Facts, Analysis, and Narrative about the Thomas Fairchild (1610-1670) Lineage Overview & Table of Contents

For books about Fairchild lines by Jean Fairchild Gilmore and
other Fairchild resources, go to EarlyFairchildsinAmerica.Wordpress.com

Facts, Analysis, and Narrative about the
Thomas Fairchild (1610-1670) Lineage
Joseph Sirah-Dr. John M.-Robert Eldridge)

Started March 2013, Last Updated May 20, 2017
(Thomas G. Kessler, Punta Gorda, Florida)


My mother’s name was Sue Kate Fairchild Kessler. She was born on a farm in Madison County, North Carolina outside of Asheville, North Carolina. When she finished high school she sold her pet hog and used the money to buy a bus ticket to Baltimore, Maryland. World War II created opportunities for women to obtain employment in non-traditional industries such as manufacturing and she was able to obtain a job at Glenn L. Martin aircraft manufacturers in Essex, Maryland. There she met my father, Edgar Franklin Kessler, Jr. and they eventually married and had four children: Edgar III (b: 1947), Thomas (b: 1953), Terry (b: 1958), and Bonnie (B: 1962).

I had the opportunity to visit my mother’s family a couple of times and learned a great deal about the Fairchild generation that included Mom. The details are set out here in the chapter that deals with her generation. It is an amazing tale detailing how a family who lost its father early struggled through world wars and the great depression. Their farming heritage and ability to overcome substantial challenges deserves a great deal of respect from the ancestors who have followed them.

In truth, I had no idea until recently about the genealogical roots of this branch of my family. My brother and I spent many years researching our paternal roots and have documented the Kessler lineage dating back to Europe and Switzerland (KesslerFamilyHistory.wordpress.com). I was quite proud that we were 8th generation Americans and there was a lot of family lore passed down that needed to be recorded while I’m still alive. But, to be honest, I had no real awareness that the Fairchild heritage is even more riveting and that we are 11th generation Americans on the maternal side; that our roots lead straight back to the New England Puritans who emigrated from England to avoid religious persecution. This manuscript is the story of the Fairchild lineage. Readers are also encouraged to visit our family tree located on Ancestry.com (and maintained using FamilyTreeMaker).

I have done my best to faithfully record all facts that I have uncovered. I have also, at times, developed narrative that reflects the times that the generations lived in and possibly reasons why they migrated from New England to New Jersey to Virginia to Kentucky and then to North Carolina. I have acquired books and used online Internet resources, have chased down maps and other records using Ancestry.Com and have done all that I can to record the family history for the generations that follow. I hope that subsequent generations continue the work that my brother and I and many others started and use it to communicate the past to the Kessler and Fairchild relatives who are not yet born.


I discovered that many more genealogists shared interest in the Fairchild family lineage than the Kessler family lineage. In some respects doing this genealogical work was a bit easier because so much was already documented. But my interest is taking the work beyond just the facts and figures of names, dates and places. I continuously wanted to know why things happened and that often led me on searches for things that had not been collectively organized in any one location.

For those who worked very hard over many years doing genealogical research and paving the way for those of us who follow, our appreciation is extended. The following individuals made significant contributions based on years of effort and research:

  • Edgar Franklin Kessler III
  • Chris Fairchild <fishinfoolc@embarqmail.com>
  • W. Bruce Fairchild, Author (Thomas Fairchild Puritan Merchant and Magistrate
  • Jean Gilmore Fairchild (post-humus credit for all her ground-breaking 30 years of work)

 Table of Contents



European Heritage


American Generation 1: Thomas Fairchild (1610 – 1670)


American Generation 2: Zachariah Fairchild (1651 – 1703)


American Generation 3: Caleb Fairchild (1693 – 1777)


American Generation 4: Gershom Fairchild (1728 – 1778)


American Generation 5: Hezekiah Fairchild (1760 – 1816)


American Generation 6: Benjamin Fairchild (1792 – 1860)


American Generation 7: Joseph S. Fairchild (1826 – 1904)


American Generation 8: John M. Fairchild (1845 – 1932)


American Generation 9: Robert Eldridge Fairchild (1879 – 1922)


American Generation 10: Sue Kate Fairchild (1919 – 1986)


American Generation 11: Children of Sue Kate Fairchild Kessler

App A


Facts, Analysis, & Narrative Thomas Fairchild Lineage Ch 1: European Heritage

Chapter 1
European Heritage

It is strange to imagine that the reason the American Fairchild family has been in this country for almost four centuries has to do with actions taken long ago by kings and queens in England and Scotland, but this is in fact how the Fairchild journey from the old to the new world took place. In order to understand the circumstances that led to Thomas Fairchild emigrating from England to the wilderness that was the American colonies in 1639 it is necessary to understand events that took place in England in the 16th and 17th centuries starting with Martin Luther’s break from the Catholic church in 1517 through Thomas Fairchild’s leaving England only 19 years after the Pilgrims settled Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, and settling in the American colonies in 1639. Events that occurred over approximately 100 years prior to his journey set the stage for the great Puritan migration to the United States in search of religious freedom.


Religious Change in 16th and 17th Century England

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there was considerable political, social and religious upheaval in England but most relevant to our family history are the tumultuous events involving religious matters. These events started with Martin Luther’s break from the Catholic Church in 1517. He was offended that the Pope in Rome ordered priests to sell statues and other artifacts to help fund completion of the Basilica and telling parishioners that they must buy these items in order to get to Heaven. Consequently Martin Luther laid the foundations of the modern Protestant movement that quickly spread throughout Europe.

As the movement gained momentum English monarchs took steps to distance England from Papal influence. Henry VIII in the 1530s and his successors positioned the Church of England as the primary source of religious practice. Doing so gave English monarchs ability to directly control and influence church policy and religious practice in England. Over the ensuing decades the English people tended to align with either Protestant or Church of England congregations, splitting their allegiances evenly between the two faiths. Some, however, remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church.

During the subsequent reigns of Edward VI, Mary Queen of Scots, and Elizabeth I reforms were introduced in the English church. Parts of the mass shifted from Latin to English and a Book of Common Prayer was introduced to replace aged Latin prayers. Elizabeth I who reigned for 45 years is recognized as one of England’s greatest monarchs, advancing literacy and artistic achievement. She is also credited with moderating the pace of change in the Church of England and brokering peace between Protestants, Church of England parishioners, Church of England reformers (known as Puritans because they wanted to “purify” the Church), and Roman Catholics who remained loyal to the Pope. Elizabeth’s ability to pacify these diverse groups over a long period of time is generally referred to as the Elizabethan settlement.

The Puritans followed the teachings of religious reformers John Wycliffe (c. 1330–1384) and John Calvin (1509–1564). They desired to “purify” the Church of England (also known as the Anglican Church). The Puritans believed too much power rested with priests, bishops, and cardinals who were the highest church officials. Stressing Bible reading and individual prayer, they advocated that congregation members be more directly involved in church affairs and they demanded simplified worship services. Puritans defied the authority of church leaders, contending that each congregation should manage its own affairs under the guidance of a council (called a presbytery) composed of congregation members.

Rise of Religious Persecution in England

Despite the Elizabethan settlement both Protestants and Puritans continued to push their respective views. Elizabeth tired of the bickering and in 1577 issued an edict requiring that everyone belong to the Church of England, effectively ending any pretense of religious freedom in England. By the end of the 16th century Puritanism had been forced underground.

When the Protestant King James of Scotland ascended to the throne in 1603 there was hope among both Puritans and Catholics that there would more religious tolerance. Over time James came to believe that the Puritan desire to eliminate senior church clergy might lead to similar perceptions regarding the monarchy and eventually he declared that he would “harry Puritans out of the land.” It was, in fact, his son Charles I who pressed Puritans so hard that it ignited the Great Migration from England of more than 80,000 English including Thomas Fairchild that took place from 1620 to 1640.

William Laud was a senior official in the Church of England and he demonstrated strong dislike of Puritans over the years. In 1633 Charles I appointed Laud as Archbishop of Canterbury. One of Laud’s priorities was to suppress the Puritans and he sent commissioners into almost every parish to ensure that they were following prescribed practices and that there was no Puritan activities.

