This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Manchester (NH) Motorcycle Club. Though this club officially lists its birthday as 1915, it’s technically 19 years older, as it began as a bicycle club in 1896 created by Joseph E. Forest. They are planning their 100th Anniversary Party on July 18, 2015.
According to the club’s official history, “Mr. Forest branched his bicycle dealership to Manchester’s first Harley Davidson Dealership in 1914. In 1915 he formed the “Forest Riders” [Editor’s note: this should actually say “Forest’s Roamers,” see photograph above] which was also chartered with the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) at that time. As the club evolved over the years, the name was changed to the “Manchester Motorcycle Club”, which was incorporated in 1943.”
It is unknown why Joseph Forest named his garage the “Pete Forest Garage.” If it was his nickname, I have not found it in any documentation as such. Possibly he named it after a son Peter, born in 1906 (though his interest in bicycling began at least a decade earlier).
Joseph E. Forest had been born into a large family in Canada, and immigrated to Manchester, New Hampshire in 1891, soon becoming a naturalized citizen. For many years his profession was that of shoemaker and “cobbler.” He had met and married Martha Gottschalk, and by 1910 their growing family was living at 193 Union Street.
He continued his work as a shoemaker up until 1913 when he first worked for, and then apparently purchased the Queen City Motor Cycle Garage. By 1917 he had changed the name of this shop to the Pete Forest Garage, and was located at 507 Elm Street.. He sold bicycle and cycle supplies, Harley Davidson motorcycles, and repaired anything with wheels.
Bicycling and motorcycling was in his blood, it was his passion. It was this love of the road that he passed on to his children–sons Peter and George Forest were motorcycle enthusiasts and racers, and active in the club started by their father. Pete continued with the garage when his father retired. The entire family annually participated in the Gypsy Tours and the national motorcycle races that were part of that week-long event.
In 1994, John Clayton wrote in an article, “Bikers Have Gone from ‘Wild to Mild,’ in the Manchester Union Leader that ‘Pete’ Forest wrote his own epitaph in 1922 as follows: ” ”When I die, bury me deep; put a motorcycle at my feet. Pickle my bones in gasoline, put a sparkplug at my bean, pile the dirt up in a heap then go away and let me sleep.” [Editor’s note: I presume this is Joseph E. Forest’s epitaph, though he died in 1929 not 1922. Joseph’s son Pete did not die until 1987, and George in 2007].
Though Joseph, Pete and George have all passed on, they left behind a legacy that still continues–the Manchester Motorcycle Club for one. And though the format of that first Gypsy Tour of 1917 has changed, the Laconia Motorcycle Week that it evolved into, is still a thriving and thrilling event.
My special thanks to Pat Rivard (granddaughter of Gladys and Gilbert Perro), who provided the photographs and news-clippings here showing Pete and Louise Forest who were good friends with her grandparents (who are also in many of the photographs).
===GENEALOGY OF the “PETE” FOREST FAMILY OF MANCHESTER NH===
Michel de Forest (1638-1687-91) & Marie Hebert (1651-1675/78) [see questions about his origin]
Jean-Baptiste Forrest (1675-?) and Elisabeth Labarre
Jacques Forest (1706-?) and Marguerite Girouard
Jean Forest (1742-?) and Marie-Anne “Jeanne” Forcier
Michel Forest, son of Jean & Marie-Anne “Jeanne” (Forcier) Forest, b. abt 1779 in Yamaska, Quebec, Canada. He married 15 Oct 1805 in St. Antoine, Baie-du-Febvre, Quebec Canada to Marie Antaya dit Pelletier [dau of Louise & M-Anne (Benoit) Pelletier.
Children of Michael & Marie (Pelletier) Forest:
1. Moise Forest; m. 5 Feb 1854 Flore Nadeau
2. Adelaide Forest; m. 22 Ja 1850 Onesime Hamel
3. +Michel-Mitchel Forest, b 24 Feb 1807, Baie-du-Febvre, Yamaska, Quebec Canada
4. Pierre Forest, b. 27 July 1808, d. 29 Nov 1812
5. Francois Forest, b. 28 Apr 1810; married Esther Alie
6. Joseph Forest b 26 June 1812, Baie-du-Febvre, Yamaska, QC
7. Marie Forest b 5 Jan 1815; m. Jean-Baptiste Gauthier
8. Jean Forest, b. 15 Feb 1817, d. 5 July 1820
9. Marie Forest, b. 3 April 1819, d. 5 June 1820
10. Edouard Forest, b. 11 Feb 1822; m. Monique Milette
11. Jerome Forest, b. 17 May 1826; m. 2 Jan 1851 Marie Morin. One of his children, Pierre Casimir Forest married Delima Hebert and removed to Manchester NH where he was a loom fixer, had at least 9 children there, and died 26 Aug 1907.
