Philip J. Forbes Diary
The Philip J. Forbes Diary was written between
1848 - 1876. The last known location of the
original diary was in the possession of Forbes
Fancher, 149 N. Broadway, Yonkers, N. Y. Forbes
Fancher was the son of Elizabeth Forbes Fancher,
daughter of Philip J. Forbes and sister of John
Forbes. The diary was copied by hand on October
24, 1945, by Arthur C. Forbes, son of John Forbes,
from a typed copy made by Forbes Fancher, March
23, 1940. There are a few places where the
information was cut out of the diary and will be
The page numbering is from the type written copy,
and differ from the hand written copy as well as
the original diary.
184_ ...yellow fever at Staten Isd.
" Sep. Oct. Project a reading Room up town but abandon the plan for want
of a suitable place.
1848 Oct. Made agreement to purchase house in Tompkinsville 35.00 --
100 payable 15 Nov. 100 payable in March - rest on mortgage.
Nov. 8 Salary put up to my old mark $[page cut out here] That fellow I
has been my enemy throughout and it now appears wants to
supplant me in my situation --
1848 Dec. 2nd Cholera a Quarantine, brot by Packet Ship New York from Havre
Dec. 11th Paid J. B. Wood #100 on a/c as per agreements
for ...Tompkinville...while...and///inally one day after
date, with interest [page partly cut out]
1849 June Cholera appears in New York
July 16 A girl born 10 hours and 10 minutes P. M. Dr. Smith of Staten Island.
Sep. 13, 1849 Margaret Sarah Forbes [his sister] married in Trinity Church New
York to Rev. Samuel Hollingsworth, by Bishop Jackson Kemper of Wisconsin.
[clipping from newspaper pasted in the diary]
At Trinity Church on Thursday, Sept. 13th, by the Right Rev. Jackson Kemper,
D. D., the Rev. SAMUEL HOLLIGSWORTH to MARGARET SARAH, the daughter of
the late John Forbes.
On the 12th inst. by the Rev. John C. Lowrie, Rev. SLATOR C. HEPBURN, of
Lockhaven, Penn. to ANNA MARIA BOYD, daughter of the late Samuel Boyd of
1849 Dec. 7, paid J. B. Wood interest ½ year 1 May to 1 Nov. $119---
1850 John W. Forbes sailed for California Feb. 21st via Panama.
Settled with N. by [illegible word here] Laus. deo.
1864 We have never heard from John since the first year of his absence.
Apr. 6 Saturday Went to Pokeepsie to attend the funeral of W. Wilson's
son John, who died of consumption. A most worthy young man,
his betrothed was there, a sad scene. Such as I never saw
before or wish to see again.
1850 April 20th. Saturday 3½ P. M. Elizabeth Forbes baptised in Trinity
Church by Rev. H. Weston. Our two boys John and Phil one 4 years the
other 2½ were with us, Sponsors, we, the parents.
Pd. Wood his ½ years interest $119.
1850 May 17th Samuel Holigsworth and Margaret his wife sailed for Liverpool
in Ship Manhattan, Captian Hackstaff-- They are to make the tour
Garden completed cost $5.
1850 Nov. 8th. Paid J. B. Wood ½ years interest, he considers the
terms forfeited by my nonpayment of moneys agreed
Since Sep 29th E. has evinced symptoms of being enceinte-- due 27 June
next. Great doubt about remaining on Staten Island.
1850 October-- agreed to let William and his family have the half of the
front part of their farm at Oswego at $20 per acre-- the value double
that-- they are to build a house
1851 Spring 1851 Gave up agreement to purchase house on Staten Island,
too near the Village. Agree to pay $250 a year rent.
July 11th 1851 Friday the sad news of the death of my dear Sister Frances
wife of A. Jackson at their residence Chicago Illinois, Maria went two
weeks ago to see her on sudden notice. Alas! Alas! and is this the
close of her devoted life? She leaves 2 Boys one of 14 one 10 or 11.
and 1 girl younger-- names Obadiah, Francis and Alice.
