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October 13, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

The Famous Forbes Case of Buckingham County: Part XLIII



Has Forbes Confessed?

During the month of September, when the story of the Forbes case fell quiet in other newspapers, the weekly Appomattox and Buckingham Times kept its readers interested in the outcome of this mysterious crime. On September 7, 1904, the newspaper ran the following sensational headline:



Sunday Hon. E. W. Hubard, attorney for the Commonwealth, was here on a visit to Congressman Flood. He reported that a rumor was rife in Farmville that Charlie Forbes had made a full and complete confession, and that the language to be used in his confession had been reduced to writing and was in the hands of someone and would be produced at his trial, which is to take place on Tuesday after second Monday in October – the regular term of Court.

A special telegram to our correspondent at Buckingham elicits no response as to the truthfulness of the report, and it is fair to presume that there is nothing in the Forbes’ reported confession.

The rumor spread like wildfire before a cyclone, and the wires to Farmville were soon hot with enquiries. Up to this hour no one has been able to find the originator of the rumor.

The interest in this case has not abated and the good people of the county are determined that no effort shall be spared in running the guilty down; and the public is aiding the Commonwealth in every way it is possible for it to do so.

“The blot upon the fair name of old Buckingham shall be avenged,” said a citizen the other day.

Indeed, the citizens of “Old Buckingham” were understandably concerned about the reputation of their county, as well as the justice due the Forbes family.

On September 14th, unsurprisingly, Quoit commented from Buckingham Courthouse on the rumor about Charlie Forbes:

Our people are at a loss to know how the rumor started that Charlie Forbes had made a confession as to the burning of his father’s property. The rumor seems to have originated a long distance from this place. We had heard no such report, when telegrams were received by the writer, from West Appomattox and Richmond, asking if such was true. Of course we thereupon made diligent inquiry of those who were in a position to know, if such were true, and were informed that there were no grounds whatever for any such report. It seems that the people must have something sensational in this case, even though it has been manufactured out of the solid. Of course it is mysterious, viewed in the most conservative light; and facts are capable of imposing the greatest suspicions, without adding fiction thereto. Forbes’ condition is reported so much improved as to place him out of danger from the effects of the typhoid fever from which he has been suffering.

Miss Janie Forbes, who has been very ill for a week or more past, is going about; and has resumed her vigil about the bedside of her yet feeble brother.

Coming soon: The Famous Forbes Case

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

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