GERRIT A. FORBES. Among the honored sons of Madison County stands prominently forth he whose name heads this brief mention. He was born near Clockville, town of Lenox, Madison County, N. Y., May 30, 1836, and is a son of Isaac J. and Abigail (Sayles) Forbes, the former of whom was a son of Jacob Forbes, a farmer of Lenox, who reared a family of ten sons and three daughters, of whom Isaac J. was one of the younger. He died in Clockville, when eighty-six years of age.
The father of Jacob Forbes was a Scotchman, who came to the Mohawk Valley at the time of its early settlement. The family name, although known as Forbes in Scotland, in the Mohawk Valley took the form of Forbush. Isaac J. Forbes, the father of our subject, was born at Clockville, Madison County, and died in La Fayette, Ind., when about fifty years of age. His wife was a daughter of Silas Sayles, and a grand-daughter of William Sayles, formerly of Connecticut, who came to this part of New York State. Silas Sayles was at one time Postmaster at Peterboro. To Isaac J. Forbes and his wife were born eleven children, three sons
and eight daughters, of whom Gerrit A. was the seventh in order of birth. The mother of these children died in 1852, when but forty-six years old. She had been a schoolmate of the famous American philanthropist, Gerrit Smith. But two of her daughters are now living, namely: Mary A., widow of Daniel King, residing at Clockville, one mile from the family birthplace; and Harriet T., widow of Darius Johnson.
He of whom we write was reared a farmer-boy, and received but a common-school education in his youth; but in 1860, feeling a strong inclination toward the legal profession, he began the study of law with Hon. B. F . Chapman, of Clockville, was admitted to the bar May 13, 1863, and became the law partner of Judge Chapman, August 1, 1863.
From January 1, 1871, to January 1, 1874, he occupied the position of District Attorney, and was elected to the office of Justice of the Supreme Court in November, 1887. He was united in marriage July 10, 1862, to Miss Ellen Brooks, of Clockville, N.Y., daughter of Colon and Matilda (Hills) Brooks. She is the mother of two children, namely: Maude
I., wife of D. Fiske Kellogg, city editor of the New York Sun; and Claude L., a graduate of Yale College, and a member of the law firm of Wilson. & Forbes, of Syracuse, N. Y. Mrs. Kellogg is a graduate of the Canastota Academy, and her husband of Amherst College. He was the valedictorian of the class of 1886. They are the parents of one son, D. Fiske Kellogg, Jr.
Judge Forbes has practised law in Canastota since 1868, where he removed in 1873. In 1884 he became the head of the law firm of Forbes, Brown & Tracy at Syracuse, N. Y., having taken the place of Hon. George N . Kennedy in the firm of Sedgewick, Andrews, Kennedy & Tracy. Mr. Brown was of the old law firm of Pratt, Mitchell & Brown.
Mr. Pratt was Justice of the Supreme Court and Attorney-General of the State. Judge Kennedy was retired by age from the Supreme Bench, January 1, 1893.
Our subject is a Republican in his political views, and in fraternal matters is a member of the Blue Lodge of Masons and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was President of the Board of Education of Canastota School and Academy for fourteen years, and has been prominently associated with all public-spirited enterprises and all movements having for their aim the material prosperity and moral advancement of the community in which his lot is cast. He and his excellent wife are as well liked and as sincerely respected as they are widely known, and take a foremost place among the useful, intelligent, and popular citizens of Madison County.
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