12. Louis Forest, b. 20 May 1828; m. Marie Richer
13. Heloise Forest, b. 4 March 1831
Michel/Mitchel Forest, son of Michel & Marie Antaya dit Pelletier, b. abt 1806 in Quebec Canada, d. 25 July 1883 in St. Georges de Windsor, Quebec, Canada. He married January 1832 in Quebec Canada to Margurite/Margaret Blais. She was b. abt 1809 in Quebec Canada.
Children of Michel/Mitchel & Marguerite/Margaret (Blais) Forest:
1.Marguerite Forest b abt 1832 in Windsor, Sherbrook Co. Quebec Canada; m. 2 Feb 1855 in Wotten, Wolfe Co. Quebec to Francois/Frank Descoteaux/Decoto, and had 7 children
2. Francois Xavier Forest b 13 Aug 1840 in Windsor, Sherbrook Co. Canada; m. Celeste Peloquin and had 10 children
3. Marie-Anne Forest b 1842 in Windsor, Sherbrook Canada, died 1844 in Danville, Canada
4. Jean Baptiste Forest b 24 June 1833 in Windsor, Sherbrook, Canada
5. Eben Forest, b. abt 1843 in Windsor, Sherbrook, Canada
6. Lorenda Forest, b. abt 1846 in Windsor, Sherbrook, Canada
7. Michel/Mitchel Forest, b. abt 1848 in Windsor, Sherbrook Canada
8. +Daniel/Damase Forest, b. abt 1851 in Windsor, Sherbrook, Canada
9. +Judith Forest b 30 Sep 1852 Windsor, Sherbrook Co. Canada, died 11 March 1914 in Manchester NH; m. Joseph Clement; had previously lived in Newmarket NH; she is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery
Daniel/Damase Forest, son of Michel/Mitchel & Marguerite (Blais) Forest, b abt 1851 in Windsor, Sherbrook, Quebec, Canada; d. 6 February 1901, buried 8 February 1901, age 49 years 8 months; He m1) Marie Delima Brouillard, dau of Louis Stanislaus/Catherine Monjeau. She was b. 17 Dec 1856 in St. David, Yamaska Que, d. 14 Nov 1875 in St. George de Windsor, Quebec Canada. He m2) Mary/Marie Exilda Brouillard, dau of Jean Baptiste & Marie (Thibault/Thibeault) Brouillard. She was b. 20 Feb 1854 in St. David PQ, and died 23 March 1921 in Manchester NH. She married 2nd) 1 Feb 1910 in Manchester NH to Cyprien Soucy, son of Cyprien & Angelie (Couturier) Soucy. [He had m1) Henriette Roy]. Mary lived at 607 Prescott Street after her 2nd marriage. She is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery.
1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, etc. > Sherbrooke County > Windsor
Mitchel Forest 45
Margaret Forest 42
Margaret Forest 19
John Forest 15
Francois Forest 12
Mary Ann Forest 10
Eben Forest 8
Lorenzo/Lorenda Forest 6
Mitchel Forest 3
Daniel Forest 1
Époux(se): Marie Brouillard
Date du décès: 06-02-1901
Date de l’inhumation: 08-02-1901
Âge: 49 ans et 8 mois
Témoin 1: Eugène Poirier
Témoin 2: François Forest
Prêtre: Olivier Zacharie Letendre
MARRIAGE at St Georges De Windsor 1876
Daniel Forest et Marie Brouillard
Défunte épouse de l’époux: feu Délia Brouillard
Parents de l’épouse: Jean-Baptiste et Marie Thibault
**Date du mariage: 02-10-1876
Occupation de l’époux: menuisier
Occupation du père de l’épouse: cultivateur
Origine des parents de l’épouse: Saint-Pie-de-Guire
Témoin 1: Michel Forest
Lien témoin 1: père de l’époux
Témoin 2: Jean Baptiste Brouillard
Lien témoin 2: père de l’épouse
Prêtre: Georges Vaillancourt
Enfant 1: Marie Délia (1875)
Enfant 2: Joseph Daniel (1877)
Enfant 3: Marie Exilda (1878)
Enfant 4: Édouardina (1879)
Enfant 5: Joseph Exilia (1880)
Enfant 6: Marie Hermina (1882)
Children of Daniel/Damase & Mary/Marie (Brouillard) Forest:
1. Marie Delia Forest, b 19 October 1875, bap 20 Oct 1875 at Saint Georges de Windsor
2. Joseph Daniel Forest, b. 15 June 1877, d. 1 July 1877 in St. George de Windsor
3. Marie Exilda Forest, b. 28 April 1878, bapt 28 April 1878 St. Georges de Windsor; died 5 May 1878
4. Edouardina Forest b 18 May 1879, baptized 19 May 1879, St. Georges de Windsor, Canada
5. +Joseph Exilia Forest, b. 29 Aug 1880 Canada; baptized 30 August 1880 at Saint Georged de Windsor. Godparents: Cyreneen Dandanneau and Mathilde Brouillard
6. Marie Hermina aka Mary Armina “Mamie” “Lena” Forest, b 27 Dec 1882, bap 28 Dec 1882 St Georges de Windsor, d. 13 Nov 1944 in Manchester NH; m. 17 March 1904 in Manchester NH to Ernest Edward Soule, son of Charles E. & Margaret (Reid) Soule.