From 1629-1640 Charles I dissolved Parliament and ruled England as an autocrat. This period is known as the Eleven Years of Tyranny. When Charles ascended to the throne he faced the challenge of a severe lack of funds. Charles and his advisors developed various schemes to raise funds including the infamous “Ship Money” tax which taxed inland counties to contribute to funding the English Navy. He also fined descendants of property owners claiming that the ancestors were required to serve as knights but did not do so. By 1635 Charles was solvent but the seeds of rebellion had been planted. In 1637 a Buckinghamshire squire refused to pay the Ship money and triggered negative public opinion. At the same time Charles and Laud enraged Scots by proposing religious changes in Scotland leading to riots in Edinburgh. Only a few years later, in 1642, the English Civil War began.

These historical events are recounted because they occurred while Thomas Fairchild was a young man. Born in 1610 the above events occurred when he was in his teens and early twenties. Clearly they were contributing factors in his thinking regarding leaving England and traveling to the “New World.”

Puritan Beliefs and Motives

Understanding the Puritan movement is important in understanding the English settlement of New England in the 17th century. Those who eventually migrated to America did not want to destroy the Anglican Church, but they did seek to reform or purify it. Their beliefs placed emphasis on the autonomy of the individual congregation rather than rule by a clerical hierarchy. Puritans came from the working class – they included farmers, merchants, professional men and scholars. Yet over time they came to be perceived and persecuted as “dismal religious fanatics.”


During the Great Migration to America in the first half of the 17th century 35 Puritan churches were established in New England. The Puritan culture shaped New England and its people. Its followers were serious, religious people who advocated strict religious and moral principles. Hard work was considered a religious duty. The Puritans were averse to traditional forms of entertainment such as theater. They lived a life of hard work and religious practice with little interest in activities not directly related to those two things.

The Puritans brought with them a philosophy of life, which is popularly known as American Puritanism. A dominant factor in American life, Puritanism was one of the most enduring and shaping influences in American thought and American literature. Puritanism emphasized preeminence of the individual, freedom from oppressive governments, and the value of learning and education. It led early Americans to examine their beliefs, their world, and each other and gave ordinary men and women a sense of purpose. It encouraged them to scrutinize issues in religion and in government and to speak out. It helped to create in Americans a sense of duty to their God, nation, and fellow men. It taught men and women to judge others by how they lived, not by their birth.

On the one hand, Puritanism is a highly strict religious doctrine. The Puritans were determined to find a place on the new continent where they could worship God in the way they thought true Christians should. When they arrived on the continent, they saw virgin land, virgin forests, vast expanses of wilderness, and therefore believed that they were sent by God for a definite purpose. Contending that there is only one God who rules everything on the earth, Puritans thought they were “the selected few”, chosen by God to reestablish a Commonwealth based on the teachings of the Bible, restore the lost paradise and turn the wilderness into a new Garden of Eden. “Therefore the journey to the New World was not just a migration. It was a new Exodus, ordained by God and foretold in the Bible, just as the Bible promised the creation of a New Jerusalem, in America.”

On the other hand, Puritanism also has its practical aspect. When the Puritans first landed on the continent, they faced wilderness that offered no shelter, food or clothes. Their struggle for survival and expansion made them more and more preoccupied with business and profits. They worked hard to make a living but were ready for misfortunes and tragic failures.


The Pilgrims arrived at Cape Cod on November 11, 1620. They faced a harsh, cold and unwelcome environment and landed amid various tribes of Indians living in the Northeast at that time. Fortunately for the Pilgrims the Indians had faced a devastating decrease in population along coastal areas caused by disease carried from Europe by the many fishing vessels that traveled to present-day Maine and other locations along the coast. When the Pilgrims shifted from the barrier area on tip of Cape Cod that is now Provincetown across Cape Cod Bay and started their settlement at Plymouth on December 21, 1620 they were setting the stage for thousands of others who would follow in their footsteps.

In March 1621 the Plymouth leaders forged an awkward peace agreement with Massasoit, leader of the Wampanoag Indians. Following the 1621 Peace Treaty an Indian named Squanto who spoke English took up residence near Plymouth and taught the Pilgrims how to plant crops that Indians survived on, fertilize crops with fish, catch eels and follow other Indian survival practices. He accompanied the Pilgrims as guide and interpreter visiting Indian tribes on trading missions. The peace treaty he helped negotiate enabled the Pilgrims to travel about the region without fear from Indian attack.

Over the next 20 years other significant “plantations” were settled in New England. John Winthrop and 900 colonists settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Boston in 1630.


It is not entirely clear when Thomas Fairchild came to America. We know that he was one of the first settlers of Stratford, Connecticut in 1639 but it is not clear if he came directly from England to Stratford via Boston or if he was in the colonies earlier. For that reason it is useful to discuss early Connecticut settlement in case he was part of those events.

Thomas Hooker was born in July 1586 in Leicestershire, England. He attended Queens College, Cambridge, and then Emmanuel College, graduating with a BA in 1608 and an MA in 1611. About 1620 he became rector of St. George’s in Esher, Surrey and moved to St. Mary’s Church in Chelmsford, Essex in 1626. In 1629 Bishop William Laud threatened to arrest him for his Puritanism and he left the ministry and became a school teacher. However he continued to provide consultation and support to other Puritan ministers and in 1630 was summoned to appear before the High Commission Court. Rather than face imprisonment he left England for Holland and in 1633 set sail for New England. He settled in Cambridge near Boston and again became minister to others who settled in Cambridge from the Chelmsford, Essex area.

As the Massachusetts colonial government took shape in the 1620s and 1630s it adopted policies that were very restrictive in terms of voting and other rights. Only members of the Puritan church were accorded full rights and privileges. Despite leaving England to avoid religious persecution Massachusetts leaders in fact implemented its own version of those policies.

Thomas Hooker’s protests over the lack of suffrage and denial of rights to non-Puritans in Massachusetts caused him to be at odds with the influential minister Joseph Cotton. Given the strong disagreements over colony leadership Hooker and his followers elected to leave Cambridge. On May 31, 1636 a majority of the congregation migrated westward across the wilderness to a site along the Connecticut River which they named Hartford, after Hertford, England. There Hooker undertook once again the work of establishing a new community and church. As one of the key leaders of this new colony he helped enact a constitution that provided equal rights to all male citizens regardless of their religion, setting the stage for democratic ideals that were to flourish in the Colonies over the next century. Thomas Hooker remained a leader in both the religious and governmental arenas for the remainder of his life.

It is not clear if Thomas Fairchild was part of Hooker’s migration from the Boston area to the Hartford wilderness. Only three years after Hartford was established Thomas Fairchild became a founding member of the new Stratford, Connecticut plantation located approximately 55 miles downriver. It is entirely possible that he was part of Thomas Hooker’s contingent although we have no proof that he was a member.


Bridgeport, Connecticut is the present day location of Stratford which was founded by Thomas Fairchild and his fellow Puritans in the spring of 1639. Stratford Village was located on the Housatonic River about one and a half miles from the Long Island Sound, fourteen miles from New Haven, 55 miles from Hartford and 58 miles from present-day New York City. Stratford was the seventh “plantation” settled within Connecticut.

Stratford was founded in 1639. There is some tradition that reports that it was actually first settled in 1638 by William Judson and perhaps a few other families. It is not certain if Thomas Fairchild and his family were part of the initial settlers. By 1639 Puritan leader Reverend Adam Blakeman and a small group of followers arrived from Whethersfield.

When the English arrived at the location of Stratford it was occupied by a tribe of Mohawk Indians who used the local name of Cupheag, which meant harbor or place of shelter. The Indians referred to the area as Pequannock, which meant cleared field. The plantation was known as Cupheag in 1639, referred to by Connecticut’s General Court (Assembly) as Pequonnocke in June 1640, and Stratford by 1643.

