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J. M. FORDICE, proprietor of the lumberyards at the corner of Market and Howard streets, Bloomington, also deals extensively in sash, blinds and doors, besides hard and soft coal. He is one of the prominent business men of the city, always ready to assist in every good work and purpose, and is esteemed alike for his straightforward business methods and his kindly Christian character.

The subject of this history is a native of Bloomington, and was born March 14, 1840, his parents being James M. and Letitia (Saterfield) Fordice, the former of New York and the latter of Whiteside County, Ill. The grandfather of our subject, Stanton Fordice, was one of the pioneer settlers of Illinois, coming into McLean County in 1822, and taking up a tract of Government land in what is now Bloomington Grove.

Upon the farm which he eliminated from the wilderness he erected a comfortable dwelling, which constituted the permanent home of himself and family, and where he remained until his death. His four children were: Stanton, Daniel, John and James M. (the father of our subject). The latter learned the blacksmith's trade in Bloomington, which he followed.

The Fordice family trace their ancestry back to the Mohawk Dutch, and on the mother's side from Scotland. Our subject received his early education in the city schools of Bloomington, finishing with a term at the High School, and during the summer seasons worked out by the month farming.

He handled his first lumber on the 4th of July, 1857, and has continued since that time with short intervals in the lumber business. On the 1st of January, 1867, he came into possession of a one third interest in a lumber-yard, and in 1875 purchased the entire interest, which he has conducted successfully and profitably to this time. His transactions now extend over a wide range of territory, and he is known throughout McLean County as one of its most reliable and prosperous business men.

During the late war Mr. Fordice enlisted in the service of his country, becoming a member of Co. C, 33d Ill. Vol. Inf. [ed., 33rd Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Brains Regiment and the Normal Regiment ], and was mustered in in August, 1861, as Second Sergeant, and promoted Orderly Sergeant at the siege of Vicksburg [ed., Battle for Vicksburg], serving until October, 1864. With his comrades he was engaged in the battles of Fredericktown, Magnolia Hills [ed., probably Port Gibson], Raymond, Champion Hills [ed., Champion Hill], the siege and capture of Vicksburg, and the two battles at Jackson, Miss. He performed his part as a soldier in a brave and faithful manner, as he has performed all other duties in life.

The subject of this history was united in marriage with Miss Mattie Dixon, on the 10th of October, 1871. Mrs. F. is a native of Ripley, Brown Co., Ohio, and the daughter of William Dixon, a native of the same State. Of this union there was born one child, Lewis J., who died at the age of seven years. Mrs. Mattie Fordice only remained the companion of her husband five short years, departing this life at their home in 1876.

For his second wife Mr. Fordice married, in 1878, Miss Martha J. Henry, of Brown County, Ohio, and the daughter of J. W. Henry, also of Ohio. She became the mother of two children, Ettie L. and Lena M., and passed from the scenes of earth in 1881.

The present and third wife of our subject was Miss Carrie Herman, to whom he was married in Bloomington in 1882, and who was born in this city in 1860. The family residence is located at No. 605 North Madison street, and in all its appointments denotes the abode of cultivated tastes and the refinements of life.

Mr. Fordice, in his political views, warmly indorses the principles of the Republican party, with which he uniformly casts his vote, and socially belongs to the I. O. O. F. and the G. A. R.

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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