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Forge S. West

Forge S. West, Surrogate of Camden County and a resident of the city of Camden, was born September 12, 1851, in Boston, Mass., son of Samuel and Mary (Weldon) West. Samuel West, who also was a native of Boston, settled in Camden in 1852. A soldier in the regular army, he served in the Mexican War, fighting on the Rio Grande, under General Zachary Taylor, and distinguishing himself for bravery. Though troubled by a wound received in Mexico, he was eager to participate in the wear of the Rebellion, and raised a company of volunteers in Ohio. After receiving the command of the company, he never reached the battlefield, as his old wound; caused his death in 1861, when he was forty-four years old.

George S. West was educated in the public schools of Camden. He subsequently learned the machinist's trade; but, having no taste for labor of that kind, he sought and obtained the position of salesman in a wholesale clothing and notion house of Philadelphia. Afterward he opened a large auction house in Camden, which he successfully conducted until 1887. In the mean time he had taken an active part in politics as a Republican, and his character and energy had made him popular with both parties. Beginning in 1885, he was elected a member of the City Council for three successive years, representing Ward Four. In 1887 he was elected County Surrogate on the Republican ticket, receiving, it is stated, the largest majority ever given a candidate for that office in this section. On that occasion he gave up his auction business, and thereafter devoted his whole attention to the duties of his office. Having completed his term of five years with credit, he was re-elected for another term in 1892.

In 1876 Mr. West was married to Miss Mary J. Charles, of Camden, and now has one son, Hayden A., who is studying medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Camden Republican Club. Taking much interest in military affairs, he is Commander of Company D, Sixth Regiment of the National Guards, and chairman of the committee on the new armory. It was largely through his instrumentality that the State was induced to appropriate one hundred and forty-eight thousand dollars for the erection of that handsome structure. He is a Knight Templar Mason, has taken the thirty-second degree, and is a member of the Lulu Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Philadelphia. He also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Improved Order of Red Men, the Brotherhood of United American Mechanics, the Knights of the Golden Eagle, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is popular with all classes of men, and is a leading spirit in social events. Mrs. West is a Deaconess of the Baptist church. Mr. West is not a church member.

Source: Biographical review: containing life sketches of leading citizens of Camden and Burlington Counties, New Jersey, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Boston, 1897.

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