George W. Hewitt came to this county in October, 1848, from Pennsylvania, and entered a bounty claim. In 1854, he bought the site of Forreston of John Dement. The town was an outgrowth of the Illinois Central Railroad. The original town, now forming the western part of the village, was laid out in the Fall of 1854, on Mr. Hewitt's land. The Railroad Company made two additions, one in 1855, the other March 8, 1861. Mr. Hewitt made three additions, the first, November 14, 1861. West Forreston was laid out April 1st, 1868, by John Meyer.

The railroad had arrived in the Winter of 1854, and the first buildings erected were the depot and a house for boarding railroad employes, now occupied as a private residence by W. H. Robbins. In the Summer of 1855, Theodore Hewitt built a small boarding house on the site of the present Sherman House.

In the Winter of 1854, John J. Hewitt built a small warehouse near the depot, and shipped the first grain from Forreston.

In the Spring of 1855, Mr. Daniels built and opened a store, near the depot on the west side of the track, where he also kept the first post office. In the same Spring,

Samuel Mitchell, who had come from Maryland to Lincoln Township, together with Jonathan Meyers, in 1837, and Matthew Blair, who came to Mount Morris from Pennsylvania in 1845, moved to the new village of Forreston with their families and built their residences. In this year, also, Mr. Hewitt brought his family from Pennsylvania, although he had previously built his residence.

In the Fall of 1855, Henry Hiller established the first store, of any impor­tance, in the small building still standing just north of the Sherman House. This he sold to Mr. Woodruff, who in turn disposed of his business to David Reinhardt, in 1858. Mr. Reinhardt built the store now occupied by Hewitt & Rosenstiel in the same year> and continued his general store in that building.

In 1855, Mitchell & Blair established a store in a small building on the cor­ner lot occupied by the present hardware store of Smith & Campbell, north of the site of that building. Thomas Botdorf began blacksmithing in the same year.

In the Fall of 1856, a meeting was held at Brookville for the purpose of organizing the Township, at which the Baileyville people contended that the Township should be named "Mendora." When the Central Railroad was built, this station had been named " Forreston," and the people of this village succeeded in securing that name for the Township. The first officers elected were, Matthew Blair, Supervisor, and M. B. Geer, Assessor. There were twenty-eight names enrolled on Mr. Geer's first tax book.

The first school house was built in the same year.
In 1855, a warehouse was erected near the railroad, by Aaron Middlekauff and Martin Heller. Another was built by I. B. Allen in 1857. In this year, also, Fred Meyer began shoemaking, and soon after M. DeWall and John Lang followed in that business. The latter is still a boot and shoemaker of Forreston.

In 1858, Blair & Mitchell dissolved partnership, and Abram Sagers opened a hardware store in the room they had occupied.

About this time, John J. Hewitt and his brother-in-law, B. F. Emerick, opened a general stock of goods in the building which had been occupied as a tavern; and Robert Long opened a saloon near and opposite the depot, which was afterward burned down.

In 1859, C. M. Haller purchased the business of Hewitt & Emerick and continued it until 1861, when he bought the stock of Frank Barker, now of Rochelle, who established the first drug business here. Since 1873, Mr. Haller has engaged in the drug business exclusively.

Among the early settlers spoken of, Messrs. Blair, Mitchell, Philo J. Hewitt and others are still residents of Forreston. John J. Hewitt does business jn Forreston, but resides in Freeport.

Thomas Botdorf came to Forreston in 1855 and started a blacksmith shop. In 1857, he began wagon making, which constituted the first manufacturing in this place.

In 1860, J. H. Bean commenced the manufacture of corn planters.
Mr. Botdorf sold his wagon shop to Salter & Hunter, in December, 1868, and the present firm of Salter & Blair was constituted in September, 1873. They are now engaged quite extensively in carriage making; have commodious workshops, including blacksmith, woodwork, finishing, painting shops and sales room. They employ nine workmen and manufacture about fifty carriages a year.

For many years, Staley & Co. have operated a steam sawing and planing mill in connection with their lumber business.
In 1870, Sammis & Johnson built a frame flouring mill in the southeastern part of the town, which is now operated by Campbell & Savage.
A municipal prison was erected in 1872, at a cost of $450, at the intersection of Walnut and Main streets.

The tavern built by Theodore Hewitt was soon transferred to Alonzo Campbell, after whom M. B. Geer took charge, but soon moved to his present situation.
In 1857-8, this building was moved away and the present Sherman House was erected by John J. Hewitt. It is now managed by N. J. Clark.
In 1857, William Sluggett erected the "Forreston House," which was enlarged in 1872 by N. J. Clark. It is now conducted by Eli Schaftner.






History of Ogle County-1878


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