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John L. Forkner papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S2204

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the personal and business papers of James L. Forkner ranging from 1835 to 1938 and includes correspondence and documents from his time as mayor of Anderson and his historical research on the history of Madison County; correspondence regarding Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and local memorial events; and invitations and programs for community activities. Some items of note include a song written for a Rev. James Maynan (1835); part of an account book of Joseph Lee (1838-1852); Medical College of Ohio commencement program (1874); a Easter service program for Anderson Commandery of the Knights Templar (1905); typewritten transcription of his great grandfather William Forkner’s 1807 will (1905); a booklet regarding the bicentennial of Benjamin Franklin’s birth (1906); Oswald Ryan political broadsides (1914); a postcard with a photograph of Forkner on a bridge after the flood of March 1913; and a photograph of Mr. Forkner at age 71 (1915). The collection also includes a broadside advertisement for the 1917 Madison County Free Fair (OBC172).


  • 1935-1938


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical / Historical

John L. Forkner was a well-known citizen of Anderson, Indiana. He was born on January 20, 1844 near Millville in Henry County to Micajah and Elizabeth Forkner. Around 1866 he moved to Anderson and quickly became involved in local politics, winning the election for city clerk in 1868. He was a Democrat and over the next several decades held a variety of political positions, including city councilman, county auditor, and mayor. Besides politics, he was also employed in a number of different jobs within the community, including deputy clerk of the Madison County courts, office deputy to the sheriff, editor and business manager of the Anderson Democrat, president of a local bank and later cashier when the bank became a national institution. He also authored two histories of Madison County and was recognized as the county historian. His first marriage was to Anna Hernley and they had one daughter. After Anna’s death in 1876, he married Mary Carson Watson in 1878 and they had a son and a daughter. Mr. Forkner passes away at the age of 82 on October 26, 1926.


“Widely Known Citizen Dies in Hospital.” Anderson Herald (IN), October 27, 1926.


0.02 Cubic Feet (2 folders, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from the Anderson Public Library on 2018/06/25.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2018/10/03 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2018/10/03 by Laura Eliason.
John L. Forkner papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.