Mercer County PAGenWeb


JOSEPH FORKER, president of the Sharon National Bank, was born in Mercer, Penn., June 6, 1829, and is a son of Gen. John and Isabella (Graham) Forker, the latter of whom is still a resident of Mercer. Adam Forker, grandfather of our subject, with his wife and family, located in Cool Spring Township early in the present century, afterward removing to Mercer, where Adam and wife died. Gen. Forker was a gunsmith by trade, and in the War of 1812 followed that business for the army at Erie, Penn. He was afterward prominently identified with the militia of the county, holding therein the rank of brigadier-general.  He was an ardent Democrat, served one term as sheriff of Mercer County, and was one of the leading men of his day. He died in 1865, in the faith of the United Presbyterian Church, and his widow still survives him. They reared five children, three of whom are living. Joseph was the third eldest in the family, and grew to manhood in Mercer. At the age of sixteen he began learning the gunsmith’s trade in his father’s shop, at which business be spent five years. In 1853 he began clerking in his brother Henry’s drug store, and in 1857 formed a partnership with R. M. J. Zahniser and C. W. Whistler, under the firm of Forker, Zahniser & Co., and bought out his brother's s store. In 1864 Mr. Forker sold out to his partners, and went into the coal business in Hickory Township, and for the past twenty-four years has been actively identified with the development of the Mercer County coal fields. In 1868 he became interested in the furnace of Henderson, Allen & Co., and since 1872 has been connected with the Spearman Iron Company. Mr. Forker was one of the organizers of the Sharon National Bank, in 1875, and was chosen its first president. He served until 1878, and was succeeded by James Westerman, who served until his death, July 20, 1884, when Mr. Forker was again chosen president, and still occupies that position. He was married in 1857 to Miss Mary Mathews, who died in 1861, leaving two children: Frances (wife of Victor Delamater, of Meadville, Penn.) and David M. (of Birmingham, Ala.). Mr. Forker was again married in 1877, to Mrs. Ruth Harrington, of Sharon He is a Republican in politics, and the family belong to the Episcopal Church.

Source: (History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 724)

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