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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOSEPH FORESMAN. Now in the twilight of his useful life, Mr. Foresman can look back upon his past life with the realization that he has not lived or labored in vain. As the result of his energy he has surrounded his family with all the comforts of existence and has also smoothed his declining years. A man of wide travel and experience, he is an interesting conversationalist and can narrate many a thrilling tale of pioneer scenes and incidents of life in the mining regions of the far West.

At present Mr. Foresman is a resident of section 21, La Grange Township, Cass County, Pennsylvania was the State of his birth, and he was born in Lycoming County May 23, 1816, being the son of Samuel and Mary (Anderson) Foresman. The paternal grandparents were natives of Ireland, who emigrated to America and made settlement in Lancaster County, Pa., where Samuel Foresman was born. The last-named was reared on a farm in the Keystone State, acquiring a good education in the district schools. Pearly trained to agricultural pursuits, he naturally chose the occupation of a farmer for his life calling, in addition to which he also engaged in milling. He owned a mill in the county of Lycoming, and became widely known as an industrious, energetic man, of good business habits and excellent judgment. He was one of those men who courted no man’s favor and feared no man’s frown, as true to duty as the needle to the pole; honest and kind, resolute and noble.

The next to the younger in a family of sixteen children, Joseph Foresman is the only survivor of the entire number. He was bereaved by the death of his father when six years of age, and eleven years afterward he was orphaned by his mother’s death. When not more than thirteen he commenced to work by the mouth, and soon developed those traits of self-reliance and resolute purpose which have so largely contributed to his success. At the age of seventeen he began an apprenticeship to the trade of a blacksmith, which he followed for two and one-half years. At the expiration of his term of apprenticeship he removed to Logansport, Ind., where he was employed at his trade for six years. About that time he married Hester Wear, who bore him four children, Elizabeth J., the wife of Levi Case, being now the only survivor.

Coming to Michigan as early as 1844, Mr. Foresman settled three miles from Cassopolis, in Cass County, and purchased eighty acres of land, on which he established a home. For some time he conducted a blacksmith shop and did an extensive business among the people of the community. In 1847, at the opening of the Mexican War, he enlisted in Company F, First Michigan Infantry, Capt. Whitimore, of Niles, commanding. With his company he marched to the seat of war and traveled throughout Mexico, although he saw no active service. Returning to Michigan, he was bereaved six months afterward by the death of his wife. In 1890 he married again, choosing as his wife Mrs. Susan Moore, nee Scofield.

In 1850, Mr. Foresman removed to St. Joseph, Mo., where he remained for two years. Thence he went to California with a party of friends, the trip being made with four wagons overland, and occupying nearly five months. At Placerville Mr. Foresman engaged in mining for four years with indifferent success, and later he went to the southern part of the State, where he followed his trade for two years. Then he went to British Columbia, where he remained for six years. On his return to the United States he settled in Washington and engaged in lumbering; he also dealt in real estate for a period of twenty-three years. He did not, however, feel content to make his permanent home in the far West, and his mind often reverted to his old home in Michigan. He finally decided upon returning hither, and accordingly in 1890 he came back to Cass County and settled on the place where he now lives, and where, in all probabilty, he will spend the remainder of his life. The farm belongs to his wife. Politically, he is a Democrat, and while residing in Washington served as Sheriff of Clallam County.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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