Biography of Edwin C. Forbes
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

EDWIN CARLOS FORBES, founder of The Letter Specialty Company of Cleveland, of which he is president and manager, has developed in this connection a specially effective organization for direct mail advertising, and the enterprise is one of importance and consecutive expansion.

Mr. Forbes was born on the parental homestead farm in Hartland Township, Huron County, Ohio, January 18, 1868, and is a son of Carlos and Mary Jane (Pond) Forbes. Carlos Forbes was born in Parma Township, Cuyahoga County, a son of Thomas B. Forbes, who came to Ohio from Massachusetts in the pioneer days, he having transported his family and small supply of household effects by means of wagon and ox team and having reclaimed and developed a productive farm in Parma Township where he passed the remainder of his life. Mrs. Mary Jane (Pond) Forbes was born at Basin Harbor, Vermont, and was a girl of ten years at the time her father brought the family from the old Green Mountain State to Ohio in 1848, the home having here been established on a pioneer farmstead in Warrensville Township, Cuyahoga County, whence removal later was made to the Huron County farm on which Edwin C. Forbes was born. Carlos Forbes and his wife both attended Oberlin College, where was formed the acquaintance that finally culminated in their marriage. After their marriage they resided on the old homestead farm of the Pond family in Huron County until 1882, when they removed to the Village of Brooklyn, which is now a part of the City of Cleveland, Mr. Forbes having been a master carpenter and having here developed a substantial business as a contractor and builder. Here he passed the remainder of his life.

Edwin C. Forbes gained his earlier education in the rural schools of Huron County and after the removal to Brooklyn was graduated from the Brooklyn High School. Thereafter he was for two years a student in the Spencerian Business College in Cleveland, and then became bookkeeper for the Grossman Paper Box Company. After three years with that concern he assumed a similar position with the Voice Publishing Company, and later he purchased the Cuyahoga County News, a weekly paper circulating in the western part of the county and also in the counties of Lorain and Medina. His initial service in public office was that of deputy county auditor under Albert E. Aiken, with whom he thus served three years. He was retained in the same position through the administration of William E. Craig and for a time under Robert Wright, the successive incumbents of the office of county auditor, leaving that office to become deputy to William R. Coates, county clerk of Cuyahoga County, with whom he was thus associated until the expiration of the term of Mr. Coates.

Upon leaving the office of the county clerk Mr. Forbes established a trade paper known as the Macaroni & Noodle Manufacturers Journal, and in May, 1904, he brought about the organization of a national association of macaroni and noodle manufacturers, of which his paper became the official organ. While continuing the publication of his paper Mr. Forbes also gave fourteen years of service as secretary of the association above mentioned, and in the meanwhile he gave six years of service as cashier in the office of the treasurer of Cuyahoga County, under the regimes of Albert K. Spencer and George E. Myers.

In 1910 Mr. Forbes established the business since conducted under the title of The Letter Specialty Company, and under his effective supervision this concern has developed a large and prosperous business, the functions of which are meeting with constantly increasing appreciation on the part of advertisers.

Mr. Forbes was actively concerned in the organization of the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland and is a charter member of the same, this having been the second Kiwanis Club organized in the United States. He became temporary president of the club at the time of its inception, in July, 1915, and continued his service in this capacity until the following October, when at his own request, he was retired from this office and was chosen secretary of the club, in which position he has since continued and has been able greatly to advance the splendid civic and business ideals and policies for which the name of Kiwanis stands sponsor. Mr. Forbes is identified with the Cleveland Chamber of Industry, the Cleveland Real Estate Board, the Cleveland Advertising Club, and the Cleveland Automobile Club. He is president of the Mail Advertising Service Association of Cleveland, and a member of the Board of Governors of the Mail Advertising Service Association of North America. In the Masonic fraternity his affiliations are with Laurel Lodge No. 657, Free and Accepted Masons; and Keystone Chapter No. 217, Royal Arch Masons. He is a member also of Riverside Lodge No. 209, Knights of Pythias, and Riverside Circle No. 87, Protected Home Circle, in which last mentioned order he is a past grand president of Ohio. His wife, whose maiden name was Lucy Wilde, was born in the Village of Berea, Cuyahoga County, and is a daughter of the late William and Emma (Crawford) Wilde. Mr. and Mrs. Forbes have one son, Earl Edwin, who is with the tourist service department of Wonder Tours, Inc.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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