Forest City received its name at the hands of Thomas H. Skinner, who entered the town-site of the U. S. Government in February, 1858. The town had been settled two and a half years previous, and among the first settlers were Wait H. Dart, David Mitchell, W. H. Vanness, T. C. Jewett, John Whalen, Edward Campbell, Dudley Taylor, John Flynn, T. H. Skinner, D. M. Hanson, Dr. F. N. Ripley. R. Schultz, Chas Johnson, J. W. Quick, Matt Standish, John .W. Huy and others.
The site of Forest City was originally intended to have been made farther up the river, in the town of Harvey, on the old Wigle claim (so called), now owned by Mr. Driver, and was to have been called by the Sioux name of Kar-i-shon or Crow.
This town was organized April 5th, 1858, embracing the east half of 120-31 and 120-30.
Of the first settlers above named, Dart, Mitchell, Vanness, Jewett, Campbell, Whalen, Schultz, and Mrs. Dudley Taylor, with their families, alone remain.
The log house now owned by Mr. John Heath, was the first public house in the county, and was kept by Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Taylor. Mr. Taylor afterwards enlisted in the United States service became disabled by the falling of the deck of the steamer ” Gladiator, ” on the Tennessee river, and subsequently died in the State of New York, where he formerly lived.
D. M. Hanson, a fine young lawyer, and an estimable gentleman, with whom the writer was quite well acquainted, died in Minneapolis soon after his return from Forest City, in the spring of 1856.
Dr. Ripley froze to death on the prairie seven miles south of Forest City, in the winter of 1856, and his remains were found in the spring, by Wm. S. Chapman, now of California, and buried near that beautiful lake adjoining Litchfield, which now bears, and will forever bear, his name.
Thos. H. Skinner died at Milwaukee, August 20th 1863, and was buried at St. Albans, Maine ; aged 29 years. Up to the time of his death, he was President of the Forest City Town Company.
John Whalen and John Flynn came through the big woods in the spring of 1856, near Kingston, fording the Crow River at that point with the water shoulder deep. The river was swollen and the banks full from heavy rains, and they found it a vast deal easier to get into the river than to get out.
Whalen finally drew himself out by a root on the bank, and Flynn was rescued by Whalen. They brought their bread from St. Anthony, and after selecting their claims, they started on their return for their families. They had one small loaf of bread two weeks old, and about the size of a ten-pound cannon ball, and of somewhat similar appearance, which was to last them to Monticello, and until it was necessary to use it, they wrapped it in a handkerchief and used it for a pillow. The first night out, some person stole it, and they had to go through the woods without eating. Staid at Monticello one night, and were charged $6 each for supper, breakfast, and lodging on shavings. They returned with their families, and reached their claims Oct. 22, 1856.