7. +Louis Adelard Forest, b. 18 February 1884 NH, d. 23 January 1940 age 56; m. 8 Feb 1910 to Exima/Exilia Marie Lareau.
8. Joseph Alfred Forest, b 1888 Canada; m. 10 Nov 1924 in Manchester NH to Ida Lacroix, dau of Hercule & Alvina (Gauthier) Lacroix. He was a shoemaker
9. Francois Eleodore Forest, b. 6 May 1893 in Manchester NH, died 13 Feb 1919 of appendicitis in France, occupation soldier; d. buried Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Manchester NH. In 1914 Manchester City Directory he was operator of Crown Theatre, and roomed at 1061 Elm Street, room 45
10. Angelina M. “Angie” Forest, b abt 1890; m. 14 Oct 1913 to Joseph F. Connelly, son of James & Mary (Bowen) Connelly
11. Dinah Forest; m. — Phillips; resided St. Petersburg FL
Judith Forest, dau of Michel/Mitchel & Marguerite/Margaret (Blais) Forest, b. 30 Sep 1852 Windsor, Sherbrook Co. Canada, died 11 March 1914 in Manchester NH; m. Joseph Clement; had previously lived in Newmarket NH; she is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. He was a teamster.
1910 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester
Joseph Clement Head M 60 Canada
Judith Clement Wife F 57 Canada
Frederick Clement son M 19 NH
Henry Clement son M 17 NH
Yvonne Clement son M 17 NH
John B. Champoux son-in-law M 42 Canada
Angelina Champoux daughter F 34 NH
Children of Joseph & Judith (Forest) Clement:
1. Louis Frederick Clement, b. 18 Aug 1871 in Manchester NH
2. Judith M. Clement, b. abt 1874 Newmarket NH; d. 18 Oct 1941 in Manchester NH; m. Isadore H. Ledoux
3. Angelina M.R. Clement, b. 20 Aug 1875 in Manchester NH, d. 22 June 1910 Manchester NH; m. 23 May 1908 in Los Angeles, California to John B. Champoux, son of George & Mary (Duval) Champoux. He was b. in 1868
4. Joseph Heledore Clement, b. 7 Aug 1877 in Newmarket NH; d. 17 March 1915 in Newburyport MA; a master plumber; he m. 7 Jan 1901 in Manchester NH to Mary Louise Biscornet, dau of Israel & Rosalie (Lamache) Biscornet
5. Wilfred/Wilfrid Charles Clement, b. 10 Aug 1881 in Manchester NH, d. 20 August 1958 in Manchester NH; m. Muriel Beatrice Smith. Daughter Jane Carolyn Clement, b. abt 1921, m. Ronald Everett Lacey,son of Howard S. & Thelma P. (Shaw) Lacey.
