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John Forbes Papers

Identifier: A-0063

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1836-1963


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

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).


0.20 Cubic Feet


The collection consists of 24 items in four folders and one clamshell box.

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

Guide to the John Forbes Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository