Jim (James R.) Forcum
forcumjr at AOL.COM
FORCUM and FORKUM Family History and Genealogy
We Forcums have been in America quite awhile (almost 300 years), yet our numbers are not large. In 1976 there were about 113 known Forcum families scattered across 24 states. By 1997 that number had grown to just under 300 Forcum families. Which still isn't too many for a family who has been here for nearly three centuries! I have no doubt that all Forcums/Forkums are related, sharing some common ancestor or a small group of descendents who came to this country in the very early 1700's or 1600’s Those with the Forkum and Forcum surnames are descended from that original Forcum, or group of the family that settled the Delmar peninsula.
So, when did we come to America and from what country in Europe did we come? No one knows for sure. Maybe you are the person to figure that out. From the early 1700’s until the Civil War our surname was spelled many ways. It was part of the oral tradition. A person said his name, and someone else wrote it down the way it sounded to the writer. Just a few of the ways our surname was spelled during this period in census records, deeds, tax lists and other documents were Forcum, Forkum, Falcum, Falconor, Falkum, Farcum, Farkum, Farquem, Farqan, Forcan, Foreakins, Forcom, Forcham, Forkam, Forkem, Forkham, Forkim, Forkinn, Forkiun, Forkuns, Forrom, Forsom, Forsum, Forquam, Forquour, Fourkom, and Furchan. Sometime after the 1860’s the primary spellings of our surname narrowed down to FORCUM and FORKUM.
There is much we do not know, but there is also much known for sure. And below I'll summarize some of these: The earliest members of our family that I have found were PETER FORCUM and a JOHN FORCUM (Note the spelling of the name at this early date) who are listed in the Queen Ann’s Co., Maryland tax records in 1729. They could have easily been born in the late 1600s. The next family member found was CATHERINE FORCUM who married Thomas Cain in Kent Co., Delaware (near Dover) on 27 Jul 1753. Next come JOHN FORCUM and RENATUS FORCUM who were living in Kent Co., Delaware in the 1750's and who were probably born in the 1720's or 1730's. I found them on the military rolls for the French and Indian Wars in 1756 as "...enlisted in the Company of which John Caten is Capt., Regiment of Militia for Kent County upon the Delaware. Col. John Vining's Regiment, Tideberry or Caten Company." Various property records of the 1750's through the 1790's name other members of our Forcum family living in Kent Co., Delaware, but provide no clue as to how they are related to each other.
There were a number of Forcums, not listed here, in Delaware in the 1770's and one bona fide Revolutionary War soldier. A JOHN FORCUM was a Private in the Continental Army from there. He enlisted on 26 Jan 1776 in Capt. Nathan Adam's Company, Delaware Regiment of Continental Troops commanded by Col. John Haslet. On 12 Apr 1776, just three months before the Declaration of Independence, he is shown as being in the barracks at Dover, Delaware.
By the census of 1790 THREE distinct groups of Forcums had emerged. First, there was still a large group in Kent Co., Delaware, which included the families of JOSEPH, PETER, JOSHUA, and JOHN FORCUM. Second, in Queen Anne Co., Maryland (just over the Maryland-Delaware state line) lived the families of ROBERT FORCUM, THOMAS FORCUM, and JOHN FORCUM. I can't prove it, but I feel this second group was a spin-off from the Delaware Forcums. Be aware that Kent Co., Delaware and Queen Anne Co., Maryland are adjacent to each other, two people could live in separate states, but be “a stone’s throw” from each other. The third group of Forcums in the year 1790 was living in Rowan Co., North Carolina. This is the branch of the family from which I am directly descended. THOMAS FORCUM, SR., (born ca 1756-1765) had settled in Rowan Co., North Carolina sometime before 1783. Again, I can't prove it, but in my heart I know he emigrated from Delaware. He and his wife, Elizabeth (Rutledge/Ratledge), had many children and the two dozen or so Forcum families now living in North Carolina are directly descended from him. Her parents where from Kent Co., Delaware. This THOMAS FORCUM, SR. lived in Rowan Co. the rest of his life, until he died in Jan 1813, while on a trip into Kentucky with one of his sons. THOMAS FORCUM, SR. was my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather. One of his sons, THOMAS FORCUM, JR. (b. 1800, d. ca 1880) was my direct ancestor. It was this THOMAS, JR. that I wrote about in my 1976 paper ("ONE FORCUM FAMILY: 1760-1976"). Additionally, a PETER FORKUM lived in nearby Stokes Co., North Carolina in 1790.
