Forsyth County - Famous People

Famous People

John Forsyth

Forsyth County was named after John Forsyth, born 22 Oct 1780 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and died 21 Oct 1841 in Washington, D. C. His father, Robert Forsyth, was the first U. S. Marshall to be killed in the line of duty in 1794. He obtained a law degree from (now) Princeton University in 1799, leading him to a career in politics. He served in the House of Representatives from 1813 until 1818 and again from 1823 until 1827 and in the United States Senate from 1818 until 1819 and again from 1829 until 1834. From 1827 until 1829 he was elected as Governor of Georgia and served as United States Secretary of State from 1834 until his death in 1841. He is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. While never having visited the county named for him, he is worthy of mention as he was instrumental in its creation.

Hardy Strickland

Hardy Strickland was born 24 Nov 1818 in Madison County (some sources have Jackson County,) Georgia and died 24 Jan 1884 in Cobb County, Georgia. After the formation of Forsyth County in 1832, Hardy Strickland moved to Forsyth County and settled on land next to the Etowah River. He found gold on his land and between 1840 and 1856 made several deposits at the Dahlonega Mint. He became wealthy and influential to the point where he became a member of the Georgia State Legislature, serving from 1847 and 1858. He, together with Hiram Parks Bell (see below) was a member of the Secession Convention, like Bell voting against secession. During the Civil War he served as a representative from Georgia in the Confederate Congress between 1862 and 1864. He invested all of his wealth in Confederate War Bonds which became worthless after the end of the war. He declared bankruptcy soon afterwards, losing all of his land in Forsyth County. He and his wife moved to Cobb County where he died and was buried at Liberty Hill Cemetery in Acworth, Georgia.

Hiram Parks Bell

Hiram Parks Bell was born 19 Jan 1827 in Jackson County, Georgia and died 17 Aug 1907 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Joseph Scott Bell and Rachel Phinazee. He moved, with his father, in 1838 to Forsyth County and entered the Academy of Cumming in February 1847 where he met Virginia Margaret Lester who would later become his wife. In 1849 he taught in the Academy at Ellijay, Georgia and read law. He was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1849. After his marriage in 1850, he returned to Cumming to practice law. His legal training soon made him a good candidate for political office and, in 1860, he was elected to the Convention for Secession, voting against secession. After secession, he was elected to the Confederate States Senate in 1861 and held the post until resigning in 1862. In March 1862 he and Henry C. Kellogg raised about 100 men each, following an order from the Governor of Georgia for twelve regiments of volunteers. The field officers elected to command the 43rd Regiment were Colonel Skidmore Harris; Lieutenant Colonel Hiram Parks Bell; and Major Henry C. Kellogg. He served in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi before being shot in the leg by a sniper near Vicksburg, Mississippi in Dec 1862; thus ending his military career. On his return home, he was elected to the 2nd Confederate Congress and, following the end of the war, he was again elected to office, this time in Washington D.C. He served in the 43rd (1873-1875) and 45th (1877-1879) United States Congresses. He was also member of the Georgia House of Representatives in 1898 and 1899 and served in the Georgia State Senate in 1900 and 1901. He is buried in Cumming City Cemetery.

Olin Wellborn

Olin Wellborn was born 18 Jun 1843 in Cumming, Georgia, to Chapley B. Wellborn and Mary A. Foster. He died 26 Dec 1921 in Los Angeles, California. On 14 Aug 1861 he joined the Confederacy in Company B, 12th Georgia Cavalry. He later served in Company E, 4th Georgia Cavalry. He was elected 1st Lieutenant on 1 May 1862 and promoted to Captain on 5 Jan 1863. In Nov 1863 he was wounded in battle at Kingston, Tennessee, and sent home to recover. He retired due to the injury in Feb 1865. At the end of the Civil War he lived in Atlanta, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1866. He practiced law in Atlanta until 1871 when he moved to Dallas, Texas. He ran and was elected in 1879 to the United States Congress, serving four terms. After an unsuccessful bid for a fifth term, he moved to San Diego, and later Los Angeles, California, to practice law. In 1895 President Grover Cleveland appointed him District Judge for the Southern District of California. He held that office until 1915 when he retired. He is buried in Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Luke Appling

Lucius Benjamin "Luke" Appling was born 2 Apr 1907 in High Point, North Carolina and died 3 Jan 1991 in Cumming, Georgia. He attended Oglethorpe College in Georgia from where he was signed by the minor league team Atlanta Crackers in 1930. He was quickly recognized as a top player and made his major league debut in September of the same year for the Chicago White Sox, where he continued to play for his entire career. He played primarily as shortstop, but also played all three other infield positions at times. He was a 7-time all-star with a lifetime batting average of .310, leading the league, in 1936 (.388) and 1943 (.328) in that category. He retired from baseball, at the age of 43, in 1950 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964. In retirement he coached minor league teams and eventually became a coach for the Atlanta Braves system. He died during surgery for an aortic aneurism in Cumming, Georgia. He is buried at Sawnee Memorial Gardens in Cumming.

Junior Samples

Alvin Samples, Jr., was born 10 Apr 1926 in Cumming, Georgia and died 13 Nov 1983 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He became famous when a tall tale about a fish that an uncle had in the back of his pick-up truck became a record setting bass that he caught in Lake Lanier. As word spread about the world's record bass, the Georgia Fish and Game Commission sent Jim Morrison to record his story. Despite protests that it was a hoax, Junior agreed to record the story. It soon became a hit on radio stations and was made into a record, "The World's Biggest Whopper." His fame got him invited on the television show "Hee Haw" where he quickly became a favorite regular. Junior's most famous sketches were as a used car salesman, asking callers to call an old-time number "BR-549". He died of a sudden heart attack in Knoxville, Tennessee and is buried at Sawnee Memorial Gardens in Cumming, Georgia.


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