First U.S. marshal killed in the line of duty honored in Augusta

By: Jeff Anderson Email
By: Jeff Anderson Email

News 12 at 6, June 25, 2008

AUGUSTA-- Here's a piece of history you may not know, the first federal law enforcement official killed in the line of duty was murdered right here in Augusta. And now there's a monument in his honor.

It's been more than 200 hundred years since U.S. Marshal Robert Forsyth was killed. Now his legacy will live on for far longer than that.

In the 1790's Augusta was a different place. The Revolutionary War had just ended, the new United States of America was in its infancy and Augusta was trying to find an identity.

"After the war, with the new country, it really transformed into a trading town from a frontier outpost." said Guy Robbins of the Augusta Museum of History.

It was a period of transition for city by the Savannah. It was trying to become less wild and a little more styled. It was around this time that a man named Robert Forsyth was appointed to be a federal marshal.

"Robert Forsyth was the first Marshal for District of Georgia. He served as one of the first generation of US Marshals. The first 13 of which were appointed by George Washington." said U.S. Marshals Historian David Turk.

But on January 11, 1794, in an Augusta location that has been lost to history, it all came to an end. At a place called Mrs. Dixon's Boarding House.

Forsyth was trying to arrest a man named Beverly Allen.

"Beverly fired the weapon hitting the marshal in his forehead and killing him," Turk said.

He became the first federal official law enforcement official killed in the line of duty.

214 years later, he was remembered once again in a service held to mark his legacy and to unveil a historical marker being placed in his honor, just a few feet from his grave. A long overdue thank you for a brave servant of his country.

"Our history going back to 1789, this makes this even more special. We remember a man and his service to his country." said the Director of the U.S. Marshals Office, John Clark.

A man who's courage will not be lost to the annals of time, a man who did his duty until he couldn't anymore.

"Augustans have a lot to be proud of when they look at this brave first man killed in the line of duty." David Turk said.

You can find Robert Forsyth's marker in the St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery on Reynolds Street.


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