Frederick Clifton Pierce.

Forbes and Forbush genealogy. The descendants of Daniel Forbush, who came from Scotland about the year 1655 and settled in Marlborough, Mass., in 1675 online

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Online LibraryFrederick Clifton PierceForbes and Forbush genealogy. The descendants of Daniel Forbush, who came from Scotland about the year 1655 and settled in Marlborough, Mass., in 1675 → online text (page 1 of 26)
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Fred. C. Pierce.




Wiiii Came from Scotland Ar.m i the Vear 1055, \\n
Settled in Marlborough, Mass., in LG75


01 CHICAGO, ll.l.r.

\itiimi: ..I Pierce, Peirce, \m> Pearci G Irafton i\n Barrb,

\i iss ; \ii Mm r op N. !•'.. Historical and Gbnealoqicai - ind Othki



i .,, •

J \ Publishers /(




Astor, Lenox and TUden



c «■ • • '

• • -• • •


My Grandmother,

Mrs. Nancy (Forbush) Smith,

'I'm is Work Is

Most Respectfully Dedicated


The Author.


Having published four volumes of the Peirce, Pierce and Pearce family
history at tlie urgent request of relatives, I have compiled t he Forbes Forbush
genealogy, with what success the reader of tin's volume can judge. Thousands
of letters were written, and in nearly every instance prompt, full, and very com-
plete replies received, varying in length from a single page of aotc paper in over
twenty pages of foolscap. It required considerable work to arrange all this
matter in a presentable form. The style adopted by the New England Historical
and Genealogical Society in the publication of their Register, lias been used a- the
besl and simplest arrangement.

It is the habit of some persons to depreciate genealogical studies and labor, and
in some instances even to ridicule the efforts of those so engaged. It is a matter of
extreme indifference to them whether they have had any ancestors or not, and in
nearly every case of this kind the persons only care for themselves. They are so
wrapt up in self, that all other matters dwindle into utter insignificance.

Abijkkviations and Explanations. — ae. for aged; abt. forabout; b. lor born;
bap. for baptized; bid'., before; eh., children; d., died; dau., daughter: dee'd.,
deceased; m., married; num., unmarried; inv., inventory; rep., representative;
res., resided, resides, or residence; w., wife; wid., widower; yr., year; s. p., without
issue. There are other abbreviations of such common use that the meaning will be
obvious. A name in parenthesis, thus: Sarah Forbush, dau. of John and
Maria (Scott) Forbush, indicates the maiden-name of the mother. An interroga
tion mark implies doubt or want of absolute certainty. Birthplaces are not
always given, but they can be ascertained by reference to the persons' parents
and their residence at the lime of birth.

Old and Nkw Style.— In computing time, the solar year is reckoned :'A\^\
days, but this is too much by eleven minutes and a fraction. If this excess be
neglected, in the course of centuries, 1st nf January would fall back toward
midsummer, and in 1582, the time of Pope Gregory XIII., it was found that the
vernal equinox, which, in A. D. 325, happened on the 21sl of March, actually
occurred on the I Oth of March. For the purpose of rectifying the calendar, the
Pope ordered that ten days be dropped for that year. This was called "New
Style," and the former calendar, "Old Style." The new calendar was soon
adopted by all Catholic countries, but in England, and her colonies, it was disre
garded till 1752, when the error of the old calendar amounted to eleven days,
and by an Act of Parliament they were dropped from September of that year.
If the year began the 25th of March, the date would be February 9, 1684; if the
year began the 1st of January, the date would be February 9, 16*5, andchanged
to New Style by addition of eleven days, would be February 16, L685.


