FAIRBANKS

From the files of Stephen M. Lawson


Fairbanks Ancestry in England

Jonathan Fairbanks and Grace   The Covenant of Dedham, MA

George Fairbanks and Mary Adams

Mary Fairbanks and Joseph Daniels

Eleazer Daniels and Mary Holbrook

Abigail Daniels and Ephraim Morey

Benoni Morey and Huldah Brown

Eli Morey and Sophronia Mason

Elijah Mason Morey and Elizabeth Merrill

William Clemeth Morey and Melvina E. Andrews

Minnie Elsie Morey and Aretus Erastus Freeman

Iva Melvina Freeman and Donald VanHoosier Lawson

Stephen Martin Lawson

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Fairbanks Ancestry in England

The Fairbanks English ancestry is based on the article by Clarence A. Torrey in The American Genealogist, 37 (1961):65-72. This information is expanded and includes the Fairbanks family in Aamerica in The Ancestry of Eva Belle Kempton, Part III, by Dean Crawford Smith and Melinde Lutz Sanborn (2004, Boston), pp. 118-58.

William FAIRBANKE - b. 1455; d. 1518. In 1492, 8th Henry VII, William took land of the soil and waste of the lord, in Sowerby, to hold according to the custom of the manor. William was father of John and ancestor of Jonathan FAIRBANKS of Dedham, MA.

John FAIRBANKE - b. 1480; d. 1551. In 1504, 19th Henry VII, and 1506, 22nd Henry VII, transfers of land at Sowerby name John as son of William. Married abt 1550 Isabel (bur. Jan. 17, 1546/7, Halifax, Yorkshire) "uxor Johis Fairbank de Sourby." John and Isabel were parents of Gilbert.


Gilbert and Jennet Fairbanke

Gilbert FAIRBANKE -  b. about 1505; d. and bur. Mar. 3, 1577/8, Halifax, Yorkshire. Son of John FAIRBANKE and Isabel. Land transfers in 1526 and 1550 name Gilbert as son of John. In 1569, 11th Elizabeth, he would not pay the stipend of the minister or curate of the chapel. His deathbed will (proved Apr. 16, 1578), names wife and surviving children. He is identified as "Gilbert Fairbanke of township of Sowerbie/Sowerby in diocese of York" in both his and his widow's wills.

Jennet - bur. Jan. 16, 1578/9, Halifax, Yorkshire. Her will (dated Jan. 13, 1578/9; proved May 3, 1582) names sons George and Edward, and daughters Agnes and Elizabeth. Due to the possible 30 year period between the birth of George and Edward, and the apparent 10 year gap between the birth of George and William, it may be that George was the son of Gilbert by a prior marriage. However, it is noted that Jennet uses "my son" to identify both George and Edward in her will.


  1. George - b. about 1528.
  2. William - b. about 1538. Resided at Hensall, Snaith, Yorkshire, where his children were baptised. Probably married Isabella HORTON on Jun. 28, 1562 at Halifax, Yorkshire. Children of William and Isabella FAIRBANKS: Henry; Jenet; Edward; and Margaret.
  3. Hugh - b. about 1542; bur. Feb. 18, 1549/0, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  4. Johanna - bap. Jan. 19, 1544, Halifax, Yorkshire; probably died young.
  5. John - bap. May 3, 1547, Halifax, Yorkshire. Resided at Hensall, Snaith, Yorkshire. Married Jane BANNESTER on Jan. 28, 1565/6, Halifax, Yorkshire. Children of John and Jane FAIRBANKS include: John; and Thomas.
  6. Michael -  bap. Jul. 3, 1549, Halifax, Yorkshire; bur. Sep. 14, 1549, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  7. Hugh - bap. Aug. 16, 1550, Halifax, Yorkshire. Resided at Hensall, Snaith, Yorkshire, where three of his children were baptised. Married seccond Jane MITCHELL on Mar. 28, 1578 at Halifax, Yorkshire. Hugh and his first wife had a child mentioned, but not named, in the will og Gilbert FAIRBANKS. Children of Hugh and Jane FAIRBANKS: Robert; Barbara; and William.
  8. Dorothy - bap. Mar. 25, 1553, Halifax, Yorkshire; bur. Dec. 18, 1554, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  9. b. about 1554. Married George HARRISON on Dec. 14, 1573, Halifax, Yorkshire. Their children were baptised at Sowerby, Yorkshire. Children of Agnes and George HARRISON: George; Susannah; Edward; Grace; and Eden.
  10. Elizabeth - b. about 1556. Married Mr. BRATHWAITE about 1577/8.
  11. Edward - b. abt 1558. Married Mary MITCHELL on Nov. 5, 1582, Halifax, Yorkshire.


