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Giannis Petros Forakis

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Part 1 of 7

Giannis Petros Forakis was born August 15, 1890, in the village of Vamos, municipality of Apokoronas, in the regional unit of Chania, on the island of Crete, Greece. He was 4 feet and 8 inches tall with black hair, brown eyes, and a dark olive complexion.

Giannis Petros Forakis

On March 22, 1907, at the age of 17, John Petro Forakis arrived at Ellis Island, New York, with drachmas worth about 10 US dollars during those times. He had over 140 US dollars or nearly 130 Euros in modern money. Like most Greek immigrants at the time, Forakis was a poor, single, and strong young man ready to provide for his family in Greece or here in America by working the mines of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Salt Lake City, and Denver. During World War I, Forakis served as a Private in the 143rd Field Artillery Regiment of the United States Army to support his family back in his homeland and, simultaneously, support his new country while pursuing the American Dream. On November 21, 1921, John Forakis married Afton Florence Mecham of Jensen, Utah. Over a 16-year span, from 1923 until 1940, they raised six children. Forakis petitioned for naturalization on February 26, 1924.

Nearly eighteen years later, on September 15, 1942, around 7:30 PM, John Forakis had come back home from a long day working out of town. John noticed several animals eating up his crops in the back corner of his property. Dick Quiup, his Ute neighbor with whom he had been having problems for the last 11 years, was riding up to the property line on horseback. Forakis had previously gotten approval from the Native American council to put up his fence to protect his crops from Quiup’s animals.

Forakis saw that Quiup began trying to take down the fence. Unknown to Forakis, Quiup’s brother, John, had anticipated Forakis' arrival and hid in the dense bushes far into the distance. Forakis saw Dick Quiup and told him that he would have to pay for the damages to the fence. Quiup, on his horse, charged at Forakis, who got scared and began to run away. Forakis heard three gunshots behind him, turned around quickly, and fired a single shot that hit Dick Quiup in the chest.

John Quiup, who ambushed Forakis, fired those three shots. John Quiup saw his brother die as he fell off of the horse and rolled into the river below. He then yelled at Forakis, "You killed my brother!!!" In total shock and realizing his mistake, Forakis tried to get the sheriff to the scene of the shooting. Dick Quiup died the next day, and his brother was charged with assault with intent to kill John Forakis. Since this event happened on a reservation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had taken over the case, and the hearing was set for September 26, 1942. Life as Forakis knew it was about to change.

to be continued

Special thanks to the Forakis family for allowing Rízes Hellenic Genealogy Research to share

John Petro Forakis' story with the global Greek community. We extend our heartfelt condolences to you.

All citations are available upon request.

Copyright © 2023 Greek Family Search LLC

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