August 25th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1964, a sixty-year old evangelist preaching the bible in Seal Beach was assaulted by a band of teen-age delinquents.

Mark Frank Forsyth of Huntington Beach told police that he had been preaching at 10th Street on the beach as he done many times before in the previous two years. This time, however, a group of at least five teenagers began to heckle him at approximately 2 p.m. 

One of the teens grabbed Forsyth’s hat, and then the verbal assault escalated into violence. The other boys pelted Forsyth with rocks, hit him with their fists, and burnt him with cigarettes on the neck and left ankle. Forsyth’s clothes were torn as he tried to flee, and one boy grabbed his bible and tracts and begin to rip the pages of his bible. During the scuffle, no one came to Forsyth’s aid.

Later, the police brought in a fourteen-year old Long Beach youth on charges of participating in a riot, assault and battery, and armed riot, but he denied taking part in the attack and refused to identify any of his fellow teens.

When interviewed by an AP reporter, Forsyth said that he preached because he was “concerned for the spirit and physical well-being of the thousands of teenagers who flock to the beaches.”

– Michael Dobkins

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