Biography of John F. Fosha

John F. Fosha. Some of the finest lands of Riley County are responding to the intelligent management of John F. Fosha as a farmer and stock raiser. His home is in Madison township, and his record of enterprise in that locality covers a period of nearly twenty years. In that time he has had the usual vicissitudes which beset Kansas farmers, such as dry weather, floods, poor markets, but through good years and bad he has contrived to prosper and is now the owner of a splendid estate comprising 1,040 acres. He is one of the large crop raisers of the county, and in live stock his specialty is Hampshire hogs.

The presence of the Fosha family in Kansas is accounted for by the investment of a prosperous Illinois farmer in the lands of this state. About thirty years ago John F. Fosha, Sr., visited Riley County, and acquired three and a half sections of land in the vicinity of the town of Riley. He never became a permanent settler of Kansas, but after making this investment he returned to his home in Stephenson County, Illinois, where he had become wealthy as an Illinois farmer and where he spent the rest of his days. Because of his extensive investments in Kansas and the presence here of several of his children, it is appropriate to quote some portions of an article which appeared in the Freeport (Illinois) Democrat following the death of Mr. Fosha, Sr., which occurred at his Illinois home near Freeport in December, 1901. “John Fosha was a German by birth, and his birthday was January 12, 1834. When but a small child he was brought by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Fosha, to America. They settled in Maryland first, and afterwards moved to Virginia, where they remained until 1848, when the family came overland to Ogle County, this state, and began farming near Mount Morris. John Fosha lived at home and helped to develop the farm until after his marriage to Miss Mina Schueneman, which occurred in this city, February 24, 1856, the Rev. William Wagner officiating, after which he became a farmer on his own account, and was one of the most prosperous and successful ones this part of the state ever produced. He lived in Ogle County until his death.

“Few men, and especially farmers, achieve the financial success that Mr. Fosha did. He began life with absolutely nothing and died one of the heaviest land owners and wealthiest men of the county. His homestead of 640 acres is one of the best and most highly improved farms in Northwestern Illinois, with the very best class of farm buildings that add greatly to its value. Besides that he owned a considerable amount of land in Ogle County, and 2,240 acres in Riley County, Kansas, divided into ten large farms, some of which are held by his sons and others rented. And almost from the organization of the institution he has been a heavy stockholder in the German Insurance Company, having served on the directory for twenty-two years continuously, except for one or two years when his brother took his place. He was also a director of the German bank.

“As well as being a most successful business man, Mr. Fosha was a man of the highest character, and had an important place in the county’s history. He was held in the highest regard by every one and was a genial, companionable man in social life. He was a democrat in politics, and one of the county leaders, but always declined any office except road overseer and school director.”

He reared a family of four sons and four daughters. His widow survives him and is still occupying the old Illinois home. Of their children three reside in Riley County: John F.; Henry, of Grant Township; and Mrs. F. C. Otto.

It was on the old homestead in Stephenson County, Illinois, that John F. Fosha, Jr., was born April 19, 1875, just 100 years of the day after the battle of Lexington which ushered in the war of the Revolution. His early life was spent on an Illinois farm, and his education came from the public schools. In 1897, when about twenty-one years of age, he came to Riley County and has since made a remarkable success as a farmer and stock raiser.

It was about the time that he located in Riley County, in 1897, that Mr. Fosha married Miss Anna Stadel. Mrs. Fosha is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Stadel, who also came from Illinois to Kansas, becoming settlers in Riley County, and they now live in Bala township, a few miles north of Riley. Mr. and Mrs. Fosha are the parents of four children: Ervin, Eddie, John and Amelia. The parents and their children are members of the Presbyterian church.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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