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Samuel Forwood – Part III – a true pioneer of Alabama born 1799 – written by him




Friday Morning, May 11th , 1888.


A Native of Harford County, Md., now a Resident of Gosport, Ala. Written for Preservation in the Archives of the Harford Historical Society.


(continued from Part II)

I have never traveled on a pleasure trip, except after my marriage to my present wife. We took a trip to my old home, in Harford Co., Md. We started from Alabama in May, 1835, and had in company with us Sarah Hays, a daughter of Col. Hays. We went up the Alabama river by steamboat to Montgomery, and from there we went partly by stage and partly by railroad to Charleston, South Carolina, and thence by ship to New York, returning by Philadelphia, Baltimore and Bel Air to my old birth-place of Deer Creek, in Harford Co., Md. We spent the summer there, principally with my brothers, John, William, Jacob and Parker, and visited my mother-in-law, Mrs. Duckett Stump, and my little son, whom she was raising, now a large man, Dr. W. Stump Forwood, of Darlington.

View of the Alabama River from a bridge in Claiborne, Alabama 2010 (Carol Highsmith, Library of Congress)

Death of father

During our journey to my old home, on arriving in Baltimore, I received the sad news of the death of my father, which occurred on the 22d day of May 1835, some weeks before our arrival. Having bought lands, and needing hands to work them, I had prepared myself with means to purchase negroes. I bought eight, and had a girl already there that my father had given me before, and which I had left in his charge. In the fall I bought six horses, a wagon, and a general outfit. Also, a two-horse barouche for myself and wife to ride in. We left Maryland on our return trip in the latter part of September, and journeyed by the way of Baltimore, and from thence by steamboat to Norfolk, Virginia, taking teams and horses and all of us aboard. John Carr, an excellent teamster, and a young man, a carpenter, named Daniel Miller, accompanied us out to Alabama. We were landed by the steamboat at Norfolk, and ferried across to Portsmouth, and in about thirty days made the trip to our home in Alabama.

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My military history and other jobs

Now, I will give you a sketch of my military, civil and political history. I am called here “Col.” Forwood, but I never held a grade above Captain, and that was in a company of militia at Dublin, Md. George Forsythe and John Daugherty (the latter highly respected and successful citizen is still living, April, 1888, and is still residing in the village of Dublin,—W.S.F.), were my 1st and 2nd Lieutenants.

I succeeded Capt. Albert. John B. Ford had been Capt. Albert’s Lieutenant, and was my opponent for office. I, however, received the unanimous vote of the company, though I had not solicited the office. I resigned in the fall, before leaving for Alabama, and George Forsythe was elected to fill my place. Thus ended my military career. I have been postmaster at Gosport perhaps in all twenty years at different times; have been Justice of the Peace, Township School Superintendent, executor and administrator of several estates, in two of which the bonds given were $60,000. each, and have in no instance been a defaulter. I have been agent for several wealthy parties, one in New York and one in Nashville, Tennessee. Am now, and have been for many years, the statistical reporter for the United States Agricultural Department at Washington City, also the reporter for the State Department at Auburn, Alabama, for this county (Clarke) for a long time. These reports are made every month.

Dr. Neal Smith, a doctor in Clarke County, Alabama (Alabama Department of Archives and History)


I have always taken a lively interest in politics. I was brought out by friends as a candidate for Representative in the Legislature in 1839, and with a popular man as my opponent. There were over sixty votes cast at my voting place, and I received all of them. At the voting place of my opponent I got 12 votes, which made a tie at one or two boxes. In the entire county, I was elected by a majority of one or two hundred votes. The Capital was then at Tuscaloosa. Col. G. W. Creagh, a warm and ever faithful friend of mine, was at the same time elected Senator in our county, over Dr. Neal Smith, who opposed him for the office. A. P. Bagly, a talented lawyer of Monroe county, was at the same elected Governor. I was again brought out as a candidate for the Legislature in 1859, and was defeated. In 1865 I was brought out as a Delegate to a Constitutional Convention, after the war, and was elected. The Radical party displaced us, and they held another Convention in 1867, and kept us under Radical rule until 1875. In the latter year I was again elected to a Constitutional Convention, and George Houston, one of the best men in the United States, was elected Governor, and there was the end of the Radical party in Alabama.

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In 1876 I was, without opposition, elected Representative in the State Legislature. Judge R. C. Torry, of Claiborne, was elected Senator and Delegate from Monroe county, and we roomed together both sessions, at Montgomery. So ended my political life, that of a life-long Democrat. I still take an active interest for my friends, and our voting box at Gosport keeps up a good Democratic reputation yet. The negroes go with us in our local elections. I will now return again to Harford county. I have read the REMINISCENCES OF GEORGE W. HENSEL, beginning in 1828. I can go back to 1824. I knew and recollect many of the persons named by Mr. Geo. W. Hansel, but I did not know him. Joseph Worthington, Esq., was a prominent man in my youthful days. He lived near Darlington (on the farm now, 1888, owned and occupied by Dr. John Sappington.—W.S.F.) John Quarles, who lived on the south side of Darlington, was also a prominent man, and was conspicuous as a man of learning. Mrs. Bagly-had two sons, George and Orrick, and some half dozen daughters, refined and beautiful girls.

