FORBIS, James (Jr), of Green Co KY

James Forbis Jr was born in 1758 probably in Rowan Co NC, the oldest son of James and Hannah (Turner) Forbis.[1] He died before 21 Apr 1834 in Green Co KY.[2]

On 10 Mar 1779 in Rowan Co NC, he married Phoebe Bryan, daughter of Joseph and Aylee (Linville[3]) Bryan.[4]

Phoebe Bryan was born about 1750 probably in NC.[5] She died in KY between 1834 and 1840. Her sister Rebecca was the wife of Daniel Boone.

James Forbis Jr , his father and a brother took part in the settlement of Bryan’s Station in frontier Kentucky; Bryan’s Station was named for James Jr’s father-in-law Joseph Bryan or his family.[6]

James Forbis signed an Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America signed in 1777.[7] It is assumed by this researcher that this refers to James Forbis Sr. The next year James Forbis was summoned to court to sign an Oath of Allegiance; he did not appear. On the basis of this non-compliance, the DAR denied James Forbis Sr recognition as an American patriot. I have understood that it was the son, who had just reached the age of 21, who refused to sign in 1778, “taking off for Kentucky,” as one of my early correspondents described it.[8]

James Forbis Jr was frequently listed as a landowner in KY.[9] He also was listed in the “First Census of Kentucky,” 1790. He was in the “Second Census of Kentucky,” p 100: James Forbis Jr, Barren Co. In 1800, he was in Green Co KY, p 275: James Forbis, 41001/01210. In 1820, the family was in Barren Co KY: 100001/10200/3. And in 1830, his double listing was in Barren Co KY: 0010001…/0000111/5 free colored, and also

Green Co KY, page 047. James Forbiss, 010010001/00100001.

            The children of James and Phoebe (Bryan) Forbis were;

1. Elizabeth FORBIS. Born ca 1781 in KY. About 1800, she married Mordecai CONYERS in KY. Born on 7 Jul 1782 in NC. Mordecai died in Henry Co TN, on 22 Oct 1858. They had the following children:

                        i.            Phoebe (1801-)

                        ii.            Margaret (1803-)

                        iii.            Naomi


2. Margaret FORBIS. Born ca 1783 in Green Co KY. Margaret died in KY on 4 Feb 1822. Margaret first married Benjamin HOLLAND. Born in say 1770s. Benjamin died in Green Co KY, before 1816. They had the following children:

                        i.            James Bryant (1805-)

                        ii.              William

                        iii.             John

                        iv.             Mordicia

v.              Margaret


In 1816 Margaret second married Thomas ATWELL, son of John ATWELL Jr & possibly Anne LEWIS, in Green Co KY. Born ca 1798 in MD. Thomas died in KY ca 1822. They had the following children:

                        i.            Jonathan (ca1820-<1833)

                        ii.            Alexander (ca1822-)

                        iii.            Martha (<1822-)


3. Mary FORBIS. Born ca 1784 in Green Co KY. Mary was living in 1850. On 27 Mar 1804, she married James BUTLER in Green Co KY. Born ca 1781 in SC. James died in KY probably on 19 Oct 1857. They had the following children:

                        i.            William (1805-)

                        ii.            Phoebe (1806-)

                        iii.            John D (1808- )

                        iv, v.            two daughters (1810-)

                        vi.            Harman (1821-)

                        vii.            Preston Robert (1822-)

                        viii.            Alexander (ca1824-)


4. James FORBIS. Born in 1787.


5. John FORBIS. Born in 1789.


6. Logan FORBIS. Born in 1793. Logan married Hannah –?–. Born in 1793. They had the following children:

                        i.            Mary (1840-)

                        ii.            Margaret (1841-)

                        iii.            Sarah F (1842-)

                        iv.            Benjamin Cilmon (1846-1934)

                        v.            William L (1847-)

                        vi.            Horace C (1850-)


7. Sarah FORBIS. Born in 1794 in Green Co KY. Sarah died in Green Co KY, in 1822/1826. On 13 Jul 1812 when Sarah was 18, she married William ERWIN Jr, son of William ERWIN Sr & Susannah CURRY, in Green Co KY. Born on 5 Jan 1789 in Green Co KY. William died in Green Co KY, aft 22 Feb 1841. They had the following children:

                        i.            Phoebe (1813-)

                        ii.            Susan (1815-1893)

                        iii.            Liberty Green (1817-)

                        iv.            Willis (1819-)

                        v.            Joel (1821-1877)


8. Ann FORBIS. Born ca 1795. On 6 Nov 1826 when Ann was 31, she married the widower of her sister Sarah, William ERWIN Jr, son of William ERWIN Sr & Susannah CURRY, in Green Co KY. Born on 5 Jan 1789 in Green Co KY. William died in Green Co KY, aft 22 Feb 1841. They had no children.


