Nathan Bedford Forrest Family Today: Descendants Reflect on Legacy

Nathan Bedford Forrest, a controversial figure in American history, is known for his leadership in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. Despite his divisive legacy, his descendants continue to honor his memory and reflect on his impact on their family.


Forrest died in 1877, but his family tree has continued to grow in the years since. Today, his descendants span multiple generations and can be found across the United States.

One of his descendants, H.K. Edgerton, has been an outspoken defender of Forrest’s legacy, arguing that he was a “man of his time” who should be remembered for his military prowess rather than his association with the KKK. Edgerton, who is black, has faced criticism for defending Forrest, but he remains committed to preserving his ancestor’s memory.

Other descendants have taken a different approach, acknowledging Forrest’s role in the Confederacy but distancing themselves from his more controversial actions. In 2021, Forrest’s remains were exhumed from a Memphis park and moved to a museum in Middle Tennessee, a decision supported by some of his descendants.

Despite their differing opinions on Forrest’s legacy, his descendants all share a connection to their ancestors and a desire to understand his place in history. Many have turned to genealogy and other forms of research to learn more about their family history and Forrest’s impact on their ancestors.

As the debate over Confederate symbols and monuments continues to rage across the country, Forrest’s family remains divided over how to honor his memory. Some see him as a hero, while others view him as a symbol of hate and oppression. Regardless of their opinions, Forrest’s descendants continue to grapple with his legacy and its impact on their family today.

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