6 Author's Preface.

Origin of the Name.— One of the most common methods of bestowing
surnames was from the place, or residence. Not only countries, but counties and
towns were a fruitful source of surnames. John, from Cornwall, became John Corn-
wall, or Cornish. Richard, who lived near a piece of woodland, was spoken of
as Richard, at or near the wood, originating the surname, Atwood; or John, living
near a hill, became John Hill. So with Underbill, Atwell, etc. John, living-
near a clump of oaks, was John atten oaks, abbreviated into Noakes; or William,
who had pitched his tent, or cabin, near a notable ash tree, was known as William
at the ash, or William atten ash. which easily drifted into Nash. So, too,
Thomas, who lived near a small stream (or in Anglo-Saxon, a becket), was Thomas
at the becket, and thus was named the martyr, Thomas a Becket. The most com-
mon terminations of English surnames, taken from places, are ford, hum, lea, and
ton. Ford is from the Saxan faran, to go; signifying the place where a stream
could be crossed.

In the name of Shakespeare's birdiplace we have a memento of three different
eras of English history; viz., the periods of the occupancy by the old Britons, the
Romans, and the Saxons. Stmt is an abbreviation of strata (street), the name by
which the great Roman roads were known. Ford tells us that one of these roads
crossed a stream, and Avon is the name which the old Britons, or Celts, gave to the
st reams.

The word />", leak, or leigll, signifying a partially wooded field, served as
the ending for many surnames, such as llorsley, Cowley. Ashley, Oakley, Lind-
ley, and Berkley, or Birehley. Hay, or haw, means a hedge, and this has given
us Hayes, Haynes, Haley, Haywood, llawes, Haworth, Hawthorn, Haughton, or

Occupations, too, have afforded an endless array of surnames. This method
was used by the Romans in such names as Pabricus (smith). Pictor (painter),
Agricola (farmer). In England a skillful hunter would adopt that as his surname,
and equally so with the carpenter, joiner, sawyer, baker, or butcher.

Personal traits, and complexion, too. gave rise to surnames. From the former
we have the names Stout, Strong, Long, Longman. Longfellow; and from the
latter, Brown, Black, etc. Some mental and moral trails were also used to denote
surnames. Richard the First, of England, was belter known as Richard of the
Lion Heart. The next step would be to derive from this quality the surname

The name of Forbush is a good example of the mutations which some famih
names have undergone, for the varying orthography adopted from time to timi —
for the most part, no doubt, by town clerks, and other public recorders, during the
earlyperiod of our country's settlement— have been such. that, in the course of
three or four generations, the knowledge among descendants that they had one
common ancestor in this country has been lost, and without ii, their family iden
, tity. The change is still going on— to trace the descendants of some of the early
settlers to the present time, from public records, has therefore become extremely

The following is an example of the changes in one name: "Next, he showed
me, by the aid of a few family documents in his possession, that the original name
of his ancestors had been Meredith, or, to write it Welsh fashion, Maredydd. Now.
in Wales, the accent is always thrown on the last syllable but one — the penulti


Author's Preface. 7

mate, as we say, in Latin prosody. So Meredith is pronounced much as though ii
rhymed with 'weddeth.' A couple of hundred years ago, one of these Welsh
.Merediths settled in Staffordshire; bul as lie kepi close, apparently, to the original
pronunciation of his name, it was Anglicized by his neighbors; not into the usual
Meredith (which is formed on the regular English rule of throwing the accent
backward), hut into Meready. Careless utterance soon corrupted that sound to
M'ready, and Anally to Ready. The four Stages — Maredydd, Meredith, Meready,
and Ready — were all to be found consecutively in my friend's documents in the
name " Ready." — From the Cornhitt Magaziiw.

The nunc Forbush is of Scotch extraction and has been spelled on the town
records of New England, Ffarrabas, Fferebas, Farrow bush, Fforbus, Forbes,
Forbus, Fabush, Furbush, Furbish, Fforbes, Farabas, Fobes, Farebush, and
Fa w bush.

The following, in relation to the name, is found in " Arthur's Etymological
Dictionary of Family and Christian Names," published in 1857.

FoRBISHER, a polisher of armor or weapons.

FURBUSHER, the same as Forbisher.