9. Moses FORBIS. Born about 1796. Moses first married Nancy ERWIN, daughter of William ERWIN Sr & Susannah CURRY, in Green Co KY. Born on 5 Dec 1795 in Augusta Co VA. Nancy died in Green Co KY, before 12 Feb 1841. They had the following children:

                        i.            Wesley (ca1817-)

                        ii.            James Shadrack (ca1819-)

                        iii.            Tabitha (ca1821-) [married John A Atwell]

                        iv.            Mary C (1823-1890) [married Joel Atwell]

                        v.            Susan C (ca1826-1885)

                        vi.            Martha L


On 3 Nov 1843 when Moses was 47, he second married, as her third husband, Mrs Sarah (–?–) RISON, the third wife and widow of John Atwell, in Green Co KY.  She was the mother and stepmother-in-law of two of her Atwell sons. She was born 1790-1800 in Green Co KY. Sarah died in Green Co KY, after 1850.


10. Joel FORBIS. Born in 1802 in KY. Joel died in KY after 1850. Joel married Rachel McCLURE. Born ca 1799-1809 in Green Co KY. Rachel died in Green Co KY, after 4 Jun 1880. They had the following children:

                        i.            James Robert (1828-ca1911)

                        ii.            Phoebe (1831-)

                        iii.            Nathan (1833-)

                        iv.            Ebby W (1835-)

                        v.            Mary Elizabeth (1839-)

                        vi.            Adeline (1842-)

                        vii.            Joel (1846-)


11. Jesse FORBIS. Born ca 1806 in KY. Jesse died in Miller Co MO, after 1880. On 25 Sep 1839 when Jesse was 33, he married Emma Ann/Amy PITMAN in Green Co KY. Born ca 1819 in KY, she died in Miller Co MO, after 1870. They had the following children:

                        i.            William W (1840-)

                        ii.            James (1844-)

                        iii.            Lewis (1846-)

                        iv.            Alfred Anderson (1848- )

                        v.            John T (1852-)

                        vi.            Elizabeth (1854-)

                        vii.            Eliza J (1856-)

                        viii.            Martha T (1858- )

                        ix.            Sarah A (1862-)


© 2008, Kathy Alvis Patterson


[1] Lincoln Co KY Order Book 7, Vol I, page 59. September Term 1810: This day Jonathan Forbis produced a paper purporting to be a Copy of the last will & Testament of James Forbis deceased & Moved the Court to have the same entered upon Record thereupon the Court after hearing the Evidence produced and mature deliberation being had it is considered & Ordered by the Court that the said motion be overruled, and that the same shall not be entered of record Whereupon the said Jonathan Forbis by George Clowan tendered to the Court the following Bill of Exceptions which was signed & sealed & Ordered to be recorded & the same follows in these words Vitz; Be it Remembered that at the Court Johnathan Forbis tendered the following paper to the County Court of Lincoln County as a true copy of the last will and Testament of James Forbis Vitz;

