The Denison Daily Herald
Monday, August 13, 1906
Tex., Aug. 13 - Capt. Thomas Forbes, Sr., one of Sherman's oldes and
wealthiest citizens, died Sunday morning 7 o'clock at the summer
residence of his son, Tom Forbes, Jr., at Texas City, near Galveston,
aged 89 years. Old age and general debility were the cause of his
death. The remains were shipped today from Texas City and will
arrive at Sherman tomorrow morning at 10:20 o'clock. From the
union station they will be taken to West Hill cemetery, where they will
be interred after the Episcopal burial service is read by Rev. J.M.
Capt. Forbes was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., in 1817 of
English parentage. He grew to manhood in New Jersey and entered
upon his career as sea captain, which he followed continuously till he
left the seafaring profession, and came to Sherman in 1872. He
plied between New York, Liverpool, New Orleans, Galveston and other
ports. During the time that he followed this profession he
accumulated considerable property and when he came to Sherman in 1872
he built the cotton compress, substantially as it stands today, though
of course much modern machinery has been added. His wife
preceeded him to the world beyond nearly forty years ago.
quiet and unassuming man Capt. Forbes was connected with the leading
business enterprises. He acquired property rapidly and became one
of the wealthiest men in the city. For twenty years he has been
retired from active business life and has been spending his declining
years at the home of his son on North Crockett street. He had
been at Texas City about three months.
He was a large stockholder in
the Merchants and Planters' National Bank of Sherman, the Binkley
Hotel, the Sherman opera house, the Birge-Forbes Cotton Company and
other business enterprises. Besides these business connections he
owned much other property. He was a devout member of the
Episcopal church, bur was not connected with any secret organization.
His personal character was one of nobility and grandeur. In
his declining years he was known as one of Sherman's finest and most
highly esteemed old men.
He leaves but one child, Tom Forbes, Jr. of Sherman, who was with his father at the time of his death.
Capt. Tom Forbes Called by Death Sunday Afternoon
Captain Thomas Forbes, 74, active cotton man and capitalist, died
suddenly at his home, 420 North Crockett street, at 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon.
He had been in ill health, but was at his office Saturday.
The son of a sea captain and ship owner, Captain Forbes was born
in New Orleans. He spent several years there in the forwarding department
of the Morgan Steamship Company following his graduation at Virginia Military
About 1870 he came to Texas with recommendations from Colonel Morgan
and others and found work at Houston, later following the Houston and
Texas Central Railway as it was building north, stopping at McKinney.
He was manager for a dry goods establishment in McKinney, and later formed
business connections with a forwarding company at the terminal when the
road reached McKinney. From that point he forwarded freight by wagons
to North Texas and Indian Territory merchants, and as the road was built
into Sherman in the early 70's, he settled here and formed a partnership
with Captain Birge, now deceased.
Captain Forbes was successful in business, and continued his associations
with the Birge-Forbes cotton firm until called to his final rest.
For more than fifty years he was a citizen of Sherman, and had a
very wide acquaintanceship among business men. He was every a congenial
spirit in his social contact with men. He loved his home, Sherman,
and his residence, which was built by Chief Justice Tom Brown and later
occupied by Governor Wilson N. Jones, a retired Choctaw capitalist.
Although a busy man, Captain Forbes gave much time to the development
of the Sherman Fire Department in the days when fire fighting was done
by a volunteer company. The boys loved their chief and often went
into dangerous places when called. Captain Forbes was with them when
a fire swept Sherman from Jones street up Travis street to Houston and
around to North Walnut street in 1875. Through his efforts, the company
won may prizes in competitions with other companies in the state, and the
Sherman men gained a statewide reputation for efficiency.
He was chief of the department when the first fire engine, a Silsby
engine, was purchased, and he helped to build up the fire fighting apparatus
in those days when water was obtained from surface wells and cisterns.
He would never allow his name to be mentioned for public office and, though
equipped by education and beloved by his fellow-citizens, sought rather
the quietude of a diligent business career and good neighborliness.
Although too young to enter the ranks of the Confederate Army in
the Civil War, he saw some of the conflict, and knew much about it from
his father's lips. He was in possession of many momentoes given his
father for saving lives at sea during the war and when storms swept his
vessel along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
Funeral services will be held from the residence, 420 North Crockett
street, Thursday morning. Dr. T.A. Wharton, pastor of the First Presbyterian
church, and Rev. J.B. Dobbins, rector of St. Stephens' Episcopal church,
will officiate. Funeral arrangements are in charge of Stewart M.
Scott, funeral director. Interment will be in West Hill cemetery.
Surviving Capt. Forbes are his widow and four children, Ed R. Forbes
and T.G. Forbes of San Diego, Calif., Mrs. Bessie Forbes House of Houston,
and Frank Forbes of Graham. Frank Forbes is in Sherman and Mr. and Mrs.
House were expected to arrive Monday. Ed R. and T.G. Forbes are expected
to arrive Wednesday night from California.