Jacob T. Forbes, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Jacob T. Forbes


It is not the nursling of wealth or fortune, who has been dandled into manhood on the lap of prosperity, that carries away the world's honors or wields the mightiest influence; but it is rather the man whose earlier years were cheered by scarcely a single proffer of aid or smile of approbation, and has drawn from adversity the elements of greatness. Everywhere in human experience, hardship is the vestibule of the highest success. Such has been the experience of Jacob T. Forbes, one of Porter County's most substantial and worthy citizens. He is one of the old settlers of Jackson Township, and springs from sturdy Scotch-German stock. The family originated in Scotland, but one of the remote ancestors settled in Germany, from which country Jacob Forbes, the great-grandfather of our subject, came to America. This worthy progenitor of the family in America, settled in Madison County, New York, where he became a prosperous farmer. His good wife lived to the great age of 108 years. Our subject well remembers seeing and talking to her when he was a little boy of about five years old. Members of this family served in the Revolution, as well as the War of 1812. Jacob Forbes, son of the original pioneer and grandfather of our subject, lived to be seventy-five years of age, and was a substantial farmer of Madison County, New York. He married Miss Nancy Shippy, and to them were born these children: Nicholas, John, David, Isaac, Jacob, and Margaret. Mr. Forbes is remembered as a man of excellent habits, and one whose reputation was high among the people. His son, David Forbes, father of our subject, was a native of Madison County, New York, and was there married to Miss Martha Sheridan, who bore him these children: Jacob T., Mary, George, Martha, Isaac, and Matilda. In 1823 Mr. Forbes moved to Jefferson County, New York, and settled on a farm, where all his children were born, with the exception of Jacob T., who first saw the light of day in Madison County, that State. In 1831 Mr. Forbes maved to Canada, and settled near Hamilton, where he remained about five years. Returning to the Empire State he settled in Cattaraugus County, and remained there until 1864, when he removed to Tama County, Iowa, and resided with his daughter until his death in 1889, when ninety-one years of age. He was a hard-working, industrious citizen, and his character was above reproach. In politics he was a Democrat, and in religion both he and wife were Baptists.

Jacob T. Forbes, son of the above named and subject of this sketch, was born in Madison County, New York, December 14, 1817, on his father's farm, received little or no education in youth, and as he grew older he saw that education was the open sesame to the storehouse of riches and success. Hence he lost no opportunity of gathering practical knowledge. With the assistance of a neighbor he learned to read and write, and also acquired a knowledge of the principles of arithmetic. Since that time he has educated himself by study, and by the perusal of good books and papers, to which he has always been a liberal subscriber. When our subject was about thirteen years of age his parents moved to Canada, and he remained there after his father returned to the States, working on the farms by the month until he was married, on the 2d of April, 1842, to Miss Martha Pettit, daughter of Robert and Abigail (Wilson) Pettit, both of English origin. Mr. Pettit was a wealthy farmer residing near Hamilton, and he and his wife were the parents of these children: Charles, Thomas, William, Nathaniel, John and James, Mary Ann, Martha, and Abigail. After marriage Mr. Forbes bought about 150 acres of land near Coburg, Ontario, and resided on the same seven years, clearing it of timber and erecting good buildings. In October, 1854, Mr. Forbes moved with his family, then consisting of his wife and the following children, Hamilton W., Thaddeus H., Huldah A., Matilda, to Westville, Indiana. Another child, Andrew Jackson, was born in what is now Coburg, Porter County, Indiana, and he is the youngest of the family. Settling in Jackson Township, Porter County, Mr. Forbes purchased 115 acres of land where the railroad station of Coburg now stands, but which was then covered with timber. He also purchased 18 acres of Dr. Henry J. Ellis, and on this erected his present residence. On this land, at the time of the purchase, stood an old fashioned country tavern, which had long sheltered the traveler on his way to the far-west. By hard labor and great industry Mr. Forbes cleared his land, but it was a number of years before he could make much headway through the heavy timber. He erected a good house, and later bought a saw-mill near his residence, converting the same into a stave factory. He pushed the business with so much energy and perseverance that in four years he sold nearly $80,000. worth, mostly to one firm in Chicago. This was the most profitable venture of his life, and in it he cleared at least $40,000. During these years he bought land until he finally owned about 1,300 acres, most of which he has since divided among his sons. He retains for a homestead about 200 acres. In 1868-69 Mr. Forbes erected a commodious brick residence, two stories high, and with an excellent cellar under the entire structure. Both the walls of the building and cellar are hollow, making it perfectly dry, and this was the first house in the county with hollow walls. He has also erected substantial barns and other buildings. Our subject named the station of Coburg after the town of Coburg in Canada. His two sons, Hamilton and Thaddeus, are prosperous farmers and reside near the station. In politics Mr. Forbes is a Democrat, and is often solicited to hold office, but does not care to. In his religious views he is very liberal. During his long life of hard labor his powerful constitution has been of great use to him, and at the age of seventy-six years he is remarkably well preserved, both mentally and physically. His capability and determination are well illustrated by the fact that in middle life he bought works on surveying, and with some little assistance from practical surveyors he was enabled to survey the land that he purchased. He bought of Judge Talcott, of Valparaiso, who was one of the early surveyors of Porter County, the old chain and compass which the Judge used in pioneer times, and these instruments are yet in a good state of preservation.

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 161-163

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


CSS Template by Rambling Soul