Forbes, John Murray

Forbes, John Murray

(1813–98) capitalist; born in Bordeaux, France. At age 15 he entered his uncles' counting house business, Perkins and Company, and worked in their China office for seven years. A wealthy and accomplished businessman, he returned to the U.S.A. in 1846 and began investing in railroad building in the Midwest. During the Civil War he helped organize African-American regiments in Massachusetts, and, along with his brother Robert Bennet Forbes, assisted the U.S. Navy with his maritime expertise. After the war he continued to apply both financially sound and socially responsible methods to his railroad interests. He was active in the Republican Party.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.