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May 16, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part V

Arson_5_Forbes Death

John S. Forbes

On March 31st, Floyd Forbes of Lynchburg received word that his father, John S. Forbes, was dying. On April 3rd, the old man died of complications of exposure. The next day, The Times-Dispatch ran a brief obituary:

John S. Forbes

Wert, Va., April 4. – Mr. John S. Forbes, of near this place, died yesterday at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. Mr. Forbes had his entire property destroyed by an incendiary about thirty days ago, and the excitement and exposure incident to the fire is thought to be the immediate cause of his death.

He was surrounded by his children and relatives and his death caused no surprise owing to his extreme old age and the trying ordeal through which he has just passed. Interment will take place to-morrow in the family burying ground.

Presumably, Floyd Forbes arrived from Lynchburg before his father’s death. Annis and Janie were no doubt by his side. John’s son, Charles J. Forbes, however, was not in attendance. He had not returned home since the night of the fire.

On April 6, 1904, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times printed:

Gone to “enter into his rest” is the spirit of the late Mr. Jno. S. Forbes. Never having recovered from the awful effects of the unprecedented and unmerciful and fiendish burning of which he was made the victim not long since, he lingered in a semi-conscious state until yesterday evening at four o’clock, when his spirit “returned unto the God who gave it.” This is the sequel to the most awe-inspiring and shocking piece of the incendiary’s work that was ever wrought in this county. Such was the effect upon the family, who alone witnessed it, that the impression was made upon their minds that the day of judgment had arrived. And this was a perfectly natural impression. In fact, I cannot well see how any other impression could well have been had of this awful scene, when one awakens out of sleep to find nine or ten buildings on fire at the same time. Like the great civil war, it was “sufficient to try the very souls of men.”

Mr. Forbes will be buried on the place where the burning took place, at the old homestead, on Tuesday, April 5, at one o’clock.

Coming Next: Sensational Arrest!

Need to catch up? Click here for The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part I

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