Joseph Knox Fornance (1882-1965) was a prominent soldier, lawyer, and civic leader in Norristown. The son of Joseph Fornance (1841-1923) and Ellen Knox Fornance, he was born on September 16, 1882 at Selma farm. He attended Swarthmore Preparatory School, Princeton University (BA, 1904), and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Fornance earned his law degree in 1907 and was admitted to the Montgomery Bar the same year; he continued to practice law on-and-off for over half a century until his death. Just like his father, JKF had his own successful law firm. He took a break from law and served aboard the USS Iowa in 1910 for six months before returning to his law practice. In 1910 he began his political career in the Democratic Party by running several times for State Legislature (and losing). After these losses JKF became active in organizing committees to elect Woodrow Wilson for President. He also served as Assistant Appraiser in the Philadelphia Customs Department under the United States Navy Reserves. In 1915, after serving for several years as Assistant Appraiser and working in his law firm, JKF was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant in the Pennsylvania National Guard. He eventually transferred to the United States Army and served during World War I in the European Theatre. JKF attained the rank of Major and received the British Military Cross for outstanding service. After the conclusion of the war, he continued his law practice and was also active in the Historical Society of Montgomery County. He married Ruth Ryder Fornance in 1930 and they had no children. He was a prominent figure in the local community, serving as a Democratic Presidential elector in 1936, president of the Norristown Community Chest, and chairman of the Norristown Civil Defense program during World War II. He died in 1965. His wife Ruth lived on at Selma farm until her death in 1982.
Edited by AustinO, 10 June 2019 - 06:52 AM.