Approximately 16 families accompanied Rev. Blakeman on this journey, including Thomas Fairchild. Like other Puritan towns founded during this time, both church and town leadership in early Stratford church was provided by the church and its pastor and layman leaders. One source who interviewed living persons from the founding era reported the following:

“Mr. Fairchild, who was a principal planter, and the first gentleman in the town vested with civil authority,” came directly from England. Mr. John and Mr. William Curtiss and Mr. Joseph Hawley were from Roxbury, and Mr. William Judson and Mr. William Willcoxson from Concord in Massachusetts. These were the first principal gentlemen in the town and church of Stratford. A few years after the settlement commenced, Mr. John Birdseye removed from Milford and became a man of eminence both in the town and church. There were also several of the chief planters from Boston, and Mr. Samuel Wells, with his three sons, John, Thomas and Samuel, from Wethersfield, Mr. Adam Blakeman, who had been ordained in England, and a preacher of some note, first at Leicester and after- wards in Derbyshire, was their minister, and one of the first planters. It is said that he was followed by a number of the faithful into this country.”

Blakeman ruled Stratford until his death in 1665. His passing was accompanied by pressures among second generation citizens for change and relief from the exceptional rigid austerity of the town’s founders. Over time Stratford’s culture changed and was gradually replaced with more standard colonial administration. By the late 17th century, the Connecticut government had assumed political control over Stratford.

Facts, Analysis, & Narrative Thomas Fairchild Lineage Ch 2: Thomas Fairchild (1610-1670)

Chapter 2
American Generation 1: Thomas Fairchild (1610-1670)

At the time that the Pilgrims arrived in America Thomas Fairchild was approximately 10 years old. Assuming that he grew up in a Puritan household there very likely was great interest in the adventures of the Pilgrims as they emigrated from intolerant England to America.  Thomas’ exact birth date and location are not known. Based on evidence citing his age at various times historians estimate he was born in 1610. Some histories suggest that he likely spent his early years at High Laver, Essex, England.

He married his first wife, Sarah Seabrook in England and in 1638/1639 journeyed from England to the New World.  It seems to be generally accepted that Thomas sailed for America from Barnstable, Devonshire, England.

With him was his wife, Emma, her father Robert Seabrook and three of her sisters. He was among those families who first settled at the site of Stratford, Connecticut in 1638/1639. He quickly thrived in the new colony, acquiring extensive land holdings and holding various offices in the local government. He owned a home on what is now Elm Street, Bridgeport, Connecticut. A map indicates the location of his home in the early colony.

He was a Deputy from Stratford to the General Court (early form of state legislature) and he served eleven sessions from April 1646 to October 1665. In those days the office of Commissioner was similar to that of the elected Justice of the Peace today, and Thomas served in this capacity more than once.


Thomas’ wife Emma was Robert Seabrook’s daughter and sister to the wives of Thomas Sherwood, William Preston, of New Haven, and Lieutenant Thomas Wheeler, of Milford. These connections gave the Fairchild family significant influence in the new colony. Emma was born on Dec 28, 1608 and died on October 23, 1658. Children included Samuel, Sarah, Faith, John, Thomas Jr., Dinah, Zachariah and Emma. More about the family will be discussed in the next chapter.

As noted earlier, Mr. Fairchild was one of the most prominent and respected men of Stratford. He was appointed by the General Court, with Thomas Sherwood and the Constables of Stratford, to draft men in 1654 for the then proclaimed Narraganset war; and again on a committee with Philip Groves, as leather sealer of Fairfield county. In 1654 he was elected Deputy, and a number of times after that, and in 1663 he was nominated for an Assistant and the same for three successive years, but was not elected. As these nominations were made at or by the General Court, this shows the estimation of him by that body. In 1664 he was appointed a Commissioner, which was a Justice of the Peace, for Stratford and was reappointed afterwards.

Several of the children were very young when Emma passed in 1658. Thomas, in order to care for his family and also attend to his family recognized the need to remarry. Given the shortage of eligible females in the colonies Thomas journeyed to London with John Winthrop, Jr., Connecticut’s Governor. Winthrop and his father both are famous for their contributions. John Winthrop Jr. introduced Thomas to his future second wife, Catherine Graigg. They were married on December 15th, 1662 at St. Stephen’s Church on Coleman Street in London (which later burned and was never rebuilt) and returned to Connecticut in 1663.

Thomas and Catherine signed a pre-nuptial agreement that provided the bride with a life estate in his lands and a sum of 200 pounds to be paid to her if he died before arrival in New England. The contract was never carried out and was settled after Thomas’ death by the General Court, ordering the money to be paid. The estate was valued at 360 pounds.

Additional information about each generation is included in subsequent chapters. The Fairchild family played a significant role in Stratford, Connecticut for many years following its founding. Over the years some family members migrated to other locations and that migration will be thoroughly documented throughout this manuscript. Before closing this first chapter it is worth including a list of the early founders of Stratford. Their determination and focus in terms of leaving England, journeying to a wilderness occupied by wild men and beasts, giving up the comforts offered in England, and taking the first steps toward starting a new country are worthy of specific merit and recognition.

He died Dec. 14, 1670, and the select-men reported his inventory at £350. He had four sons by his first wife and two by his second, and the descendants were numerous. After his death Catherine Fairchild married widower Jeremiah Judson, whom she and Thomas had known for many years.

 American Generation #1

Thomas Fairchild and Wives and Children

Thomas Fairchild b: Oct 10, 1610, Englandd: Dec 14, 1670, Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut
Emma Faith Seabrook Fairchild

(Married Dec. 22, 1638)

b: Dec 28, 1608, Buckinghamshire, Englandd: Oct 23, 1658
Catherine Craigg Fairchild

(Married Dec. 15, 1662)

b: 1616, England. May 1706, Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut

Children with Emma Fairchild

Benjamin b: 1639, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd: Mar 27, 1686, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Samuel b: Aug 31, 1640, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd: Jan. 1704, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Sarah (Preston) b: Feb. 19, 1641, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Faith b: 1642, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
John b: May 1, 1644, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Thomas Jr. b: Feb. 21, 1646, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd: Mar 26, 1686, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Dinah b: Jul. 14, 1648, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Zachariah b: Dec. 14, 1651, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd: Jun. 23, 1703, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Emma (Preston) b: Oct. 23, 1653, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd: Feb. 25, 1732, Stratford, Fairfield, CT

Children with Catherine Craigg

Joseph b: 1639, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd: Mar 27, 1686, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
John b: Jun. 8, 1666, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Priscilla b: Apr. 20, 1669, Stratford, Fairfield, CTd:

thosfairchildportrait stratford founding page 3stratford founding page 4 stratford founding page 4

Facts, Analysis, & Narrative Thomas Fairchild Lineage Ch 3: Zachariah Fairchild (1651-1703)

Chapter 3 American Generation 2
Zachariah Fairchild (1651 – 1703)

Zachariah Fairchild was the fourth son of Thomas and Emma Fairchild, born in Stratford on Dec. 14, 1651. Thomas fathered Zachariah late in life at the age of 41. Zachariah resided in Stratford for all of his 51 years.  He married Hannah Beach on Nov. 3, 1681 and they had eight children.

Hannah’s father, John Beach was also one of the early Stratford settlers and his home was located four lots away from the Fairchild location on what is now Elm Street.

On May 22, 1677 Zachariah’s land was recorded in the Stratford land records. It included a house purchased from Thomas Fairchild, land received as a gift from his brothers Samuel and Thomas, his cousin Jehiel Preston and his step-mother. He died intestate. The inventory, dated Sep. 6, 1703 had an extensive list of produce, animals and farm equipment. He owned many acres of land.

One biographer wrote that Zachariah Fairchild and Daniel Brinsmead were appointed as Stratford constables in 1693. However they refused to enforce violations related to religious misbehavior and were therefore fined 20 shillings each according to the law.


The spiritual leader of the original Stratford families was Reverend Adam Blakeman who was born in Staffordshire, England in 1598 and attended Oxford’s Christ Church College.  During most of his years as Stratford’s minister Blakeman gave stability and popularity to the Stratford plantation.  For a quarter of a century he shielded the colony from the split between more orthodox Puritans and their children who tended to rebel against some of the most strict church rules. The orthodox Puritans deemed that those who did not strictly adhere to the rules were not in “full communion,” unable to participate in communion or vote in Church matters, and not permitted to have their children baptized. Given how important family was to the Puritans, this created resentment and subdued conflict.

