Forster, William, Junior

submitted by Albert Stevens McLean
William Forster, Jr. was born on March 31, 1748 in the North of Ireland, and was brought to America by his parents when he was a baby. He was raised in Frederick county, Virginia, but moved to Augusta county, Virginia when he was a young man. There he enlisted in the evolutionary War in 1779 in the First Virginia Continental line and served until 1783. He married in Frederick county, Virginia in 1771 to Elizabeth Heath, of Scotch ancestry, who was born May 10, 1753.

William sold his lands in Augusta County, Virginia in 1786 and moved his family to Buncombe County, N.C. with the pioneer settlers of this new county. He was the first man to live in what is now the city of Asheville. His plantation being at the mouth of the Swannanoa river and his old omeplace was located about 1/4 mile west of Biltmore Avenue and on the bank of the Swannanoa river.

William Forster, Junior became a prominent prosperous and outstanding leader in the new community. He gave to his son, William Forster III, the lands and buildings for the first school and church, known as Union Hill Academy (now Newton School). He was also one of the first owners of lots in the city of Morristown (now Asheville) which he purchased from his brother-in-law John Burton. His original farm of 640 acres, is now the Biltmore section of Asheville.

He died April 2, 1830 and his wife Elizabeth (Heath) Forster died December 8, 1827. They are buried in the cemetery of old Newton Academy on Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Their descendents are numerous among the Alexanders, Davidsons, Stevens, Wilsons, and other related families.

The children of William and Elizabeth (Heath) Forster are:

1 Mary Forster b. August 27, 1772 d. May 2, 1826;

2 Colonel Thomas Forster b. October 14, 1774 d. December 24, 1858 m. in 1796 Orra Sams, she died August 27, 1853. They are buried at Newton Academy, Biltmore Avenue, Asheville, N.C.;

3 William Forster III b. October 27, 1776 d. May 2, 1826 m. Frances (Fanny) Ballew b. 1786.
Both are buried at Newton Academy;

4 Rebecca Forster b. December 20, 1779 in Augusta County, Virginia d. March 20, 1847 m. in 1794 my ancestor Absalom Dillingham;

5 Elizabeth Forster b. June 9, 1782 m. June 9, 1872 [sic] m. John Wilson.

Publications source: Heritage I, article 335, p. 204

Permanent link to this article: