Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Thomas R. Forcey

FORCEY, THOMAS H., was born in Bradford township, Clearfield county, on the 9th day of April, 1829.  Of the children born to Matthew A. and Margaret (Murray) Forcey, he was the second child.  The father, Matthew A., was for many years engaged in business in Bradford as a farmer, merchant, and lumberman, and here Thomas acquired his first experience in business life, rendering such services as his father's extensive operations demanded.

In the year 1848 Thomas H. Forcey married Anna, daughter of Thomas Leonard, of Bald Hills, Girard township, and soon after located in that part of Bradford that was subsequently erected into Graham township, where he engaged in farming and lumbering. On the 10th day of August, 1859, Mr. Forcey established himself in the mercantile business at Grahamton, which business he has ever since retained, although, for a number of years past the management of it has been entrusted to others.

The year 1861 was an eventful one in Mr. Forcey's business career.  He had been for some years engaged in manufacturing and rafting lumber to the markets down the river, and having no capital saved, a good and well used credit, he was considerably in debt. He had at that time no less than twenty-eight rafts lying in the river awaiting sale. Other large dealers had their rafts in the same place, and were selling at "five cents."  Mr. Forcey's had cost him eight cents, and to sell at five meant financial ruin. The war was imminent, and rafting through Maryland was hazardous.  Old rivermen advised him to sell, but he determined to hold on.  A proposition was offered by a party of raftsmen that they would take the chances of getting the rafts safely through the State of Maryland, and thence by the usual route to New York City, at an expense of five cents additional per foot, and wait for their pay until a sale was made.  To this Mr. Forcey assented, and the task attempted, and, fortunately, successfully accomplished.  The next year, 1862, he sold at fifteen cents, and pocketed a handsome profit as the result of his good judgment.  By that act Mr. Forcey's business ability and sound judgment became recognized, and he became the adviser, not the advised.  His successful operations were noticed by the sound business men of Clearfield, and he was made one of the board of directors, and afterward vice-president of the County National Bank.

In April, 1881, he moved to Clearfield and purchased the elegant residence of Judge Leonard, on Second street, where he now resides.  Upon the death of Mr. Leonard, in July, 1882, he was appointed, and at the next annual meeting of the board was duly elected president of the bank, an office he has ever since most satisfactorily filled, the present healthful condition of this institution being in a measure due to his sagacity and foresight.

In business life his dealings have been characterized by honesty, frankness, and entire fairness, and no person can well charge to the contrary.  As a result of hard work Mr. Forcey has acquired a handsome fortune, fairly earned in the busy fields of life.  For nearly forty years he has been interested in farming and lumbering enterprises, and now owns nearly five thousand acres of land in Bradford and Graham townships.

In early life he was brought up under the teachings of the Methodist Episcopal faith, but since their residence at the county seat both he and his wife have united with the Presbyterian Church.

Source: Pages 702-703, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY:   D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed January 2011 by Alice J. Gayley for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Published 2011 by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project

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