FORBIS, James (Sr), of Rowan Co NC, Bryan’s Station, Lincoln Co and Green Co KY


1. James Forbis (or Forbush) was born ca 1737, probably in North Carolina. Carolina Cradle states that his father, George Forbis,[1] came from Maryland to Pennsylvania in 1735, to Maryland again in 1739, to Virginia in 1743 and to North Carolina in 1748.[2] James died 7 Apr 1808 in Green Co KY.[3]

About 1757 James Forbis married Hannah, said to be Hannah Turner, the daughter of Roger and Elizabeth (Ellis or Evans) Turner.[4] Hannah was born about 1740, possibly in Frederick Co VA, and was living on 10 Oct 1815, when she signed as the widow of James Forbis in an indenture for sale of land.[5]

            James apparently went back and forth from North Carolina to Kentucky and back again. His earliest records in Kentucky date from 1775 through his death in 1808.[6] He was a member of Grand Jury, Rowan Co NC, 22 Sep 1766.[7] He and two of his sons were at the early settlement at Bryan’s Station in Kentucky in 1775-1776.[8] On 7 Aug 1777, in Rowan Co NC, James Forbis, assumed to be the father, signed an Oath of Allegiance to the United States.[9] He was still in Kentucky with his wife Hannah in 1788.[10] James appears in the following land records: 17 December 1793, written 9 September 1793–James Campbell and Polly his wife to Christopher Coneck, all of Lincoln…for 30 pounds…30 acres in Lincoln..on Logan’s Creek, part of Nathaniel Logan’s preemption… Both signed. Witness: Jonathan Forbis, James Forbis, William Logan Teste:  Willis Green; and 19 August 1794, written 19 August 1794–Bond from Jonathan Forbis, James Forbis, Jesse Cravens, Thomas Montgomery to Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, guaranteeing performance of Jonathan Forbis, Sheriff of Lincoln County, to collect and account for county taxes. Signed by the four makers of the bond. Teste: Willis Green.[11] There is a deed showing James Forbis in Green Co KY in 1801.[12]

James Forbis along with two of his sons, appear in Lincoln Co KY in the “First Census of Kentucky,” 1790.[13] James was also in the 1800 “Second Census of Kentucky,” p 100: James Forbis, Barren County.

The children of James and Hannah (Turner) Forbis were:

1. James FORBIS Jr. Born in 1758. James died in Green Co KY, before 21 Apr 1834. On 10 Mar 1779 James married Phoebe BRYAN, daughter of Joseph BRYAN & Aylee LINVILLE, in Rowan Co NC. Born abt 1750. Phoebe died in KY in 1834-1840. They had the following children:

                        i.            Elizabeth (ca1781-)

                        ii.            Margaret (ca1783-1822)

                        iii.            Mary (ca1784-1850)

                        iv.            James (1787-)

                        v.            John (1789-1810)

                        vi.            Logan (1793-)

                        vii.            Sarah (1794-1822)

                        viii.            Ann (ca1795-)

                        ix.            Moses (~1796-)

                        x.            Joel (1802->1850)

                        xi.            Jesse (ca1806-1880)


2. John FORBIS. Born in 1760. John died before 1808. Children:

                        i.            James (1775-1831)

                        ii.            Robert

                        iii.            Hannah (1780-)

                        iv.            Nancy

                        v.            Polly (ca1800-)


3. Jonathan FORBIS. Born in 1765 in Rowan Co NC. Jonathan died in Lincoln Co KY, in 1820. On 26 Oct 1790 he married Florence MONTGOMERY in Lincoln Co KY. He apparently had a second wife Polly in 1815 when they signed a land indenture. He had the following children:

                        i.            Montgomery

                        ii.            Reuben

                        iii.            Wade


4. Morgan FORBIS. Born ca 1766 in Green Co KY. About  1794, he married Margaret LOGAN in Green Co KY. They had the following children:

                        i.            David (1795-)

                        ii.            Green Berry (1800-1875)

                        iii.            William Logan (ca1802-)

                        iv.            Jerusha (ca1805-)

                        v.            Morgan (1809-)


5. Jesse FORBIS. Jesse died before 1808.


6. Elizabeth FORBIS. Born on 15 Aug 1769. Elizabeth died in Barren Co KY, between 25 Feb and 7 Apr 1838. Elizabeth married Henry COOK, son of Valentine COOK & Susannah BAUGHMAN. Born ca 1765. Henry died in Barren Co KY, on 2 Mar 1822. They had the following children:

                        i.            Margaret (1786-)

                        ii.            William F (1789-)

                        iii.            George B (1790-)

                        iv.            Jonathan F (1793-)

                        v.            Sara (1794-)

                        vi.            Elizabeth (1796-)

                        vii.            Polly (1797-)

                        viii.            Charlotte (1797-)

                        ix.            James F (1804-)

                        x.            Jesse (1807-)

                        xi.            Elijah (1809-)


7. Mary FORBIS. She was married first to a man named Jones, then to a Mr McIntosh.


8. Margaret FORBIS. On 2 Jan 1787 Margaret married John COOK, son of Valentine COOK & Susannah BAUGHMAN, in Lincoln Co VA (now KY). They had the following children:

                        i.            John B

                        ii.            Elizabeth (1788-)

                        iii.            James (1789-)

9 and 10. The newly discovered 1815 indenture includes daughters Hannah (Mrs William McCarty) and Nancy (Mrs Samuel Sweeney). The indenture does not mention Mary, Morgan, or Jesse.


