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Rev. William A. Forbes

The Reverend William A. Forbes was born at Yazoo City, Mississippi in April 1844. His mother died in 1847; his father in 1849, and in 1851 his uncle, Samuel LeMey brought young Forbes and his sisters overland in a wagon to Lewisville to live with their grandfather D. LeMay. The grandfather soon died, and young Forbes was "bound out" to another uncle, and in his own language “being illy treated I ran away and went to live with my sister who had married W.H. Steel of Magnolia. I became a bad boy, but when I was 14, I became self- supporting and was employed as mail rider from Camden to Washington".

Afterwards the father of Judge B. Battle of the Arkansas Supreme Court gave him a scholarship in the College at Fayetteville, and while attending college, the Civil War broke out in 1860 end he joined the Confederate army and was in the battle of Wilsons Creek near Springfield, Missouri. Later he was a member of Harris’s Battery in the Company of B.B. Battle.

At the end of the war, he was paroled in Mississippi and went to Clarksville Tennessee and worked on a farm for $15 per month. In August 1865 he professed religion and later entered Bethel College at Russellville, Kentucky to study for the ministry, graduating with an A.B. degree in 1871. He then returned to Arkansas and was ordained as the minister at Washington, Arkansas in February of 1878.

On January 1, 1874, he was married to Miss S.A. Holland of Hopkinsville, Kentucky who preceded him in death on May 2, 1921. To this union were born two children, a daughter, Mary LeMay, who became the wife of H.H. Heard of Arkadelphia, and a son, William Gardner Forbes, both now deceased.

The Rev. Forbes served as pastor of Baptist churches in Washington, Arkadelphia, Little Rock, Lonoke, Texarkana, Lewisville and Prescott, all in Arkansas, and at Taylorsville, Kentucky.

Sometime in the 1880’s, he founded Arkadelphia High School, having bought the old blind school property there from the state, on which he, with others, founded Ouachita College.

To again use his exact language "A few things I am proud of: My connection with the Southern Army, my relation to Arkansas, my good wife, my college education in the state, and my success in winning men and women to Christ. I am thankful for God's many blessings, and my many friends without whom I could not have succeeded in any degree."

The Rev. Forbes became a Mason at Russellville, Ky. in 1868 and at the time of his death was a member of the Masonic Lodge and Chapter at Prescott.

(On his 90th birthday in 1934, the Rev. Nm A. Forbes presented me a brief sketch of his life in his handwriting, requesting that I publish some after his death. R.P. Hamby)

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