Wednesday July 16th 1851. a girl born at 2 P. M. Laus Deo for the
many blessings! these children are all free from any natural defects.
Wednesday October 23rd. This morning a 9½ o'clock was baptised in
Trinity Church New York--Martha Forbes our fourth child, named after
he Grandmother, my Mother (P. J. F.) the ceremony was by Dr.
Jonathan M. Wainwright
1852 January. Recd. from James his Daguerreotype likeness for Ma. by the
hands of Mr. Money.
[Newspaper clipping]: MARRIED
At St. Luke's Church, on Tuesday morning, April 20, by Rev. Isaac H. Tuttle,
Jonas Stremmell, to Catherine M., daughter of the late John Forbes.
1852 April 20. Catherine Martha Forbes, my Sister, the 5th daughter in order
of birth, of Martha and John Forbes, and the 3rd now living (Jane
and Frances being deceased.) was married to Jonas Stremmell at
St. Luke's Church, this (Tuesday morning.) by the Rev. Mr. Tuttle. at
10½ o'clock, in presence of our relations, and a large congregation after
which she received the congratulations of her friends and the
pupils of her school,...in the porch of the church, as they
retired, and then proceeded on her wedding excursion via Railroad to
Mem. We are unsettled in regard to a dwelling as the owner wishes to sell
the house we have occupied since November 1848.
June 19. Sent Daguerreotype of Ma to James.
1852. June 20 Started for trip to West. went to chicago, Milwaukie, Galena,
St. Louis--Ohio River--Cincinatti, Aberdeen 60 miles above, C.retd.
by Cleaveland, Dunkirk, Erie Railroad, Jersey. arrived home on
sunday Morning July 16th 1852. At Chicago saw Fanny's 2 boys &
October 1852 Maria Forbes went to Chicago to take charge of Fanny's
family-- Catherine came from White Plains and took Maria's school.
November early Ma came on a visit to us at Staten Island where we remain
in the same house at $300 a year rent being an increase of $50.
James wrote to me and I received his letter the fall acknowledging the
receipt of Ma's Daguerreotype.
Nov. 11, 1852 Sunday. Snow squall today P. M. Boys John and Phil go into
Mam. on the way to another baby-- 5 months.
December 1852. Library building in Broadway sold at private sale by
Trustees to D. D. Howard of Irving Place for $110,000-- Cost about
$130,000. I think it should have been sold at auction and would have
brought at least $120,000-- a great speculative era.
Wrote to James 28 Dec. 1852.
Think of getting a temporary building for the Library, and perhaps quartering
February 21st. 1853, at ¼ before 10 o'clock A. M. Monday was born at
our house Staten Island, Mary Carroll Forbes 10 ½ A. M. Mother and
child both very well. Laus Deo! black hair and eyes and uncommonly large
child. Dr. Anderson and Mrs. Mary Carroll present also Mrs. McLean, nurse
to Bessy and Patty.
1853 August Paid R. L. Cooke $1500 on the place-- got deeds
Nov. Paid C. G. Vermilye for Abstract of title and Recording, etc. also
for drawing bond and mortgage altogether $20.
Nov. 21 Paid Bartlett insurance premium as pd by him $2.42. and gave a
note to Staten Island Mutual Insurance Co. for $120. to be paid in
instalments as called for in case of loss-- I understand they have a
surplus and may not require any of this amt--
Page 4 to the right - top of page
January, Mary Carroll Forbes our dear and beautiful babe died on the
21st January at 2 h. 25 m. A. M. of water on the brain we deposited
her remains in the family vault of St. Luke's Church, Hudson St.,
NYork, on Sunday the 22nd. clear cool day.
May 1854 The House at Abingdon Square given up. Ma goes with
Margaret, Catharine and her husband go to reside at Astoria. The
Jacots remain in 4th St. Maria at Chicago-- no news for a long time from
James. As for John we doubt ever hearing from him again.
