Bradley County, Arkansas Biographies

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John and Martha Moseley Forrest

This correspondence from Bob Risley tells the biography of the family of John and Martha Moseley Forrest.

Subj: Re: John Forrest / Martha Moseley, parents Mary B Forrest, wife of John T Beasley
Date: 12/17/2001 8:16:08 PM Central Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Hi Carolann,

Warren had already forwarded me the email, so I was aware that you were looking. In fact I even went to your website, signed up for Microsoft Passport and am awaiting approval to get on.

I am related to John Forrest of Bradley County, AR. He was my g-g-g grandfather. His son, John H. Forrest, was my g-g granddad and brother to Mary B. Forrest Beasley. John H. had a son, James Franklin (my great-granddad), and he had a son John Wesley Forrest, who is my granddad.

John Forrest was born in Georgia, probably Jones County, abt. 1802. I really haven't got back that far in serious research but I have found one family in WorldConnect that has John's family in Georgia. I still need to confirm the data. They say his father was either James or John and his mother was Sarah (maiden name unknown). The have listed five children: John (b. 1802 GA), Anna Statia (b. 1804 GA), Anthony (b 1805 GA), Elizabeth (b. 1809 GA) and George J. (b. 1812 GA). I think there were other siblings and I would add William (b. 1813-17 GA) and Mary Polly (b. 1799 GA), with a high degree of certainty.

John married Martha Moseley, probably in the early 1820s in Lowndes County, Alabama. I found a couple of references to their marriage in WorldConnect. One says they were married before 1833 in Lowndes County, Alabama and the other says 1821, with no marriage location. I find the 1821 date more credible. You can see Martha's family tree in Warren Forsythe's Moseley home pages. John moved to Alabama in the 1820-30 timeframe. He bought several land patents from the government in Lowndes and Butler Counties, Alabama in 1837. The Lowndes County land was 2 miles north of the town of Searcy, Alabama. The 80 acres abutting his Lowndes County land to the east was owned by Robert and Mary Castleberry. Mary, I believe, is Mary Polly Forrest, John's older sister. Melissa Jones, another Bradley County, AR researcher and I are working on the Castleberry/Forrest connection. The Castleberry's later moved to Mississippi and then to Bradley County, AR. William Forrest had a 40 acre parcel a couple of miles to the northeast of John's Lowndes property. William, I believe, is John's little brother. William too, ended up in Bradley County, AR eventually. John's Butler County land was 2 miles southeast of Searcy and 2 miles west of Spring Hill, Alabama. It was only 2 miles south of their Lowndes County land. They apparently lived on their Butler County land because they are in the 1840 Butler County census. Martha's sister, Anne Talley, and her husband lived on the farm adjoining them to the east.

1840 Butler County, AL Census, p.133

John Forrest
White Males:
Under 5 yrs. - 1 (John H.)
5-10 yrs. - 1 (Unknown)
15-20 yrs. - 1(Unknown)
30-40 yrs. - 1 (John, father)
White Females:
Under 5 yrs. - 1 (Aletha)
5-10 yrs. - 1 (possibly Sarah)
20-30 yrs. - 1 (Martha, mother)
Free Colored Persons: None
24-35 yrs. - 1
Persons employed in agriculture: 3

From later census data, I put names in parenthesis next to the census count above. This census tells us that John H. had an older sister, and this is probably Sarah (who married Silas Pope) and he probably had two older brothers.

John moved the family from Alabama to Winston County, Mississippi about 1845. I looked in the Winston County deed indexes but did not find where he bought land there. It could be that he rented, or that he was just missed in the Index. The family is in the 1850 census with 5 children. The older siblings had already left home so we cannot be sure of their names. John's oldest daughter, Sarah was married to Silas Pope and living in nearby Neshoba county.

