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|Catharine Ramsay Forbes|
|Birth:|| December 29, 1853|
Fall Hill Plantation,
|Death:|| April 9, 1927|
in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
|Burial:|| Carl Wittichen plot,|
Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama
|Father:||John Murray Forbes|
|Mother:||Mary Elizabeth Semmes|
|Spouse/Partner:||Florian Otto Wittichen|
|Marriage:|| November 12, 1878|
in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia
Kate Ramsay Forbes was born to John M. and Mary Elizabeth Semmes Forbes. Though I know little of her early days, her parents were well off, so she had no real troubles and probably enjoyed many things most people did not get to. In the American Historical Register of 1895, she records that, as a girl of 6, she was present at a dinner in 1860 at her parents' home of Innes Hill at which they entertained guests, including Sen. Bright and the Warrenton Bar. At this dinner, her father brought out a suit of clothes once owned by George Washington and allowed his guests to try them on. They were all very ridiculous looking but everyone had a great time with much laughter. This suit and a history written by Kate's father was located at Mount Vernon in 1895. This incident is all I have of her early life.
As a young woman of 24, she married German immigrant Otto Wittichen, a supplier of fertilizer from the next county. Within a few years, they moved to Catonsville, near Baltimore, MD, where he continued his business. In 1890, she took in her mother after her father's death, but she only lived a few months. Otherwise, all seemed fine until 1896, when the fertilizer factory was shuttered. Three years later, her husband died and she moved to Birmingham, AL to live near her brother.
In 1905, she and her children became charter members of the new St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. They still needed to take in boarders to help pay costs, but things were looking up. She took a trip abroad to her husband's native Germany in 1910. Her son Carl's business interests became successful and the family became more prominent. Kate even became the second president in the history of Birmingham's Children's Hospital. She lived out her days usefully and my grandfather described her as a "great lady".
- Browning, Charles Henry. "The American Historical Register", September, 1895, Pp. 280-281.
- Alabama Deaths 1908-1974
- Social Security Death Index
- Wittichen, Julia Parker. Genealogy notes.
- Wittichen, Murray F., compiler. "Descendants of Otto Wittichen and Kate Forbes." Privately written out, 1967.
- Wittichen Family postcards, 1899-1910.
- [need to look up publisher]. "Family History of Carl F. Wittichen." c. 1936 (in Family Files at Birmingham Public Library)