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Below is a family biography included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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W. M. Forbes, who has been engaged in an insurance, real estate and loan business at Topeka since February, 1886, is one of the leading insurance men of Shawnee County, and is also one of Topeka’s well-known and representative citizens. Mr. Forbes was born in Decatur County, Indiana, February 28, 1847, and is a son of John G. and Elizabeth (Mathews) Forbes.

The Forbes family came originally from Scotland. The parents of our subject removed to Black Hawk County, Iowa, when he was small. The father was a farmer and there the family was reared and the parents passed away.

W. M. Forbes was educated in the district schools, the Upper Iowa University at Fayette and the State University at Iowa City, where he was graduated with the degree of A. B., in 1873, and in law, in 1874. He then engaged in teaching school for a time, and for two years was principal of the Burlington city schools. He then settled at Beatrice, Nebraska, where he practiced law for seven years and also was engaged in a banking business at Table Rock. In the early spring of 1886 he came to Topeka and has been engaged in his present line ever since, and is now located at No. 107 West Seventh street. He gives his main attention to fire and tornado insurance risks and represents these leading companies: Royal, of Liverpool, England; Insurance Company of North America, Philadelphia; St. Paul Fire & Marine, Minneapolis; Pennsylvania Fire, Philadelphia; National Fire, Hartford, Connecticut; Phoenix, Hartford; and Springfield Fire & Marine, of Massachusetts.

Mr. Forbes was married in Iowa to Lucretia Parsons, a native of Illinois, and they have four sons, viz: Robert L., a farmer; Frank, associated with his father; Carroll, mining engineer with the Victoria Mining Company, a graduate of the Michigan State School of Mines; and Roy, who is a student in the junior year at the Topeka High School.

Mr. Forbes’ pleasant home is situated at No. 328 Woodlawn avenue, Potwin Place, and he served two years as mayor of this suburb and for 10 years was a member of the School Board. Fraternally, he is a Master Mason, and for the past 10 years has been national treasurer of the Knights and Ladies of Security. He belongs to the official board of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a man who stands very high in the estimation of his fellow-citizens, both in his personal relations and as an honorable business factor.

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This family biography is one of 206 biographies included in History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens by James L. King, published by Richmond & Arnold, 1905.  For the complete description, click here: Shawnee County, Kansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Shawnee County, Kansas family biographies here: Shawnee County, Kansas

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