HENRY J. FOSNOT, Lewistown, Mifflin county, Pa., was born March 29, 1850, in a little country settlement known as Green Spring, Cumberland county, Pa.
His parents were Jacob and Mary (Vanderbilt) Fosnaught. No effort has been made to trace his ancestry to any extent beyond these, and there is no evidence that any were distinguished in the military, scientific or literary world. His mother was indeed related to the Vanderbilts of New York City, but was not burdened with that which has been their most distinguished characteristic. The subject of this sketch was therefore not reared in luxury.
His education was received principally in the public schools, where he proved an apt scholar, encouraged by his tutors' predictions of future possibilities that were never realized, and by advice which was little heeded. At an early age he was thrown upon his own resources, and after various engagements at manual labour, he served as clerk in a country store.
In 1871 he entered a printing office, assisting in establishing the Enterprise, a newspaper at Oakville, Pa., which a few years later was removed to Newville, Pa., and is still published there by an older brother.
In August 1879 he was engaged to edit the True Democrat, at Lewistown. A month later he secured control of this newspaper, and in October consolidated it with the Democrat Sentinel, adopting the name Democrat and Sentinel, of which newspaper he has been editor and publisher ever since.
He is a plain, forcible and pleasing writer, and his paper is popular and widely circulated. It is credited with having contributed very largely to the material advancement of Lewistown. A little book entitled "Lewistown as It is," issued by him in 1895, was well received. He was at the head of the centennial committee in 1895, is chairman of the Mifflin County Soldiers' Monument executive committee, and president of the local board of health. He is a director and secretary of the Lewistown Foundry and Machine Company.
In 1892 he was the Democratic candidate for member of the legislature, and received more than his party vote, but was defeated by a majority of 102.
On January 26, 1850, two months before Henry J. Fosnot was born, his father died, at the age of fifty-one years; his mother died August 3, 1871, aged sixty-seven.
He was the youngest of twelve children, four of whom died at an
W. C., the eldest, died at Harrisburg, February 23, 1894, aged sixty-four years;
Mrs. Mary J. Wagner, widow of Jacob M. Wagner, died at
Harrisburg, November 24, 1886,aged fifty-four years, leaving a daughter, M. Alice (Mrs. John G. Stouffer), of Harrisburg; Martha M. Fosnot, died in Harrisburg, December 5, 1894, aged fifty years.
The surviving brothers are:
1. John C., editor of the Star and Enterprise, Newville, Pa., married to Elizabeth Ferguson, and after her death to Belle Rutherford, has children, Laura (Mrs. Harry Hoch), Maggie, widow of J. Kenyon Fishburn, Ella (Mrs. Abram Myers),
George B., and William J.;
2. Joshua V., of Harrisburg, married to Margaret Martin, has five children;
3. Edward W., of Lewistown, married to Jennie S. Mell;
4. Lew C., editor of the Record and Star, Watsontown, Pa., married to Lera B. Westafer, has one son, John Clyde, aged sixteen years.
Four brothers, W. C., J. V., E. W. and L. C. Fosnot served in the Union army during the Civil war.
Henry J. Fosnot was married to Jennie H. Walker at Oakville, Pa., January 27, 1874, and to them one son, Walter, was born October 22, 1879.
Mrs. Fosnot was the daughter of Ezekiel Walker, who died at Shippensburg, Pa., April 11, 1893, aged seventy-six. Her mother, Harriet Row Walker, now resides at Shippensburg.
Her brothers and sisters are:
1. W. M., with the Lindner Shoe Company, Carlisle, Pa.;
2. Simon H., of Altoona, married to Edith Culp, has one son, Edward, aged seventeen;
3. Samuel C., of Altoona, married to Carrie Keesbury, has one son, Claude Keesbury, aged three and one-half years;
4. Sarah H., of Shippensburg;
5. Susan S. (Mrs. Fred G. Knisley, of Wisconsin), has five children, Eugene, aged ten years, Florence, aged eight and one-half; Devona, aged six; Helen, aged four, and Paul, aged nineteen months;
6. and Carried E., of Shippensburg.
Claude Keesbury was my grandfather