BIOGRAPHY AND GENEALOGY
Madison County, Alabama
Lavone Johnson Anglen
Richard Forsey was born October 01, 1795 in Somerset, England, Chard near Taunton. His parents were Richard Forsey and Mary Deane. He died November 7, 1855 in Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama. Richard Forsey became the third owner of the Bell Factory.
This was a large textile cotton mill run by slave labor. He was the third owner from 1829-1831.The location was 10 miles N. E. of Huntsville, south of the Three Forks of Flint River. Their products were spun cotton and woolen yarn, they wove sheeting, shirting, checks, plaids, and woolens. The mill buildings are no longer in existence. The buildings were torn down in1890’s and the bell is at Riverton High School. Bell Factory was the first plant to make cotton cloth, as well as yarn for commercial purposes. Incorporated in 1832 by an Act of Legislature it became Alabama’s second textile mill and Madison County’s first non-agriculture industry.
The spinning mill was erected in 1819. In the early years, Bell Factory was powered entirely by water and there was no way to signal employees with a whistle. Therefore, a large bell was used to make the signals and it was then called Bell Factory. The power to operate the mills came from the Flint River. Later steam power was used, but in the early history of the mill, slaves were employed. There is no information about the business of the mill during federal occupation in the 60’s.
From the Democrat Abstracts published at Huntsville, Alabama on April 11, 1837 Notice: George T. Jones, Joseph Rice and Richard Forsey commissioners to contract for and superintend building of a bridge across the Flint River at Three Forks. The Bridge at Tuscaloosa will be taken as a model.
Richard Forsey married 15 May 1827 Huntsville, first Elizabeth Stewart, daughter of Thomas Stewart and Martha Wilkinson. Elizabeth was born 08 September 1809, in Pittslyvania County, Virginia.
Elizabeth had three children,
- Mary Deane Forsey
- Martha Wilkinson Forsey
- Sarah Eliza Forsey
Sarah Eliza Forsey was born in 1839 and died in 1840. According to our records she died the same day as her mother, Elizabeth on Nov. 18, 1840. Richard Forsey married second Susan E. Shotwell 15 Dec 1842 in Madison County, Alabama. However, in 1850 Census, Susan was listed as an imbecile and sent a Tennessee Mental Hospital. No children were born to the second marriage and Susan died after 1880, in Jackson, Hinds, Mississippi where we found her in the census records at another mental hospital.
When Richard Forsey was 54 Susan was 28 years of age. Richard Forsey had about 50 slaves and he transferred them to his son-in-law, James Allan Boyd the husband of Mary Deane Forsey. With Richard Forsey’s 50 and James Allan Boyd’s 50 he had a total of 100 slaves on the Boyd Alabama plantation.
Children of Richard and Elizabeth Forsey:
- Mary Deane Forsey b. 26 Jul 1832 Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama d. 05 Jan 1910 Windsor, Henry Co., Missouri married James Allan Boyd 31 Oct 1848 in Huntsville, Alabama.
- Martha Wilkinson Forsey b. 1836 Madison County, Alabama d. 10 Feb 1876 New Market, Madison County, Alabama m. Abner Delaney Lansden on 1 Dec. 1852 in Madison County,
- Sarah Eliza Forsey b. 1839 Huntsville, Madison Co., Alabama d. 18 Nov, 1840 in Maysville, Madison Co., Alabama.
- “Centennial History of Washington County, Indiana” by Warder W. Stevens pg. 613. Many of the other Forsey brothers ran cotton mills in Washington Co., Indiana.
- 1850 US Federal Census, Huntsville, Madison Co., Alabama
- Huntsville Times –Huntsville Sesquicentennial –September 11-17, 1955
- Alabama Records Vol. 97 Madison Probate Record 31- pg. 80 Chancery Suites Compiled by Marriage, Death, and Legal Notices from Early Alabama Newspapers 1819-1893 by Pauline Jones Gandrud pg. 321.
- The Democrat Abstracts published at Huntsville, Alabama.
- Alabama Records Volume 116 Madison County, compiled by Pauline Jones Gandrud pg. 32
This information was provided by Lavone Johnson Anglen, Richard Forsey was my third great-grandfather through Mary Deane Forsey.
University United Methodist Church, Kansas City, Kansas, Records, 1919-2009, Members, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, Ministers by Lavone Johnson Anglen
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