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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES FORSYTH, a highly respected citizen of Williamsburg and a veteran of the Civil War, was born in Chester County, England, August 4, 1828, son of Andrew and Anna (Hackett) Forsyth. Mr. Forsyth’s father was a native of Paisley, Scotland. He learned the trade of a silk weaver in Chester County, England, and followed that occupation through life. In 1857 he came to live with his son James in the United States, but in 1858 returned to England on a visit, and died there, aged seventy-five. Andrew Forsyth was the father of thirteen children, three of whom died young, and ten reached maturity; namely, John, James, William, Andrew, Thomas, Joseph, Mary, Hattie, Eliza, and Martha. Their mother died in this country in 1873.

At an early age James Forsyth entered the silk-mills in England, where he acquired the trade of a silk weaver, and became an expert workman. When he was twenty years old, he came to the United States, and obtained his first employment in this country at Lyman’s wagon factory in Manchester, Conn., where he worked one winter. He then secured a position as overseer and inspector in Thompsonville, Conn., from which place he came to Williamsburg, Mass., and was employed in the button factory of Thayer Brothers for one year, going thence to Northampton for the purpose of learning the trade of a wood turner. The skill acquired in this useful craft he was not long, it may be believed, in turning to good account. After spending a year in manufacturing bedsteads in Chester, Mass., he returned to Williamsburg, where he was engaged for five years in Thayer’s cabinet shops, and then went to Hadley to work for J. Adams in turning hubs. In 1862 he enlisted as a private in Company H, Fifty-second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, for nine months’ service in the Civil War, and faithfully discharged his duties in the ranks until overcome by illness at Baton Rouge, from which place he was sent to the Marine Hospital in New Orleans. After having served eleven months, he received his discharge from the army, and, recovering his health, returned to the employ of W. E. Thayer in Williamsburg, where he has since remained, being one of the most skilful workmen in his trade. He purchased a house in the village, but later sold that property, and moved to the vicinity of Skinnersville, and while residing there had the misfortune to lose his entire possessions in the flood of 1874, his family barely escaping with their lives. Being a man of energy and perseverance, he recovered from his losses, and now owns one of the most pleasant residences in the village.

On March 18, 1854, Mr. Forsyth was married to Margaret A. Stewart, who was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her father, Alexander Stewart, who was a prosperous farmer, of Scotch ancestry, is now dead. Mr. and Mrs. Forsyth have had four children, as follows: Anna, who married W. W. Nash, a farmer of Williamsburg, and has three children — Grace, Gertrude, and Ethel; Ellen I., who married W. E. Smith, a progressive farmer of North Chester, and has one daughter — Mabel; James A., who married Florence J. Merriam, and died at the age of twenty-five, having one son — Richard J.; and William A., a twin brother to James A., who married Margaret Joice, and resides in Paterson, N.J., having four children. Mr. and Mrs. Forsyth are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. Mr. Forsyth is a Republican in politics and a comrade of Post 86, Grand Army of the Republic.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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