1850 Winston County MS Census, Dwelling 558/Family 566, Sept. 28, 1850, page 354B

John Forrest, age 49, b. in GA, farmer, Real Estate $320 (census taker spelled it Forest)
Martha (wife), age 42, b. in SC
Aletha, age 15, b. in AL
Jack, age 12, b. in AL (This is my gg grandfather, John H.)
Benjamin, age 10, b. in AL
Mary, age 6, b. in AL ( This is Mary B., future wife of John T. Beasley)
James, age 3, b. in MS

1850 Neshoba County MS Dwelling 221/Family 233, August 10, 1850, p. 129

Sylas(sic)Pope, age 30, b. in NC, no occupation or real est. value given.
Sarah, age 27, b. in NC (This is John Forrest's oldest daughter)

There were no children, perhaps they had some who died. The census taker shows Sarah as born in NC. That is probably in error. He probably just used the same state that Silas told him he was born in. Later censuses show it to be AL. I found their marriage record in They were married in Winston County, the county just north of Neshoba County where John Forrest lived. The record says Silas Pope and Sarah Ann Faust; marriage date Sep 16, 1846. Note the spelling of her last name. I guess if you were from Alabama, that's how you might pronounce the name. The second record of their marriage is in the Goodspeed biography of Silas James Pope, which says he married Miss Sarah Ann Forrest, a native Alabamian, born in 1828. John Forrest, Sarah's father, had just moved to Winston County in abt. 1845. Maybe the wedding was held at John's house. Sarah probably moved to Winston County MS from AL with the John Forrest family and lived with them there for a short period before she was married.

William Forrest, who I believe to be John's little brother, moved to Winston County, MS from Lowndes County, Alabama a couple of years before John did. From the census dwelling numbers, he only lived 8 farms over from John.

1850 Winston County MS, Dwelling 566/Family 573, Subdivision 22, 9/28/1850, Page 355

William Forrest, age 37, b. in GA, farmer, Real Estate $50
Mary (wife) age 30, b. in GA
John, age 7, b. in MS
Sarah, age 6, b. in MS
William, age 3, b. in MS
Willis, age 4/12, b. in MS

William moved to back Alabama about 1854-55 for about 5 years or so. He shows up in the 1855 Lowndes County, Alabama State census. He later moved to Arkansas about 1860-61, where he joined John again.

Robert and Mary Castleberry, who lived near John and William Forrest in Alabama, had moved to Mississippi for a few years, then came to Bradley County, Arkansas by 1850. Mary, as you may recall, is probably the sister of John and William Forrest.

1850 Bradley County, AR Census, Dwelling 186/Family 186, Pennington Township, 10/31/1850, p. 101B

Robert Castleberry, age 65, b. in GA, farmer
Mary, age 51, b. in GA (John and William Forrest's sister - PROBABLE)
William, age 22, b. in AL
Elizabeth, age 16, b. in AL
Robert, age 15, b. in AL
John, age 14, b. in AL

Robert and Mary Castleberry's daughter, Sarah Cinderella was married to Stephen Hickman and they lived next door in dwelling 187. Their daughter, Sarah A. Hickman eventually married John Forrest's son, James.

1850 Bradley County, AR Census, Dwelling 187/Family 187, Pennington Township, 10/31/1850, p. 101B

Stephen Hickman, age 24, b. in AL, farmer
Cinderella, age 22, b. in AL (Robert and Mary Castleberry's daughter)
Sarah A. age 1, b. in AR (future wife of James Forrest)
Cebrah, age 50, b. in SC (probably Stephen Hickman's mother)

Robert and Mary Castleberry's daughter, Emily had married Owen B. Wilder and she lived in dwelling 184, two houses over:

1850 Bradley County, AR Census, Dwelling 184/Family 184, Pennington Township, 10/31/1850, p. 101B

Owen B. Wilder, age 35, b. in NC, farmer
Emily, age 35, b. in GA (Robert and Mary Castleberry's daughter)
Mary A. age 11, b. in AL
Henrietta E., age 10, b. in MS
Nancy C., age 5, b. in AR
Cinderilla, age 3, b. in AR
Elizabeth, age 1, b. in AR

Living next door to Robert Castleberry in dwelling 185 were William and Malinda Beasley and family. William's son, John T. Beasley eventually married Mary B. Forrest:

1850 Bradley County, AR Census, Dwelling 185/Family 185, Pennington Township, 10/31/1850, p. 101B

William Beasley, age 39, b. in SC, farmer
Melinda, age 36, b. in GA
John, age 15, b. in AL (Future husband of Mary B. Forrest)
Sarah J., age 13, b. in AL
George W., age 7, b. in AR
Elizabeth, age 6, b. in AR
Charles, age 1, b. in AR