6. Charles Simeon Clement, b. abt 1884 NH; d. 26 June 1940 in Merrimack, Hillsborough Co. NH. He married Josephine Dusseault. [Their son Rolland Clement was b 13 Oct 1911 and d. 9 Oct 1964 in Suncook NH. He married Antoinette Marie Rene. They had 2 sons]
7. Francis Xavier “Frank” Clement, b. 18 Nov 1886 in Manchester NH, d. 21 Jan 1949 in Manchester NH; He married 28 Oct 1907 in Manchester NH to Selia Carignan, dau of William & Zelia (Lemay) Carignan; capt. of the Fire Department
8. George M. Clement, b. 1880 Manchester NH, m. 5 Feb 1902 in Gardner MA to Dora St. Hilaire, dau of Napoleon J. & Georgiana (Fraiser) St. Hilaire
9. Wilfred Calix Clement, b. abt 1881 Manchester NH; m. 11 Oct 1909 in Baldwinville MA to Pearl Dana (Stafford) Saskis, a widow, dau of Alymer Noah & Elizabeth Pearl (Dana) Stafford
10. Frederick Louis Clement, b abt 1892 NH; m1) 14 June 1916 in NH to Rosanna Cormier, dau of Adelard & Marie (Lacourse) Clement. He m2) 2 Sep 1944 in Manchester NH to Yvonne Hortance (Patnaude) Poehlman, dau of John & Georgianna (Gosselin) Poehlman
11. Henry Joseph Clement, b. 4 Aug 1893 in Manchester NH; m1) 18 April 1917 in Concord NH to Judeth Elizabeth Peterson, dau of Arthur & Hannah (Oleson) Peterson. He m2) 13 March 1920 in Keene NH to Lenna E. (Nutter) Sweet, dau of Oscar A. & Emma B. (Jones) Nutter
12. Yvonne Clement, b 4 Nov 1895 Manchester NH, d. 12 Aug 1919, age 23
Joseph Exilia Forest, son of Damase/Daniel & Mary (Brouillard) Forest, b. 29 Aug 1880 Canada, d 7 Oct 1929 in Manchester NH; m. 20 Sep 1902 in Manchester NH to Martha Gottschalk, dau of August & Anna (Einspanner) Gottschalk. She b. abt 1886 Germany and d. 15 Dec 1964 probably in Manchester NH. Cobbler, Garage owner (PETE FOREST GARAGE), Motorcycle Dealer. This story is about him.
St. Joseph Cemetery Records: Joseph E. Forest
Forest, Joseph E 49y1m8d 10/7/1929 Section K, Lot 132
1910 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 193 Union Street
Joseph E. Forest Head M 29 married 1x 7 yrs Can-Fr C-F C-F imm 1891 naturalized; works in shoe factory
Martha Forest Wife F 24 4 children 3 living Germany-German G-G G-G immigrated 1900
Peter J. Forest son M 3 single NH Can-Fr Germany-German
George P. Forest son M 1 NH Can-Fr Germany-German
1912 Manchester NH Census
FOREST, Alfred shoemaker boards 405 Dubuque
FOREST, Angie shoeworker boards 405 Dubuque
FOREST, Francois freighthandler boards 405 Dubguque
FOREST, Joseph E shoemaker house 193 Turner
FOREST, Louis shoemaker boards 10 Orange
[1914 The Forest Family opened Manchester’s First Harley Davidson’s sales]
1913 Manchester City Directory
FOREST, Joseph E. shoemaker and (Queen City Motor Cycle Garage) 50 Granite, house 193 Turner
FOREST, Louis shoemaker boards 10 orange
FOREST, Francois, operator Crown Theatre boards 405 Dubuque
1914 Manchester City Directory
FOREST, Joseph E. (Queen City Motor Cycle Garage) 50 Granite, house 193 Turner
1915 Manchester City Directory
FOREST, Joseph E. (Martha) salesman 50 Granite
FOREST, Louis (Exima) shoemaker h 1443 Elm
FOREST, Francois repairman rms 315 Auburn
1917 Manchester City Directory
FOREST, Joseph E. (Martha) prop Elm Motorcycle Garage 507 Elm h 503 Hevey
1918 Manchester City Directory
Forest, Joseph E. (Martha) prop Pete Forest Garage 507 Elm h 73 Clinton
1920 Manchester NH Directory
FOREST PETE GARAGE J E Forest prop agent Harley-Davidson motorcyles and bicycles and Johnson Motor Wheel 507 Elm–See page 875
FOREST J E & Co. (Joseph E., James P., George E. Forest) (Pete Forest Garage) 507 Elm
FOREST Joseph E (Martha) JE Forest & Sosns) 507 Elm h 73 Clinton
1924 Manchester Directory
FOREST, J E & Sons (Joseph E, Peter J and George E Forest) props Pete Forest Garage 507 Elm
FOREST, Joseph E. (Martha) JE Forest & Sons) 507 Elm h 20 Auburn
FOREST George E (JE Forest & Sons) 507 Elm res 20 Auburn
