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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Harry Forbes


HARRY FORBES, a very extensive farmer of Jeannette’s Creek, township of Tilbury East, and the originator of the “Forbes Drainage Scheme,” was born October 7th, 1836 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where he grew to manhood and followed farming.  Hoping to better his condition, he, in 1868 came to Canada, and located on Lot 4,Concession 7, township of Tilbury East, in the County of Kent, where he purchased a farm of 100 acres.  There he engaged in general farming until 1892, when he sold his property to Alexander Gracy, and bought 700 acres of plains land near Jeannette’s Creek.  In the vicinity of that village he built a fine brick residence and has since made the place his home, giving his attention largely to farming.  He now owns 300 acres, and has planted considerable land in fruit, there being 1,300 peach trees in his orchard.  In addition to his other interests Mr. Forbes, in company with P.T. Barry, operated a stave mill at Fletcher for some four years, and then sold out.

Mr. Forbes is more generally known throughout the county for the part he has taken in drainage matters.  Some twenty-five years ago he planned extensive ditching to reclaim a large part of the marshy land in the township, but only after years of untiring effort and litigation were his plans adopted and put into operation.  Now after so many years of discouragement he has the satisfaction of being recognized as an unquestioned authority upon all matters pertaining to drainage.  The original cost was $52,000, and to the present time about $25,000 more has been added, but it is money well spent, for the system of drains, tanks, and pumping stations known as the “Forbes Drainage Scheme,” has redeemed thousands of acres of useless land and made the entire community much healthier, while the value of land has increased from$2 to $40 and $50 per acre.  Mr. Forbes has been twice married, first to Miss Priscilla Kiever, by whom he had the following children:  Isabella, now Mrs. Alexander Stewart, of Detroit; Jennie, at home; Fannie, Mrs. Shaw, of Jeannette’s Creek; Charles, a ranchman in the Northwest Territory; and a son that died in infancy.  For his second wife, Mr. Forbes married Maria L. Stewart, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, and two children have been born to this union, namely:  Stewart and Elizabeth, who attend the Chatham high school.

In politics Mr. Forbes is a Reformer, and he has been active in local affairs for the past twenty-five years, having always been interested in seeing good men in office.  For eighteen years he served as trustee of the Fletcher school, and he has acted in the same capacity for the No.7, Jeannette’s Creek school.  He and his wife are consistent members of the Presbyterian Church of Tilbury Village.  Upon his arrival in the township Mr. Forbes started a Sunday-school, of which the present Mrs. Forbes was the first teacher.  Socially he is a member of the Fletcher’s Workmen of Valetta and a trustee of the Order.  He is among the leading farmers of his vicinity, and he and Mrs. Forbes have a large number of friends whom they make welcome in their beautiful home. 


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