Regarding the Delaware branch of the family, many Forcum families are known to have lived there up through the first half of the 1800's.and into the early 1900’s. In the 1830's two Delaware Forcums moved to Franklin Co., Indiana (southeast Indiana on the Indiana-Ohio border). They were ALAN FORCUM and WILLIAM FORCUM (spelled FARQUEM in the 1850 Indiana census). I visited Franklin Co. in 1980 and went through the courthouse records. No Forcums live there now and the descendents of this ALAN and WILLIAM either died out or moved out of the area by the late 1800's. One of this ALAN FORCUM's sons MOSES, moved to Oblong (Crawford Co.)Illinois before 1859 with his descendants moving on to Waco, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma and eventually California. Continuing on, between 1832 and 1836, another of the Delaware Forcums, JOSHUA FORCUM, moved to Chillicothe, Ohio (a bit south of Columbus, Ohio) where I also visited in 1980. That family has survived and there are about a dozen Forcum families in the Chillicothe area today. Finally, about 1820 a WILLIAM FORKUM from Delaware settled in Clarion Co., Pennsylvania and HENRY FORCUM settled in Delaware Co., Pennsylvania. They were followed in about 1840, by a WILLIAM FORCUM from Delaware who moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Others followed this Delaware-to-Pennsylvania route. Finally by 1880, some of the descendents of these FORCUM’s who had settled Pennsylvania, moved east and south to New Jersey and Virginia.
So far, I've been unable to find any Forcums/Forkums still living in either Delaware or Maryland today, and I feel that these families continued the trend to move west or died out in the early 1900's.
Moving back to the North Carolina Forcums, from which I am descended, remember the THOMAS FORCUM, SR., above (ca 1760-1813). One of his sons, JOHN FORCUM (b. ca 1783) moved to Posey Co., Indiana (southwest Indiana, near Evansville) in the 1830's. JOHN had a large family and a few of his descendents still live in the Evansville, Indiana area. One of this JOHN's sons moved to southern Illinois (around Marion, Williamson Co., IL) in the late 1800's and today there are about a half dozen families in south-central Illinois that can trace their roots to North Carolina. But that's not the last of the North Carolina Forcums whose movement are known and whose movements led them to Indiana.
My THOMAS FORCUM, JR. (1800-1880) had a large family in Rowan and Iredell Counties in North Carolina. In the 1840's his son MILAS FORCUM (b. 1823) followed his uncle JOHN's example and headed west. He settled in Madison Co., Indiana (northeast of Indianapolis). I have met most of his descendents and they now live in the Muncie and Huntington, Indiana area.
Then there comes a strange twist to the North Carolina-to-Indiana Forcum migration. There was an ALLEN FORCUM who was born in Maryland in 1786. Prior to 1808, as a young man, he moved to Surrey Co., North Carolina (which is adjacent to Rowan Co.). There he married and raised a family and then in the late 1830's he moved his family to Putnam Co., Indiana (western-central Indiana, near Terre Haute). Today, a few of ALLEN's descendents still live in Indiana near the Illinois border and in Edgar Co., IL. One of this ALLEN's sons moved to the area around Mode, IL (Shelby Co.-Cumberland Co. area) and today there are still Forcums there also. As you can see, we Forcums moved around quite a bit.
Also, living near the above THOMAS FORCUM, SR in the late 1700’s was PETER FORKUM, SR. in Surry Co, North Carolina. Sometime before 1830 Peter’s son PETER FORKUM, JR moved to Tennessee. His family eventually settled in and around Jackson Co., Tennessee, where a substantial group of the family still thrives.
By 1850, there were FORCUMS/FORKUMS in Delaware; in Maryland; in Rowan-Surrey-Iredell Counties of North Carolina; in Chillocothe, Ohio; in Franklin Co., Indiana; in Posey Co., Indiana; in Putnam Co., Indiana; in Madison Co., Indiana; and in Jackson Co., Tennessee.
For the Forcum's the Civil War literally became a "cousin vs. cousin" conflict, but that is another fascinating, and long story, with family members fighting on both the Union and Confederates sides. To date, over fifthteen Forcums have been found to have fought for the South and eleven for the North. (See the link at the bottom of this page.)
After the Civil War our family continued their western movement into Illinois and eventually across the Mississippi. In general terms, here are some of the migrations. After the War in the 1860’s, some of the North Carolina Forcums, brothers Capt. JOHN FORCUM and WILLIAM FORCUM moved to Powesheik Co., Iowa. Descendents of these “Iowa Forcums” ended up in Missouri, Montana, Arizona, California, and Oregon.
Before World War II, descendents from the large branch of the Tennessee FORKUM family had migrated to Arizona, Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and Washington.
The exceptionally numerous FORCUM/FORKUM families in Illinois after the Civil War had come primarily from southern Indiana, plus some from Delaware. In the decades following the War, descendents from this branch of the family would move to Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma (i.e. Indian Territory), Missouri, and Wyoming.
Well, the above is a short summary of genealogy material I keep in four file cabinet drawers. I hope you find it interesting.
I am interested in getting any and all information on any member of our Forcum/Forkum family. Please contact me by e-mail or regular mail.
James (Jim) R. Forcum, Jr., 2082 Prudence Drive, Beavercreek, OH 45431, Phone: 937-426-9903, E-Mail: ForcumJR at aol.com
This page has been visited times.
Other Resource Materials:USGENWeb Project:
FORCUM Military History:
Everton's Genealogy Homepage:
Family Tree Maker Genealogy Homepage:
Ancestry.Com: Great Site - many Forcums