© 2009, 2021 Kathy Alvis Patterson


[1] George’s will was signed 2 Nov 1768 in Rowan Co NC and mentions his son James by name, along with the following: Wife Olif, children: Robert Forbis, James Forbis, George Forbis, John Forbis, Elizabeth Jones, and Mary Bryan; granddaughter Olif Free (who had not come of age),

[2] Robert W. Ramsey, Carolina Cradle: Settlement of the Northwest Carolina Frontier, 1747-1762, UNC Press, 1987, pages 33-34.

[3] Will, Administration papers, 1 Jan 1818. Green Co KY. Also, Court of Common Pleas: Lincoln Co KY (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.

[4] Hannah was not a Bryan, as has been claimed. Pat Forbis posted this message, 21 Feb 2005, at Genforum: “I have just found James Forbis Sr, father of James Forbis, Jr. His wife’s name was Hannah Turner, daughter of Roger and Elizabeth Evans [or Ellis] married 1757 refs: Rasmy R13-14. The Turners were early settlers in today’s Yadkin Co NC. I have court records of James and Hannah his wife selling land and going out to then Fayette Co KY. It seems that a lot of our relatives Bryan, Boone and Callaway came from KY to Boone, Callaway and Howard Counties in Mo. Pat” [It appears this refernce, “Rasmy R13-14,” may refer to the book Carolina Cradle by Robert W Ramsey, but there is nothing relevant on either page 13 or page 14; although the Forbushes and Roger Turner’s family are mentioned, nothing is said which connects them. KP]

[5] It was stated she died before Sep 1810, which is the date her son Jonathan tried to have his father’s estate changed. She was in fact living on 10 Oct 1815 when she and other heirs of James Forbis Sr signed a land indenture.

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

[7] Rowan County, North Carolina Register III: 524.

[8] Lyman C. Draper planned a history of Daniel Boone and corresponded with many of Boone’s relatives and fellow-pioneers. John Shane interviewed a similar group of people. Manuscripts of the letters and interviews have been preserved at the Wisconsin Historical Society, from which photostats are made upon request. The following quotations from Draper Manuscripts mention Daniel Wilcoxson, but the relationships of some of the young Wilcoxson settlers seem to be confused through failure to remember correctly or because some of the information was given from stories handed down to a younger generation. Others were given by witnesses to events occuring 50 or more years prior to the date when recalled. George Bryan gave information on settlement of Boonesborough and Bryant’s Station (Draper Mss 22 CC 16). Rev. John Q. 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 important for readers of this book is Bryan’ s list of those who migrated, from North Carolina to Kentucky in 1775. (p. 10-11)

“30 men of us carne out in 1775 – it was 1776 when we got here.  1. Daniel Wilcox, nephew of Col. Boon, 2. David Wilcox, son of John W., nephew of Col. Boon, 3. Wm. Cradlebaugh, a Dutchman, 4. — Cradlebaugh, a Dutchman, 5. John’ Roper, 6. Thos: Thompson, 7. W: Lee was our Barber. Used to shave us. Lee’s Lick not far from Cynthiana, called for him. 8. Jas: Forbush & his 2 sons. 9. Jas : Forbush, 10. Wm: Forbush, 11. Jacob Johnson, 12. Saml: Bryan – my uncle. 13. Wm: Bryan,  4. Jno: Bryan, 15. Geo: Bryan – myself , 16. Jas: Bryan oldest bro: had been in Tenn.; was comg back we met him & he turned w. us.  17. Morgan Bryan – bro: 18. Abhm: Wilson, 19. Jos: Murphy, 20. Moses Baker – bros:  21. Michael Baker – bros: 22. Wilson Hunt, 23. Saml: McMahon – bros, 24. Wm. McMahon.

[9] 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.

[10] Rowan Co NC records. “Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions,” 5:354: deed witnessed by Joseph Bryan Sr and Joseph Bryan Jr from James Forbes and his wife, Hanna, for 250 acres to Robert Brothers. Book 12, p 246, Oct 4, 1788, Rowan Co, NC. Proved Sept 17, 1791.

[11] Lincoln Co KY records, pages 275, 364.

[12] Barbara Wright, compiler. Green Co KY Abstracts of Deeds, 1801-1806, Books 3 & 4, McDowell Pub, 1989, p 13: “DB 3, page 105, 18 July, 1801. James Forbis, Sr. and wife, Hannah to William Irvin–6 shillings–part of a 186 acre tract assigned to James Forbis by Alexander Vance and granted to him by patent in 1799, including a spring known by Forbises Mill seat in Green County on the west side of Little Barron [sic] Rvier,– 18 acres. Signed: James Forbis, Hannah Forbis; Wit: John McDonnald, John McClure, Morgas Forbis, John Greenstreet.

Green County SCT: Proven by John McDonnell, John McClure, John Greenstreet; Recorded 21 July, 1801 by James Allen, CGC.”

[13] Charles B. Heinemann, First Census of Kentucky, 1790, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co, 1965, p 35. Jas Forbus, 3/23/1790, Jas Forbus, 3/31/1790, Jonathan Forbus, 3/24/1790, all Lincoln Co.




Published on April 11, 2009 at 2:28 am  Comments (3)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 CommentsLeave a comment


  2. I’m looking for a George Forbis/Forbes/Forbush who was killed Mar 1782 at Estill’s Defeat; a battle with Wyandot warriors near what is now Mount Sterling, in Montgomery County, Kentucky.

    From George Rogers Clark Papers of the Virginia State Library and Archives: April 18, 1783 – Second document. Reference to ? Forbush being killed at Estill defeat. Names: George Forbush.

  3. Looking for information on George N. Forbis born 1814, died Daviess County, KY 1858. Married Cynthia Kellam, daughter of Hiram Kellam and Jane Boucher. Many Ellis’ also related to the Kellam Family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: