this day in crime history: january 11, 1794

On this date in 1794, Robert Forsyth became the first U.S. Marshal killed in the line of duty. Forsyth, who was appointed U.S. Marshal in Georgia by President George Washington, was accompanied by two of his deputies as he attempted to serve civil legal papers on brothers Beverly and William Allen. When Forsyth knocked on the door to the room where Beverly Allen (a former Methodist minister who probably had a chip on his shoulder over being tagged with an unmanly name) was hiding, Allen shot him in the head, killing him.

Beverly Allen was eventually arrested for murdering Forsyth, but he escaped, never to be recaptured.

Further reading:

U.S. Justice Department – The First Marshal of Georgia: Robert Forsyth


3 thoughts on “this day in crime history: january 11, 1794

  1. John D.:
    Hell, I didn’t even KNOW we had marshals THAT far back.
    (gonna have to read up on the history of the service)

    And the perp was never recaptured…amazing (for those days).

    A very good story and links.

    Stay safe & warm out there.


    • It was easier to disappear in those days. There was no national media, no fingerprint database, no DNA; hell, a lot of people (most, probably) didn’t even have anything approximating an official birth certificate. A person could reinvent himself as someone else in a different state without much effort.


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