Cholera Summer. lost many acquaintances. A year of great disaster by sea
and land. Arctic lost Sept. 26.
December 10th. 1854. ¼ before 2 A. M. a boy born. Mother and Child
doing well. (Charlie)
January 1855. Sat. 13. Went up North River. Pokeepsie and Stockport
paid Maria interest on $200 due her for purchase of Boyd Place
April 24. Library election change of Trustees at my instigation and approval.
May 18. Recd notice to resign-- this is my wedding day--10 years--
June July and Aug collect money from members of Library to assist me...
Sep. 1855. Having hired a Room in Bway 371. try to commence a list
of Reading Room and agency but am delayed in consequence of
my debts and heavy family expenses, linger along paying rent for a
Room at $275 a year till December then after getting $200 from .. Jacot
finally open Room about middle of December-- but up to January 12 but
little done by a few subscribers-- friends from Library--look about for
orders and advertise some little-- several favorable notices in the
papers; but do not produce much effect. Still the "Ingenium perfervidum
sectorum" sustains me and hope, hopes on. Samuel Hollingsworth loans
or gives me $220 on the 10th of January. This will be absorbed in debts--
very urgent- and this 13th January 1856 50th birthday finds me, with
my family, (a wife, three boys, John Philip and Charles(the latter not yet
christened) two girls-- Elizabeth and Martha living beyond my means,
much in debt, no business established--age coming on and not
robust, tho' of full habit of body., looking forward into the future with
feelings of doubt and apprehension, tho' thank God of pretty good
courage. Friends have contributed some hundreds of dollars to aid
me, and if I can build up a little business, by means of an agency for
buying books etc, or by a Circulating Library-- well-- but i find no one
having confidence in my success; but great doubt. The Lord and Giver of
life will, I trust shield me from the rude blasts of want and woe. Much
sympathy is felt for me, tho' many care naught. And I must try, and not
flinch from effort.
Further research indicates that
Philip Jones Forbes married
Elizabeth Anastasia Carroll, and
was the son of John & Martha
August 14th 1856. Charles Forbes. Baptised in Trinity Church by Rev.
Morgan Dix-- son of Mrs. Catharine Dix, the Ward and adopted daughter
of John I. Morgan. [Actually John Jordan Morgan]
Apr. 20, 1857 Library Election-- a Resolution offered to employ me--
yelped down by three or four Catiffs-- too mean to name here.
Macmillen kicked out with contempt--so much for this chapter of
June 1857 Robert C. Skidmore my mother's brother dies a single man--
leaving Ma $500 per annum for her life-- the bulk else to his brothers and
family-- naught to me--well Fiat Justitia--
10 February (Wednesday) 1858 My eldest brother William John Forbes dies
at his residence Minetta, Oswego Co., N. Y. age 62 years. Letter from
his daughter Jane.
1861 April 2-- My dear and venerable mother died at Astoria L. I. after
residing with her daughter Catharine for some few years past. buried in
St. Luke's vault, our family vault where my remains must soon be
Eliza wife of Burtis Skidmore died next after Robert. [March 6, 1859] Burtis
Skidmore dies next after his wife-- for whom he had greatly grieved. date to be
added [November 1, 1860] Then Ma. [April 2, 1861]
In July 1863 Aunt Frences [Skidmore] Norsworthy, Ma's only sister dies--
In Aug. (Friday 26.) 1864. Fanny daughter of above died, aged about 45 years--
Disease of the heart had long afflicted her.
[Newspaper Clipping]: Norsworthy-- At the Powelton House, Newburg, on
Friday, 26th inst., Fanny M., daughter of Samuel and Frances Norsworthy,
deceased, of this city.
The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend her
funeral at the Church of Ascension, corner Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, on
Tuesday, 30th inst., at 10½ o'clock A. M.
