Biography of James Forsythe
Erie County, NY Biographies


Forsythe, James, Grand Island, farmer and leading breeder of thoroughbred driving horses of Grand Island, was born on the island in 1860. He was seared on the farm and educated in the common and district schools. In 1885 he purchased a farm of ninety acres on the east side of the island and in 1888 purchased fifty acres more adjoining and fronting on the east branch of the Niagara River, with a dock for steamboat landing, making it convenient for the shipping of his produce. He has a splendid apple orchard of several hundred trees, from which he has shipped in one year, 3,600 barrels. For a number of years Mr. Forsythe has devoted much of his time to the breeding of fine thoroughbred trotting horses for driving purposes, using excellent judgment in his crosses to get the size requisite for a good driving horse. He has the finest stud on the island. He is a thorough horseman, doing his own training and breaking, having his colts all under complete subjection and broke to drive single or double. His horses are always in demand at the best prices. In politics Mr. Forsythe is a consistent Democrat and has represented his party a number of times at the district and assembly conventions. He is a member of the Farmers' Alliance of his town. In 1889 he married Susan E., daughter of Clark Ransom of Tonawanda, and they have four children. Mr. Forsythe's father, Jacob, is an old resident of Grand Island, now living on one of his son's farms, and was born in County Derry, Ireland, October 14, 1822, the second of six sons and three daughters born to James and Jane Forsythe. He attended the common schools and worked on a farm. When fifteen he left home with an uncle and sailed for America, landing at Prescott, Canada. His uncle died a week later from ship fever and the lad was then alone among strangers. He spent that winter in Canada and the following spring crossed the river to Ogdensburg, where he hired out to do farm work at $9 per month, one half to be taken in store goods. He remained in that county five years and then went to Oswego county, where he spent a few years farming and in 1851 came to Grand Island, where he spent his winters in the woods chopping timber, and where he gained the reputation of being the most expert axman in his part of the country. His summers were spent canal boating from Buffalo to New York; he followed these two vocations for many years and from the time he left home when a boy he has never seen or heard from a member of his family. In politics he has always been a Democrat. He was elected to fill the office of constable many years. October 26, 1857, he married Mary Ann Carroll, who was born in Grand Island in 1841, a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Fales) Carroll. Mr. and Mrs. Forsythe had two children, James and Nellie. Elizabeth Fales was born in Buffalo in 1831, a daughter of Henry and Maria L. (Underwood) Fales, who were early settlers in Grand Island.

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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