Born in 1870 in the Cloverdale Community to Louisa Beckham and “Whack” Calendar Forester, Mr. Frank was the youngest of five boys and is the only one living today. Jesse David, Edward Jackson, Noah Joseph and John Lee have all passed on, and of his two sisters, only “Aunt Mollie” Amos is still living.
Mr. Frank said his folks only gave him the one name and it belonged to Uncle Frank Killian.
His boyhood days were filled with solid work on the farm nine months of the year with three being spent in school. On Saturdays most of the farm work was put aside to allow time for a romp in the woods with an eye out for rabbits. In those days, a cottontail could be found under most any bush so Saturdays were eagerly looked forward to all week.
The old blue back speller which was the most important book in the little house of learning located just across the branch from the Forester home is still kept by Mr. Frank.
As the youngest he was always assigned the task of carrying wash water from the branch up the hill for his mother, and this little chore often stretched to include other menial tasks abhorred by his brothers.
At the age of fourteen, he joined the Cloverdale Baptist Church and has moved his membership only once. He is at present a member of the New England Baptist Church.
When he reached his twenty-first birthday, he left the farm for work on the AGS railroad. His first three days of work – Thursday, Friday and Saturday, came as sort of a surprise as far as some unused muscles were concerned and he says he never was “so glad to see Saturday come.”
He tamped ties and picked and shoveled along the railroad bed around Rising Fawn and Cloverdale until he was 59 years old, then moved to Morganville when his work demanded. In 1937 he retired following 44 years of service.
In 1893 he and Miss Louanda Blevins of Deer Head Cove were married and became parents of three children – Farris, Fred and Mamie Lou. Fred is the only one living of this union and is working as conductor for Southern Railway, stationed at Birmingham.
All the oldtimers remember the story of the legendary lead mine of Rising Fawn. When asked about it, Mr. Frank said he had helped mold many a bullet from lead the Indians brought from the secret cache. He and his father made the bullets together, and the same pellets were later discharged from a gun which Mr. Frank knew as well as his hand.
His great-grandfather, Francis Forester, drew land around Rising Fawn in the land grants of the early 1800’s and was the first Forester settler in the county. Mr. Frank’s father was one of those who helped move the Indians out, he recalls.
He also recalls with a chuckle the first automobile which came through the Cloverdale community. He can’t remember the date, but says mail carrier John Hammack owned it and every time he came along to deliver the mail, everybody stopped what they were doing and ran down to the road. The roads were a “sight” then, but after more cars were bought in the county, the ruts were smoothed out to make riding a little easier.
The oldest Forester of the old set still living, Mr. Frank was the instigator, with Mr. and Mrs. George Forester, of the traditional Forester reunions. Begun 31 years ago, each year finds more than a hundred of the clan gathered to renew old acquaintances, greet new members of the family and to enjoy church and fellowship together. Mr. Frank says there are so many he can’t begin to name them all.
Two other octogenarians who enjoy tales of the past and who are great friends of Mr. Frank are Mr. Jim Jenkins and Dr. D. S. Middleton, the latter for years the Forester family doctor. If Mr. Frank was able, he would enjoy a visit with both Mr. Jim Jenkins and Dr. D. S. Middleton we have made him promise if the three ever get together, to let us sit in as a fourth.
For the past nine years, he and Mrs. Forester have made their home in Slygo in an attractive little house in full view of the new Slygo Methodist Church which is under construction. When the workmen are not hammering away and the day is too dismal for even the birds to make an entertaining show outside his window. Mr. Frank can find plenty to think about. We are inclined to agree with him that he has had a pretty full life, and we are joining the scores of well wishers whose hope is that he will have many more anniversaries.
(Used by permission HISTORY OF DADE COUNTY GEORGIA, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, 1981.)