Leaves a considerable Estate, no will- hence much trouble for her sister
Mary Shepard a woman with no husband who they say nothing of the
eldest sister a very bad case--
1869 from Chicago Tribune [Newspaper clipping]:
BRADFORD-JACKSON-- At Chicago, on Wednesday, June 9, by the Rev. Samuel
Hollingsworth, of Portchester, N. Y., NATHANIEL G. BRADFORD, Jr. of New
York, to ALICE MARY, only daughter of the late Obadiah Jackson, of Chicago.
BRADFORD-JACKSON--In this city on the 9th inst., at the bride's [con't page 6]
[con't from page 5]
residence, by the Rev. Samuel Hollingsworth, D. D., of Port Chester, N. Y., to
Alice Mary, only daughter of the late Obadiah Jackson, of this city.
1869, 21 June Monday morning suddenly Maria Forbes dies at Chicago, a
well spent useful life age 71.
[Newspaper clipping]: EDGERTON-CARROLL,-- in New York, on Wednesday,
April 20, by the Rev. Dr. Seabury, assisted by Rev. H. Hovey, the Rev. E.
Augustus Edgerton to Emma C. Reeve, the youngest daughter of the late
James R. Carroll.
Albany papers please copy.
John Forbes to Blanch Purcell Jan. 29, 1871 sunday
[Newspaper clipping]: FORBES-SCHELL.-- At Glenwood, the residence of the
bride's parents, on Thursday, June 19, by Rev. Dr. Betts, rector of St. John's
church, New Hartford, Conn., PHILIP J. FORBES, Jr., of Brooklyn, to ANNA T.,
eldest daughter of Henry S. Schell, Esq.
1873. Martha Forbes married June 26 to William H. Tremayne by Dr. Diller
[Newspaper clipping] 1876: SKIDMORE-- On Wednesday evening, March 22, at
his residence, No. 36 Clinton Place, William R. Skidmore, in the 85th year of his
The relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend the
funeral, from the Central Methodist Episcopal church, on 7th av., near 14th st.,
on Saturday morning, March....half past ten o'clock
Note: P. J. Forbes I died June 7, 1877 about a year after the above. I shall try
to locate the remainder of the diary mentioned on the next page.
Births and Deaths of Skidmore family from inscriptions on Tomb in Greenwood
Samuel [Lemuel] Skidmore Born March 16, 1755 Died 17 Feb. 1844
Ann Wife of Lemuel Skidmore born May 15, 1753 died June 6, 1831
Lemuel L. Skidmore born 2d Dec. 1788 died Dec. 29, 1826
Robert C. Skidmore born Feb. 10, 1796 died May 31, 1857
Burtis Skidmore born Ap. 19, 1799 died Nov. 1, 1860
Eliza Skidmore born Dec. 9, 1799 died March 6, 1859
James W. Skidmore born Jan. 1828 Died July 24, 1832
[Note]: Martha Skidmore Forbes died 1861 buried in Forbes Family Vault in St.
Lukes Church Hudson St. NYC
Norsworthy Family from Tomb in Greenwood Cemetery
Samuel Norsworthy born (in England) Feb. 3, 1770 Died Dec. 26, 1828
John B. Norsworthy born Nov. 17, 1809 died Jan. 6, 1838
William S. Norsworthy born Sep. 20[?] 1811 died Sep. 14, 1841
Samuel Norsworthy born 22 Dec. 1817 died March 1, 1841 [?]
Amelia Norsworthy [Skidmore] born Oct. 13, 1822 died May 20, 1850
Frances Norsworthy wife of S. N. died July 1863 [Aunt of P. J. Forbes, only
sister of Martha (Skidmore) Forbes]
Frances Norsworthy [daughter of above] died Aug. 26, 1864
Caroline Norsworthy wife of Silas N. Stilwell
This concludes the entries by my Grandfather, Philip J. Forbes, in his
handwriting, in the diary of blank book in my possession. About 40 pages,
apparently written upon, had been carefully cut from the book prior to my
receiving it. I think that this book was given to me by my uncle, Harold Forbes,
son of Philip, and father of Alex, Elizabeth, and other cousins of mine.
Forbes Fancher, March 23, 1940.