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 Altona H <I>Gales</I> Forster

Altona H Gales Forster

Death 16 Nov 1827 (aged 32)
Burial Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 28032746 · View Source
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Altona Gales was one of 8 children born to Joseph Gales Sr. and Winifred Marshall of England; and later would become the wife of early Unitarian, Rev. Anthony Forster of Charleston, SC.

Like her husband, her father was a Unitarian, born in 1841 in Eckington, England. He became a prominent printer and publisher, publishing works by such as Thomas Paine and Joseph Priestley. It is likely that Gales and Priestley became close friends. Gales was also a liberal and a supporter of the French Revolution, and when war broke out in 1793, he became a target. He fled to Hamburg, leaving his wife and children behind. They were reunited in Altona near Hamburg, Germany, and while there, Altona, was born and named for the town of their freedom and reunion.

The family immigrated to Philadelphia by 1795, and sometime in the early 1800's, Altona met and married Rev. Forster, a pioneer of Unitarianism in the South where the new religion was slow to take hold, and the first pastor of the newly chartered Second Independent Church in Charleston (ca. 1817)

Due to her husband's failing health, he gave up the pulpit in Charleston, and they moved to Raleigh, NC where her parents were now living. The Foresters lived in Raleigh for seven years (1819-1826) until Rev. Forester's death in 1826, at age 41. Sadly, his young bride died the following year, at age 32. Their children were then raised by Winifred and Joseph Gales.

Altona Gales Forster's obituary appeared in the North Carolina Journal (not her father's newspaper) on November 21, 1827.

"DIED, in Raleigh, on Friday night, after a short and distressing illness, MRS,. ALTONA H. FORSTER, aged 32, relict of the late REV. ANTHONY FORSTER, of Charleston, SC., and daughter of JOSEPH GALES, SR., ESQ. Her virtues are left as a rich legacy to her bereaved children and family."

The Widow Forster's gravestone is broken and lies against what was once the base of her marker. It is not known if damage was from the ravages of time, or a result of the terrible flooding following Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Her brother, Weston Rawleigh (Raleigh) Gales would also become prominent in Raleigh as the editor and publisher of the Raleigh Register, which was started by their father. He, too, is buried in City Cemetery.
Find A Grave contributor Sheron Smith-Savage has provided the complete Obituary:

In this City, on Friday night, after a short and distressing illness, Mrs. Altona H. Forster, aged 32, relict of the late Rev. Anthony Forster, of Charleston, S. C., and daughter of the senior Editor of this paper. It would not become us, to give vent to our feelings on this occasion, but we cannot forbear saying, if the practice of all the virtues which tend to elevate and adorn the Christian character ; if the most unbounded benevolence to her fellow creatures, or the strict performance of the relative duties of life in whatever capacity considered, constitute a claim to public regard, her memory will long be cherished. She was pious without ostentation, and benevolent without other hope of reward than the enjoyment of those feelings which are inseparable from purity of thought and character. During her short illness, the principles which governed her through life, became more luminous, and her virtues more deeply felt—as the rays of light become the more intense, the more they are concentrated. But neither the dignity of virtue, the humility of Christianity, or the endearing attachments of friends, could avert the dart of the destroyer. The silver cord has been loosed, the golden bowl of life has been broken, and her spirit has ascended to the God who gave it.—Her virtues are left as a rich legacy to her bereaved children and family.

—Published in Raleigh Register and North-Carolina Gazette (Raleigh, North Carolina), Tuesday, November 20, 1827, p. 3.

Family Members

Gravesite Details Spouse of Rev. Anthony Forster




  • Created by: pbfries
  • Added: 4 Jul 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28032746
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Altona H Gales Forster (17 Nov 1794–16 Nov 1827), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28032746, citing City Cemetery, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by pbfries (contributor 46951237) .