Foraker, Joseph B.


Joseph Benson Foraker

Joseph B. Foraker lived in Sharpsburg from 1871-1880. He was an early Sharpsburg School Trustee, twice-elected Governor of Ohio and uncle-by-marriage to Norwood resident and solicitor, William E. Bundy. He had two Norwood streets, Foraker Avenue and Foraker Terrace, and a Norwood Republican club named after him. Foraker Avenue is still in existence. Several other streets in Ohio, including one in Cincinnati and one in his birthplace of Highland County, Ohio, have his name, also.

Foraker was born in Highland Co., Ohio, on July 5, 1846 to Henry Stacey and Margaret Reece Foraker. He died in Cincinnati on May 10, 1917. His wife, Julia Bundy Foraker, was the aunt of Norwood's Colonel William Edgar Bundy. At least three, and perhaps four, of their five children were born in Norwood: Joseph Benson, Jr., July 23, 1872; Florence U., ca. 1874, and Clara Louise, ca. 1876. Julia B. was born in January, 1880, probably before they moved from Norwood to Park Avenue in Cincinnati's 1st ward. The son died at the age of 43, in New York City, on April 24, 1915, two years before the father. He is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery, Sec. 86, Lot 144.

At the age of sixteen, Foraker enlisted in Company A, 89th Regiment, of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served as a lieutenant under Sherman on the march through Georgia. He left the army as captain.

Soon after graduating from Cornell University's first graduating class in 1869, Foraker was admitted to the Cincinnati bar.

Foraker was a member and clerk of the Sharpsburg School Board for two years, starting in April, 1877. The standard term of a board member at that time was 3 years, but he left early when he was elected to the Cincinnati Superior Court, serving from 1879 until 1882. Because of a medical problem, he resigned the judgeship in 1882. After he recovered, he returned to the practice of law.

Photo of the three Superior Court Justices of Cincinnati— Judges Judson Harmon, Manning F. Force and Joseph B. Foraker.

He was Ohio's 37th governor, serving two terms from 1886 to 1890. As governor he pushed for election reforms, including the creation of a state board of health and a voter registration program.

Foraker was elected U. S. Senator in 1896. His political career was severly damaged in the election campaign of 1908, when William Randolph Hearst revealed that Foraker had accepted large retainers from the Standard Oil Company, as well as a loan to purchase the "Ohio State Journal." He was defeated for the Republican nomination to the Senate in 1914 by Warren G. Harding.

Even earlier than the Hearst attacks, Foraker was chastised for his lucrative lobbying efforts, as this 1893 newspaper political cartoon displays. Symbols of his military record hang on the wall with the note: "RELICS OF THE PAST — THERE IS NO MONEY IN THESE. J.B.F." In his pockets are corporate stock certificates, and in his hands and at his feet are money bags, representing his "legal fees.

An 1893 political cartoon of Foraker. A photo of Foraker as a Senator in 1908.


   July  5, 1846 - Born in Highland County, Ohio
   June 17, 1847 - Julia Bundy born in Jackson County, Ohio
       1846-1862 - Lived and worked on family farm
            1862 - Enlisted in Company A of the 89th regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry
   June     1865 - Left the military with the rank of captain
            1868 - Julia Bundy graduated from Ohio Wesleyan Female College
            1869 - Graduated from Cornell University, after attending Salem Academy and Ohio Wesleyan University
   Aug. 16, 1869 - Moved to Cincinnati and joined law firm of Messrs. Sloane & Donham
   Oct. 14, 1869 - Admitted to the practice of law
   Oct. 4,  1870 - Married Julia Ann Bundy
            1871 - Moved to Norwood
            1872 - Son Joseph Benson Foraker, Jr. born in Norwood
       1877-1879 - Served on Sharpsburg Board of Education
            1879 - Elected as a judge of Cincinnati superior court 
       1879-1882 - Served as a Cincinnati Superior Court judge, until resigning for health reasons 
            1880 - Moved from Norwood
            1883 - Lost governorship race to Democrat George Hoadly
            1885 - Won gubernatorial election, defeating Hoadly, and became the 37th governor of Ohio
            1887 - Won his second election as Governor of Ohio
       1886-1889 - Served as Ohio Governor 
            1889 - Lost a bid for a third term as governor
            1896 - Won election to the U. S. Senate
       1897-1909 - Served as one of Ohio's U. S. Senators
                   (March 4, 1897-March 3, 1909)
       1909-1914 - Returned to his Cincinnati law practice
            1914 - Lost Republican nomination to Senate to Warren G. Harding
            1916 - Published his memoirs, Notes of a Busy Life
    May 10, 1917 - Died in Cincinnati and buried at Spring Grove Cemetery
    July    1933 - Julia Bundy Foraker died