First US Marshall dies carrying out his duties

On January 11, 1794, Robert Forsythe was killed in August, Georgia while carrying out his duties as United States Marshall. He was the first US Marshall to die while doing his duty. Continue reading for more from

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On 11 January 1794, Marshal Forsyth, accompanied by two of his deputies, went to the house of a Mrs. Dixon to serve a civil court process on two brothers, Beverly and William Allen. Beverly Allen, a former Methodist minister from South Carolina, saw the Marshal approaching, so he hid in a room on the second floor of the house. When Forsyth knocked on the door of the room, Allen fired his pistol at the direction of the knocking. The ball hit Forsyth in the head, killing him instantly. Forsyth’s Deputies arrested the killer, Allen later managed to escape. He was never recaptured.

Forsyth was the first of over 200 U.S. Marshals and Deputies killed in the line of duty. 40 years old at the time of his murder, he left behind a widow and two sons. One of the sons, John, became governor of Georgia and, later, United States Minister to Spain. While at the latter post, he negotiated the treaty cedingFlorida to the United States. John Forsyth also served as Secretary of State under Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. His grandson, John, Jr., was a newspaper editor.

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