When Reverend Blakeman fell ill and passed away on September 7, 1665 a young minister named Israel Chauncey assumed his duties. Chauncey favored tight compliance with Puritan rules and restrictive church membership to those who did not comply and, given his youth, he lacked the personality and presence of Adam Blakeman. Over time the group that were less strict in their practices decided to form a second church in Stratford. There was subsequent squabbling since there was only one meeting house in the town and Chauncey was reluctant to share it with another minister and congregation. On May 5, 1670 the Connecticut General Court weighed in on the ongoing dispute, authorizing the Second Church of Stratford under the Reverend Zechariah Walker.

Three years earlier, in 1666, the General Court had granted Thomas Fairchild, Joseph Judson, Samuel Sherman, William Curtis, Joseph Hawley  and John Minor, all highly respected Stratford residents the authority to purchase lands at Pootatuck from the Indians to be reserved for a village or plantation. Ultimately the Stratford group acquired these lands, renamed Woodbury by the General Court in 1674. Some of those who were involved in the purchase at Pootatuck were members of Reverend Walker’s congregation. As early as 1667 it was apparent to some of Reverend Walker’s congregation that the controversy of the last two years would eventually result in settlement of a new plantation.

In May 1672 on the advice of Governor John Winthrop, Jr. the General Court granted a second authorization to establish a new plantation at the location that later became known as Woodbury, which means a dwelling place in the woods. This act allowed the Reverend Zechariah Walker and his church to found the new town. In the spring of 1673 Joseph Judson and John Minor were part of the band of fifteen families who made the 40-mile trek over narrow and winding Indian trails, following the banks of the Housatonic River to the location of the new town in the wilderness. Several sons of the original inhabitants including Thomas Fairchild Jr. elected to move to Woodbury. Thomas was married and had his first son while in Stratford but his other children were born in Woodbury.

It should be noted that Governor John Winthrop, Jr. a friend of Thomas Fairchild recognized that religious intolerance demonstrated by the first generation of Puritan settlers was bad for commerce. As Governor he therefore recognized that permitting new settlements to flourish and to encourage less religious intolerance was essential for the long-term well-being of Connecticut.

This background information provides a context demonstrating reasons why Fairchild family members began leaving Stratford and spreading to other parts of the growing colonies in the coming years. Although Zachariah Fairchild lived his entire life in Stratford some of his children were part of the next migration from Connecticut to New Jersey which was the first step in the eventual migration to Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina.

American Generation #2

Zachariah Fairchild and Wife and Children

Zachariah Fairchild b: Dec 14, 1651, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Jun 23, 1703, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Hannah Beach Fairchild

(Married Nov. 3, 1681)

b: Dec 12, 1665, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: May 9, 1726, Wallingford, New Haven, CT


Mehitabel (Mabel) b: Mar 29, 1683, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Sep 27, 1684, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Hannah b: Aug 1, 1685, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Dec 12, 1706, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
David b: May 16, 1688, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: 1741, Newtown, Fairfield, CT
Agur b: Oct 1, 1691, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: May 4, 1712, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Caleb b: Sep 10, 1693, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: May 1, 1777, Morristown, NJ
James b: Feb 12, 1695, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: 1761, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Mary b: May 7, 1698, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Aug 29, 1803, Litchfield, CT
Zachariah b: Nov 21, 1701, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Aug 6, 1777, Morristown, NJ
Abiel b: Jan 15, 1703, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Aug 14, 1785, New Haven, CT

Facts, Analysis, & Narrative Thomas Fairchild Lineage Ch 4: Caleb Fairchild (1693-1777)

Chapter 4
American Generation 3
Caleb Fairchild (1693 – 1777)

Generation 3, starring Caleb Fairchild is an interesting one. It is the first to leave the Connecticut area and settle in the wilderness of New Jersey. He led an active and well-documented life until succumbing to smallpox, along with his wife and one of their sons in 1777. Smallpox took a heavy toll on the Revolutionary Army at the same time.

Caleb and Ann Fairchild

Caleb Fairchild was the son of Zachariah and Hannah Beach Fairchild. He was the fifth of nine children, the “middle child,” and was born September 10, 1693 in Stratford, Connecticut. He married Ann Sherwood Trowbridge on May 17, 1717.

Caleb and Ann had eight Fairchild children: Sarah (1719-1719), Matthew 1720-1790), Sarah (1722-1804), Joseph (1724-1804), Gershom (1728-1788), Ebenezer (1729-1808), Mehitabel or Mabel (1732-1795), and Ezra (1734-1777).

Caleb was the grandson of Thomas Fairchild and was the first ancestor to leave Connecticut. According to T.M. Fairchild, Caleb and Ann Fairchild moved from Connecticut to Whippany, New Jersey which is in Morris County (see following section describing migration from Stratford to New Jersey). It is probable that his son Matthew Fairchild was born in New Jersey.

Caleb was a farmer & mill owner of Fairchild Mills in Hanover, New Jersey. He was a respected member of the community where he and Anne settled, and raised her children, as well as the children that they had together.

1735 caleb fairchild family home 1735 fairchild mill

Caleb, Anne, and Caleb’s brother Zachariah were among the founding members of the Morristown First Presbyterian Church.

Anne, Caleb, and their son Ezra died during an outbreak of smallpox (which also claimed the lives of several Continental soldiers) in the spring of 1777.


The mills and forges were the lure that would bring settlers from the east and the north, and which would finally give Whippany (then part of Hanover, New Jersey) its reputation.

The mills also produced the leading families of the township. The first of these were the Fairchilds. The family patriarch, Caleb Fairchild, arrived in Whippany in 1735, with his brother Zachariah, and his wife Anne, and established a gristmill and a saw mill on the tract of the orignal forge and property now occupied by the International Paper Co. (now since gone).

A member of the Presbyterian Church in Hanover for a number of years, he and Anne were also founding members, along with Zechariah, of the Morristown First Presbyterian Church in Morristown. Caleb also served as Morris County Sheriff from 1746 to 1748. He died on May 1, 1777 at 84 years of age.

Caleb’s son Abner was a Captain in the Army. Abner had seven sons who were patriots. Abraham Fairchild, grandson of Caleb, also an Army Captain, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps.

On the site of Caleb’s saw mill, Abraham established a very successful woolen mill. On Stoney Brook in Malapardis, he built a carding machine and fulling mill (a step in the woolen cloth-making process which involves the cleansing of wool to eliminate oils, dirt and other impurities and to make it fuller), the first in this section of New Jersey.

Abraham Fairchild was a social as well as business leader of the township. His mansion on Jefferson Road drew notables from all parts of Morris County. Abraham’s son John sold the family interests in other plants, but retained the fulling mill and took over its management. John’s son, E.R. Fairchild, and grandson, A. K. Fairchild, carried on the operation of the company until 1890, a span of a century of family ownership. In the post-Civil War period, with machinery purchased from New York State Prison, the plant turned to the manufacture of woolens.”

Migration from Stratford, Connecticut to Morris County, New Jersey

According to New Jersey Archives, Caleb was in New Jersey as early as 1730. His last grantor deed in Stratford was 18 April 1722. One of Caleb’s descendants said he went from Stratford to Stonington, Connecticut, then to Hempstead, Long Island, New York, and then to New Jersey. He also at one point briefly lived in the New Haven, Connecticut area, and is on the deeds there. It is noted in Fairchild family history correspondence that several of Zachariah and Hannah Fairchild’s children relocated from Connecticut to New Jersey and settled near Whippany and Morristown and in the Berkshire Valley.

Revolutionary War Connections

Caleb’s oldest son Matthew fathered a son, also named Caleb (1743-1807). This Caleb was a fifth generation descendant of Thomas Fairchild and was a Revolutionary War soldier who served from New Jersey.

Another son, Abner, and Abner’s son Abraham, also fought in the Revolutionary War. He was a Captain in the Army. Abner had seven sons who were patriots. Abraham Fairchild, grandson of Caleb, also an Army Captain, followed in his grandfather’s footsteps.

