Forsyths of Note
Clan Forsyth Society
Reverend Alexander John Forsyth was an avid duck hunter, and a pioneer in the development of modern firearms. Because of the inefficiency of the old flintlock, Alexander began development of a more efficient firearm. His work led to the invention of the percussion lock, which replaced the flintlock in the 18th century. Reverend Alexander Forsyth's invention is still in use in most firearms today. He turned down an offer of 20,000 pounds from Napoleon for the secret. The invention was adopted by the British army without his knowledge and the English government tardily allocated him a modest pension; the first (and last) installment was received on the day of his death.
William Forsyth, born at Old Meldrum in 1737, was a distinguished horticulturist. In 1784, he was appointed Chief Superintendent of the Royal Gardens at Kensington and St Jamesí Palace. William was one of the founders of the famous Kew Gardens in London. In 1802 he published A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit Trees which proved so popular that the first three editions were sold out. The Clan Plant Badge is "Forsythia" brought from China by William Forsyth. In honor of his name, the genus of plants was termed "forsythia". His portrait by Henry Raeburn hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
William Forsyth, a tailor in Huntley, Aberdeenshire, devised the Forsyth tartan about 1800. William had been asked by the Duchess of Gordon to devise a plaid for the newly raised regiment, the Gordon Highlanders in 1795. While doing this, William drew up one for the Forsyth family.
Col. George A. Forsyth served under General George Armstrong Custer. However, he was not present at the Little Big Horn battle. Photographs of him and Custer exist today. George was well noted for his battle with an overwhelming force of Indians at the Battle of Beechers Island in eastern Colorado in 1868. He was seriously wounded in the battle, and in later years had to retire because of his wounds. George later became a Brigadier General in 1897.
Captain John Hubbard Forsyth (1797-1836) was one of the brave officers who fell at the Alamo in Texas with Col. Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett on March 6, 1836. He was a nephew of Co. George A. Forsyth. In the Alamo chain of command, Captain Forsyth was number three, outranked only by Travis and Bowie. Due to the circumstances of Bowie's grave illness and Travis being killed in the opening minutes of the battle, it is highly likely that Captain John Hubbard Forsyth commanded the actual last stand at the Alamo.