State of Kentucky Lincoln County I James Forbis Senr of County & State afd Do Make publish & pro[vide] this my Last will and Testament in manner and form Following Vitz; Item 1st I Hereby give & Bequeath to my wife Hannah Forbis all my household furniture & together with my plantations [ex]tensions all my stock of every kind whatsoever to Her & Her Heirs & assigns Forever. 2nd it is my will and desire that after my Just Debts is paid out of the property & Estate that I put into the Hands of two of my Sons Vitz James and Morgan of Green County for my and my wifes maintenance which they have failed to comply with which by Reference to the Records of Green County will appear shall by divided Share and Share alike Between my children Here after named Viz James Forbis Jonathan Forbis Pegey Cook Elizabeth Cook and & Morgan Forbis to them and their heirs and assigns forever. Item third all my estate in a claim of land of a plantation of 1000 acres lying in Clark County patented in the name of Forbis & McCrackens Heirs Lying adjoining the land that D Harrison Esq. Livision is to be sold by my executors and I hereby authorize & empower them to Selll & Convey my Entrust in Sd Land afsd and out of the proceeds of ssaid Sale to pay Jonathan Forbis Five Hundred and ten Dollars and the ballance of the proceeds of said sail (if any) I give & Bequeath to my wife Hannah Forbis to her and heirs…

Item 4th I Give and bequeath to my Said Wife Hannah the money that Wiliam Ervin of Green County owes me to Her and Her Heirs & Assigns Forever. Item 5th all the residue of my Estate Both Real & Personal I give & Bequeath to Joanthan Forbis & Peggy Cook to be divided between them Share & Share alike to them and their Heirs & Assings forever. Lastly I Hereby Nominate & Apoint Joanthan Forbis and John Cook Executors of this My last Will & Testament hereby Revoking all other former Wills & Testaments Publishing & Pronouncing this to be my Last will & Testament in Testimony wherepf I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day & Moved Said Court to Admit the Same to record allowing that the original was destroyed But the Court Refused to do it which opinion of the Court that said Jonathan Forbis Excepts & Tenders this bill of Exceptions to be Singed Sealed & Recorded David Owsley, Harbert King, Randall McKinney.                

            Also, Will, Administration papers, Jan 1 1818. Green Co KY. Also: Court of Common Pleas: Lincoln Co., Ken FHL 192256 Oct 1809 p. 25 and Sep 1810 p. 59 – lists wife and all children of deceased James Forbis; Hannah Forbis, widow and relect of James Forbis, deceased. James Forbis and Morgan Forbis made oath with John Cook, Henry Cook and John Hall. On p. 29, on motion of Morgan Forbis, administrator of James Forbis, deceased transcribed will of James Forbis on Sep 1810 entry p. 59.

[2] Will (dated 21 Dec 1833, produced in court 21 Apr 1834), extract in Barbara Wright, compiler, Green Co KY Will Records, page 78-79, reference to pages 254-257 of Will Book II. “Will of James Forbis: My wife, Phebe Forbis gets all that part of the farm on which I now live lying on the NE side of Little Barren River and my tract of the SW side of the Little Barren River, along with my personal property and stock, during her lifetime. Also, my negroes Frank, Darcas, Walker and a girl, Sidney. My daughter, Elizabeth Conyer gets the negro girl Sidney at my wife’s death. My son, James Forbis gets $100. The heirs of my daughter, Margaret, first Holland, second Atwell, $20.00 The heirs of my son, John Forbis, dec’d, get $20.00. My daughter Mary Butler, gets a negro girl, America. The heirs of my daughter Sarah Irvin, get $20.00. My daughter, Anne Irvin, gets negro girl, named July Anne. My son, Moses Forbis, gets negro, Walker at my wife’s death. My son, Joel Forbis, gets the tract on the tract on the [sic] NE side of Little Barren River, negroes, Little Frank and Darkas and a copper still at the death of my wife. Also, at present the proceeds of a suit in law against heirs of Johnathan Forbis and heirs of Logan. I will that Joel take care of my wife, Phebe and manage her affairs. I give $15 for my grandaughter, Martha Atwell. My son, Jesse gets negro Jefferson and my tract on SW side of Little Barren River at my wife’s death. I will that my son, Joel Forbis make sale of 3 negroes, Adain, Amy and Eliza to pay my debts. My grandson, Alexander Atwell gets, $20.00. I will that my son, Joel Forbis and my wife, Phebe sell my 200 acres at the mouth of Greasy Creek that Jacob Spears sold to me, if it doesn’t sell then rent it. My daughter Mary Butler gets a negro woman named, Sidney at the death of my wife. My son, Joel gets negro, frank at my wife’s death. Exec., My son, Joel Forbis and wife, Phebe Forbis; Signed, James Forbis; teste: Thomas T. Skaggs, Thomas Skaggs, Sr. (X), William Skaggs, Elijah; Produced 21 Apr. 1834; Proven by Thomas T. Skaggs and Thomas Skaggs, Sr; Recorded 28 Apr 1834 by William J. Wood.

