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Lineage: Mary16, Joshua15, Edward14, John13, John12, William11, Patrick10, David9, Patrick8,
James7, Alexander6, John5, John4, John3, John2, Duncan1

  FOBES, c.1250-aft.1754 Related Families:  Douglas | Keith | Panter | Lumsden | Strachan | Barclay | Mitchell | Howard | Hayward | Dunbar | Washburn

Migration: Aberdeenshire, SCOT>Middleburg, HOLL>Delft, HOLL>Leyden, HOLL>Duxbury, MA>Bridgewater, MA


        (1)  Duncan de Forbes, born in 1250 in Scotland, became landed in 1271/2 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Held the earliest known charter for the lands of Forbes, which he received charter in the 23rd year of the reign of King Alexander III (1272-1273). This charter is still in existance in the Forbes charter chest. Father of:

        (2)  John de Forbes, born about 1280 in Scotland, is recorded in history as an active partisan of Robert Bruce. For that reason, his lands were confiscated by King Edward I of England. After the loss of Castle Urquhart, in 1305, which was sacked by King Edwards soldiers, his lands were claimed by Robert Chival and William Comyn at Lanercost on 13 October 1306. It is not known if they were successful. At the Battle of Dupplin in 1332 the Forbeses followed Mar their Lord, within whose principality the Duchy lands of Forbes lay.


  1. John, mentioned below
  2. Alexander


        (3) John de Forbes, born about 1310 in Scotland, was killed on the field of battle at Dupplin, Scotland.  Father of:

        (4) John de Forbes, born about 1330 in Scotland, died in 1387 in Scotland.


  1. Duncan
  2. John, mentioned below
  3. Alistair Cam Forbes, mentioned below


        (5) John Forbes, of the "Black Lip", born in Scotland, died in 1404 in Scotland.


  1. Alexander, mentioned below
  2. William
  3. John


(6)  Alexander, 1st Lord Forbes, of Drumminor, Aberdeenshire, born 1380, died 1448; married 1421, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Elizabeth Douglas, the daughter of George Douglas, Earl of Angus.
        He accompanied Alexander Stuart, Earl of Mar, and Sir Walter Lindsay on a journey to England to tilt with Lord Beaumont in 1408.  He was celebrated by Andrew de Wyntoun as one of four Scottish knights to mimic battle with the English knights and win, gaining for himself great commendation from this event.
        He was given charter to the lands of Edinbancory and Craiglogy on 8 November 1402 by Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar, and confirmed by King Robert III, on 23 June 1405. These lands had also been chartered in 1364 to Sir Alexander's great-grandfather.
        Alexander fought in the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 with such success that General Alexander Stuart, Earl of Mar, befriended him. He followed the Earl to Flanders where they engaged in battle under the Duke of Burgandy. He was also given a safe conduct in Dover on 9 June 1421 for entry to and from England, and another in October 1421 permitting him to pass with 40 men at arms and attendants to 100 persons, and to visit King James in France under the control of King Henry V.
        He received charter for the lands of Fodderbirse in Aboyne from John, Earl of Buchan.  He was granted the lands of Alford by Alexander, Earl of Mar in 1423; granted a new charter for the lands and Barony of Forbes on 16 October 1423 by Regent, Murdoch of Albany; granted the lands of Meikle Fintray in December 1423 by John, Earl of Buchan, Elizabeth's first cousin once removed; granted the lands of Easter Cluny in 1425 by William, Earl of Angus, Elizabeth's brother; granted the lands of Alford and Edinbanchory, the lands and Barony of Forbes, the lands of Kearn and others in the Earldom of Mar, on 6 October 1431; and granted the lands of Ballindurno and half of Balshangy with the mill of Torquhonochy in 1431 by Elizabeth Keith, heiress of the barony of Aboyne in consideration for his help in establishing her right to her inheritance. Elizabeth's daughter who retained the inheritance married Sit Walter Seton who changed their name to Gordon and became a thorn in the side of the Lord Forbeses for many centuries.
        Alexander was Lord of Parliament between October 1444 and July 1445.  Parents of:

