The Fairbank family, as it is known here, is probably thought of by most people as living "out Concord way," as the Yankee would say. But when John B. Fairbank came to Illinois in 1837, he lived at first in a farm house which stood west of the point where Lincoln avenue now makes the city limits, where it crosses Michigan avenue. The house stood about an eighth of a mile west of this intersection. From that old homestead the father and his children afterwards scattered out over the country, or the world, as did Samuel B. and his descendants.
The name is variously spelled, Fayerbank, Fairebanks, Fairbanke, Fairbanks and Fairbank. The Morgan county contingent used the latter patronymic, but people here often refer to them as the Fairbanks.
A genealogist of the family wrote: "My father used to tell of a tradition that two brothers, probably some of the original Jonathan, agreed the one to add a final "s", the other to keep it off their respective names, so that their descendants could be distinguished from one another, but they left no record of "which was which," and it seems that their descendants did not consider themselves bound by the covenant, for I find both names among the progeny of each."
"Still in rural Yorkshire the child is often called the bank, and a fair-fair baby would be called a Fairbank, as in Scotland, it would be a Fair-bairn, or in South England a "Fair-child, and the names are of identical origin."
The family have a book of their genealogy, of nearly a thousand pages, so there is plenty of material to draw from. This covered the time from 1633 to 1897.
"Jonathan Fairebanke, came from Sowerby in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Boston, Mass., in the year 1633, and in 1636 settled in Dedham, Mass., where he built the noted Old Fairbanks house, which is still standing * * * the oldest dwelling house in New England * * * that has been continuously occupied by the builder and his lineal descendants, "Jonathan died Dec. 5, 1668.
Jonathan supposedly had a brother Richard, who was the first postmaster of Boston and of the colony. Jonathan's wife was Grace Lee, by whom he had six children. She died in 1673 or 1676.
Jonas was the fifth born in England, came to Dedham with his parents, removed to Lancaster in 1657 and was "one of the fathers of the town." In 1652 he was fined for wearing great boots before he was worth 200 pounds sterling. He and his son Joshua were killed by Indians Feb. 10, 1676, during a raid on the settlement. Jonas married Lydia Prescott, May 28, 1658. They had seven children. She married Elias Barron, of Watertown, after the death of Jonas.
Capt. Jabez, son of Jonas lived in Lancaster and "died March 2, 1758, aged about 84." Jabez married Mary Wilder who died Feb. 21, 1781, "in the 43rd year of her age. They had ten children. He married, after Mary's death, Elizabeth Whitcomb, March 25, 1719. She does not appear to have had any children.
Jabez was elected to the General Court in 1714, 1721, 1722 and 1723. His military and legislative offices entitled the ladies descended from him to membership in the Colonial Dames. "He was a very efficient soldier and officer in the Indian wars, and * * * during the raid upon the town in 1867 [probably not the correct year as this would be too late for the Indian wars] when his brother Jonathan and one of the latter's children were slain, he was the means of saving a garrison and perhaps many lives * * * outside the garrison six were carried away as captives of whom five returned. Among the captives returned was the wife of Jonathan (brother of Jabez.)
Jonas was a son of Jabez. He was born in Lancaster in 1703, lived there and died Nov. 4, 1792. He was a soldier in the French and Indian wars. He married Thankful Wheeler, April 8, 1731. She died May 15, 1795. They were the parents of eleven children.
The families preceding Jonas called themselves Fairbanks. He left off the final "s".
Josiah Fairbank, son of Jonas, was born in Lancaster, May 22, 1734. He was a soldier in the Colonial and Revolutionary wars. he married Abigail Carter Jan. 22, 1761, who after her husband's death, married Deacon Samuel Wilder. Josiah died previous to March 9, 1791. She died Nov. 20, 1815.
Josiah had eight children, Ephriam Fairbank was one of these, born in Lancaster, March 16, 1770. Lived in New Ipswich, N.H., after his marriage. Moved to Oakham, Mass. Died in Jacksonville, Ill., Sept. 11, 1837. He married Sarah Chandler, of New Ipswich, N.H., May 14, 1795. She was born Sept. 7, 1776, and died here Sept. 15, 1844.
The first child of Ephriam and Sarah (Chandler) Fairbank was John Barnard, born March 16, 1796, at New Ipswich, N.H.
Mr. Fairbank removed with his parents to Oakham, Mass. he taught successfully in the common schools, and became principal of an Academy in Stamford Conn. there he married his wife, with whom he lived happily until his death in 1873, two years after celebrating their Golden Wedding.