  Also, Barbara Wright, compiler. Abstracts of Circuit Court Records, Volume 2. McDowell Publ, 1999, pp 155-156: “Green Co KY Circuit Court Case #6271, 1840, Jacob Spears v.s James Forbis heirs: Jacob Spears states that many years ago, James Forbis became indebted to him and gave him some notes. Forbis has since departed this life leaving a will. He appointed Joel Frobis and Pheba Forbis the executor and executrix. The notes have never been paid. Some two years ago, he instituted suits against Joel and Pheba Forbis. Two were brought before the court and two were Justices of the Peace and brought into court by appeal of defendants. Spears got judgment on all four suits. Forbis owned a considerable amount of property. All of the land and slaves have been devised and passed on to the Forbis children. Phebe Forbis has long since departed this life. The property devised to her has passed to the children of James Forbis, to wit: 1. Joel Forbis, 2. Jesse Forbis, 3. Moses Forbis, 4. Anne Irvine married William Irvine, 5. Mary Butler married James Butler, 6. Elizabeth Conyers married Mordica Conyers, 7. James Forbis, 8. Margaret Forbis married 1st — Holland; 2nd — Atwell, A. Alexander Atwell (listed in will), 9. John Frobis, dec’d

10. Sarah Irvin, dec’d. The property was worth $6000 so they should be able to pay his notes. He wants court to grant judgement so he can get paid on the notes. Jacob Spears stated by amendment of his bill filed against Joel Forbis, Jesse Forbis and Moses Forbis, heirs of James Forbis, deceased, that since filing the original petition, he has been informed that James Forbis and the heirs of Margaret Atwell and the heirs of John Forbis and the heirs of —-?—-, and Martha Atwell and Alexander Atwell have received no part of the estate.

Summons to William Irwin and Ann Irwin in Green County on June 15, 1841.

August 2, 1841: William Irwin not found and Jane [sic] Irwin is dead. Phebe Forbis has departed this life. Spears is to receive of Joel Forbis $100.00 from October 23, 1820.

[a copy of James Forbis’s will follows]

The defendants have been summoned and did not appears. It is therefore taken against them as confessed. They are to pay $260.32 to Spears. JURY: ‘We of the jury find for the plaintiff the debt mentioned and one cent in damages.’ Henry R. Calfee, on of the jury.”

[3] Joseph’s wife Aylee was probably Aylee Linville. I have a manuscript copy of several pages of a Linville book, which gives her the following ancestry: John3, Richard2, Thomas3.

[4] William Montgomery Clemens. North and South Carolina Marriage Records. 1927. Reprint Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1987.

[5] Hazel Atterbury Spraker. The Boone Family. Reprint, Baltimore: 1977. Pages 504-512.

[6] “Rev. John D. Shane interviewed George Bryan and the notes are preserved in Draper Mss 16 C 976. 9 Sh 18b. These notes give much information concerning the Bryan family and the explorations and settlements of Daniel Boone, but most importantly for readers of this book is Bryan’s list of those who migrated from North Carolina to Kentucky in 1775. (p 10-11).” The list includes James Forbis and his two sons, James and William.

[7] Rowan Co NC Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, 1773-1800, C.085.30004, Vol. 4, p 118: “Appeared in Consequence of a Citation James McMahon, Joseph Bryan, James Forbush, George Wilcockson, David Johnston, Joseph Wolfskill, Charles Vandivear and John Bryan upon Suspicion of being unfriendlay to this State and no positive charge appeared against them, The Court ordered that they take and Sign the Oath prescribed by Act of Assembly.” Signatures follow: James McMahon, David Johnston, Joseph Bryan, James Forbis, George Wilcockson, Joph Wolfskill, Charles Vandivear, John Bryan.

[8] Katharine Stewart.

[9] Jillson, KY Land Grants. Green Co Tax Lists: 1799-1812. Wilcoxson and Allied Families, passim., esp. p. 33.

Published on January 10, 2009 at 1:29 am  Leave a Comment  

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