        (7) James, 2nd Lord Forbes, of Drumminor, Aberdeenshire, born about 1400, died 30 July 1462 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland; married in 1438 Egidia Keith.
        He declined to join with Earl Douglas against King James II in 1451. Earl Douglas was killed by the King in Stirling on 7 February 1452. John and son William participated in the battle of Brechin on 18 May 1452 with the King against the Earl of Crawford (principal confidant of the Douglasses). Success of the battle was credited in no small part to the Forbesses and their associates.
        A knight in 1444, before he ascended, he obtained a charter of the lands of Corsindae from Alexander Seton of Gordon, and subscribed a bond of manrent to him in October 1444.
        James may have accompaned Earl Douglas to Rome in 1450 to celebrate the Jubilee.  He had a retour of Whitefield, 2 August 1452, to be held from the Earl of Angus for L5 yearly; instrument of sasine from Walter Stewart of Kinedward for the Earl of Ross and the isles, on the lands of Fintray; a charter of the lands of Tullyreoch in the Barony of Cluny, 20 September 1460, from Alexander, Earl of Huntly; and was appointed to Parliament in 1457, where he also sat as a Lord of Session for the Court of Justice.


  1. William, 3rd Lord Forbes
  2. Duncan
  3. Patrick, mentioned below


        (8) Patrick Forbes of Coul was the 1st of Corse and Kilcraigy. He was the armor-bearer to King James III, and received a charter from King James III on 17 December 1476.

        (9)  David Forbes "Trail of the Axe," 2nd of Corse, presumed to be the natural son of Patrick married Elizabeth Panter, sister of Mr. Patrick Panter of Newmanswells, Montrose.  Parents of:

        (10)  Patrick Forbes, 3rd of Corse and "lessee of O'Neil in 1546"; married Marjory Lumsden, daughter of Robert Lumsden of Cushnie. They had four sons, among whom was:

        (11)  William Forbes, 4th Laird of Corse, succeeded in 1568; married Elizabeth Strachan, daughter of John Strachan of Thornton.
  1. Patrick, 5th Laird of Corse, born 1564, died 1635 in Aberdeen, Scotland; Bishop of Aberdeen, succeeded in 1598.  Received a charter from the Earl of Mar in 1621.  Father of:
    1. Dr. John Forbes, Professor of Divinity, King's College, Aberdeen.  He was educated by his uncle, Rev. John Forbes, while in Holland.  He married a Dutch lady named Soote Roseboom.
  2. William, a merchant from whom descend the Forbes of Craigievar; called "Merchant WIllie" of Danzig, he was very successful in the Baltic merchant trade.  He ourchased Craigievar Castle, at right, in 1606 while it was still under construction by the Mortimers, a Norman-French family who had owned the estate from centuries.
  3. John, mentioned below
  4. Alexander, became a captain in the Scottish Army, died without issue.
  5. James, of Knockandoch.
  6. Sir Arthur, became the start of the Earls of Granard in Ireland.
  7. Robert, died without issue.
Craigievar Castle


        (12)  Rev. John Forbes, third son of Patrick, was born 1568 in Alford, Aberdeenshire, and died 1634 in Aberdeen. He was minister at Alford and later at Delft, Holland. He was banished from Scotland for his religious opinions. He married Christian Barclay of Mathers and they had several sons: one becoming a Colonel in the Swedish service and another becoming a Bishop.
        John earned his degree in 1583 at University of St. Andrews and was ordained a minister of Alford in 1593.  He was received by King James of England in 1605 and granted favor for the church.  In July 1605 he was appointed head of the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.  King James, however, concluded that the Presbyterian church was becoming too strong from his Episcopalian viewpoint and issued an order banning future assemblies.  Nineteen preachers felt a firm stand should be taken and met with Rev. Forbes, Moderator.  They declined to appear before a privy council and Forbes and five others were imprisoned, tried for high treason, found guilty by a packed jury and banished from the king's domain.
        The exlies sailed from Leith to Bordeaux 7 November 1606.  On reaching France, Forbes visited Boyd of Trochrig at Saumer and then went on to Sedan.  He traveled for some years visiting reformed churches and universities.  In 1611, he was settled as pastor of a British congregation at Middleburg, Holland.  Soon after he was offered a release from banishment on terms he did not accept.  In 1616 he was in London where King James promised to revoke his sentence of exile but never did.
        After a ten year ministry at Middleburg he became pastor of the British Church at Delft, Holland, twelve miles from the Pilgrim church at Leyden.  By 1628, Charles I began to interfere with English and Scottish churches in Holland and Forbes was ultimately removed as pastor.  In later years he became bishop in the Episcopal Church much to the dismay of his Presbyterian brethren.  He died in 1634, aged about 66.

