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House of Forbes: Notable People


Patrick Forbes of Corse

1564 - 1635

Patrick Forbes was Bishop of Aberdeen and then Chancellor of King’s College of the University of Aberdeen, where he repaired buildings, expanded the library, revived several professorships, and created a new professorship of divinity.


Alexander Forbes - 4th Lord Pitsligo

1680 - 1762

The Jacobite who went on the run for 16 years. Alexander Forbes, 4th Lord Forbes of Pitsligo, spent 16 years on the run after fighting with the Jacobites at Culloden despite his old age and poor health.


Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo 6th Bart.


Fatherless and poor at the age of four, Sir William Forbes, 6th Baronet, (1739–1806), worked his way up from a being a bank apprentice and clerk to becoming one of Scotland’s greatest bankers and philanthropists of the 18th century.


Sir William Forbes of Callendar


"Copper-bottom" Forbes was a prosperous copper smith and landowner who purchased and greatly enhanced Callendar House in Falkirk, Scotland.


B.C. Forbes

1880 - 1954

Bertie Charles (B.C.) Forbes was born in New Deer, Aberdeenshire, in Scotland as the sixth of ten children in a working-class family. He emigrated to New York City where he founded Forbes magazine, for which was editor-in-chief until his death.


John Forbes - The Lord Who Wasn't

1570 - 1606

When the second son of Protestant John, 8th Lord Forbes, escaped his arranged marriage to become a Catholic monk in Ghent, he ignited a succession controversy that lasted three and half centuries.


Duncan Forbes of Culloden

1685 - 1747

Duncan Forbes was Lord President of the Court of Sessions, the highest ranking member of the British Government in Scotland during the Jacobite Uprising in 1745, which he opposed. However, he argued for leniency towards the defeated clan chiefs.


John Forbes of Bombay


John “Bombay Jock” Forbes built a trading and banking empire in India that survives to this day in the form of Forbes & Company, one of the oldest continuously operating firms in the world. He left his fortunes and estates to his nephew Charles Forbes, who become the first Baronet of Newe.


Sir Charles Forbes of Newe and Edinglassie


Sir Charles Forbes of Newe and Edinglassie, 1st Baronet, (1774–1849) was the head of the first mercantile house in India and later became a politician and philanthropist.


Beatrice Forbes-Robertson Hale

1883 – 1967

Actor, lecturer, and author Beatrice Forbes-Robertson, daughter of Gertrude Knight and Ian Forbes-Robertson, became an outspoken advocate for a woman’s right to vote and wrote the book What Women Want: An Interpretation of the Feminist Movement.


John Forbes First Forbes in America

1608 - 1661

The son of an outspoken critic of the Church of England who fled to Holland, John Forbes (or Fobes) followed the Puritans to the Plymouth Colony as an indentured tradesman, acquired land, and founded generations of Forbes in America.


Brig. General John Forbes

1707 – 1759

John Forbes commanded an expedition, with Ltc.-Col. George Washington, that occupied the French outpost of Fort Duquesne, now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He oversaw the construction of a military trail known as the Forbes Road.


Anne Forbes


One of the most successful portrait artists of her age, Anne Forbes gave up a business in London to teach and paint in Edinburgh. In 1788, she was appointed Portrait Painter to the Society of Antiquaries in Edinburgh.


Sir John Forbes MD

1787 - 1861

The next time your physician places a cold stethoscope to your chest, you can thank Sir John Forbes (1787 – 1861). While he did not invent this device, he was “instrumental” in promoting its use throughout the English-speaking world.


Esther Louise Forbes

1891 – 1967

Millions of American schoolchildren first learned about the colorful characters of the American Revolutionary War through the Young Adult novel Johnny Tremain, written by Esther Louise Forbes (1891 –1967.) Forbes was an American novelist and historian who received the Pulitzer Prize and the Newbery Medal.


James Forbes of Connecticut

1627 – 1692

Grandson of Duncan Forbes, 1st Lord Culloden, James Forbes (1627 – 1692) fought at the Battle of Dunbar, was captured and shipped to New England. He became a successful landholder; and founded the Connecticut branch of the House of Forbes.


Admiral John Forbes

1714 - 1796

The second son of George Forbes, 3rd Earl of Granard in Ireland joined the Royal Navy at the age of 14 in 1726 and rose to become Great Britain’s Admiral of the Fleet.


James Forbes Writer and Illustrator


James Forbes (1749–1819) was an artist, amateur botanist and memoirist who detailed his observations of the people, animals, plants, and architecture in India, Africa, and South America.


Edwin Austin Forbes

1839 – 1895

Edwin Austin Forbes (1839 – 1895) was an American artist who sketched and painted scenes of American Civil War, including battles, portraits of the leaders, and sketches of the everyday life of a soldier. His drawings won a medal at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.


Dame Katherine Jane Trefusis Forbes

1899 –1971

Dame Katherine Jane Trefusis Forbes, Lady Watson-Watt, DBE (1899 –1971) became the first director of the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in 1939.

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