George and Sybil (Wade) Fairbank

George FAIRBANK - b. about 1528. Son of Gilbert FAIRBANKE and Jennet. Perhaps the George FAIRBANK buried at Sowerby, Yorkshire, Mar. 29, 1610. Married first May 10, 1551, Halifax, Yorkshire. He married second, Feb. 15, 1573/4 at Halifax, Yorkshire, Jenet (MAWD) BRODLYE (bur. Nov. 26, 1612, Halifax, Yorkshire). Her name also appears as Johanna BROADLEY, who was married on May 30, 1552 at Halifax, Yorkshire to John BROADLEY (bur. Mar. 8, 1571/2, Halifax, Yorkshire). Jenet was the mother of Abram, the youngest child.

Sybil WADE - bur. May 21, 1573, Halifax, Yorkshire. She died in childbirth, along with her ninth child.


  1. Genet - bap. Apr. 26, 1552, Halifax, Yorkshire; died young.
  2. John - b. about 1554, Halifax, Yorkshire; bur. 1625, Thornton-in-Craven. John's first wife died after Aug. 2, 1593, at Skircoat, Halifax. He married second Aug. 6, 1593 at Halifax, Yorkshire, Isabel STANCLIFFE (bur. Jul. 9, 1597), and third in 1598 Ellen PARKER (bur. Oct. 18, 1643, Colne, Lancashire) of Thorne, Thornton. Children of first marriage: Marie married Mr. DEAN; John; George; and Joseph who died in infancy. Child of John and Isabel FAIRBANKS: Susan died young. Children of John and Ellen FAIRBANK: Helene died in infancy; Joseph died in infancy; Anna married James CROOK; Michael; Jeremy married Margaret MECROFT; Susanna married John OXENHARD; Jonathan; and Abigail married Henry BLAKEY
  3. Jenet - bap. Jul 28, 1556, Halifax, Yorkshire. Married Jul. 25, 1575at Halifax, Yorkshire to Matthew BROADLEY, son of John and Jenet (WADE) BROADLEY.
  4. Maria - bap. May 18, 1558, Halifax, Yorkshire. Married Jan. 15, 1580/1 at Halifax, Yorkshire to Richard SALTONSTALL. Possible children of Maria and Richard SALTONSTALL: Edward; Richard; and Eden.
  5. Dorothy - b. about 1560; bur. May 24, 1562, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  6. George - bap. Aug. 2, 1562, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  7. Robert - bap. Dec. 8, 1566, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  8. Susan - bap. Jun. 5, 1569, Halifax, Yorkshire. Married  Feb. 7, 1590/1 at Halifax, Yorkshire to William WADE.
  9. A child - b. May 1573; bur. May 21, 1573, Halifax, Yorkshire.
  10. Abram - bap. Jan. 22, 1575/6, Hlifax, Yorkshire; bur. there Apr. 23, 1576. Son of George and Jenet FAIRBANKS.


George and Mary (Farrer) Fairbank

George FAIRBANK - bap. Aug. 2, 1562, Halifax, Yorkshire. Son of George FAIRBANK and Sybil WADE. Lived at Heptonstall, Halifax in 1593, where he obtained a license to marry in that year, possibly his second marriage.

Mary FARRER - Daughter of Richard FARRER (will dated Apr. 7, 1610) and Margaret BLACKBURN. Mary is recorded as from Erringden on the license to marry.


  1. Jonathan - b. about 1595, England; d. Dec. 5, 1668, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA.
  2. Mary - bap. Nov. 30, 1600, Heptonstall, Halifax, Yorkshire; probably bur. Dec. 11, 1620 at Erringden.
  3. Ester - bap. Feb. 27, 1602/3, Heptonstall, Halifax, Yorkshire.


