Governor Joseph Benson Foraker Instrumental in the founding of the Cincinnati Chapter SAR

Compatriot George Stewart
Chapter Historian

The Governor was a very colorful man. He was very opinionated yet very well respected. I came across the story of him in “Howe’s Historical Collections of Ohio,” dated 1898. This book has been donated to the Cincinnati Chapter by Mike and Monigue Sewell of Indian Hill. Mr. Sewell
is a member of the Cincinnati Chapter.

Governor_Joseph_Benson_ForakerJoseph Foraker was born July 5, 1846 in a log cabin about one mile north of Rainsboro in Highland County, Ohio. His ancestors came to Ohio from Virginia and Delaware on account of their distaste of slavery. Raised on his father’s farm he assisted him on the farm and in the grist and saw mill thereon. One day when he was a small boy he tore his only pair of pants. There was no suitable cloth at hand to make a new pair and time was too precious to send any one to town. In a dilemma his mother made him a pair out of a coffee sack. He protested against wearing these to school, saying “All the boys will laugh at me.” “never heed what the boys say,” replied his mother. “If you become a useful man nobody will ask what kind of pantaloons you wore when a child.”

Joseph Foraker attained the rank of captain in the Civil War. He was a member of Cornell University’s first graduating class. He became a lawyer, political speaker and was elected a judge in 1879. In 1885 he ran as a Republican and was elected the 37 the Governor of Ohio. He served two terms. In 1896 he became a United State Senator for Ohio. While in Washington D.C., he had many disagreements with President Theodore Roosevelt which lead to Roosevelt working to defeat Forake’s re-election bid in 1907. Some of the Foraker-Roosevelt confrontations were too juicy to print. He died in Cincinnati on May 10, 1917 at the age of 70 and is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery. I feel safe to say his mother was right and that he became a useful man.

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