History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, 1887

Foresman Family - HENRY MELICK FORESMAN Biography

Henry Melick Foresman, lumberman and business man of Williamsport, is a native of Lycoming county, born in Williamsport, youngest son and child of David Watson Foresman and his wife Margaret S. McCormick, and the only one of their ten children born in the city just mentioned. The history of the life of the Foresman family is narrated at length in the preceding sketch, hence need not be repeated in this place.

Henry Melick Foresman was given a good common school education, with an additional course of study at the Williamsport Commercial College, and when he started out on his business career he was well equipped by acquirement as well as by native endowment to contend against the adversities which always oppose themselves to every business life. In 1878 he entered the employ of the firm of Williams -& Foresman, in which his older brother, Seth Thomas Foresman, was then junior partner. This was Melick's first experience in actual business, and one of his chief objects at that time was to master every detail of the operations of the firm; and it is evident that he applied himself faithfully to the duties given in his charge, for he was soon advanced to the more responsible position of superintendent, and in 1898, when the Bowman-Foresman Company was incorporated, Henry Melick Foresman became one of the stockholders and was made its general manager. He still stands in that relation to the company, and it may be said within the bounds of truth that he is today one of the actual if not the nominal business heads of the company's lumbering interests in Williamsport. He is also one of the stockholders of the Bowman Lumber Company of Charleston, West Virginia, and the Saluda Lumber Company of Greenville, South Carolina. He is a man of sound judgment and broad intelligence, absolute business integrity and quick and unerring judgment, his investments have always been conservative and safe, and hence he has accumulated a handsome competence as the result of his many years of activity.

Aside from the affairs of business which have claimed much of his time for the last twenty-five years Mr. Foresman has taken an earnest interest in local public matters, especially along educational lines, and has served as member of the board of school directors for twelve consecutive years, having been unanimously elected president of the board two terms. Politically he is a Democrat, firm in his allegiance to party principles, yet not in any sense a seeker after political preferment. In his native city Mr. Foresman is held in peculiar honor, being a man of irreproachable character, and the example of citizenship which he has set is an incentive and encouragement to young men, and a vindication of the truthfulness of an old-time proposition that industry and integrity do lead to a successful life. He is a man of genial disposition, of a striking personality, has a wide circle of acquaintances and the esteem of all with whom business or social relations. have brought him in contact. He is a member of the Board of Trade, and active as a member of the Industrial Board. He has been a member of the Third Presbyterian Church for twenty-two years, a member of its board of trustees, and served as president of that body several years.

Mr. Foresman married Margaret Smith, daughter of Henry B. Smith and Martha F. Allen. Their children are Martha A., Rebecca, and James W. Foresman.

Henry B. Smith, whose daughter Margaret married Henry Melick Foresman, is a son of Isaac Smith, whose wife was Harriet Hutton. Isaac Smith was a son of Benjamin Smith, the Revolutionary patriot, and his wife, Elsie Woodman. Benjamin Smith was born in Temple, New Hampshire, May 1, 1766, and was less than ten years old when he entered the American service, although at that time he is said to have weighed one hundred and fifty pounds. As a matter of fact the New Hampshire Revolutionary records show that this Benjamin Smith was one of the Temple company of minute men who marched from that town to Cambridge on the occasion of the Lexington alarm, April 19, 1775. At Cambridge he enlisted for eight months and was at the battle of Bunker Hill. A pay-roll of Captain Ezra Towne's company of Colonel James Reed's regiment to August 1, 1775 shows that Benjamin Smith enlisted April 23, 1775, and was in service three months and sixteen days. A pay-roll of Captain Ebenezer Greene's company in Colonel Bedell's regiment raised by the Continental Congress in the colony of New Hampshire "in defense of the liberties of America, and joined to the Northern Continental Army under General Washington," shows the name of Benjamin Smith as private, enlisted February 30, 1776. Colonel Nathan Baldwin's regiment raised in September, 1776, and sent into the state of New York, was in the battle of White Plains, and the name of Benjamin Smith appears on the muster roll in Captain Philip Putnam's company in that regiment. Records also show that Benjamin Smith, of Temple, New Hampshire, enlisted in April, 1777, for "three years or during the war" in Captain Fry's company of Colonel Scommel's regiment of the continental line. A "size-roll" of the absentees belonging to the First New Hampshire Regiment, commanded by Colonel Joseph Gilley, dated Valley Forge, January 10, 1778, mentions the name of Benjamin Smith as left sick at Albany, New York; and a return of the members of the Third New Hampshire Regiment, dated Camp Danbury, December 8, 1779, mentions Benjamin Smith of Temple, New Hampshire, as a member of Captain Ellis' company.

Benjamin Smith married October 6, 1786, Elsie Woodman, by whom he had ten children: Lydia, born July 15, 1787; Elisha and Abigail, twins, born April 27, 1789; Joshua W., born January 25, 1791; Lewis, born September 11, 1792,; Benjamin, junior, born July 8, 1794; Joseph, born March 2, 1796; Isaac, born April 26, 1800; Stephen, born May 17, 1804; and Elsie, born August 5, 1806.

Benjamin Smith died at Belmont, Maine, February 29, 1836, aged seventy years. His father's christiana name is not definitely known, but his mother's family name was Hutton. Her ancestors were from England. Elsie Woodman, wife of Benjamin Smith, was of Scotch ancestry, among whom evidently were persons of the nobility, for in the family was a coat of arms and a crest, the latter bearing the motto "Faith and Hope."

On the maternal side Margaret Smith Foresman is a granddaughter of William Allen and Margaret Taylor; and Margaret Taylor was the daughter of William and Sarah Taylor, both of whop, are buried in Moreland township, Lycoming county, Pennsylvania. William Taylor was a soldier of the Revolution, and enlisted February 17, 1777, in Captain Bateman Lloyd's company in the Fourth Battalion of the Second Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers. Mr. Taylor was a pensioner of the United States government for his services during the war until his death, March 31, 1838, at the age of eighty-six years, ten months, twenty-one days; and his widow, Sarah Taylor, was a pensioner until her death, April 15, 1856, at the age of ninety-one years, nine months.

Source: Genealogical and Personal History of Lycoming County, John W. Jordan, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1906.

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