        (13)  John Forbes a.k.a. Fobes, born 1608 in Leyden, Holland, died 1661 in Bridgewater, Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. He was left in Holland when his father returned to Scotland after being granted a reprieve by King James. In Holland, it is said, he acquired a soft accent resulting in the recording of the name as Vobes, or Ffobes and finally Fobes. He was one of the fifteen young men who landed in Duxbury, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, in 1636, with Rev. Robinson's group. He was indentured to Isaac Allerton, richest man in Plymouth Colony, to pay for his passage. In 1637 he was known to have been at Powder Point, also at Green Harbor. He was granted land at Powder Point where he built a home and lived there for five years. He was a tailor by trade.
        John married before moving to Bridgewater, Constant Mitchell, about 1614 in Leyden, Holland, died 1661 in Bridgewater, Plymouth Co., Massachusetts. Her older brother Experience Mitchell came to America on the Anne in 1623. It is conjectured that Constant and Experience were the children of Thomas Mitchell and Margaret Vochin, of Leyden, Holland, but proof is not conclusive. Both Constant and Experience were the great-great-grandparents of Robert Washburn, mentioned below, born 1739.
        John Fobes appeared in the list of men able to bear arms in 1643. In 1645 he became an original proprietor of Bridgewater, Massachusetts. He was made a "freeman" with voting rights in 1645, indicating he was not originally a member of the English Puritan church. A man of social standing and local influence, he was Constable in 1651 and juror in 1659.
        When she was about 45 or 50 years old, Constant married second in 1662 John Briggs of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, born 1609, died 1690, a Commissioner to the Rhode Island Court from 1654 to 1656, again in 1659, and from 1661 to 1663.

Children of John Fobes and Constant Mitchell:

  1. John, born 1646, died 10 July 1661.
  2. Joshua, killed 25 March 1676, in "Perces fight."
  3. William, born 1649; a lieutenant; married Elizabeth Southworth.
  4. Edward, mentioned below
  5. Mary
  6. Caleb, born 1653; a deacon; married Sarah Gager.
  7. Elizabeth, born 26 April 1657; married Joseph Russell.


        (14)  Hon. Deacon Edward Fobes, born 1651 in Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, died in Bridgewater in 1732; married 1676 Elizabeth Howard. Edward was declared a freeman on 1 June 1680. He had large land interests and was part owner of a saw mill. He was Constable 1681; juryman 1684, 1686, 1689; on a committee to mark out a road in 1691; Representative to the General Court of Massachusetts from Bridgewater in 1702, 1711, 1715 and 1722; and also an agent to settle the Easton town boundary line in 1710.

Children of Edward Fobes and Elizabeth Howard (all born in Bridgewater):

  1. Elizabeth, born 20 March 1677; married Joseph Keith.
  2. John, born 1 July 1679; married Abigail Robinson.
  3. Mary, born 7 September 1681; "never married."
  4. Bethia(h), born 11 October 1683; married Samuel Keith.
  5. Hannah, born 31 March 1686; married Timothy Keith.
  6. Ephraim, born 9 February 1688; married Martha Snell.
  7. Joshua, mentioned below
  8. Benjamin, born 24 August 1692; married Martha Hunt.
  9. William, born 24 July 1698; married Thankful Dwelly.


        (15) Deacon Joshua Fobes, born 20 May 1689, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was found dead in his bed 6 April 1767; married 4 December 1711 in Bridgewater Abigail Dunbar, who was born 1691 and died at Bridgewater 11 or 14 April 1750. Joshua was a deacon of the Bridgewater Church. He married second on 5 June 1754, (intent declared 11 May 1754), Marcy Churchill, of Plympton, Massachusetts. Joshua was a large land owner and left an estate of 386:18:09 pounds.

Children of Joshua Fobes and Abigail Dunbar (all born in Bridgewater):

  1. Bethia, born 2 June 1712, died 13 April 1713 at age one
  2. Hannah, born 20 November 1713; married Ebenezer Shaw
  3. Joshua, born 22 July 1715; married Esther Porter
  4. Mary, born 1 May 1717; married 6 March 1740 Robert Washburn, born 23 May 1715, Bridgewater. They had seven children in Bridgewater until 1752 with no further record there. They moved to Livingston Manor, New York.
  5. Leah, born 27 March 1720; married Israel Washburn
  6. Rachel, born 30 July 1722
  7. Bettie, born 19 July 1724; married Eleazar Cary
  8. Abigail, born 2 April 1728; married Daniel Snow

© Mark A. Wentling, 1999
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Created 1999

SOURCE: Official Clan Forbes Society website