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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Alexander D. Forsythe

ALEXANDER D. FORSYTHE, one of the prominent citizens of Colchester South, County of Essex, descends from Scottish stock tht have long been distinguished in military affairs.  For many generations, or as long ago as the battle of Bannockburn, those of the name have been residents of Stirling, several members of the family fighting under Bruce and Walllace in the early Scottish wars.

John Forsythe, the grandfather of Alexander D., was a soldier by profession, and served under Wellington in his Belgian campaign, which resulted in the downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo.

John Forsythe (2), son of John and father of Alexander D., was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1815.  He entered the military service in the corps of Sappers and Miners, and for efficiency in his work was promoted, at the time he gave up his commission having at the time he gave up his commission having some 600 men employed under him.  He was married in Edinburgh to Euphemia Trupe, and with his family set sail, in1850, for America.  For two years after his arrival on this side of the Atlantic Mr. Forsythe resided at Lockport, New York, and then removed to the County of Kent, Ontaqrio, making the trip from Buffalo to Detroit by steamer, and by the “Plow Boy” to Chatham.  He located on Lot 12, Concession 8, in Chatham township, where he purchased 100 acres of thickly wooded land, and there he began preparation to properly provide for his family.  With the assistance of his sons the land was soon put under cultivation and the family added to their holdings until they owned 600 acres of land in that immediate neighbourhood, the same still being in their possession.  Politically Mr. Forsythe was a Reformer, and while a resident of Scotland took a lively interest in local public affairs.  He died in 1878, aged sixty-three years, after a life of much arduous toil.

The children of John Forsythe and his wife were as follows:  John, who is a farmer in Chatham township, County of Kent; James, also of Chatham township; Alexander D.; Lillie, wife of Andrew Quinn, of Ohio; Margaret, wife of David Nesbett, of the County of Lambton; Robert, the owner of the homestead farm; David, owner of a farm of 230 acres south of the homestead; and Mary, wife of George Shaw, of Chatham township.  All are well fixed in life and prominent and representative citizens.

Alexander D. Forsythe was born at Toarwood, in Stirling, almost under the walls of Stirling Castle, a most historic spot, and he was but six years of age when the family crossed the ocean.  That was in the days of the slow sailing vessel, and six weeks and three days were consumed on the voyage.  When he was eight years old the family located in the County of Kent, where he grew to manhood and obtained the best education afforded by the schools of Chatham township at that time.  Until he was thirty years old Mr. Forsythe engaged in farming in Chatham township, and then removed to the State of Kansas.  One year there satisfied him that Chatham township afforded more agricultural opportunities, so he returned and bought there a farm of 100 acres on which he resided for ten years.  He then sold this property and removed to South Lyon, Michigan, where he organized a stock company which engaged largely in the manufacture of furniture.  Subsequently he severed his connection with this company and embarked in a dairy business which he followed for some years.  After ten years’ residence in Michigan he came back to Ontario, and as a speculation bought a farm of 265 acres in Colchester township South, in 1899.  The possibilities of this farm induced him to resume agricultural pursuits and he has since successfully engaged in general farming.

Politically Mr. Forsythe is a staunch Reformer, and while a resident of the County of Kent he took considerable interest in municipal and provincial affairs, and served for a period in the Chatham council.  The members of the Forsythe family have always been zealous Presbyterians.

In Chatham township Mr. Forsythe married Margaret Jean McVicar, a native of Argyll, Scotland, and to this union have been born children as follows:  Miss Elizabeth Duncan, at home; James Douglas, who married Miss Edna Blanchard and has one daughter, Margaret B.; John Stewart, at home; Duncan, a farmer in Colchester township, who married Helen Craig and has one child; George and Jessie Gordon, who are both at home.  Mr. Forsythe is a man of comfortable means, intelligence and prominence, and he and his family are held in the highest esteem in Colchester South.

The McVicar family, to which Mrs. Forsythe belongs, was one of the pioneer families in Chatham township.  John McVicar, her grandfather, was a native of Argyllshire, Scotland, where he married Janet McTavish.  In 1837, with his wife and twelve children, he came to Canada and settled on Lot 11, Concession 4, in Chatham township.  His children were as follows:  Duncan, father of Mrs. Forsythe; Jesse; Helen, a resident of Fergus; Barbara; John; Hugh; Neil; Mary; Malcolm, for many years in charge of a collage at Atlanta, Georgia, a man of superior mental attainments; and D.H., also a polished scholar, a professor in the Presbyterian College at Montreal.

Duncan McVicar was born in Argyll, Scotland, and there married Elizabeth Duncan.  ATo them were born children as follows:  John, a resident of Winnipeg; George, who served in the Riel Rebellion, was taken prisoner, and died in consequence of the hardships then endured; Margaret Jean, Mrs. Forsythe; Jessie, who died at Spokane, Washington; Hugh, who died in the County of Kent; and Duncan and James M., engineers on the Great Lakes. 

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