Found in the Archives!

KayAnn Warner

Friday Nov 5th, 2021

Here is the occasional blog, “Found in the Archives”, that was announced back in September, remember the Strong Vincent find? Like I said in that September blog— “is a once a month or two kind of find.”

Welp, I’ll do a review of precisely what I am up to as the Processing Archivist: I am processing boxes that simply have the date range these items were last packed away. I have the suspicion that they are items either not processed entirely or used for reference within that year and placed in a box when they could not find a spot for them—they were inserted in these year boxes or boxes with just the accession number shown on top. There are dozens on dozens of “lost” archival material within these boxes.

So here I am, October 28th, 2021, grabbing a box that only has the accession number on the outside—1064.1—minding my own business, listening to a TrueCrime Podcast. The box is a flat box, rather unremarkable box and expected the contents inside the box be just as unremarkable. Box, so many boxes; I could go my entire life without ever typing box again. Back to this box—Inside is a large notebook with “Harrisburg & Presque Isle Co. account with Thos Forster Agt. From 1796-1799” written on the front. I immediately knew that this may be a fun find. Why? The name Thos Forster; Thos is an old school way of spelling the name Thomas and Thomas Forster was a man who was well known in Erie County and is well known to Erie history.

Thomas Forster came to “...Erie County, Pennsylvania to inspect the Walnut Creek holdings of the land company, Harrisburg and Presque Isle.” This was in 1796, the year of this notebook! He purchased the land at the mouth of Walnut Creek and put a Sawmill there. One of the drawings I photographed for this blog is the aerial drawing of where the Mill was in relation to Walnut Creek and Lake Erie (in the red circle drawn with iPhone); the next picture is the drawing of the Sawmill built and lastly pictured is what is written on the back of the latter picture which validates where the Mill was located.

The Fairview Township website explains that it was Thomas Forster who gave the name to Fairview by exclaiming that the mouth of Walnut Creek was “...The fairest view I have seen yet.”

Foud in Archives 1
Found in Archives 1.1
Found in Archives 1.2