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 John Forbes, Jr

John Forbes, Jr

Death 28 Oct 1879 (aged 52)
Layton, Davis County, Utah, USA
Burial Kaysville, Davis County, Utah, USA
Plot 4-4-A-4
Memorial ID 123415 · View Source
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Son of John Forbes and Catharine Findlay [Findley].

Married (1) Janet Smith, 7 April 1849, St. Monance, Fife, Scotland. She died at Salt Lake City, Utah Territory in October of 1853.

Their only daughter - Davinie Smith Forbes

John married (2) Hannah Sheen, 1857 and was sealed to her in the LDS Endowment House 5 Jul 1862, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah.

Children - Davinie Smith Forbes, Ann Eliza Forbes, Catherine Forbes, Hannah Mariah Forbes, Janet Forbes, John Forbes, Harriet Ellen Forbes, James Robert Forbes, Thomas George Forbes.

John Forbes Jr. was born on the Isle of Arran in the highlands in Scotland on March 27, 1827. He was the son of John Forbes Sr. and Catherine Findley [Findlay]. At the age of 22 he married Janette Smith on April 7, 1849, who was four and one half years his senior. They had one child, Davinie, born February 11, 1850.

John Forbes joined the LDS Church on July 18, 1845 in Scotland. In 1853, John and his wife, Janette, their daughter Davinie, and John's brother - James Forbes immigrated to America. They sailed on February 28, 1853, aboard the ship "International". They crossed the plains in a covered wagon.

Their first home in the Salt Lake Valley was a dugout in Findley's Hollow. John Forbes and his family, James Forbes and Thomas Findley shared the dugout. The first winter they spent in the dugout they lived on squash, bran, and roots.

John later built a log cabin in the hollow on the property later owned by Ray and Ada Forbes. It was and still is know as the old house place. This house is believed to be the first house in the area with shingles. John Forbes also raised the first potatoes in the region.

While living in the log house in the hollow there were the times when John Forbes, Jr. had his gun by him on the floor while he knelt in prayer for the safety of his family as Indians circled his house and used his brush fence and firewood to make a bond fire in his yard.

About two months after arriving here, his wife, Janette, died. It was a hardship for John with a small three year old daughter. He found it hard to survive with hunting for work and caring for a small three old daughter. He had to rely greatly on his good neighbors and his brother James to help with the care of his small child Davinie.

During the fall of 1856 or spring of 1857, John married in a civil ceremony at Kaysville, Hannah Sheen, who had entered the Great Salt Lake Valley with the first Handcart Company, September 26, 1856. She had immigrated from England with her father, James and family and her infant daughter, Ann Eliza.

The story goes that the father of little Ann Eliza met them at the Liverpool dock and tried to take Ann Eliza away from her mother, but was not successful. After arriving in America, they crossed the plains with the Ellsworth Handcart Company.

On July 5th of 1862, John and Hannah Sheen were sealed to one another in the LDS Endowment House at Salt Lake City. On the same day, Hannah stood proxy for Janet Smith Forbes to also be sealed to John for eternity, as was their belief.

John Forbes and Hannah Sheen had seven children during their marriage. They were Catherine, who married Samuel Driggs; Hannah Maria, who married Levi Green; Janet, who married George T. Green; John, who married Margaret Bennett, who, when Margaret Bennett passed away a few years later, married Margaret Dunn; Harriet Ellen, who married Andy Adams; James Robert who died when quite a young man; and Thomas George, who married Florence Caroline Ray.

John Forbes having his daughter, Davinie, and Hannah having her daughter, Ann Eliza, equaled nine children in all. Davinie married George Green and Ann Eliza married George Pilling Adams.

John and his family lived in the log cabin most of the remainder of his life. Shortly before he died, he built the red brick house upon the hill. John mixed the mortar with his feet. It is believed that is the reason he got "quick pneumonia" and died. John died on October 28, 1897 at the age of 52.

Much of the interest in a man's life lies in the stories and accomplishments behind the story of dates and places. The records show that John Forbes, Jr. was a land owner and did some farming in Scotland. His father was a school teacher of Latin. His father was considered one of the greatest scholars in Scotland in his time. Here in America we know John Jr. as a farmer and a large land owner and as a home builder, as well as a bit of a poet and philosopher.

The story is told that he walked to Kaysville, bought a plow and carried it home on his back. He walked to Ogden for a sack of bran. When he reached the Weber River he found a toll bridge across it. He had just enough money for the bran, so he waited until the toll keeper left and then walked across the bridge and on to Ogden. He purchased the sack of bran and carried it home on his back.

They attended church in Kaysville, that being the closest church at that time. They also had to walk to church. John was known as a very eloquent speaker. He had a way with words and was well known throughout the area as a peacemaker. He was loved by his neighbors.

When John first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, his clothes were scarce. He had only overalls to wear to church. The overalls had holes in the knees. When he sat down, he put his hands on his knees to cover up the holes.

John Forbes and his brother, James, made a date one day to meet an immigrant train. They heard their father was on it. They made the date to meet on the mountain road when the sun started to shine on Antelope Island. John went up to the mountain road with his outfit, but James didn't show up. So, John went to Salt Lake and hunted among the immigrant trains. He ran across an older man who was quite sick, and was laying across the wagon tongue. John examined him closer and saw that it was his father. John brought him home to Layton where he had lived for sometime, before the father's death in 1874.

John died October 28, 1879 in Layton, Utah. He is buried in the Kaysville-Layton Cemetery.

Note: Thanks to Karen Bennett for much of the bio information.

Family Members





  • Maintained by: history4sure
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 123415
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Forbes, Jr (27 Mar 1827–28 Oct 1879), Find A Grave Memorial no. 123415, citing Kaysville City Cemetery, Kaysville, Davis County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by history4sure (contributor 46997739) .