William Forsyth

1789 - 4th Jun 1856

Claimant or beneficiary


Claimed unsuccessfully as owner of Friends plantation in British Guiana, the compensation for the enslaved on which was awarded to George Robert Smith of Smith Payne & Smith. 'In Europe' by 1841. In 1819, William Forsyth had been manager of plantation Friends.

  1. William Forsyth of Pln Friends was among the executors of Campbell Faloon (q.v.) and was identified in Faloon's will (dated October 1840) as being of Belfast.

  2. "DEATH OF WILLIAM FORSYTH, ESQ., EX-TOWN COUNCILLOR. - We regret to record the sudden death of the above-named gentleman, who expired at ten o'clock, A.M., on Wednesday last, at his newly-acquired residence, Blackrock, near Dublin. He lately procured a house near Blackrock, where in intended to reside, and on Tuesday last he left Belfast by the noon train for Dublin, accompanied by his wife and servants. He remained that night in Dublin. On Wednesday morning he went out to his mansion, and we learn that he had not many minutes arrived when he expired. It is supposed that disease of the heart was the immediate cause of death. He had been rather indisposed during the past Winter, though his health had recently been restored to its wonted vigour. Mr. Forsyth was, we believe, a native of Ballynure, in this county. At an early age he emigrated to the West Indies, a penniless boy, and became, after a few years, a wealthy proprietor. When the prospects of slave emancipation depreciated property in slaves, his estate became involved, and a transfer was made to a London house, which transaction left him without a penny. Owing, however, to the services of a legal gentleman, who disputed the legality of the transfer, he recovered his property, and obtained a very large proportion of the twenty millions which British generosity voted as compensation for the losses sustained by West India slave emancipation. Mr. Forsyth then located himself to Belfast, and became one of our most respected, honourable, and high-minded inhabitants. Though not engaged in public business, he always took a deep interest in the public and commercial welfare of the town, which he represented for many years in the Town Council, until the late crisis in its affairs. The remains of the deceased gentleman are to arrive at the Ulster Railway terminus, Belfast, to-day, by the 1h. 35m. train, and be thence conveyed direct to the family burying-place near to Ballynure."

  3. "Yesterday, the funeral of the late Mr. Forsyth was attended by a large number of his friends and acquintances. The remains arrived at the terminus of the Ulster Railway, from Dublin, at 1.35, p.m., and were there met by the cortege, which accompanied them to Ballynure."

  4. Rashee Old Graveyard: Here lieth the body of Ellen Gillilan otherwise Forsyth wife of WIlliam Forsyth of Larne. She departed this life the 13th day of July 1789 in the 33rd year of her age. Also her three children John Mary Campbell and John Forsyth [sic]. She was a tender mother and an affectionate wife. And their son William who departed this life 4th June 1856 aged 67 years.


T71/885 British Guiana no. 167; London Gazette20063 25/01/1842 p. 198; Trevor Burnard Hearing slaves speak p. 34.

  1. PROB 11/1986/341.

  2. Belfast Mercury, 09/06/1856.

  3. Belfast Mercury, 10/06/1856.

  4. Memorial inscription, Rashee Old Graveyard, near Ballyclare, Antrim.

We are grateful to Matthew Gilbert for providing the Belfast Mercury references and the memorial inscription.

Further Information


Associated Claims (1)

£14,689 12s 3d
Unsuccessful claimant (consensual) (Owner-in-fee)

Associated Estates (1)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1825 [EA] - 1834 [LA] → Owner

Addresses (3)

Belfast, Co. Antrim, Ireland
Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Ballynure, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, Ireland