FORBES, local, lands free from military service, called Saor Forba, or free
lands. It is also the name of a parish in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Farrabas, Furbish, etc. — In the London "Notes and Queries " (Fifth S.,

Vol. vi, p. 426), attention was called to an article by the laic Andrew II. Ward,
in the Register paper, 1853 (relating to the various ways the names Forbes-Forbush
had been recorded in the early New England town records). In the next Vol.
(Fifth S., vii) "Notes and Queries," p. 97, Wm. John Potts, of Camden, N. J.,
suggests that that name may be a corruption of Firebrace, and refers to " Notes
and Queries'" (Fourth S., Vol. iii, p. 240), for an account of this family, where
the writer says the name Firebrace, was formerly spelled Ferbrace, Fferebras, and
Parbras. " Among those persons," continued Mr. Potts, " who emigrated to Vir-
ginia in the Seventeenth century, I rind, in I lotion's List of Emigrants," etc., to
the American plantations ( 1S74, p. 1ST), living in Virginia in Hi?:'., Roger Far-
bracke, p. 245, Musters of the Inhabitants of Virginia," 1024-5, Roger Farbrase,
aged 2<i, in the Elizabeth, 1(121 ; p. 444, Parish Registers of Barbadoes, a lisl of
inhabitants, in and about the town of St. Michaels, with their children, hired
servants, prentices, bought servants and negroes, 1680, Jno. Firebrass and wife,
one bought servant.

Before the above appeared in " Notes and Queries," a person called at the
rooms of the Historic-Genealogical Society with a coat of arms, painted on paper,
from fifty to one hundred years ago, purporting to be the arms of the Forbush
family. It was the same as the Firebrace arms, given in Burke's "Genealogical
Armory."— N. F. Hist, and Gen. Register, 187s, p. 92.

My thanks are especially due to Mrs. Silas A. Pierce of Grafton, Mass.: Mis.
Louise R. Rogers of Worcester, Mass.; Edwin Forbes Waters of Boston, Mass.;
F. W. Forbes of VVestltoro, Mass.; Rev. Heman P. De Forrest of Detroit, Mich.;
E. T. Witherby of Shelby, Ala.; Judge and Mrs. W. T. Forbes of Westboro,
Mass.; Frank M. Forbush of Boston, Mass.; .Indue Moses, secretary of the Chicago
Historical Society, and Librarian Poole of the Newberry Library of Chicago.

8 Author's Preface.

The plan adopted, as stated previously, is that of the Genealogical Regisfa r,
which is by far the most intelligible. The descendants, for several generations, be-
longed to the agricultural class, and were characterized by good sense, sound judg-
ment, and Christian excellence. They helped swell the ranks of honest New
England yeomanry; with an ancestry not great, but always virtuous, filling with
fidelity and honor the stations they were called upon to fill. The descendants can
well be proud of their ancestors, and learn from them that " the richest bequest
which any man can make for the benefit of posterity, is that of a shining and spot-
less example."


Chicago, III., July 30, 1891.



In 1580, William Forbes of Tullickerne, Scotland, wrote an extended accounl
of the origin of the family of Forbes, from which the following is gleaned. As
will be seen, pari ol' the narrative is copied verbatim from the original, and is as

The Lord Forbes houss having thai propertie (which is incident to few greal
families in the natione) Lha1 all the families of the name, yea, all the Forbes's in
or on i of Scut lain I, arc branched forth from thai only one root. Though it be the
work of sonic men who arc self-lovers, that they can not sufficiently crye up
themselves, unless they undervalue others, yet we arc possessed with no such
spirit; albeil in all ages since our flrsl avyse, we myghl compair with neighbors,
for greater loyal tie and valour, for pietie (which we think truely enobleth a familie);
witness the many bishops and doctors all home and renowned divines abroad.
Likeas the root has ever done, so the severale branches ol the houss thought it
their greatesl honour to honour God in their generations. As to their loyaltie, it
was never yet stained, but attempted by calumniators. One, in the days of King
James Fifth, the master of Forbes, was accused of treason, for which he loosed
his head ; and after his death, the King, finding thai he was falsely, accused out of
malice by his enemies, restored his successor to all his lands and honours to the
full, and gave him sonic more lands in gift, which ye Lord Forbes inherits till this
day. See chronicles of Buchanan and Drummond. As for their valour, 'twill
need no catalogue; the histories both at home and abroad manifesting the same so
clearlie. Some report the Forbes came from France, and yet in one shire there
are fourscore families thai bear the Forbes's arms. Others think that these
families descended out of the houss of Forbes. Mr. Hector Roves, in his 14 book,
folio 30, says they were changed from Boyes to Forbes, for the slaughter of a
beast. It seems (as the proverb says), he was desirous to be of kindred to ureal
men. This, he alledges, was in the Bruce days; bu1 this narration is clearly
controlled by the old events of the Lord Forbes, which were revised by Mr. John
Sheen, his majesties' Clerk Register, in the nionthe of September, 1593, in which
he said thai Alexander III., King of Scotland, in the 23rd year of his reign, which
is in the year of God, 1272, gave and disposed l<> Duncan Lord Forbes, terras et
1 1 in in, at a in ill Forbes, and ye writer hereof did sec a charter given, without date, by
Alexander Earle of Buchan, to Fergus Lord Forbes, and long after King David
consigned a charier granted by John Lord Forbes of the lands of Edinbouchorie
and Craiglogie, all which charters so preced the flrsl mention made by Historian
Lumsden, in 1580.

