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  • FORSYTH NOTES October 1, 2009

    Welcome to the two hundredth issue of Forsyth Notes. Forsyth Notes is published bi- monthly by Clan Forsyth Society of the USA, and is your e-link to your extended Forsyth family. Click here for back issues of Forsyth Notes in PDF format.

    Welcome to the 200th Anniversary Issue of Forsyth Notes In this very special issue, we are celebrating our Anniversary by reprinting first-person accounts of Forsyth(e) stories from prior Issues 1 through 199.

    Forsite, "The Just" (a/k/a Forsite, Forsate, Forsath, and Forsyth.)

    Around 70 B.C., Odin was the chief of a Scythian tribe of warriors that immigrated from the East and fought their way North, passing through Germany into Scandinavia.

    Through superior intelligence, skill and bravery, Odin brought the natives into subjection and established a kingdom. He made an alliance with the King of Sweden, and the Romans never conquered his kingdom. The son of Odin and his wife, Frigge, was Balder, "The Beautiful and Good”. Balder was worshiped as a beautiful, youthful warrior, whose wisdom and valor were as

    well known as his beauty and goodness. I was born to Balder and his wife Nannie. I was known as the honorable and honored one. I was king of that part of Northern Europe known as Friesland, where my palace, Glyner, was celebrated for its magnificence and for the fact that no petitioner was turned away without a hearing and without receiving justice. My reign was noted for peace and harmony, and my symbol was the Griffin, which denotes vigilance and strength.

    Robert de Forsyth II

    In the early 1300’s, when the English invaded Scotland and were going to destroy the walls of Dykes, the king called for someone to stop the raid until he had time to mass his forces. I volunteered, and succeeded in stopping the English with less than four hundred men. As a reward of my service to the king, the motto Instaurator Ruinae (Restorer of the Ruins) was approved and granted to my family for its invaluable services at the battle of Dykes. I built Castle Dykes around 1350, and became feudal Baron of Dykes and the first lord of Castle Dykes. My family occupied Dykes for two and three-quarter centuries. I was one

  • of the greatest military leaders of Scotland. I became the governor of Stirling Castle about 1360. This was the highest military command in Stirling Province. Stirling Castle is a noble architectural pile, and it is placed on a great lofty crag fronting the vast mountains and the gloomy sky of the north. It plays an important part in Scottish history. In 1304, Edward I of England took the castle after a three-month siege; however, Bruce retook it ten years later after the battle of Bannockburn. James II and James V were born in the castle, and here in 1452, James II stabbed the Earl of Douglass. The battle of Bannockburn where Bruce defeated Edward II, was fought two miles southeast of Stirling Castle.

    Reverend Alexander John Forsyth (1769-1843)

    I lived in the 18th century. I was an avid duck hunter, but the state of art in firearms was

    the inefficient flintlock. In order to overcome the flintlock’s gross inefficiency, I pioneered the development of the modern percussion lock, which replaced the flintlock. In gratitude for my pioneering work, I was eventually awarded a small pension by the government, but I died before

    the first installment reached me. My invention is still in use in most firearms today, and my workshop is on display in the Tower of London. I am known as the father of modern firearms.

    Captain John Hubbard Forsyth (1797-1836)

    I was one of the brave officers who fell at the Alamo in Texas with Col. Travis, Jim

    Bowie, and Davy Crockett on March 6, 1836. In the Alamo chain of command, I was number three, outranked only by Travis and Bowie. Due to the circumstances of Bowie's grave illness and Travis being killed in the opening minutes of the battle, it is highly likely that I commanded the actual

    last stand at the Alamo.

