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September 29, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

Extra: Charles J. Forbes

arson_39a_extra_forbes_charlie

Charles J. Forbes

On July 28, 1904, The Times-Dispatch printed a photo of Charles J. Forbes, son of the late John S. Forbes, accused of burning his father’s home and property. Charlie was twenty-five years old and had been in jail since May 22nd awaiting trial. According to the newspaper:

Young Charlie Forbes is one of the handsomest men in Buckingham county. The picture does not do him full justice. He is a fine specimen of the perfect physical young man; weighs 170 pounds and can carry under each arm a 200-pound bag of guano. He does not talk and will ask to see no one except his sister and his attorneys.

Young. Handsome. Impressively strong. This does not sound like a man with a drinking problem. During his incarceration, Charlie Forbes was a model prisoner.

If he was guilty of arson, what would have motivated him to destroy his father’s property and, by implication, his own inheritance?

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