From the year 1371, till Howd< e, in the year 1513, the greal Lord Forbes

had the whole guiding of his majesties' affairs, both properties and casualties, be-
twixt the Cairne of Mounte, ami Rush of Kaitness, as the several sealls and sig-
nets, and tablets of the severale kings and queens do declare, which are yet ex
tanl ; as likeways they were sheriffs of Aberdeen, and baillies to the Earl of Marr,
to the bishops of Saint Andrews, Lrccchcn, Aberdeen, and Murray ; to the abbotts
of Lindores, Aberbrothick; likeways they were hereditable colonels of the Shire

of Aberdeen, and defenders of the privileges and waiters of Dee and Don, as
their evidence testifies, so that it seems they have been vcrrc ureal.

Some alleadge that the Forbes came from Ireland, with the greal McDonald, who
married one of the King of Ireland's daughters, and she did bring with her to
Scotland, threttie of Chief Leers' sons belonging to the king, of whom descended all


10 Forbes and Forbush Genealogy.

the greal families, such as the Forbe's, Rose's of Kilraik; others alleadge that the
Forbes's are descended of the Ochonochor; one who was a lord in Ireland, he
being a son of the said Ochonochor. came to Scotland to serve the King of Scot-
land in his wars, wherefor the king- give to him the castell of Urquhart to keep.
The said Ochonochor, going to battle with the king, was killed, leaving behind
him his wife, and child, wdio thereafter went to Ireland to her husband's friends,
and was there delivered of a son called Ochonochor, which Ochonochor. when
he became a man, came hack to Scotland, and, asking his father's lands of the
king, the king sbew T to him that he had disposed of those lands to the kirk and
others, which he could not take hack; but in lew of them the king gave him the
lands of Logic on Foreside, which lands, on the Lord Forbes's ancient evidents,
hounded those betwixt Assach and Massach, Bogie and Don. They allcadged that
this Ochonochor, Lord of Logic, killed a great boare, and he had three sons, who
were called the sons of him that killed the boare or the beast, so Foboar or
Forbest, and by contraction, Forbes, as the ancient monuments, failing all niemo-
rie except tradition. As to his three sons, the eldest, called Ochonochor, built the
houss of Fiminour and dwelt still there; the second son went back to a part of his
grandfather's ancient possessions, and there settled, and was called Urquhart, of
whom is descended the Lord of Cromcrtie and the Urquharts; and to testify that
they descended of him that killed the beast, they caused huilt just the like monu-
ments as the castell of Urquhart, as is lying at Logie, which is yel to he seen
there. Ochonochor's third son, called Walter Forbes, went to Kaitness, attended the
Bishop, and he, being familiar with the Bishop's daughter, begat her with child,
with whom, fearing the Bishop's wrath, he tied to Strathnover anil possessed
himself of the land of Dhuress, then belonging to the Bishop, whereupon the
Bishop, raising a number of men, went to Strathnover and there again possessed him-
self of the said lands. Walter and the Bishop's daughter being fled, left behind
their little son; and it being told the Bishop that the child was his daughter's, be-
gotten by Walter Forbes, caused immediately the name of the child to he John
Forbes. The Forbes' are all descended from one root of the houss of Lord Houss.