The Castleberry's must have told John about Bradley County and convinced him to move there. John moved the family from Winston County to Bradley County AR in 1853 according to the Goodspeed biography of John T. Beasley. I know that Mary and James went with them to AR for sure, because they are in the Bradley County census and marriage records. I haven't found a record of the other children living in Bradley County yet. I think they took all the kids with them, because of their young age. Martha apparently died between 1853-1860, because she is not in the 1860 Bradley county census. I haven't yet found when she died or where she is buried. Here is what the Goodspeed Biography says:

"John T. Beasley has been a resident of Bradley County, Ark., since his infancy, and it is but justice to say that there is not a man in the county who possesses greater personal worth, or who is more substantial or progressive in his views than he. Born in Alabama, August 12, 1835, he was the same year brought to Arkansas by his parents, William and Melinda (Germany) Beasley, who were born in South Carolina and Alabama in 1811 and 1840 respectively [Note: Dates appear on web site as they do in Goodspeed's.]. The father was reared in his native State, and was married there, but moved afterward to Alabama and from there to Arkansas. He was of Irish-English descent, his wife being of Dutch lineage, and their union was blessed in the birth of twelve children, five of whom are living. John T. Beasley was their eldest child, and in this county he was reared to a farm life by his father, who had been a tiller of the soil all his life. After remaining with his parents until he was twenty-four years old, receiving a limited education in the meantime, he began making his own way in the world, and in 1861 was united in marriage to Miss Mary Forrest, who was born in Alabama in 1844, being a daughter of John and Martha Forrest, both native Alabamians, who died in Bradley County, Ark., whither they had emigrated in 1853. Mr. Beasley and wife have reared five of their nine children: Mary (wife of Ed St. John), Frances, Susan, Letha, Joe Nettie, Lavira, James W., Rebecca S. and Ira D. By industry, good business ability and honorable, upright dealing, Mr. Beasley has become the owner of 800 acres of land, about 100 acres being under fence. This farm has been his home since 1860, with the exception of the time he was in the army, and during 1866-67, when he was in Louisiana. He is a member of the Agricultural Wheel, a Democrat in politics, and he and wife are members of the Missionary Baptist Church. In 1861 he joined Company B Nineteenth Regiment of Infantry, and was a brave and faithful soldier for two years."

1860 Bradley County AR Census, Dwelling 492/Family 492, p.520, Marion Township, 7/17/1860

John Forrest, age 58, b. in GA, farmer, land value over $1, pers. prop $1400
James, age 13, b. in MS

John Forrest's daughter, Mary B., married John T. Beasley on Feb. 9, 1860. I do not see John and Mary Beasley in the 1860 census. John Beasley's mother, Malinda Beasley, lived right next door to John Forrest in 1860, so Mary B. married the boy next door. Malinda and John's brothers and sisters were in Dwelling 493. Malinda's husband, William died just before the census was taken, in March 1860 of pneumonia, at the age of 49.

1860 Bradley County AR Census, Dwelling 493/Family 493, p. 520, Marion Township, 7/17/1860

Malinda Beasley, age 44, b. in GA, farmer, Real Estate value$1500, pers. prop $300
George W. age 18, b. in AR,
Martha, age 16, b. in AR
Charles T., age 10, b. in AR
Nancy A., age 6, b. in AR
Joshia C., age 4, b. in AR

Living next door on the other side of John Forrest was the Stephen Hickman family.

1860 Bradley County, AR, Dwelling 491/Family 491, p. 520, Marion Township, 7/17/1860

Stephen Hickman, age 34, b. in AL, farmer, Land $800, Pers. Prop $400
Cinderella, age 32, b. in GA (daughter of Robert and Mary Castleberry)
Sarah A, age 11, b. in AR (future wife of James Forrest)
John C., age 9, b. in AR
William, age 7, b. in AR
Robert, age 4, b. in AR
Polly B. age 3, b. in AR

The Bradley County marriage records show that James Forrest married Sarah Hickman on Oct 25, 1868. so James Forrest married Sarah A. Hickman, the girl next door. They must have left Bradley county after getting married, or they died, because I don't find them in the later Bradley county censuses, nor any 1880 United States census. This web gets a little tangled. Stephen Hickman's wife Cinderella in the above census is Sarah Cinderella, daughter of Robert and Mary Castleberry, so James Forrest married his first cousin.

