John Forbes Papers, 1836-1963 | East Texas Research Center

Collection Overview

Title: John Forbes Papers, 1836-1963Add to your cart.

ID: A/63

Primary Creator: Forbes, John (1797-1880)

Extent: 1.0 Boxes

Arrangement: Consists of 26 items in 4 folders and 1 box.

Subjects: Forbes, John, 1797-1880 -- Correspondence, Genealogy, Judges -- Texas -- Nacogdoches, Legal documents, Texas. Army -- Records and correspondence, Trials -- Texas

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection contains legal papers, correspondence, business papers, Republic of Texas Army Commissary Records, and biographical and genealogical material on Forbes. There is a transcript of the David G. Burnet treason trial and papers relating to Sam Houston, David Crockett, and Andrew Jackson.

See Separated Materials for two volumes of transcripts of the Forbes vs. Labadie trial that include detailed testimony on the Battle of San Jacinto.

Collection Historical Note

John Forbes was born in Cork, Ireland in 1797. He immigrated to the United States around 1817 and settled first in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he married Emily Sophie Sisson. In 1834 they moved to Nacogdoches, Texas where Forbes became Chairman of the Committee of Vigilance and Public Safety. With Sam Houston he negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee Indians in 1835, and in 1836, as chief judge of Nacogdoches, Forbes administered Oaths of Allegiance to incoming Anglo-American settlers. During the Texas War of Independence, Forbes served as aide-de-camp to Houston, and was sent to Velasco to help Adjutant General John A. Wharton forward troops and supplies to the Texas Army. At the Battle of San Jacinto he was the Commissary General and drew criticism from disgruntled and hungry soldiers. Rumors grew up around camp about Forbes which later resurfaced in an article published in the 1859 Texas Almanac, by Nicholas Descomps Labadie, who served as a physician at the Battle of San Jacinto. Forbes sued Labadie for libel in a trial lasting from 1859 to 1866, at which time the suit ended in a draw with both parties ordered to pay their individual legal costs.


"FORBES, JOHN." The Handbook of Texas Online. Online at (Accessed 12 November 2003).

Subject/Index Terms

Forbes, John, 1797-1880 -- Correspondence
Judges -- Texas -- Nacogdoches
Legal documents
Texas. Army -- Records and correspondence
Trials -- Texas

Administrative Information

Repository: East Texas Research Center

Acquisition Method: Gift

Separated Materials:

John Forbes vs. Nicholas D. Labadie and Sidelights on The Battle of San Jacinto, compiled by R. B. Blake. Mimeograph. 2 vols.

See the R.W. Steen Library Catalog: F390.S52 1900x V.1, F390.S52 1900x V.2

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1],

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Wells Collection of Forbes Papers, 9 items, c.1836-1875Add to your cart.

Norton's Intelligencer (with a letter from Col. John Forbes relating early Texas newspaper history). Undated. Typescript. 6 p.

John Forbes, Nacogdoches, to L. Crosby. 2/5/1859. Typescript. 1 p.

J. Crosby, Austin, to John Forbes, Nacogdoches. 2/14/1859. Typescript. 1 p.

Statement of the Amt. of Public Money and Property taken at the Battle of St. Jacinto. Typescript. 1 p.

Certified account of accident occurring at the camp of San Jacinto by John Forbes. 1/24/1859. Typescript. 3 p.

The Republic of Texas in Account with Sundries. Undated. Typescript. 1 p.

Sundries Dr. to Texas (Lists names of men receiving amounts). Undated. Typescript. 1 p.

Statement certified by Forbes. Undated. Typescript. 1 p.

Copies of the John Forbes Papers in the Possession of Mr. John Wells. Duplicates some of the above documents and includes these others: Recipes for Laudanum and Paregoric; papers charging David G. Burnet with treason (1836); Republic of Texas Army Commissary records; letter from Col. John Forbes to Editors of the Galveston News; "To the Public," by N. D. Labadie; letters of Martin K. Snell, David G. Burnet, and Sam Houston. Typescript Carbon. 46 p.

Folder 2: Corporation of City of Nacogdoches Records, 3 items, 1855Add to your cart.
Typescript. 4 p. (East Texas Research Center has originals).
Folder 3: Newspaper Articles, 6 items, 1838-1963Add to your cart.

Telegraph and Texas Register, Houston, 4/28/1838. Handwritten Transcript. 2 p. (Anecdote about David Crockett).

Galveston Weekly News, "A Fact in History," 8/7/1855. Photocopy. 1 p.

Dallas News, "The Story of John Forbes," Undated. Typescript Carbon. 5 p. (Includes notes). (Letter from Forbes to Andrew Jackson).

Daily Sentinel, "Pioneer Leader," Undated. Newspaper Clipping. 1 p.

The Dallas Morning News, "Tolbert's Texas: Some Fascinating Testimony Found," 7/13/1958. Typescript Carbon. 1 p.

Daily Sentinel, "Stock Certificate Recalls Pioneer Railroad Venture," 7/8/1963. Newspaper Clipping. 1 p.

Folder 4: Biographical and Genealogical Materials, 6 items, UndatedAdd to your cart.

Handwritten Sketch of John Forbes' life. By Peyton F. Edwards? Undated. 3 p.

Typescript. 3 p.

Descendants of John Forbes. Typescript. 1 p.

John Forbes [Will]. Typescript. 1 p.

John Forbes, references to. Typescript. 1 p.

Forbes Notes on 1 League near Henderson. Photocopy. 2 p.


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