FOREST, Peter J (JE Forest & Sons) 507 Elm res 20 Auburn
1930 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 20 Auburn Street
Forest, Martha Head 2500 widow Ger Ger Ger immigrated 1900 no occupation
Forest, Mary M dau F W 16 single NH Can-Fr Germany no occupation
–same address 2nd apt
Forest, Peter J Head M W 24 married at 23 NH Can-Fr Germany, motorcycle mechanic, motorcycle garage
Forest, Louise wife F W 23 married at 22 C-F C-F C-F imm 1924 NA
MANCHESTER — George E. Forest, 97, died Jan. 30, 2007, at Carlyle Place in Bedford.He was born March 4, 1909, in Manchester to Joseph and Martha (Gottschalke) Forest and was a resident of the community for most of his life. Prior to retirement, Mr. Forest was an operations plant manager with Mobil Oil Corp. in New Hampshire as well as in Massachusetts. During the 1920s and 1930s, Mr. Forest and his family members were avid Harley-Davidson motorcycle racers. Mr. Forest was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, joining the Army National Guard in 1938 and having his unit federalized in 1941. During the war, he graduated from Officer Candidates School and then served with Patton’s Third Army in Europe. Family includes sons Joseph G. Forest of Auburn and Jonathan N. Forest, LTC, U.S. Army- Ret., of Peach Tree City, Ga.; four grandchildren; two great- grandchildren; sister May Lesmerises of Hemet, Calif.; nieces and nephews. Mr. Forest was predeceased by his former wife, Opal (Murray) Forest . SERVICES: Calling hours are Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. in Cate & Johnson Funeral Home, 573 Pine St., corner of Harrison Street in Manchester. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday at 11 a.m. in St. Hedwig Church, corner of Beech and Orange streets, Manchester. Burial with full military honors will be Monday at 2 p.m. in New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen. Memorial donations may be made to World War II Museum, 77 Center St., Wolfeboro 03894.
Children of Joseph E. & Martha (Gottschalk) Forest:
1. Joseph Forest, b. 29 Feb 1904, d. 3 March 1904 Manchester NH. Buried Mt. Calvary cemetery.
2. Edward Forest, b. 5 Jan 1905, d. 15 Feb 1905 broncho pneumonia
3. **Peter James Forest, b. 19 April 1906, and d. April 1987 aged 81 years in Hillsborough Co. NH. He married 3 Sep 1929 in Manchester NH to Louise M. Chiasson, daughter of Thomas & Louise (Jionet) Chiasson. She b. abt 1907 in New Brunswick Canada and d. 15 January 1991. In 1965 she was bookkeeper for Pete Forest Garage. In 1968 owner of Pete Forest Garage, house 32 La Vista Street Manchester.In 1998-2004 residing 293 Elgin Avenue, Manchester NH. [see photographs of Peter and Louise in this story].
4. **George Edward Forest [see photograph at top and obituary above] b 4 March 1909 NH, d. 30 January 2007; m1) ? and divorced; m. 2nd) 23 February 1944 in Manchester NH to Hazel May Pellenz, dau of Alfred C. & Marie E. (Desbiens) Lamper; m3d) Opal Murray.
5. Angeline Forest, b. 1 Oct 1911, d. 16 June 1913, age 1 yr 8 months 15 days
6. Mary Forest, b abt 1914 Manchester NH; married 2 July 1932 in Manchester NH to Conrad Lesmerises, son of Hormidas and Aldora (Richard) Lesmerises.
Louis Adelard Forest, son of Damase/Daniel & Mary (Brouillard) Forest, b. 18 February 1884 NH, d. 22 January 1940 age 56; m. 8 Feb 1910 in Manchester NH to Exima Marie Lareau, dau of Jean & Adeline (Richer) Lareau. In 1914 he was a shoemaker, house 421 Spruce Street
Children of Louis A. & Exima M. (Lareau) Forest:
1. Lionel Cleo Forest, b. 21 July 1910; married, had 2 sons, died in a plane crash
2. Bertrand Lafayette Forest, b. 21 June 1912; married 3x; had 5 children
3. Helenette Exima Forest, b. 9 Nov 1914; unmarried
4. Louanna Graziella Forest, b. 30 September 1922; married, had 3 sons