Alexander Forbes, Official Government Translator and Keeper of Government Archives, was born in Santa Clara county, this State, March 17, 1838, and is a descendant of one of the old and influential families of this State. His father, James A. Forbes, was a native of Scotland, and when but twelve years of age accompanied his uncle, Francisco Rodrigues, to Buenos Ayres. He grew to manhood and was educated at Montevideo; thence he went to Chile. In 1829 he came to California, in a sailing vessel named Captain Young, and resided here until his death, in 1881. He married Anna Maria Galindo, daughter of Juan C. Galindo, a wealthy and highly respected citizen of Oakland. She survived her husband two years, and died in 1883. They had twelve children, nine of whom are still living, our subject being the third.

Mr. Forbes was reared in Santa Clara county. His early education was at home, given by a private instructor; later he became a pupil in Santa Clara College, being one of the first to complete his collegiate course, in 1857. Following this, he became interested in mining in the southern portion of the State. However, this not being suited to his taste, he took charge of the public schools of Los Angeles a year. In 1867 he came to San Francisco and taught in the Catholic school in Martinez, Contra Costa county; then he went to Sacramento, where he obtained a position, and translated the statistics of 1867-8 for the Government; also the official reports and Government affidavits of 1869-70. He next established an office in San Francisco and became the official Court Interpreter until 1878, when he took his present position. By those in a position to judge, Mr. Forbes is said to be the best Spanish scholar and most accurate interpreter on the coast.

Politically he is a staunch Republican, and has rendored his party much valuable service. He was called upon by it to stump the State for Garfield, and four years afterward for Blaine, and in the interest of M. M. Estes for State Governor.

He was married in San Francisco, December 25, 1875, to Miss Carmelita Vasquez, a native of Altar, State of Sonora, Mexico. He is associated with the A. O. U. W., being a member of Alameda Lodge, No. 5. He has passed all the chairs, and served two terms as District Deputy.

Transcribed by Walt Howe. 

Source: "The Bay of San Francisco," Vol. 1, pages 574, Lewis Publishing Co., 1892.

2004 Walt Howe.


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