One interesting note about this generation of Fairchilds is that while some of them and their descendants clearly fought on the side of the Continentals in the Revolutionary War others were Loyalists who supported the King during the War. The Loyalist contingent fled to Ontario, Canada after the War to avoid prosecution and imprisonment. Most of the Canadian Fairchilds hail from this line of the family.

Caleb as Sheriff

Most colonists were farmers and crops were their only source of sustenance and income. Few people worked for money in the form of wages. The barter system was the dominant form of exchange for most citizens because the King’s government prohibited colonial money and there was a short supply of English money in circulation.

Over time as demand for a fiat currency to replace bartering increased, colonists and businesses sought various solutions. The first strategy was use of South American Spanish coins, known as “Pieces of Eight” or “Spanish Dollars”. A second strategy adopted by some colonies was printing of paper money. However, there was significant distrust that the value of the notes would be backed by the colonial governments. Consequently, merchants in a colony that printed currency often did not honor it and neighboring colonies also did not recognize it.

The fiscal situation in the colonies added to growing distrust between colonists and Colonial governments. Government appointees often ignored fiscal matters leaving colonies in a financially difficult situation.

Counterfeiting in colonial America was common, especially in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania colonies from 1730 to 1770. It occurred in almost all colonies to some extent before the revolution. Causes included the general political situation and feeble colonial government efforts to control or stop the people involved.

Counterfeiting of Spanish coins and paper money was relatively easy. Coin counterfeiting required metal working skills and paper counterfeiting required ability to use ink and paper to replicate colonial script. The Kings government and its colonial representatives regarded counterfeiting as a serious crime subject to death. The colonists however viewed counterfeiting as less serious. Those in charge did not want to antagonize the citizens and intensify anti-Monarch sentiment so the death sentence was rarely enforced.

The crime of counterfeiting was usually committed by two different levels of society. The most skillful and persistent were small “gangs” of men who moved about and had only limited ability to produce counterfeit notes but a persistence that made it profitable and worth the risk. These were generally petty criminals who were known to local sheriffs and constables. They effectively recruited locals to get involved, struck quickly and moved on.

The second group was men of substance; family men, landowners, church members and small business owners; all were upstanding community members. Their involvement in counterfeiting is attributed to acts of civil disobedience which preceded the eventual rebellion against the King.

On the 25th Nov., 1746, Caleb Fairchild was appointed High Sheriff of Pequannock by Governor Belcher, of the Colony of New Jersey. He served as sheriff for two years. During this period counterfeiting was occurring with great frequency. A group of ten men were involved in counterfeiting activities and were discovered, indicted and arrested on September 20, 1748. The men were Timothy Conner, Seth Hall, Jonathan Hathaway, John Pipes, Job Allen, Andrew Morrison, Abraham Southerd, Samuel Blackford, Sylvanus Totten and David Brant.

According to accounts, Sheriff Caleb Fairchild allowed the counterfeiters to escape. It was later learned that Sheriff John Kinney had also assisted in the jail break. The men were later arrested again and tried before a Kings Court, given somewhat lenient sentences and released. They were again indicted in 1752 for escaping from jail and required to pay small fines.


Caleb Fairchild in Hanover Town, June 4, 1776, No. 1- pg. 75, plotted p. 106

All that certain tract of land lying in Hanover afore said. Beginning in the middle of the road that leads from Morristown to Hyberna furnace also being a corner of Mathew Ball’s land from thence running North by said Ball’s land seventy-three degrees along the said Ball’s line eleven chains & eighty links to Nathaniel Peck’s land now Jonathon Hathaway’s thence by his land South twenty degrees & fifteen minutes West twelve chains & eighty-five links to the land of Mathur Fairchild thence South seventy-nine degrees East twelve chains to the middle of the road thence South seventy-nine degrees East twelve chains to the middle of the road then North fifty-six degrees East two chains & twenty links along said road thence North eighty degrees five chains then North fifteen degrees East three chains to the beginning. Containing fifteen acres & fifteen hundredths of an acre strict measure.
Jonathon Hatheway
Ashur Fairchild


“1773, Oct. 4 – Fairchild, Caleb, of Hanover, Morris Co.; will of.

To wife, Anne, use of all real and personal estate, during her life.

To children, Matthew, and Joseph, Gershom, Ebenezer the following legacies: to Joseph 10 pounds; to Matthew 10 pounds; to Gershom 10 pounds; to Mehitabel, 20 pounds; to Sarah, 5 pounds. sons Joseph and Ezra, all real estate, and they pay legacies.

Executors- sons Joseph and Ezra. Witnesses-Ebenezer, Ezekiel Cheever, Sarah Cheever. Proved May 14, 1777”


(from “Whose Who in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Morristown, NJ”)

Fairchild, Catherine–17/44–Daughter of Ephraim & Gitty Fairchild, d. 26 Nov 1826, age 11 months 4 days. [Ed. Note: CR70 show Catharine Price Fairchild, Daughter of Ephraim & Gertrude “Gitty” (Oliver) Fairchild].

Fairchild, Catherine–20/37–Buried with David Fairchild–Erected by their Son S. F. 1821. [Ed. Note: This would appear to be the Catherine (Gregory) Fairchild which CR69 show b. 13 Mar 1735, m. David Fairchild 9 Nov 1757, and d. 18 Feb 1800. See Fairchild, David at Site 20/37].

Fairchild, Dabriat (Deborah)–25/12–d. 13 Apr 1757, age 50. [Ed. Note: Wife of Zachariah, the First Leading Elder of the Church upon separation of the Morristown Church from the Hanover Church in about 1737. Vail spells the name Dabriah. CR69 show Deborah, 1st Wife of Zachariah Fairchild of Morris Plains. Deborah & Zachariah were parents of two i.e., David and Abiel. CR69 show “Dabriat” on the headstone].

Fairchild, David–24/26–d. 13 Apr 1855, age 88.7.10. [Ed. Note: CR69 show David Fairchild, Son of David & Catherine (Gregory) Fairchild, b. 3 May 1767, m. Hannah Day 13 Sep 1794. David & Hannah were parents of eight i.e., Samuel, Lewis, Josiah, Franklin, Henry, David Day, Silas, and James].

Fairchild, David–20/37–Buried with Catherine Fairchild–Erected by their Son S. F. 1821. [Ed. Note: This would appear to be the David Fairchild which CR69 show was the Son of Deborah & Zachariah Fairchild, b. 6 May 1734, 1st m. Catherine Gregory on 9 Nov 1757. David & Catherine were parents of ten i.e., Abijah, Rhoda, Phebe, Samuel, David, Silas, Eunice, Mabel Silas, and Lewis. David 2nd m. Nancy Loper 3 Jan 1807. David d. 30 Aug 1807, age 73. The S. F. who erected the marker at this Site for David and Catherine probably was the 2nd Son named Silas who died 18 Feb 1852, age 75. The other possibility would be their Son Samuel, although he moved to Savannah, Georgia. His date of death has not been found].

Fairchild, Elizabeth–Reinterred at Evergreen No Date No Location Shown–Wife of William W. Fairchild, d. 23 Apr 1832, age 24.4.7. [CR72 show Elizabeth Jaggers m. 15 Feb 1830 to William Fairchild, d. 4 Apr 1832, age 24. Reinterment confirmed by Chambers at Page 62].

Fairchild, Hannah–24/25–Wife of David–d. 10 Jan 1851, age 82.7.5. [Ed. Note: See Fairchild, David at Site 24/27].

Fairchild, Phebe Briant–20/2–Wife of Silas Fairchild, d. 7 Sep 1846, age 70 [Ed. Note: Parker shows originally copied 1816 and corrected with Church Records. See Fairchild, Silas].

Fairchild, Rhoda–20/36–d. 27 Dec 1845, age 84. [Ed. Note: CR69 show Rhoda Fairchild, Daughter of David & Catherine (Gregory) Fairchild, b. 9 Sep 1860, d. 26 Jan 1845, age 84].