The Goodspeed biography says that Silas and Sarah Ann Pope moved to Bradley County in 1855, just after John did. As we saw from above, they moved there from Neshoba County MS. The bio also says that Silas' father, Stephen Pope, moved to Bradley County in 1857 and died there at the age of 100. Stephen's wife Jenny, had already died in MS. I find Silas in the 1860 Bradley county census, but not Stephen. I don't know why he would have been missed in the census. Silas J. and Sarah A. (Forrest) Pope were living almost next door to John Forrest! John was in dwelling 492 and Silas and Sarah, dwelling 489, just 3 doors down.

1860 Bradley County, AR, Dwelling 489/Family 489, page 520, Marion township, 7/17/1860

Silas J. Pope, age 37, b. in NC, farmer, land value not stated, Pers. Prop $800
Sarah A., age 32, b. in AL (John Forrest's daughter)
James W., age 4, b. in AR

The Goodspeed biography, published in 1890, on Silas says they had 4 children, one of whom was living in 1890, that was James W., so they must have had others that died. Here is what the Goodspeed biography for Silas says:

"Silas James Pope, an old and highly esteemed resident of Bradley County, Ark., has been identified with its material affairs and its progress and development for the past thirty five years, having come to this county in the year 1855. He was born in Cumberland County, N.C., August 14, 1822, and is a son of Stephen and Jennie Pope, who were also born in the Old North State, and died in Bradley County, Ark., and Mississippi, aged nearly one hundred, and eighty years, respectively. After their marriage, which took place in their native State, they removed to Alabama and three years later to Mississippi, where they made their home for twelve years, and in 1857 the father removed to Bradley County, where he spent the rest of his days, having been a farmer throughout life. His father was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Silas James Pope was the fourth of fourteen children, eight of whom lived to be grown, and seven now living, and in his youth received no educational advantages whatever. After removing to Mississippi with his parents, he was married there, in 1846, to Miss Sarah Ann Forrest, a native Alabamian, born in 1828, and by her he became the father of four chidlren, one now living, named James W., who is married and resides on a farm near his father. As above stated, Mr. Pope came from Mississippi to Bradley County, Ark., in 1855, and now has fifty acres of a 332 acre farm under cultivation. He is regarded as an excellent and honorable citizen, and is much esteemed by his acquaintances. In 1862 he enlisted in the Confederate army, in Hawthorne's regiment of infantry, and served faithfully until the close of the war. He is a Democrat in politics, and his first vote was cast for James K. Polk for the presidency. He and wife have been members of the Missionary Baptist Church for twenty years, and he has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since 1867, being a member of Pattsville Lodge No. 264."

Silas bought several land patents from the US Government. On September 1, 1860 he bought 80 acres in township 14S, range 9W, in Sect 22 & 27. Section 27 was partially in Drew County. John Forrest bought 40 acres on the same day, September 1, 1860, in township 14S, range 9W, in Sect. 22. So they had land in the same section. On April 1, 1861, Silas bought 40 acres in township 14S, range 9W, section 27 to add to the land he had bought in 1860. John Forrest bought 80 acres on April 1, 1861 (same day as Pope) in township 14S, range 9W, section 7. On Feb 1, 1876 Silas bought more land in a different area of Bradley county. He bought 54 acres in township 15S, range 9W, section 24.

My g-g grandfather, John H. Forrest moved back to Neshoba County, MS, probably to marry his childhood sweetheart.

1860 Neshoba County MS Census, Dwelling 1029/ Family 1065, Hills Bluff Post Ofc, p. 686

J. H. Forrest, age 22, b. in AL, farmer (my g-g grandfather)
Jane, age 19, b in NC, housekeeper (This is Margaret Jane Layton)

John H. Forrest and Jane were living in the same area as Jane's mother and dad (the Daniel Laytons). John H. Forrest and Margaret Jane Layton are my g-g grandparents. They had 2 children, both born in MS: James Franklin (my great grandfather), born in 1861 and Eleanor J., born in 1866. This is the last time we see John H. in the census data. Family lore says he was probably killed in the Civil War. Based on Eleanor's birth date, he probably survived it and died later. I have not been able to find John H. and Margaret Jane Forrest in the 1870 census. In 1880 she lived in Lamar County, TX and was a widow. John H. Forrest's death is one of the main mysteries I am trying to solve.

John Forrest bought 40 acres in Bradley County, AR from the government on a land patent on Sep 1, 1860 in township 14S, range 9W, in Sect. 22. John Forrest bought 80 acres on April 1, 1861 in township 14S, range 9W, section 7. He sold one of these pieces of land right away. He must have bought it to make a profit. The other one he farmed. He sold it in 1868 to W. L. Mann. This was in the Sumpter area.