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The Fairbanks family in America

T H E C O V E N A N T

Dedham, Massachusetts (Settled 1635; incorporated 1636)

  1. We whose names are hereunto subscribed, doe, in the feare and reverence of out Almightie God, mutually; and severally pmise amongst ourselves and each other to pffesse and practice one trueth according to that most pfect rule, the foundation whereof is everlasting Love;
  2. That we shall by all meanes Laboure to keepe of from us all such as ar contrayre minded and receave onely such unto us as be such as may be pbably of one harte with us that we either knowe or may well and truly be informed to walke in a peaceable conversation with all meekeness of spirit for the edification of each other in the knowledge and faith of the Lord Jesus; and the mutual encouragement unto all Temporall comforts in all things; seeking the good of each other out of all which may be derived true Peace.
  3. That if at any time difference shall arise betwene pties of out said Towne; that then such ptie and pties shall prsently Referre all such difference unto someone 2 or 3 others of our said societie, to be accorded and determined without any further delaye if it possibly may bee;
  4. That every man may now, or at any time heereafter shall have Lotts in our said Towne shall pay his share in all such Rates of money and charges as shall be imposed upon him Rateably in pportion with other men. As allso become freely subject unto all such orders and constitutions as shall be necessarily had or made now or at any time hereafter from this day forwarde as well for Loveing and comfortable societie in our said Towne as allso for the psperous and thriveing Condicion of our said Fellowshipe, especially respecting the feare of God in which we desire to begine, and continue whatsoever we shall by his Loveing favoure take in hand.
  5. And for the better manefestation of our true Resolution heere in every man so receaved; to subscribe heere unto his name, there by obligeing both himself and his successors after him forever as we have done.


[There follows 125 signatures of those subscribing to the Covenant, evidently over a period of some years. While all the Morse Signers and Jonathan Fairbanks, Sr. appear to have been among the original signers, the sons of the latter were ages 18, 16 and about 7 years in 1636. The names of the Fairbanks sons appear at intervals from oldest to youngest among the last signers of The Covenant. The signers, in numerical sequence shown, included:

(3) Samuel Morse, and his sons (34) John, (28) Daniel and (29) Joseph
(16) John Coolidge
(31) Jonathan Fairbanks, and his sons (98) John, (102) George and (110) Jonathan
(50) Thomas Hastings]


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Jonathan and Grace (Smith) Fairbanks


Jonathan FAIRBANKS - b. about 1595, England; d. Dec. 5, 1668, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. Son of George FAIRBANK and Mary FARRER, and descendant of William FAIRBANKE (1455-1518). Some sources suggest that Jonathan came from Sowerby, West Riding, Yorkshire, England to Boston in 1633 in the "Griffin," but without documentary evidence. Claims that he was the brother of Richard FAIRBANKS, or that he arrived aboard the "Speedwell," are also apparently without documentation. In his will of May 28, 1650, George FAIRBANKE, clothier of Sowerby, Halifax and son of John FAIRBANK and Isabel STANCLIFFE, names "Mr. Jonathan Fairebanke" and a copy of the will was marked "For his lovinge Cusen Johnathan Fayrbancke in New England these." Moved to Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA by 1636 when he built his house there. The house at 511 East St., Dedham was built of timbers brought from England, and may well be the oldest frame house in America. The home remained in the Fairbanks family through eight generations, before becoming property of the Fairbanks Family Association. Jonathan was a signer of the 1636 Covenant of Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. He was received as a member of the church at Dedham, MA on Jul. 14, 1646, served the town in a number of positions and was elected selectman on Jan. 4, 1657/8. His will dated Jun. 1, 1668 and proved Jan. 26, 1668/9 names wife and his five surviving children. His estate inventoried at £300 on Jan. 26, 1668/9. Married in England, probably as stated in the following record: Parish in Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, Jonathan FAYRBANKE and Grace SMITH, of Warley, a neighboring hamlet, May 20, 1617.

Grace SMITH - b. about 1597; d. either Dec. 28, 1673 or May 19, 1676, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. She may have been the daughter of Samuel SMITH and Grace (PLATTS) GAWKROGER.