Mathew Lumsden, writing in 1500, of the family, says:

"The Lord of Driminor had a gentlewoman to his wife, with bairne, who was
del yvered of a son, who bracked the surname, and none other; who, being brought
up by his mother s command to manhood, through his virtuous deeds was made
Knight, and was called Sr. John Forbes of the black lip, by a mark he had on his
face. He had four sons; the name of the oldest was Alexander, thereafter Lord;
the name of the second was William, the first of the house Pitsligo; the name of
the third was John, the first of the house of Tolquhon; the name of the fourth was
Alaster Oaine, who was the first of the house of Brux."


The surname of Forbes was assumed from the lamb of Forbes, co. Aberdeen,
granted by Alexander II. (1249), about the middle of the 13th century, to the pro
genitorof this noble family.

John dk Forbes, the first upon record, was a man of rank and importance in
the reign of King William the Lion (1214.) He was father of

Fergus de Forbes, from whom all the Scottish families of the name have
descended. The eldest son and successor of this Fergus,

Alexander de Forbes, a man of gnat personal valor, lost his life in defense
of the castle of Urquhart, in Murray, againsl Edward I. The forties- was taken
by storm, after a gallant resistance, and the whole garrison put to the sword, none
escaping but the wife of the governor, who fled into Ireland, and there gave birth
soon afterwards to a -on.

Alexander Forbes, who returned to Scotland, and attaching himself to the
fortunes of King Robert Bruce, obtained grants of land equivalent to those of
which his father had been despoiled. He fell at the battle of Duplin, in 1332, and
was by his son,

Mix Forbes, Km., who lived and was eminently distinguished in the
r< bert II. and III. Hem. Elizabeth, dau. of Kennedy, of Dunure (an

the noble bouse of Cassilis), by whom he had four suns, viz.,

Forbes and Forbush Genealogy. 11

Alexander, (Sir) his successor and 1st Lord.
William, (Sir) ancestor of the Lords Pitsligo.

John, (Sir) ancestor of the Forbes's of Culloden, Watertoun, and
Duncan Fokbks, 5th Lai id of Culloden, the celebrated tord-presidenl of
the Court of Session, in. Mary, dan. of Hugh Rose, Esq.; and d. in 1717,
leaving a son and successor,
John Forbes, Esq., of Culloden, grandfather of the present
Duncan-George Forbes, Esq , of Culloden. (See Burke's Commoners,
vol. i\\. ]). 6'iO.)
Alexander, the younger, ancestor of the Forbes's of Brux, &c.
Sir John, d. 1405, and was s. by his eldest son.
Sir Alexander de Forbes. This gentleman, who was distinguished as a
patriot, went to France to oppose the English under Henry V., and carried with
him, in his train, one hundred horse and forty lances. He was elevated to the
peerage of Scotland, by James II., prior to 1436, by the title of Baron Forbes.
His lordship m. Lady Elizabeth Douglas, dau. of George, Earl of Angus, and
grandau. of Robert li.; and dying in 144S, was s. by his eldest son,

James, 2d baron. This nobleman m. Lady Egidia Keith, dau. of William, the
1st Earl Marischal, by whom he had one dau. and three sons,
William, his successor.

Duncan, of Corsindie, ancestor of the Forbes's of Pitsligo, and other

families of the name.
Patrick, of Corse, armor-bearer to James III.; whose grandson, Sir
Arthur Forbes, was progenitor of the Forbes's, Earls of Granard, in
His lordship was s. at his decease (about 1460) by his eldest son,
William, 3rd baron; who m. Christian, dau. of Alexander, 1st Earl of Hunt-
ley; and was s. by his eldest son,

Alexander, 4th baron; at whose decease, without issue, the dignity devolved
upon his brother,

