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Historical Marker Dedicated In Forreston September 17, 2005


Pictured above: Rev. David Krueger, State Rep. Jim Sacia,

Organizer Kathy Pasch, Village Pres. Michael Harn, Master of

Ceremonies Robert Dillavou, and Superintendent Lowell Taylor.


A small piece of history along with the memory of the Ostfriesians was preserved in Forreston on Saturday, September 17, 2005. An Illinois State Historical Marker was dedicated on the front lawn of Forreston Grade School in Forreston, IL. The marker commemorates the First House and Store in Forreston. According to organizer Kathy Pasch, the key piece of information in placing this marker comes from the book "The East Friesens in America" written by Pastor George Schnucker in 1911. The book was not translated until 1985, so much of the information contained in it has been missed in local histories. The following is quoted from the book. "The first building in Forreston of which the oldest East Friesens could remember and which still stands today (remember this was written in 1911) is the one story brick house north of the school. In those years, in 1855, it served as a residence and a store." This book is full of interesting information about the settlers around the Forreston, Baileyville, German Valley Illinois area.

Old surveyor maps prior to 1841 also show secondary trails leading from the Kelloggs and Boles trails intersecting at the site of this first house and store. When the hole was dug for the pole to mount the marker, old bricks and square headed nails were found. The marker also pays tribute to the Kellogg Trail, the Boles Trail, the pioneer settlers of Ostfriesland, and founder George Hewitt.


Marker wording below:

In the spring of 1825, Oliver W. Kellogg blazed a trail north through the prairie, passing near the future West Grove settlement, then a few miles East of Forreston, and up thru Crane’s Grove. A year later, John Boles opened a shorter trail which passed through White Oak Grove, mile West of Forreston, the location of the nearest log cabin to the town. Secondary trails linked these major routes of pioneer travel and intersected at this location. Early settlers included immigrants from the lowlands of Ostfriesland in Northern Germany. Their narrative accounts recalled this location as the site of the first brick house and store in Forreston. Founder George Hewitt platted the town in the fall of 1854, and built his brick home two blocks west of this location. The Illinois Central Railroad laid tracks to Forreston in the winter of that year, which lead to the growth of the town.

Sponsored by the Forreston Sesquicentennial Committee and the Illinois State Historical Society. Erected September 2005.

The Illinois State Historical Society has been erecting markers since 1934. Their purpose is to present official public witness to the historic value of the people, places and events that they commemorate. More than 400 markers have been dedicated to date. Information the markers convey is included by county on the Illinois State website

Funding for the marker was possible due to profits from the 150 Year History of Forreston Book and the Sesquicentennial celebration held last year.