Children of Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks

See Notable Cousins for line to: Luther BURBANK, George Herbert Walker BUSH, George Walker BUSH, and Charles Warren FAIRBANKS

  1. John - bap. Feb. 15, 1618, Halifax, England; d. Nov. 13, 1684, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. Signer of The Covenant of Dedham, MA. Inherited home at Dedham. Married first Jan. 10, 1641 Sarah FISKE (d. Sep. 26, 1683). Children of John and Sarah FAIRBANKS: Joshua died young; John married Hannah WHITING; Sarah married Mr. SAWYER; Jonathan died young; twins Martha and Mary (both died in infancy); Joseph married Dorcas; Hannah married Samuel DEERING; and Benjamin married Mary RICHARDS.
  2. George - bap. Nov. 28, 1619, Sowerby, Halifax, England; d. Jan. 10, 1682/3, probably at Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA.
  3. Mary - bap. Feb 3, 1621/2, Sowerby, Halifax, Yorkshire, England; bap. Apr. 18, 1622, Halifax, Yorkshire, England; d. Feb/ 12. 1672/3, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. Married first Apr. 2, 1644, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA, Michael METCALF (b. Aug. 29, 1620, Norwich, England; d. Mar. 25, 1654, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA), son of Rev. Leonard METCALF and Margaret. Mary married second Aug. 2, 1654, Christopher SMITH (d. Nov. 7, 1676, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA), son of John SMITH. For descendants of Mary FAIRBANKS and Michael METCALF, refer to Some Descendants of Rev. Leonard Metcalf of Tatterford Parish, Norfolk, England - by Howard H. Metcalfe (2003; 768 pages), available from the publisher. Children of Mary and Michael METCALF: Michael married Elizabeth FULLER; Mary married Capt. John WARE; Sarah married Robert WARE; Dea. Jonathan married Hannah KENDRICK; and Eleazer married Meletiah FISHER. Son of Mary and Christopher SMITH: John.
  4. Jonas - bap. Mar. 6, 1625, Halifax, England; d. Feb. 10, 1676, Laancaster, Middlesex Co., MA. Killed by Indians, together with son Joshua. Married May 28, 1658 at Lancaster, Middlesex Co., MA to Lydia PRESCOTT (b. Aug. 15, 1641, Watertown, Middlesex Co., MA; d. after Oct. 1712), daughter of John PRESCOTT and Mary PLATTS. Lydia married second Ellis BARRON (b. about 1633; d. before Oct. 1712, Lancaster, MA), son of Ellis BARRON and Grace, as his second wife. Lydia and Ellis BARRON were parents of Mary, Abigail, Joshua (died as infant), and Joshua. Children of Jonas and Lydia FAIRBANKS: Mary married first Moses ADAMS, and second Ephraim BROWN; Joshua killed by Indians at age 15; Grace died young; Jonathan married Mary HAYWARD; Hazadiah married John MOORE; Jabez married Mary WILDER; and Jonas.
  5. Susan - bap. Dec. 23, 1627, Thornton-in-Craven, England; d. Jul. 8, 1659, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. Father's will mentions her, her husband, and "four children of Ralph, that he had by his last [or late] wife my daughter Susan." Married Oct. 12, 1647 Ralph DAY (d. Oct. 28, 1677). Ralph DAY married second on Nov. 15, 1759 at Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA, Abigail (CRAFTS) RUGGLES (b. mar. 28, 1634, Roxbury, Suffolk Co., MA; d. Jan. 19, 1706/7, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA), daughter of Griffin CRAFTS and Alice, and had daughter Abigail. Abigail (CRAFTS) RUGGLES DAY married third on Dec. 7, 1678 at Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA, Edward ADAMS. Children of Susan and Ralph DAY: Elizabeth; Mary married John PAYNE; Susan; John; and perhaps Ralph died as infant.
  6. Jonathan - b. about 1629, England; d. Jan. 28, 1711/12, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA. Signer of The Covenant of Dedham, MA. Married Deborah SHEPARD (b. about 1631, England; d. Sep. 7, 1705, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA), daughter of Edward SHEPARD and Violet CHARNOCK. Children of Jonathan and Deborah FAIRBANKS: Deborah married William LYON; Grace died young; Sarah died young; Edward; David; Samuel married Christian CHAPELL; Mary married Samuel WHITING; Jeremiah married Mary PENFIELD; Jonathan married; Abigail; Elizabeth; and Rachel.


