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FORNEY, WIEN, was born in the city of Lancaster, June 30, 1826, and began to learn the trade of printer in the office of the Lancaster Intelligencer when his cousin, the late Col. John W. Forney, was its editor and proprietor, and finished his apprenticeship on the Lancaster Examiner, under the late Edward C. Darlington, a noted editor of the past. Subsequently he worked at case in Philadelphia, New York and otehr large cities. Among his fellow-compositors were Bayard Taylor and the famous "Mike" Walsh, who was a member of Congress frm New York City more than forty years ago.

In 1845 Mr. Forney was employed on the Washington Union, the organ of President Polk’s administration, and of which the late Thomas Richie was the editor. "Father" Richie was the founder of the Richmond Enquirer and was the contemporary and personal friend of many of the eminent statesmen of a half and three-quarters of a century ago. Mr. Forney was the first to collate news of a local nature for the Washington papers. In those days of the Union and the old National Intelligencer were filled with editorials frequently columns in length, and with congressional proceedings and foreign news. Mr. Forney subsequently went to Philadelphia and became connected with the Pennsylvanian when it was published by Forney & Hamilton. In 1850 he went to Towanda, Bradford county, where he established and edited the North Pennsylvanian, which he started in opposition to the views of the late David Wilmot, who up to that time had been a pronounced and leading Democrat. This enterprise did not succeed and in about a year he returned to Philadelphia.

For a short time he associated with William V. McKean in the editorship of the Pennsylvanian, Col. Forney having retired when he was elected clerk of the House of Representatives at Washington. Then for two or threee years he was a clerk in the Philadelphia postoffice under the late John Miller, but still wrote for the press. In 1855, in connection with Henry Hayes, he established the Bellefonte Democratic Watchman, of which P. Gray Meek, the surveyor of the port of Philadelphia, is the present editor and proprietor. With this paper he remained until 1857, and the next year started the Central Press in the same town. In 1859 he went to Washington to accept a position in the House Library, and to work for the New York Herald and other papers. In 1860 he went to Harrisburg at the earnest solicitation of General Cameron to take charge of the editorial columns of the Telegraph, and when Mr. Lincoln was elected President he went back to Washington and remained there during the exciting winter of 1860-61 as a correspondent for several papers, and was also connected with the House Library. He returned to Harrisburg after the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, and resumed the editorship of the Telegraph, in which position he remained for six years. Then he became one of the editors and publishers of the State Guard, the firm being Levi Kauffman, Wien Forney and Isaac B. Gara.

When this paper suspended he became editor of the State Guard, which was owned by the late Benjamin Singerly, who was the uncle of William M. Singerly, of the Record. Under both administrations of Governor Curtin he was State librarian, as well as first term of Governor Geary. When the Harrisburg Independent was founded by E.Z. Wallower in 1876 he was its first editor. On this paper he remained for a year or two and then again resumed the editorship of the Telegraph, with which he remained until it passed into the hands of Thomas F. Wilson. Then for a short time he edited a daily paper at Steelton, but since 1883 has been the editor of the Independent until its consolidation in 1892 with the Star by the Hon. B. F. Meyers, and held the same position on the Star-Independent until the spring of 1896 when he retired from newspaper work.

Mr. Forney was an indefatigable worker and versatile writer. His style was bold and fearless, he was always abreast the times, and his editorials were read with avidity. Socially he is a most delightful conversationalist, and his reminiscences of the men and times of the past are interesting, instructive and valuable. At the age of three score and ten he retains much of his vivacity and sprightliness of youth, his eye is still bright, his step elastic and his general health continues good. Few of the Pennsylvania editors of the past or present generation have had so varied, interesting and eventful an experience as Wien Forney.


Dorothy Bumbaugh

Sidney, Indiana page 343-344