Biography of Jonathan Chester Forbush


Forbush, Jonathan Chester, Buffalo, one of the oldest shoe manufacturers in Western New York, is descended from (1) Daniel Forbush, who was married in Cambridge, Mass., on March 26, 1660, to Rebecca Perriman, and whose son (2), Deacon Thomas Forbush, born March 6, 1677, married Dorcas Rice. Their son (3), Deacon Thomas Forbush, Jr., born October 14, 1695, was married to Hannah Bellows on January 6, 1719, and died in 1783, (4) David Forbush, son of Thomas, Jr., was born October 20, 1721, and married Annah Whitney, sister of Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin. He settled in Grafton, Mass., soon after his marriage in 1749. and served as a member of the committee of safety during the Revolutionary war. April 21, 1775, he enlisted in Col. Artemus Ward’s regiment, which marched to the famous Lexington alarm. His son (5), Silas Forbush, born May 19, 1766, married Rhoda Fisk in 1789. (6) Silas Forbush, Jr., his son, was born November 17, 1795, married Clarissa Eames on August 15, 1821, and died February 21, 1886. They were the parents of (7) Jonathan Chester Forbush, who was born in Grafton, Mass., July 14, 1825. Mr. Forbush was reared on his father’s farm, attended the district schools and the High Schools at Worcester and Hopkinton, and in early manhood was employed in the shoe factory of his uncle, Calvin Forbush, for three years. He then formed a copartnership with Nathaniel Brown, under the firm name of Forbush & Brown, and engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes at Grafton. A year later their factory was burned, and in 1853 they removed to Buffalo and established themselves in the same business, which Mr. Forbush still continues, Mr. Brown having retired in 1883. For a time Justin Forbush was also a member of the firm. Mr. Forbush, though seventy-two years of age, still carries on the shoe factory with his old-time vigor and enterprise, and is to-day the oldest shoe manufacturer in Erie county. He is a man widely esteemed and respected. May 29, 1848, he married Caroline, daughter of Joseph F. and Olivia (Milliken) Flagg of Grafton, Mass. Their children are Florence Caroline, wife of Henry R. Bird, a native of Canton, Mass., now a resident of Buffalo, and Grace Chester Forbush, at home. Mrs. Forbush’s ancestors came from Scratby. England, in 1637, settled in Watertown, Mass., in 1641, and moved thence to Concord.

Our County and its people
A descriptive work on Erie County, New York
Edited by: Truman C. White
The Boston History Company, Publishes 1898


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