He went back from Connecticut to Massachusetts, where he manufactured palm leaf hats, straw bonnets and other straw goods, and in New York, for some twelve years. In 1837 he removed to Morgan county, Ill., settling on a farm near Jacksonville, in the edge of Diamond Grove. He removed in 1843 to the farm just a mile south of concord, Morgan county, where he spent the remainder of his life.
Mr. Fairbank married Hannah M. Crissy in New York city, Nov. 6, 1821, and they were the parents of:
1. - Samuel Bacon, born Dec. 22, 1824, in Stamford, Conn.
2. - James Chandler, born in Oakham, Jan. 13, 1825.
The Fairbank genealogist says of Mr. Fairbank: "He was a man of fine presence, of commanding abilities and of rare moral characteristics; a genuine Puritan in faith and practice; a typical Deacon of the Congregational church; a generous giver and efficient worker in the Master's vineyard; a worthy Christian gentleman of the old school, held in honor while he lived, and in honored remembrance ever." Mr. Fairbanks died June 17, 1873.
Mrs. John B. Fairbank died April 7, 1884. She was a bright woman, of strong character, and was very helpful in advice to early students of Illinois college. She was acquainted with Abraham Lincoln, and the family have an amusing incident in that connection.
Samuel B. Fairbank was graduated from Illinois College, which gave him the degrees of B.A., M.A., and D.D., in the class of 1842, and from Andover Seminary. He became a foreign missionary in 1846, spending his life and strength in that service. "He went to the American Marathi Mission in Bombay, in the fall of 1846. His work has been at Ahmadnagar, Bombay, Wadnaie and since 1889 most of the time at Kodaikanai, in South India. During all these years he has been only three times on furloughs in the United States and he hopes to end his days in India." (As he did.) First, he did literary work in connection with the Mission press in Bombay, he established mission stations in various country districts, preaching and superintending Sabbath schools, where no have developed churches and large Christian communities. He taught agriculture and the use of implements to make the work of the natives more efficient and productive. He also did much for music. He translated, composed, taught and encouraged it. * * * "In the community where he has lived he is looked up to with reverence and affection by all classes."
"Dr. Fairbanks is father of a family of missionaries; his two sons are working in India; his eldest daughter, Mrs. R. A. Hume, is at Ahmednagar, and other daughters are pursuing their education in America, hoping to return to India as missionaries."
Dr. Fairbank was married in 1846 to Abby Allen, who died in 1852. Their children were: Emily Maria, Mrs. Thos. Snell Smith; Mary Crocker, died in infancy; John Melvin died in infancy.
Dr. Fairbank married Mary Ballantine, July 11, 1856. She was born Sept. 10, 1836, and died Jan. 15, 1878. They were the parents of Anna, Mrs. Robert M. Woods; Katie, Mrs. Robt. H. Hume; Melvin died young; Henry now a missionary in India; Grace, Mrs. H. M. burr; Edward, missionary in India; James, died in infancy; Elizabeth, Mrs. Wm. Walter Hastings; Rose, Mrs. L. H. Beals, Medical missionary; Mary Darling, went as missionary to India and married T. A. Evans.
Dr. Samuel B. Fairbank did a heroic and long work, and he passed to his reward in 1897.
Adelaide, daughter of Edward, is of the fourth generation now in missions in India.
James C. Fairbank lived at Jacksonville with his parents and removed to a home beside his father, just south of Concord. He returned to Jacksonville in his later days, purchasing Dr. L. M. Glover's house on Grove street, where Mr. Fairbank died, Feb. 7, 1893.
He was married Oct. 4, 1847, in Jacksonville to Hannah B. Carter, daughter of Ebenezer Carter, and sister of W. Chauncey Carter. She died March 28, 1863.
They were the parents of Samuel Allen and of Ellen Maria. The latter married Milton O. Matthews, of Joy Prairie, and son of old settlers, Oct. 7, 1873. They have one daughter, Mabel F. Matthews, prominent as a singer. Mary Amelia, second daughter of Jas. C. Fairbank, married Chas. H. Smith of Concord neighborhood Aug. 26, 1890. They have resided in Jacksonville for some years where Mr. Smith was in the book business. Their children are Edwin F., James F. and Allen C.
Mr. James C. Fairbank was married, Jan. 1, to Mary Lucy, daughter of Samuel and Mary (Safford) Daniels, of Joy Prairie. Mr. and Mrs. Fairbank have had three children: Georgie May, residing with her mother in Jacksonville; James Edward now in Los Angeles, California, and Arthur Daniels, living at the Grove street home. He was graduated from Illinois College in 1900, and is Sec. and Treas. of Illinois College Alumni society.