    Robert de Fauside

    In 1296, I signed the “Ragman Roll” by which the nobles and landowners of Scotland, after military defeat, were made to swear allegiance to Edward I of England. Subsequently, my descendants supporting King Robert the Bruce fought against the English to regain independence from England, and were rewarded with lands in Stirlingshire, and became members of the Scottish Royal Household. The Ragman Roll was signed by both Robert del Faufyde (del counte de Edeneburgh) and William de Faufyde (del counte de Rokefburgh). (In the 13th century, the letter “f” was used to represent the letter “s” and the letter “y” represents the letter “i”)

    Thomas Forsyth

  • I was an incorporator and founder of Glasgow University in 1473, where I received a Master of Arts degree. In 1496, I became dean of the faculty in recognition of my work and service. I was Canon of Ross, and vicar of Tullynessle (near Aberdeen). I was appointed rector of the University of Glasgow in 1501, 1502 and 1503. I was also chosen Dean of the Faculty of Arts in 1496, and was continuously re-elected until 1500. One of my brothers signed the charter of the College in 1483, and was one of its instructors. Another of my brothers, Matthew, was an elector to choose regents for the University in 1497, and another brother, Robert, was an officer of the University.

    William Forsyth

    I was born at Old Meldrum in 1737, and became a distinguished horticulturist. In 1784, I was appointed Chief Superintendent of the Royal Gardens at Kensington and St James Palace. I was one of the founders of the famous Kew Gardens in London. In 1802 I published A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit Trees which proved so popular that the first three editions were sold out. The Clan Plant Badge is "Forsythia" brought from China by me. In honor of my name, the genus of plants was termed "forsythia". My portrait by Henry Raeburn hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

    Col. George A. Forsyth

    I served under General George Armstrong Custer; however, I was not present at the Little Big Horn battle. Photographs of Custer and me exist today. I was well noted for my battle with an overwhelming force of Indians at the Battle of Beechers Island in eastern Colorado in 1868. I was seriously wounded in the battle, and in later years had to retire because of my wounds. I later became

    a Brigadier General in 1897. I was an uncle of Captain John Hubbard Forsyth who gave his life for freedom at the Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas in 1836.

    James Forsyth

    I inherited the lands of Failzerton and Kilsyth from my mother, who was a daughter of Sir William Livingston. I was a famous preacher, a minister for the church in Airth in 1661 and at Stirling in 1665. My sermons were published in London in 1666. I was registered at Lyon Court as successor of Dykes and Nydie. I married Marion Elphinson, a daughter of the noted Bruce family, and the nearest line derived from the royal family of Bruce. Having no children, I adopted my relative, James Bruce, who succeeded as James Forsyth of Failzerton, alias Bruce of Gavell. I was a member of the council of Stirling with the Duke of Hamilton.

    My grandfather, Wilhelm Forsyth, is recognized in the Chronicles of Scottish history as a feudal lord of County Peebles, who signed the Ragman Roll of Scotland in 1296. The Ragman Roll was an agreement to submit to the arbitrators of King Edward the claims of the thirteen

  • competitors for the crown of Scotland, so that civil war between them might be avoided.

    Osbert Forsyth II

    My father, Robert I, moved into Stirlingshire while Robert Bruce was fighting for his crown against King Edward. My father and I became partners of Bruce. We took a prominent part in the battle of Bannockburn. After Bruce’s victory in this struggle he became king of Scotland. In

    gratitude to us for our valuable service rendered in this most notable battle of all Scottish history, Bruce gave me a feudal grant of land in County Stirling.

    James William Forsyth (1836-1906)

    I was born in Ohio, attended West Point from 1851-56 and received a commission as second lieutenant in the 9th U.S. Infantry. After serving in Washington Territory at Fort Bellingham and Camp Pickett, San Juan Island, I was promoted to first lieutenant in 1861 and returned to the East to command Union forces in the Civil War. From 1862- 63, I served with the Army of the Potomac and in 1864 became Chief of Staff for Major General Philip H. Sheridan.

    I continued on Sheridan's staff after the war and served as acting inspector general in the Military Division of the Gulf. I moved with Sheridan when the latter became commander of the Department of the Missouri in 1866. I served first as the department's secretary and then as an inspector, with an appointment in the cavalry. I took part in military campaigns against the Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Kiowa

    Indians in 1868-69. I went to Europe in 1870 as an official observer of the Franco- Prussian War.

    During the late 1870’s, I spent much of my time inspecting Indian agencies and reporting on the relations with Indians on and off reservations in the military department of the Missouri, roughly Montana and the Dakotas. I commanded cavalry units in the 1878 Bannock campaign, and in succeeding years, spent most of my time inspecting cavalry units throughout the West.

    In 1885 I was in command of Fort Magin