Fairchild, Sarah–29/23–Wife of Matthew, d. 6 Jan 1750, age 33. [Ed. Note: Parker shows originally copied 1756 and corrected with Church Records. CR71 show Sarah _______ was the 1st Wife of Matthew Fairchild. Matthew remarried two more times. He is shown Father of ten i.e., Caleb, Ruth, Ann, Sarah, Stephen, Asher, Jonathan, Theodocia, Rebecca, and Mehitabel. Based on the dates of Baptism, Sarah would have been the Mother of the first five. Based on the date of Matthew’s third marriage, the last two would have been by his third Wife. It is unclear which of Matthew’s Wives i.e., #1 or #2, was the Mother of which of the three remaining children i.e., Asher, Jonathan, and Theodocia].


Since 1735 the name Fairchild has been well known in Morris County. Thomas Fairchild, a native of England crossed the Atlantic to the Colony of Connecticut in 1639. Caleb Fairchild, the direct ancestor of the branch of the Fairchild family living in Morris County, located in Whippany, New Jersey, in 1735, and died in May, 1777 aged eighty-four years. His wife and he were members of the First Presbyterian Church as early as 1742. Mathew, the eldest son, born in 1720, died June 5, 1790, aged sixty-nine years. His ten children were all baptized in the First Presbyterian Church in Morristown. The seventh son, Jonathan Fairchild, was born November 3, 1751, baptized December 10, 1752. On September 8, 1783, he married Sarah Howell. He died August 5, 1813, aged sixty-three years.

Dr. Stephen Fairchild, their youngest son, was born in Littleton, Morris County, October 28, 1792. He was a man of strong mentality, possessing a very studious nature. After acquiring a common school education he prepared himself for the practice of medicine. He pursued his studies under the direction of Dr. Ebenezer and Charles E. Pierson, of Morristown, New Jersey; attended medical lectures in Philadelphia for a year, and engaged in practice in New York. Upon urgent solicitation of many friends he removed to Parsippany, New Jersey as the successor of Dr. Hartwell, who recently died. For thirty-six years he was successfully engaged in the practice of his chosen calling, and his pronounced skill and ability made him the leader of his profession. He was among the first to adopt Homeopathy and became a firm believer that practice. He was not only an eminent physician but was an earnest and devout Christian. Few physicians have ever been more loved or honored than Dr. Stephen Fairchild. Death came to him after a long illness, marked by the greatest suffering. He bore it with Christian fortitude. He died July 13, 1872, and was laid to rest in the cemetery of Parsippany.

Dr. Stephen Fairchild enjoyed an ideal home life. He was married May 18, 1818 to Miss Euphemia M. Brinkerhoff born in Mount Hope, New Jersey, September 1796, daughter of George D. Brinkerhoff and Euphemia Ashfield. Mr. Brinkerhoff retired from business, purchased a home in Parsippany, and removed his family in 1797. The residence had been a noted tavern in Revolutionary times. It became the birthplace of the children of Dr. Stephen and Euphemia Fairchild. It was destroyed by fire in November, 1874, but was rebuilt on the old site and continued to be the home of Mrs. Euphemia Fairchild through her last years. She died June 20, 1882. She was a lady of the old school – amiable, educated, refined, and a sincere Christian.

The children of Dr. Stephen Fairchild and his wife were: Richard Van Wyck, born February 22, 1819, and Eliza S., born October 19, 1820, but died in infancy. The only son followed in his father’s footsteps, and the two were associated in business for a number of years, a most ideal relationship existing between them. The son was prepared for college in the classical school conducted by Ezra Fairchild, in Mendham, New Jersey. In 1837 he entered the junior class at Princeton College, where he graduated in 1839. At Princeton he was the College wit, and thus with a strong vein of humor, combined with his power of imitation and representation, together with his wide and varied information, made him a most agreeable companion and entertaining gentleman. He was an able writer. His nature was not without the poetic side, nor did he lack in musical culture; he was fond of all the arts and interests that elevate humanity.

He studied medicine under the professional guidance of father, and subsequently under Dr. McClennan of Philadelphia, and Dr. Mott of New York. He entered upon practice with his father in 1843, and attained an eminence in professional circles, for his knowledge was comprehensive and accurate, possessing exceptional skill in the diagnosis of cases and the administration of proper remedies.

Dr. Richard Van Wyck Fairchild died very suddenly, February 24, 1874, and was laid to rest in the family plot in the burial ground at Parsippany. He survived his father hardly two years, and thus they were united in such ties of love and interested in life were not long separated in death.

American Generation #3

Caleb Fairchild and Wife and Children

Caleb Fairchild  b: Sep. 10, 1793, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: May 1, 1777, Morristown, NJ
Anne Sherwood Trowbridge Fairchild

(Married in 1716)

b: 1691, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: Apr 6, 1777, Whippany, Morris County, NJ


Sarah b: May 1719, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
d: May 1719, Stratford, Fairfield, CT
Matthew b: 1720, Morristown, NJ
d: Jun 5, 1790, Hanover, New Jersey
Sarah b: Jun 5, 1722
d: Oct 5, 1804
Joseph b: 1724d: Oct 5, 1804
Gershom b: 1728d: Nov 28, 1778, Somerset, NJ
Ebenezer b: 1729d: Feb 5, 1806
Mehitabel (Mabel) b: 1732d: Jan 12, 1795
Ezra b: 1734d: Apr 14, 1777

Facts, Analysis, & Narrative Thomas Fairchild Lineage Ch 5: Gershom Fairchild (1728-1778)

Chapter 5
American Generation 4
Gershom Fairchild (1728 – 1778)

     The preceding chapter went into extensive detail about Gershom’s father, Caleb. Before presenting details about Gershom and family it is useful to discuss the migratory pattern of the Fairchild family since Thomas arrived in 1639/1640. The family initially helped found and settle Stratford, Connecticut and many generations remained there for a long period of time. However a migratory pattern commenced with some of Thomas’ children.

Two of Thomas’ children, Thomas Jr. and Emma Fairchild Preston were part of a contingent that broke with Reverend Blakeman, the village’s first pastor, in Stratford and relocated to Woodbury, Connecticut. This occurred in spring, 1673 when fifteen Stratford families left Stratford and traveled 40 miles over wilderness to found the new “plantation” named Woodbury.

The second great migration occurred when two of Zachariah and Hannah Beach Fairchild’s children migrated from Stratford to Morristown, New Jersey. These grandchildren of Thomas Fairchild included Caleb and Zachariah Jr.  As noted in the previous chapter, Caleb who was born in 1693 was located in New Jersey as early as 1730. Family lore has it that he migrated first to Long Island, New York and then into Morris County, New Jersey. It is not clear if the Fairchilds that relocated to Morristown, New Jersey kept in touch with those who remained in Connecticut.

Another migratory link involves one of Gershom’s uncles (Caleb’s brother), Ebenezer Fairchild (1729-1808). Ebenezer was born in Morris County, New Jersey, but he died in Ashe County, North Carolina. In 1757 Ebenezer accompanied the famous preacher, John Gano, from New Jersey to the “Jersey settlement in North Carolina on the Yadkin River.” Ebenezer returned to New Jersey because he purchased land in Newtown, Sussex City, New Jersey in 1761; four years after his North Carolina trip. A year later his son Abiud was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Five years later, his son Cyrus was born in Sussex County, New Jersey.

In 1769, Ebenezer’s daughter, Sarah married Ebenezer Frost in Roan County, North Carolina. Two years later, in 1771, Ebenezer obtained a letter of reference from Morristown Baptist Church to a church in Rowan County, North Carolina. He helped organize Dutchman’s Creek Baptist Church in Rowan, North Carolina and was one of ten charter members (Dutchman’s was later renamed Eaton’s Baptist Church).

Twenty five years later, in 1799 Ebenezer moved from the Jersey Settlement in North Carolina to Howard’s Creek, Ashe County, North Carolina. In 1801 he purchased land located six miles from Boone, North Carolina. His will, was executed upon his death in 1806 in Ashe County, North Carolina and included mention of Lewes Fork, Howard’s Creek on the north side of the New River in Wilkes County.

