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Biography of Edgar M. Forde
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Edgar M. Forde is now grand recorder for Kansas of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, having succeeded his honored father in that office when the late Edgar M. Forde, Sr., died in August, 1912.
The official headquarters of this great fraternal order in Kansas are at 417-419 Commercial Street in Emporia. In the year 1916 the Ancient Order of United Workmen had 40,000 members in Kansas, 400 lodges, and there are two lodges in Emporia, Lodge No. 2 and Lodge No. 184.
Mr. Forde was born in Emporia September 4, 1885, a son of Edgar M. Forde, who was born in Buffalo, New York, February 6, 1851. His parents were Matthew and Jessie (Edgar) Forde. Matthew Forde, though born in Ireland, was of English parentage, and he was married in Scotland in 1850 to Miss Jessie Edgar, a native of Scotland. In the same year of their marriage they set out for America, locating in Buffalo, New York, where Matthew Forde was connected with railroad service until his death January 12, 1881. Matthew Forde and wife had twin sons, Edwin J. and Edgar M. Edwin made his home in Buffalo and died there June 24, 1879.
The late Edgar M. Forde grew up in Buffalo, his native city, graduated from the high school in 1868, and for three years prepared for the profession of law in an office at Buffalo. He came as one of the pioneers of Emporia, where he located in 1871. He was admitted to the bar March 4, 1872, being at that time twenty-one years of age. From that time until 1875 he was in practice in the office of the late Senator Preston B. Plumb, and after leaving the office of that great Kansan formed a partnership with Almerin Gillett, which was maintained until 1880.
It was in 1880 that the late Mr. Forde was elected Grand Master Workman of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the following year was elected grand recorder, an office he held until his death more than thirty years later. He was the official who more than any other made the Ancient Order of United Workmen, one of the greatest fraternal organizations in Kansas. He held all the offices in the order, and was past grand chief of honor in the Degree of Honor in the same organization.
He was also a successful business man and acquired some valuable property in Emporia. From 1874 to 1888 he was Emporia’s city clerk. In other fraternities he attained the thirty-second degree of Scottish Rite in Masonry and was also a Knight Templar, was a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, the Select Knights, the Fraternal Aid Association and the Royal Arcanum. On September 1, 1875, Edgar M. Forde, Sr.; married Miss Louisa Tillottson, a daughter of Samuel Tillottson, who was a merchant and came to Kansas from Ohio and later moved to Illinois, where he died. Mrs. Louisa Forde died in December, 1882, leaving a daughter, Jessie L., who graduated from the State Normal School at Emporia and is a teacher in the State Normal School at Charleston, Illinois. On June 12, 1882, the senior Mr. Forde married Miss Mary J. Ingram, a daughter of William H. Ingram of Buffalo, New York, where she was born in 1861. She survived her honored husband and still makes her home in Emporia. Her children are: Edgar M., Jr.; Margaret, wife of Elmer Sigler, a mechanical engineer in Kansas City, Missouri; W. I., who had made a name for himself in vaudeville circles and resided in New York City; and Mary E., who is now a senior in the State Normal School at Emporia. The late Mr. Forde was a member of the Presbyterian Church and politically was a republican.
Edgar M. Forde, Jr., grew up in Emporia, attended the public schools, and for two years was a student in the Presbyterian College in that city. He then entered the Kansas State University where he graduated LL. B. with the class of 1910. He was very prominent in college affairs, made the University football team, was a member of the Glee Club, which he managed for two years, and also belonged to the college dramatic organization, the Masque Club. He is a Beta Theta Pl.
After leaving law school in 1910, instead of taking up active practice, he entered the office of the Ancient Order of United Workmen to assist his father, and succeeded him as grand recorder of the organization.
He is a member of Lodge No. 2, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and is also affiliated with Emporia Lodge No. 12, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Emporia Chapter No. 12, Royal Arch Masons; Emporia Commandery No. 8, Knight Templars; and Emporia Lodge No. 633, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, and Emporia Camp No. 615, Modern Woodmen of America. He is active in the Emporia Commercial Club and politically is a republican.
On October 1, 1913, at Clay Center, Kansas, Mr. Forde married Miss Hazel Allison, a daughter of S. T. and Lettie Allison, her father being a traveling salesman with home at Clay Center. Mrs. Forde is also a graduate of the University of Kansas, where she took her A. B. degree in 1910, the same year her husband graduated from the law department. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority, and at the present time is grand vice president for the United States.
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