Attended Friends’ Meeting

Wm. Hays and myself, in our trips to the old Friends’ Meeting, have often spent pleasant evenings there. Also at Squire Worthington’s before mentioned. He had two clever sons, Charles and James, and a number of pretty daughters. One of the latter, Sally, married Wm. Ely. My first wife and I “waited upon them,” in 1825. I have often heard Mrs. Susannah Jewett preach, when the spirit moved her, in the old Friends’ Meeting House. Have also heard Nicholas Cooper preach at the same place.

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Prominent men

There was living near Bald Friar Ferry two or three prominent men by name, John Richey, David Wells and Cooper Boyd, who were frequently engaged in litigation with each other, of the merits of which I know nothing, but they rarely ever missed a court at Bel Air. At that time Stevenson Archer was the Judge; Henry Dorsey was the Clerk for many years; Thomas A. Hays was Judge of the Orphans’ Court, and Thomas Bond was the Register. Dr. Dorsey was the physician to the almshouse, and Jason Moore was the Sheriff. The merchants were Thos. A. & N. Hays, and John Robinson; hotelkeepers Wm. McClaskey, Stephen Jones and Wm. Richardson, the latter being the most prominent. John Kean, a most excellent man, was also a Sheriff. There were a number of lawyers practicing in Bel Air. I only recollect the names of Israel Maulsby, Albert Constable, Wm. B. Bond and Otho Scott. The latter became the most prominent of them all. He married Louisa Boarman, a sister of Benj. W. Boarman, a neighbor and a life-long friend of mine. We often visited Mr. Scott, and he was one of my best friends. He gave me some advice that was of gieat importance to me in after years. The last time I ever saw him was at Aberdeen, Harford county, in 1858, when on my last visit to my native county. My father and mother, also my first wife, Rachel, and my brother Parker’s first wife, Harriet, a daughter of Jason Moore, were all buried at Waiter’s Meeting House. I had tombstones put up at their graves. I knew Henry G. Watters, a prominent man, and members of that church, the Methodist denomination, at Thomas’ Run, and when on a visit to Maryland I contributed some money to have the graves kept in order.

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My mother was a Methodist and my father was an Episcopalian. My sisters were all Methodist, also was brother William and his wife and some of their children. I am also a member of the Methodist Church at this place, Gosport, and have been for nearly 50 years. My wife belongs to the Baptist Church at Suggsville. She has been a member for a longer time than I have. We have followed the traditions of our mothers. My mother was a Methodist and her mother was a Baptist. My father was a prominent politician, and was for many years a Justice of the Peace. For about seventeen years he was a member of the Maryland Legislature, and during a portion of that time was one of the Governor’s council. He was the administrator of several estates, and was President of the Conowingo Bridge Co. He was also the guardian of several orphan children, and always had crowds of prominent men visiting him on public business. When I was quite young I remember that he had in keeping a number of fine horses, for Dr. Jas. Archer, for a considerable length of time. Dr. Archer moved to near Vicksburg, Miss., by land. The removal was conducted by Philip Albert.  John Forwood, son of Jacob, a first cousin of my father’s, was one of the Representatives in the Legislature at the same time that my father was (and considerable confusion has resulted from two of the same name, from the same county, being members of the Legislature at the same time. —W.S.F.) He lived on Swan Creek, in what was called the “Neck” Dr. Elisha Davis, of the same neighborhood, was the State Senator. And later Dr. Brownlee was also Senator, succeeding Dr. Davis. My father was President of the Stage Company that ran from Baltimore to West Chester, Pa.

Stopping place to change horses

There was a stopping place at his house, and a change of horses and drivers there. John Carr and Stephen Rigdon were the stage drivers. Carr was one of the best teamsters that I ever met with. In 1830 he was the stage driver as far as Oxford, when I was on my way to New York, and in 1835, when I was revisiting Harford county, he was still the driver. During that summer I bought four unbroken horses, out of droves, two in Bel Air and two in Baltimore, got him (Carr) to put them to the stage and break them for me. I bought others, already broken, at my father’s estate sale, and I engaged him (Carr,) in the fall of that year, 1835, to drive my team out to Alabama. And after thirty days travel my horses were in better condition than when they left Harford county.

One pair that I had given $150. for, sold readily for $250 I could name many of the prominent men of Harford of that day, but will mention only a few of them. James Steele was quite a celebrated surveyor, and spent a great deal of his time at my father’s. He was once elected to the Legislature. Michael and William Whiteford were frequent visitors, and were from the same neighborhood as Steel. Dr. John Archer, the elder, and father of several popular sons, viz: Drs. James, John and Robert, and Judge Stevenson Archer, who was brother-in-law to my best friend, Col. H. H. B. Hays, of Alabama, were all well-known to us Then there were Archer Hays, Thos. A. Hays. Nat .S. Hays, James McClaskey, of Herbert’s Cross Roads; John Moores, of Bynum’s Run, his sons, James and Paca Moores; Samuel Bradford, Benj. and Elisha Guyton, of Bel Air; John Cain, Henry Ruff, Parker Lee, Ralph Clarke John Henderson, Robert W. Holland, Harry Bussey, Edward Bussey, Jas. Monks.

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Volume I – IV: Four Volumes in One

The first four Alabama Footprints books have been combined into one book,

From the time of the discovery of America restless, resolute, brave, and adventurous men and women crossed oceans and the wilderness in pursuit of their destiny. Many traveled to what would become the State of Alabama. They followed the Native American trails and their entrance into this area eventually pushed out the Native Americans. Over the years, many of their stories have been lost and/or forgotten. This book (four-books-in-one) reveals the stories published in volumes I-IV of the Alabama Footprints series.

ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS – Volume I – IV: Four Volumes in One


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