Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal Updated 21 June 2024 'Update' refers to the whole section update, not to each separate file.
SYME, Walter Minister of Tullynessle, Reverend Mr
(About 1692-1756/1758)
GORDON, Elizabeth
(About 1695-)
FORSYTH, James Minister of Belhelvie, Reverend Mr
(About 1732-1790)
SIM, Isabell
(About 1735-1786)
FORSYTH, Alexander John Minister of Belhelvie, Reverend Mr


Family Links

FORSYTH, Alexander John Minister of Belhelvie, Reverend Mr 1

  • Baptised: 1 January 1769, Belhelvie parish, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 2
  • Died: 11 June 1843 1

  General Notes:

"ALEXANDER JOHN FORSYTH, born 28th Dec. 1768; educated at King s College, Aberdeen, where he had as intimates the celebrated Robert Hall and Sir James Mackintosh; M.A. (30th March 1786); licen. by Presb. of Aberdeen 13th Oct. 1790; pres. by George III. 15th Jan., and ord. 24th Aug. 1791; LL.D. (Aberdeen, 8th Sept. 1834); died suddenly at his breakfast table on Sunday, llth June 1843, unmarr. He was a man far in advance of his times. Ingenious rather than learned, Nature, not books, was his chief teacher. Professor John Stuart Blackie says that 'he taught one the great lesson of how to use the eyes.' He was an indefatigable chemist and geologist, and spent much of his leisure in the 'minister's smiddy'; set up in his manse garden. His discoveries in the preparation of gunpowder were of great service to the Government during the French War, and his invention of the percussion-lock revolutionised the mechanism of firearms, and was adopted by the army. He firmly believed that electricity would ultimately rival the power of steam, and in his imagination of the bestowal of a new sense acting at an infinite distance and through all kinds of substances, he had what looks like a dim groping after wireless telegraphy.
He was badly treated in the matter of his gun invention, and was unceremoniously removed from the Tower of London, where he carried on operations at the request of the Government, and his expenses were tardily repaid. No pecuniary reward came to him until the year before his death, when he received a grant of 200, while three of his relatives received 1000 after
wards. 'It is hardly too much to say that if F. had been allowed to complete the
few things he was engaged on at the Tower in 1807, instead of being told to remove his rubbish, Wellington might have found the Peninsula and Waterloo
easier than he did, or, to put it another way, if F. had not patriotically refused the 20,000 offered him by the French for his invention, the great Napoleon might not have died a prisoner at St Helena.' Publications Accounts of the Parish (Sinclair's Stat. Acc., vii., and New Stat. Ace., xii). [The Rev. Alexander John Forsyth and his Invention of the Percussion-lode, by Major-Gen. Sir Alex. J. F. Reid, from information collected mostly by Mary Forsyth Reid, Aberdeen, 1909.]"

from Fasti Ecclesiae 1


1 e-books, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae by Hew Scott.

2 LDS Family Search, IGI.

Copyright 2024 Mary McGonigal

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