planting. They were stocked with cured meat and staple foods. They took domestic animals, and milked along the way. Spans of Oxen drew 'tar-pole wagons' (This from family Oral Tradition). Emigration was usually done by kindred groups (neighbors, kinfolk etc.)
In the wagon were wife, Eliza (26) & Children: Tennesee (9), William Francis (4), Nancy Jane (3), John Winfield (2), and Rush Montgomery, (nursing infant).
Accompanying the party were (at least) his younger friends & neighbors, Nathan Lowery (24), b. 1832 and John Brooks (13), b. 1843. Other kin, brothers and nephews later resided nearby in AR. By the time of Frank's death Lowery and Brooks had known Frank for all their respective 60 and 50 years.
LAND IN AR:
The following are those lands FNF (and his brother Edward) acquired in Pike County AR.
FORESTER EDWARD W 31 7S 26W 68.1 1859/07/01
FORESTER FRANCIS N 17 5S 25W 40 1860/07/02
FORESTER FRANCIS N 25 5S 26W 40 1860/04/02
FORESTER FRANCIS N 36 5S 26W 40 1860/04/02
FORESTER FRANCIS N 36 5S 26W 40 1875/06/01
It would be interesting to learn whether the Old Home Place, (three miles north of Daisy, Pike County, AR. on Self Creek), is on one of these plots. The aggregate acreage seems to be about 160 acres.
WHAT DID FRANK DO IN AR?:
He resided in AR for 31 years. Frank had a mill and store. Frank raised hogs and was relatively prosperous He had a 'Meat House', used for curing and storage of hams, bacon, etc.
Frank was noted for his markedly loud hog-calling. Local wits chuckled that he "called his hogs in volume".
Regional histor notes "This was also a very fine range for hogs. The woods rarely failed to produce a splendid crop of acorns, beech nuts and scaly bark, thin hulled hickory nuts, which were fine for hogs -- also excellent for persons to eat. The flavor of the nut was equal to the English walnut. These nuts were in great abundance and were used by the Indians as food. "
Frank's eldest son William Francis Forester [WFF] was nine years old when the Civil War began. When he was 11 or 12 foraging Union soldiers took their meat. Subsequently, when foragers were near, WFF buried their cured meat in the sands of nearby Self Creek.
Per Jimmy Neel, [incumbent owner/resident of the Old Forester Place in Pike County from mid 1980s until 2000] repeating one oral tradition of Pike County descendents of FNF:
FNF, an old soldier, after losing the family's meat to foragers determined it should not happen again. Foraging Yankees were not far away. The meat was hidden, some in the hayloft. Frank observed a solitary black soldier foraging alone. The forager was exploring the hay in which the meat was hidden. Frank killed and quickly buried the soldier in the family graveyard, thus saving the meat. [There were fresh graves from family deaths in 1863, Margaret and the twin of Eva. If this story is true the family graveyard may have had it's first three tenants by the end of the War]
Frank sent his big son, WFF, to Fort Smith AR, some 100 miles distant, for supplies. He sent droves of Hogs, cured meat etc. to trade there.
Frank was a practical farm blacksmith. During the war, iron was scarce, and the plow worn out. When WFF was twelve years old, he traveled alone to Arkadelphia, (to the railroad), to buy iron, necessary for forging a new coulter, in 1865.
Francis Newton was a 33rd degree Mason,
Frank died in consequence of injury by a large falling tree limb, apparently a farm accident. He died at the Old Home Place, Age 78. His physician, Dr. Willis S. Watson attested acquaintance and attendance at his death.
Frank was buried by the Masons in the Old Family Cemetery there. Present grave coverings by Grandson Ollie Cook, executed late in Ollie's life.
Frank's Variable birth year: (table incomplete...under development)
Declaration Age Calculated birth year
2/1848 40 nlt 1808
3/1851 40 nlt 1811
7/1852 43 nlt 1809
9/1852 Abt 42 nlt 1810
A near neighbor was Alfred Rodgers since abt 1860...Is his land nearby that of Frank in Pike Co?
RODGERS ALFRED 6 8S 26W 0 1860/07/02
RODGERS ALFRED 6 8S 26W 80 1860/07/
It would be fine to plot on a topo quadrangel or Dept. of Ag Soils map the relative locations of the friends and families.
Notes for ELIZABETH ANN RIDDLE:
Died age 66 abt 1895 at the Home Place on Self Creek in Pike Co. AR--Buried in the Old Family Cemetery by the Eastern Star.
At age 16, at her father's residence, Eliza married a 40 year old ex sailor/soldier, FNF. She bore him sixteen children over a span of some 26 years. One set of twins; so the average parturition was on a 20-21 month time cycle. Allowing for a full terms of pregnacy, she probably conceived soon after her nursing children were weaned at age 11-12 months. It seems surprising she lived to age 66!
Congress voted Indian Wars Widows Pensions in July of 1892, just five years after the death of her husband. Eliza(beth) Ann Riddle Forester was apparently unlettered. She signed 'X her mark' on pension application, 28 Nov. 1892, as did her attestor, neighbor of 50 years, and fellow emigrant to AR, Nathan Lowery. (See BLM Dade Co.)
She had met Lowery in Dade Co. in 1842; Brooks in 1852
Another Witness at Sutton's: Henry L White:
WHITE HENRY L 23 5S 26W 0 1882/12/01
WHITE HENRY L 24 5S 26W 80 1882/12/
After exhaustive application processes, Eliza was awarded a widows pension of $8 a month, approved Nov. 11, 1893. She was dropped from the pension rolls as of 4 Nov 1895 because of death. It appears she received some 23 months pension or a sum of One Hundred Eighty Four Dollars.
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