Arthur, 5th baron; whodyingalso issueless, was s. by his brother,
John, 6th baron. This nobleman m. 1st, Catherine, dau. of John, Earl of
Atholl, uterine brother of James II., of Scotland, by whom he had one surviving
dau., Elizabeth, m. to John Grant, of Grant. His lordship m. 2dly, Christian,
dau. of Sir John Lundin, of Lundin, by whom he had. (with four daus.,)

John, master of Forbes; who was convicted of high treason, and executed
at Edinburgh, 17 July, 1537, alleging his innocence as to the treason
charged, but acknowledging that he ought to die for the murder of the
Laird of Meldrum.
William, 7th baron.
Lord Forbes m. 3rdly, Elizabeth, relict of Alexander, 1st Lord Elphinstone, and
had a son, Arthur, of Putachie, and a dau., Janet, m. 1st; to John, Earl of Atholl;
2dly, to Alexander Hay, of Dalgety; and 3rdly, to William Lesly, of Balquhain.
He d in 1547, and was s. by his son,

William, 7th baron. His lordship in. Elizabeth, dau. and co-heir of Sir Wil-
liain Keith, of Innerugie, and was s. by his eldest son,

John, Nth baron; whom, (for his second wife) Jane, dau. of James Seton, of
Touch, and was s. by his son,

Arthur, 9th baron; who m. Jean, 2d dau. of Alexander, 4th Lord Elphin-
stone, and was s. by his only surviving son,

Alexander, 10th baron. This nobleman, adopting the profession of arms,
served, with considerable renown, under Gustavus Adolphus. of Sweden, against
the imperials, and attained the rank of lieut. -general. Upon his return to Scot-
land, he was one of the commanders sent to Ireland, in 1643, for the purpose of
suppressing the rebellion there. His lordship m. 1st, Anne, dau. of Sir John
Forbes, of Pitsligo, by whom he had an only son, William, his successor. He
espoused 2dly, Elizabeth, dau. of Robert Forbes, of Hires, in Fifeshire, by whom
he had several children, lie was s. by his son,

William, 11th baron; who was s., in 1601, by his eldest son,
William, 12th baron. This nobleman was of the privy-council of King Wil-
liam, and lieut. -col of the horse-guards. His lordship m. 1st, Margaret, dau. of

12 Forbes and Forbush Genealogy.

Alexander, Earl of Kelly; and 2dly, Anne, dau. of James Brodie, Esq., of Brodie;
and dying in 1716 was s. by his elder son,

William, 13th baron; whom., 1720, Dorothy, daughter of William Dale, Esq.,
of Covent Garden, Westminster. This lady lost a fortune of £'20,000 by the
South Sea bubble. His lordship died 1730, and was s. by his only son*,

Francis,. 14th baron; at whose decease during minority, and without issue,
in 1734. the dignity reverted to his uncle,

James, 15th baron. His lordship m. Mary, relict of John Forbes, Esq., of
Monimusk, and sister of Alexander Forbes, Lord Pitsligo; and dying, in 1761, left
(with three daus., Sophia, m. to Charles dimming, Esq.; Mary, m. to James
Gordon, Esq.; and Anne, m. to Thomas Erskine, Esq.) an only son,

James, 16th baron; who m., 1760, Catherine, only dau. of Sir Robert Innes,
Bart., of Orton, and had issue,

James-Ochoncar, present baron.

Robert- Allaster-Cam, capt. R. N. ; d. unm. 1795.

Andrew, d. unm. 1808.

William, a lieut. R. N.; died unm. 1702.

Marjory, m., 1st, to John M'Kenzie, Lord MacLeod; and 2dly (after his

lordship's decease,) to John, 4th Duke of Atholl.
.Mary Elizabeth, in. to Sir John Hay, Hart.; and d. 2 Nov., 1803.
His lordship was appointed deputy-governor of Fort William in 1764; and d.
there, 29 July, 1804.

Creations — The Barony of Forbes is the first on the Union roll, and, as such,

Online LibraryFrederick Clifton PierceForbes and Forbush genealogy. The descendants of Daniel Forbush, who came from Scotland about the year 1655 and settled in Marlborough, Mass., in 1675 → online text (page 1 of 26)