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Joseph Forsyth - Founder of Bagdad
Joseph Forsyth, the founder of Bagdad, was born in Connecticut in 1802. He came to Pensacola via New Orleans in the early 1820's. He bought a land tract on Pond Creek from Juan de la Rua in 1828 known today as Arcadia.
Forsyth, along with business partner E. E. Simpson and the rest of his associates, transformed this site into a thriving lumber industry for Santa Rosa County, Florida.
In 1840, Forsyth & Simpson Company moved their sawmill operations to the confluence of Pond Creek and the Blackwater River to better facilitate the production and transportation of their lumber products. This location and its surrounding mill town was named Bagdad by Forsyth.
Forsyth continued building, setting up a sash factory and converting the Arcadia site into Florida's first textile factory.
Joseph Forsyth was an active promoter of business for the region in industrial development and internal improvements. He married Cordelia M. Creary in 1849 and fathered four girls. He went on to serve in the Florida Senate from 1852 to 1854.
In 1855, only one year later, Joseph Forsyth died. He is buried atop the hill in the Bagdad Historic Cemetery that overlooks the village.
Forsyth's grave is marked by an impressive nine-foot obelisk. Along- side the tall granite monument is a small headstone marking the grave of his daughter Elizabeth, who died of yellow fever in 1852.
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