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- Forward (family)
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The Forward family includes the descendants of George and Susanna Forward. George Forward (1786-1857), clerk, merchant, shipowner, was the son of Susannah (Hassell) and Ambrose Forward, a well-to-do cloth merchant of Sturminster Newton, Dorset. Forward married Susanna Taylor of Harbour Grace in 1815. He died in 1879.
Forward immigrated to Newfoundland with his brother Charles (b. 1783) in the early 1800s to work for one of the Poole mercantile firms in Carbonear. By the 1820s, the brothers had struck out on their own as planters. In 1825, he was part-owner, with his brother Charles, in a schooner. Charles does not appear to have had much part of the Forward business beyond the 1820s. George, however, accumulated considerable wealth and property, and was very active in public life.
In the 1830s, Forward formed a partnership with William Willis Bemister of Carbonear. They purchased the mercantile premises in Carbonear of Slade, Biddle & Company, a Poole firm that became insolvent. Forward's company became one of the principal mercantile firms in Conception Bay, engaging in the import-export trade, supplying and operating vessels in the cod and seal fisheries, purchasing fish, seal skins and other commodities, and dealing with fishing families as the truck (or credit) system. Forward also was deeply involved in the Labrador cod fishery. Between 1825 and 1857, his name was associated with the ownership of 16 vessels. In 1839, he supplied five vessels for the seal hunt, four of which he owned. In 1842, he purchased shares in the Newfoundland Steam Navigation Company. He also had interests in the Mutual Insurance Company of Conception Bay and was a Justice of the Peace for Carbonear district (from 1849 onwards).
Sons Henry and Mark Foward became master-mariners for other firms. Henry later become lighthouse keeper on Carbonear Island. The family home, referred to as "The Mansion," later devolved to his son Mark.
Scope and content
The fonds contains deeds, conveyances and other legal documents, 1750-1866, Captains' logbooks, 1842-72 (Samuel, 1842, William the Fourth, 1852, Britain, 1853, Harriet Ridley, 1863-65, Six Brothers, 1872), and a Furness Line sailing schedule, 1928.
The legal documents provide evidence of the acquisition, transfer and subsequent loss of the family's property in Carbonear from 1834 to the 1860s. They also provide evidence of the business activities and associations of the firm of George Forward. The Captains' logbooks detail the voyages of five of the Forward's fleet of foreign-going vessels.
The records are arranged in three series: 1. Legal documents; 2. Logbooks; 3. Other material.
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