As we will learn later in this chapter, two of Gershom’s cousins migrated from Morris County New Jersey to Virginia. His Uncle Hezekiah’s sons, Hezekiah Jr. and Aaron began the migration from north to south. Although Gershom remained in New Jersey throughout his lifetime, his son Hezekiah moved to Washington County, Virginia, likely following his second cousins. More will be discussed about Hezekiah in the next chapter but this is certainly the basis for the shift from Connecticut to Morristown, New Jersey, to southwestern Virginia and into the Kentucky and western North Carolina areas where the Fairchild family eventually settled.

Gershom Fairchild

Gershom was born to Caleb and Ann Sherwood Trowbridge Fairchild in 1728. He was the fifth of eight children fathered by Caleb, but grew up as part of an extended family because Ann had previously been married and widowed before marrying Gershom and brought her two children from that marriage (David and Anne Trowbridge).

Gershom was a blacksmith and lived in Morristown, New Jersey until later in life when he lived in Bernards Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. He married Ledia (Ledy) on November 19, 1754. Unfortunately, there is no record of Ledia’s pre-marital last name. Gershom and Ledy had ten children from 1749 through 1778. All were born in Morris County, New Jersey.

Gershom was a pew-holder at Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church, Somerset County from 1769 to 1776. He died in 1778.

In 1776 his son Nathaniel was living in Barnard Township, Somerset County, New Jersey with his mother. He enlisted in the Revolutionary War at Fishkill in the New York line and served 9 months. When he applied for a pension in Erie County, New York years later he was required to prove that he served. Caleb Fairchild of Buffalo, a relative, in a sworn affidavit given on 18 Jul 1833 “said he knew him well and that these facts were true.” There was a sworn affidavit given by Theodosia Hall, Nathaniel’s sister of Carlisle, Schoharie County, New York on 12 Aug 1833 stating that these facts were true.

The will of Gershom Fairchild legally establishes Nathaniel, Caleb and Theodosia Hall as his children. The New Jersey probate records include the will of Gershom Fairchild of Barnard Township, Somerset County, New Jersey dated 20 Jul 1776 and witnessed by Theodosia, wife of Jacob Hall. Nathaniel was one of three executors and Gershom calls him “my son Nathaniel.” Gershom also names Caleb, Benjamin, Hezekiah, Aaron and Joseph as his sons.

Gershom’s brother Ebenezer Fairchild moved to Howard’s Creek, Wautagua County, North Carolina. This could be the link in terms of our ancestral migration to Kentucky and North Carolina. “Before Ebenezer moved his family from New Jersey to North Carolina, he made at least two trips there and back. He kept a diary beginning 21 Oct 1757. A History of Watauga County, North Carolina by John Preston Arthur gives an account on pages 87-96 of Ebenezer and his diary. By 1770 Ebenezer had apparently succumbed to hard drinking and loose living, and was neglectful of his church for he repented by letter and was baptized and received back into the Church. Sometime in the 1770’s the family settled in Wilkes County, N.C. Ebenezer was a private in the Revolutionary War and just missed by one day the Battle of Kings Mountain, N.C.” (Early Fairchilds in America and Their Descendants, Gilmore, p. 44).

One of Gershom’s cousins (Caleb’s nephew) named Zachariah (son of James Fairchild) was a loyalist during the Revolution and had to flee the country after the King abdicated and America became independent. “Zachariah, son of James and Abigail Fairchild was a Loyalist who went to Canada and is ancestor of a Canadian branch of Fairchilds.” (Ibid, p. 46).

Morristown, New Jersey during the Revolutionary War

Morristown was settled around 1715 by English Presbyterians from Southold, New York on Long Island and New Haven, Connecticut as the village of New Hanover. This is consistent with family lore that Gershom’s father, Caleb migrated first to Long Island and then to Morristown sometime around 1730. The town’s central location and road connections led to its selection as the seat of the new Morris County shortly after its separation from Hunterdon County on March 15, 1739. The village and county were named for Lewis Morris, the first and then sitting royal governor of the New Jersey colony.

By the middle of the 18th century, Morristown had 250 residents, two churches, a courthouse, two taverns, two schools, several stores, and numerous mills and farms nearby.

George Washington first came to Morristown in May 1773, two years before the Revolutionary War broke out, and traveled from there to New York City together with John Parke Custis (his stepson) and Lord Stirling. Caleb, was alive at this time and Gershom was 45 years old so it is possible that they met him or at least heard about his visit during this period.

General George Washington and the Continental Army marched from the victories at Trenton and Princeton to encamp near Morristown from January to May, 1777. This is the year that Caleb died. Gershom only survived his father by another year, passing in November 1778, so he likely witnessed the first Continental Army encampment, but not the second.

Based on the locations where Gershom’s children died, it is likely that the family was comprised mostly of loyalists because none of Gershom’s children lived in Morristown at their death. Before his death Gershom moved his family 20 miles south to Bernard Township, New Jersey, likely in response to the Revolutionary Army encampment at Morristown. Most of his children eventually relocated 375 miles away to upstate Erie, New York very near the Canadian border, likely to avoid persecution for their support of the British monarchy during the Revolutionary War.  Exceptions included Nathaniel who enlisted in the Revolutionary Army and Hezekiah who followed his uncles to southwestern Virginia as discussed earlier.

Washington’s headquarters during this encampment were located at Jacob Arnold’s Tavern on the Morristown Green in the town center. Morristown was selected for its strategic location between Philadelphia and New York and near New England. It also was chosen for the resident’s skills and trades, local industries and natural resources which were used to manufacturer arms, and the potential for the community to provide enough food to support the army.

That first Headquarters was later moved from Arnold’s Tavern to a location one-half mile south to a building on South Kemble Avenue which later became All Souls Hospital. That building burned in 1918 and was demolished but a new hospital was built directly across the street.

Two and one half-years later from December 1779 to June 1780 the Continental Army returned to encampment at Jockey Hollow. Washington’s headquarters was located at the Ford Mansion, a location that was considered the ‘edge of town.’ Ford’s widow and children shared the house with Martha Washington and officers of the Continental Army.

The winter of 1780 was the worst winter of the Revolutionary War. Starvation was complicated by extreme inflation of money and lack of pay for the army. The entire Pennsylvania contingent successfully mutinied and later, 200 New Jersey soldiers unsuccessfully attempted to emulate them.

During Washington’s second stay, in March 1780, he declared St. Patrick’s Day a holiday to honor his many Irish troops. Martha Washington traveled from Virginia and remained with her husband each winter throughout the war. The Marquis de Lafayette visited General Washington in Morristown to inform him that France would be sending ships and trained soldiers to aid the Continental Army.

The Ford Mansion, Jockey Hollow, and Fort Nonsense are all preserved as part of Morristown National Historical Park managed by the National Park Service, which has the distinction among historic preservationists of being the first National Historical Park established in the United States.

During Washington’s stay, Benedict Arnold was court-martialed at Dickerson’s Tavern on Spring Street for charges related to profiteering from military supplies at Philadelphia. His admonishment was made public, but Washington quietly promised the hero, Arnold, to make it up to him.

Alexander Hamilton courted and wed Betsy Schuyler at a residence where Washington’s personal physician was billeted. Locally known as the Schuyler-Hamilton House, the Dr. Jabez Campfield House is listed on both the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places.

The Morristown Green has a statue commemorating the meeting of George Washington, the young Marquis de LaFayette, and young Alexander Hamilton depicting them discussing forthcoming aid of French tall ships and troops being sent by King Louis XVI of France to aid the Continental Army.