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Capt. George and Mary (Adams) Fairbanks

George FAIRBANKS - bap. Nov. 28, 1619, Sowerby, Yorkshire, England; d. Jan. 10, 1682/3, probably at Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA. Son of Jonathan FAIRBANKS and Grace SMITH. Resided at Dedham, Sherborn, and Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA. Signer of The Covenant of Dedham, MA. Member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and Captain and resident Commander of the old stone garrison house at Bogestow Pond. Estate inventoried at £800.17.9. Married Aug. 26, 1646, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA.

Mary ADAMS - b. 1628; d. Oct. 11, 1711, Mendon, Worcester Co., MA. Probably resided with daughter Margaret HOLBROOK after the death of George.


Children of George and Mary Fairbanks

See Notable Cousins for line to: Emily Elizabeth DICKINSON, Erastus FAIRBANKS, Thaddeus FAIRBANKS, and Margaret MEAD

  1. Mary - b.Nov. 10, 1647, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Jun. 9, 1682, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA. Married Joseph DANIELS.
  2. George - b. May 26, 1650, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. May 5, 1737, Medway, Norfolk Co., MA. Inherited home at Sherborn, MA. Married first Dec. 1, 1671 at Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA to Rachel ADAMS (d. May 12, 1678, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA), daughter of Peter ADAMS and Rachel NEWCOME of Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA; second about 1679 Susanna (d. Apr. 9, 1750, Medway, Norfolk Co., MA). Children George and Rachel FAIRBANKS: Rachel; and Mary married Benjamin ALLEN. Children by Susanna: Susannah died in infancy; Susannah; Dorothy; Margaret; Jonas; Sarah; George; and John.
  3. Samuel - b. Oct. 28, 1652, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Nov. 20, 1676, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA.
  4. Eleazer - b. Jun. 8, 1655, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Jun. 10, 1645, Sherborn, Middlesex Co., MA. Selectman at Sherborn 1703. Given name spelling has several variations. Married about 1678 Martha LOVETT (b. Jun. 7, 1654, Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Jan. 22, 1749/0, Sherborn, Norfolk Co., MA), daughter of Daniel LOVETT and Johanna BLOTT. Children of Eleazer and Martha FAIRBANKS: Mary; Martha married first Oliver DEATH, and second Ebenezer LELAND, Jr.; Lydia; Margaret died young; Mercy married Joshua UNDERWOOD; and Capt. Eleazer married Martha BULLARD.
  5. Jonas - b. Feb. 23, 1656/7, Dedham, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Nov. 28, 1676, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA.
  6. Jonathan - b. May 1, 1662, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Dec. 18, 1719, Sherborn, Middlesex Co., MA. First physician at Sherborn, MA; selectman 1695-1701; town clerk 1699-1701. Drowned while returning from Medfield to Sherborn across ice of Bogestow Pond. The inventory of his estate in Jan. 1719/0 totalled over £1,000. Married first by 1685 Sarah (d. Jul. 9, 1713, Sherborn, Middlesex Co., MA); and second about 1714 Anne THOMPSON (b. Feb. 10, 1676/7, Charlestown, Suffolk Co., MA; d. Dec. 30, 1716, Braintree, Norfolk Co., MA), daughter of Benjamin THOMPSON and Susanna KIRKLAND, and widow of Thomas CAREW, by whom she had sons Thomas and John. Children of Jonathan and Sarah FAIRBANKS: George married first Lydia GAY, and second Rachel DRURY; Dr. Jonathan married first Lydia HOLBROOK, and second Hannah COOLIDGE; Comfort married Joseph BILLINGS; Joseph died young; Samuel married Susanna WATSON; and Jonas died young. Son of Jonathan and Anne FAIRBANKS: Benjamin married Jerusha HODGE.
  7. Margaret - b. Jun. 27, 1664, Medfield, Norfolk Co., MA; d. after Jun. 1731. Married first on Jan. 23, 1683 at Sherborn, MA, William HOLBROOK (b. Jun. 23, 1657, Weymouth, Norfolk Co., MA; d. Nov. 19, 1714, Mendon, Worcester Co., MA), son of William HOLBROOK and Elizabeth PITTS. Margaret married second on Jun. 6, 1719 at Mendon, Worcester Co., MA, Josiah THAYER (b. about 1666; d. Feb. 1728/9), son of Ferdinando THAYER and Huldah HAYWARD. Children of Margaret and William HOLBROOK: Mary died in infancy; Margaret died in infancy; and William died young.


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