John Forrest remarried on Mar 17, 1861 to Martha Lackey. The marriage record shows he was 60 and she was 21. I guess she liked older men. By 1870 they had several children. Son James was no longer in Bradley County. Daughter Mary B. was still married to John Beasley and they had more children. The children from John's second marriage were Mary's half brothers and sisters. By this time, John had moved from Marion township to Palestine township, Johnsville.

1870 Bradley County AR Census, Dwelling 46/Family 46, page 545A, Palestine Township, Post Ofc. Johnsville AR, 7/7/1870

John Forrest, age 68, b. in GA, works in blacksmith shop, no land value given, pers prop $200
Martha, age 30, b. AR
Qeachey, age 10, b. AR
Calvin, age 6, b. AR
Jackson, age 4, b. AR
George, age 2, b. AR
Wilson, age 3/12, b. AR, born in April

So John gave up farming and took up an easier life in the blacksmith shop. He sold his farm one month after James got married. It is probable that James was helping him farm and when his help left, John sold and moved to town. I recently made contact with one of the descendants of David Wilson Forrest, who shows up as Wilson in the above census. Her name is Sharon Sandlin and she lives in DeRidder, LA. Perhaps together, we can find out more about this second family.

Silas and Mary Pope also moved to Palestine township. They seemed to follow John. They lived 9 doors over from John.

1870 Bradley County AR Census, Dwelling 37/Family 37, page 544B, Palestine Township, Post Ofc. Johnsville AR, 7/7/1870

Silas Pope, age 48, b. in NC, No Occupation given, Real Estate $200, Pers. Prop. $450
Sarah, age 41, b. in AL
James, age 14, b. in AR

By 1870 John Forrest's brother, William had moved to Bradley county. I am 90% sure they are brothers. They had land near each other in Alabama, lived almost next door to each other in Winston county, MS and both were born in GA. Now here comes William again to join John. William moved to the area that John left, Marion township. I did not find William in the 1860 census so he probably moved to Bradley County after July 1860 and before son Alexander was born in 1861. Since we saw him in 1850 Winston County MS, the oldest children, John, Sarah and Willis had left home or died. William Jr., age 23, was the only child we saw in MS that is in the Bradley County census. He had also added more to his family since living in Winston County.

1870 Bradley County AR, Dwelling 16/Family 15, page 512B, Marion township, Post Ofc. Warren, 7/11/1870

W (William) Forrest, age 55, b. in GA, no occupation shown, Real Estate $300, Pers Prop $200
Mary, age 44, b. in GA
William, age 23, b. in MS
Thomas, age 18, b. in MS
Annie, age 15, b. in AL
Robert, age 11, b. in AL
Alexander, age 9, b. in AR
Charity, age 7, b. in AR

I know you have all the John and Mary Beasley census data so I won't repeat it here.

I don't find John Forrest and his new family in the 1880 Soundex or in the new Mormon 1880 census CD. They may have missed them in the census. Perhaps he had died. He would have been 78 years old. I would sure like to find his death record and also his first wife, Martha's. The Goodspeed biography said they both died in Bradley County. The Forrests you see in Bradley County today are descendants of William. I have traced some his descendants through the 1920 census. I have a report on him, which I will send you later. I also have some later census data on the Popes.

That is the nickel tour of John Forrest. You can see from above that there are ties to the Castleberrys, Hickmans, Beasleys and Popes and then there are all the next generation marriages, such as the St. Johns and Steadmans. Melissa Jones, who is related to William Hickman and Robert/Mary Castleberry says John Forrest signed an affidavit for Robert Castleberry's War of 1812 Pension application and I have ordered it. I am anxious to see his handwriting.

That's enough for now. I am just about brain dead after typing all this. Hope this sheds some light for you. I look forward to sharing more information. Hope you have a happy holiday season.

Bob Risley

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, December 17, 2001 8:53 AM
Subject: Fwd: John Forrest / Martha Moseley, parents Mary B Forrest wife John T Beasley

I was given your name by the gentleman below, and he said you were the gggrandson of John Forrest and Martha Moseley. My husband is from this line as well, can we communicate?

Carolann St.John

Kindly submitted by Carolann Stanton St. John (Wife of Sammy B. St. John).


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