Morristown’s Burnham Park has a statue, dedicated in 1950, of the “Father of the American Revolution”, Thomas Paine, who wrote the bestselling booklet Common Sense, which urged a complete break from British rule. The bronze statue, by sculptor Georg J. Lober, shows Paine in 1776 (using a drum as a table during the withdrawal of the army across New Jersey) composing Crisis 1. He wrote: “These are the times that try men’s souls …. “

American Generation #4

Gershom Fairchild and Wife and Children

Gershom Fairchild b: 1728, Stratford, Connecticutd: 11/28/1778, Bernard Township, NJ
Ledia (Ledy) Fairchild
(Married in 1754)
b: 5/4/1733, Stratford, Connecticutd: 1777, Morristown, New Jersey


Benjamin Fairchild b: 1749, Morristown, New Jersey
d: 1750, Morristown, New Jersey
Nathaniel Fairchild b: 1/8/1752, Morristown, New Jersey
d: 1/21/1837, Clarence, Erie, New York
Aaron Fairchild b: 1754, Morristown, New Jersey
Theodocia Fairchild b: 10/22/1754, Morristown, New Jersey
d: May 1838, Geneva, Ontario, New York
Hezekiah Fairchild b: 1760, Morristown, New Jersey
d: 1817, Washington County, Virginia
Joseph Fairchild b: 10/17/1764, Morristown, New Jersey
d: 3/16/1813, Geneva, Ontario, New York
Caleb Fairchild b: 1770, Morristown, New Jersey
d: 1837, Buffalo, Erie, New York
Sarah Fairchild b: 1772, Morristown, New Jersey
Ann Fairchild b: 1776, Morristown, New Jersey
Clowe Fairchild b: 1778, Morristown, New Jersey


Little is known, including maiden name of Ledia Fairchild before her marriage to Gershom.

Facts, Analysis, & Narrative Thomas Fairchild Lineage Ch 6: Hezekiah Fairchild (1760-1816)

Chapter 6
American Generation 5
Hezekiah Fairchild (1760 – 1816)

     Hezekiah, son of Gershom and Lydia Fairchild, had five brothers, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Aaron, Joseph, and Caleb and four sisters, Theodocia, Sarah, Ann and Clowe. He was born in 1760 and grew up during the Revolutionary War and founding of the United States period.

Revolutionary War Service
     Hezekiah served as a private in the New Jersey contingent during the Revolutionary War. (Official Registry of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War, edited by William S. Stryker, Trenton, NJ. 1872, p. 878). There are no particular details that indicate which New Jersey battalion in which he served, but it is likely that he was a member of the initial First or Second Battalions (he married in 1780 so he was not serving at that time – the Third and Fourth Battalions were still in active service in 1780). On November 10, 1775, six companies of the First and Second Battalions were ordered to man the Highlands Fort on the Hudson River. On November 27th, the rest of the two battalions were ordered into barracks near New York. On December 8th, both battalions were ordered into the city of New York.

On January 10th, 1776, three companies were ordered to report to Colonel Nathaniel Heard (First Battalion Middlesex Militia) for duty in arresting Tories and disaffected persons in Queens County, New York. The rest of the battalion was stationed at Perth Amboy and Elizabethtown, New Jersey, until May, 1776. On May 3, with the Third Battalion, they left New York to join an expedition to Canada, and, having been joined by the Second Battalion, took an active part in Quebec operations. Subsequently, the First and Second Battalions were ordered into barracks at Ticonderoga, and remained at that station until directed by General Sullivan, November 5th, 1776, to return to New Jersey for discharge.

Alternatively, Hezekiah could have been part of four companies later organized and stationed at Staten Island, New York and Amboy, New Jersey. The two groups were joined at Elizabethtown, April 28th, 1776 and left that place for New York on the next day. On May 2nd the battalion was reviewed and then sailed in sloops for Albany. Colonel Dayton reported there to Brigadier General John Sullivan, of New Hampshire. During the remainder of the year, they were stationed at Johnstown, German Flats, Fort Dayton, Fort Schuyler, Ticonderoga, and Mount Independence. They were chiefly engaged in preventing Indian incursions. The battalion left Albany March 7th, 1777, and was discharged at Morristown, New Jersey, on March 23rd.

Moving to Virginia and Getting Married
            It is not clear whether Hezekiah relocated to Virginia because of his war service or for some other reason. It has already been shown that a number of Fairchilds visited and migrated from Morristown, New Jersey southward along the Appalachian mountain range. It is possible that he had uncles and/or cousins who preceded him in relocating there.

He met and married Jimima (Gemenia) Bell who was born in Russell County, Virginia and they married in 1780. Washington County, Virginia was one of the first localities to be named after George Washington after the Revolutionary War. Washington County is located in the far southeastern area of Virginia, just above the North Carolina border. As with many other frontier counties, the boundaries and territory changed over the years. In 1786 the northwestern part of Washington County became Russell County, which is the listed birth location for Jemima Fairchild.

Hezekiah and Jemima had seven children, all born in Washington County, Virginia. All three sons however migrated southward to Johnson County, Kentucky and lived there until their deaths. More about this migration when we discuss the next generation.

Chickamauga Wars (1776-1794)
     Given that Hezekiah married Jemima Bell in 1780, it is likely that the young couple experienced firsthand the Indian Wars that occurred in and around southwestern Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. Virginia was raided by Indians during the Chickamauga Wars (1776-1794), a series of raids, campaigns, ambushes, minor skirmishes, and several full-scale frontier battles which were a continuation of the Cherokee struggle during and after the American Revolutionary War against American frontiersmen encroachment.

In July 1776, Chief Dragging Canoe led an attack on Black’s Fort in Washington County, Virginia on the Holston River.  The Indians killed the settler Henry Creswell on July 22, 1776, outside the stockade. More attacks continued the third week of July. Black’s Fort was capable of sheltering up to 600 settlers and had become the county seat of the newly formed County in 1776 (it was renamed to Abingdon after Martha Washington’s English manor in 1778).

In 1780 after returning from Revolutionary War fighting, soldiers learned that the Cherokee had used the men’s absence to plunder numerous homesteads. Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson sent an expedition of seven hundred Virginians and North Carolinians against the Cherokee in December 1780, under the command of Sevier, defeating the Cherokee at the battle of Boyd’s Creek, Tennessee. On Christmas Day 1780, the soldiers rode through Cherokee villages on the Little Tennessee River burning homes and destroying crops.

The area remained prone to attack until after Chickamauga leader Bob Benge was finally slain by settlers in Washington County in 1794. Since Dragging Canoe was the dominant leader in both phases of the conflict, the period is sometimes called “Dragging Canoe’s War.”

American Generation #5
Hezekiah Fairchild, Wife and Children

Hezekiah Fairchild b: 1760, Morristown, New Jersey
d: 1817, Washington County, Virginia
Jemima (Gemenia)  “Jeminie” (Bell) Fairchild     (Married in 1780) b: 1760, Russell County, Virginia
d: 1816, Washington County, Virginia


Aaron Sinclair Fairchild
    (Married Rebecca McSpadden in 1812)
b: 1789, Washington County, Virginia
d: April 16, 1871, Johnson County, KY
Benjamin Fairchild
    (Married Barbara Ellen Litz in 1817)
    (Married Minerva Jane Blevins in 1848)
b: 1792, Washington, County, Virginia
d: 1860, Johnson County, Kentucky
Nancy Fairchild
    (Married James Watson, 1819)
b: 1794, Washington County, Virginia
Fannie L. Fairchild
    (Married Stephen Litz, 1818)
b: Jan 22, 1796, Washington County, VA
Joseph Fairchild
   (Married Katherine Lark bef. 1830)
b: 1810, Washington County, Virginia
d: Dec 18, 1859, Johnson County, KY
John Fairchild b: 1810, Washington County, Virginia
Eleanor Fairchild b: 1815, Washington, County, Virginia
d: 1830, Washington County, Virginia

MATERNAL ANCESTRY: Jemima Bell Fairchild

Culturally, we tend to think of the name Jemima as a slave-era name (Aunt Jemima’s Pancakes, etc.). However in the late 1700s it was a common female name. Daniel Boone’s daughter was named Jemima. When the Cherokee began raiding into Kentucky, a war party led captured three teenage girls in a canoe on the Kentucky River. The girls were Jemima Boone, daughter of Daniel Boone; and Elizabeth and Frances Callaway, daughters of Richard Callaway. The war party hurried toward the Shawnee towns north of the Ohio River, but was overtaken by Boone and his rescue party after three days. After a brief firefight, the war party retreated and the girls were rescued. They were unharmed and Jemima Boone stated that they had been treated reasonably well.

2014-04-09 Fairchild Map Va Ky NC