S. Allen Fairbank has been prominently connected with politics, as was his father for many years, both being Republicans, as were the elder J.B. and his sons. Allen has been mayor of Jacksonville. He lived for some years near concord, came to Jacksonville, went to Colorado and is now a resident of Jacksonville. Here he has been actively engaged in business.
Allen Fairbank married Elizabeth R. Eldred of Carrollton, Ill., Feb. 3, 1874, and they are parents of: Frederick Joy, now Sec. and Treas. of Carleton College, Northfield, Minn.; Clarence Eldred, died July 16, 1902; and Ruth Eldred, graduated from Illinois college in the class of 1911, now studying medicine at John Hopkins university.
Mrs. S. Allen Fairbank was graduated from the Young Ladies Athenaeum in the class of 1872.
F. J. was graduated from Illinois College in 1897, he and Clarence E. being members of Sigma Pi society.
James C. Fairbank was one of the pleasantest men to be met with. He was a promising student of Illinois College, but left at the end of his junior year, in obedience to the call of duty. He was for many years in partnership with his brother, D. W., as a merchant and trader. They did business in concord, purchasing hogs for the neighboring packing house, and doing some packing themselves; and acting as agents for McCormick reapers and mowers. J. C. "was an administrator for the whole vicinity, and hundreds of thousands of dollars passed thru his hands as such * * * and no taint of the slightest unfairness ever clung to him."
"In business circles, in the neighborhood and in the church (Congregational), wherever he went he was useful and beloved."
Daniel Wilder Fairbank, known as Wilder, came to Illinois with his parents in 1837. He was very closely connected in residence and business with his brother, James C. "He studied for some time in Illinois College with the intention of entering the ministry, but poor health compelled him to give up the idea. He followed teaching for some years and then carried on a store in concord with his brother (J.C.)". About 1874 he came to Jacksonville and engaged in dealing in agricultural implements, which business he followed until a short time before his death. His store was opposite the present office of the Journal, on West State street, two doors east of West street. His residence here was on the west side of Westminister street, about half way from College avenue to Grove street.
Mr. Fairbank was a deacon in the Joy Prairie Congregational church, holding a similar place here and was superintendent of the Sabbath school. He was a member of the City Council and chairman of the committee which had charge of the construction of the city water works.
His greatest work, probably, was as a trustee of Illinois College, to which he was greatly devoted, and in this work he was very active and efficient. "On his death appropriate and highly commendatory resolutions were adopted by the trustees and faculty of the College."
"The very name (says a correspondent) of D. W. Fairbank, carried with it the confidence and esteem of his fellow men." says the Fairbank genealogist.
Mr. Fairbank was married Aug. 21, 1850, to Miss Sarah Epler, daughter of John Epler, and sister of Judge Cyrus Epler. their children were: Evelyn Hall, married Prof. Geo. W. Brown, June 4, 1872; Fanny Gertrude, married Edward C. Carter, chief civil engineer of the Chicago & Northwestern railway, now of Evanston, Dec. 16, 1880, and Miss Sarah Maria Fairbank.
Mrs. D. W. Fairbank died March 26, 1904.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown were parents of Mabel Fairbank, married Frank J. Waddell, a leading merchant of Jacksonville; Clara Wyckoff, and Helen Epler, married Ernest Read, a graduate of Illinois College in the class of 1898.
Helen Brown Read has become, after study in this country and in Europe, as well as pursuing her profession at home and abroad, one of our finest singers.
Miss Clara W. Brown has pursued studies in the east.
Mrs. Mabel F. Waddell was graduated from the Jacksonville Female Academy in 1893. Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Carter and Miss S. M. Fairbank were all graduated from the Young Ladies Athenaeum here.
Mr. and Mrs. Carter were parents of Edward F., Paul E. and Gertrude Carter.
All of D.W. Fairbank's daughters have traveled abroad. Miss Maria spent considerable time in India, with her relatives there.
The Rev. John Barnard Fairbank, D.D., came with his parents to Illinois in 1837, and their home was his until the commencement of his college course. He was graduated from Illinois College in 1857, and from Union Theological Seminary, New York, in 1860. Ordained at Marengo, Ill., Oct. 24, 1860. He preached in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Minnesota. he became pastor of the Congregational church in Waverly, Ill., in 1889. His last residence was in Jacksonville on Mound Ave., at the south end of Lockwood place. His last pastorate was at Godfrey, 1897 to 1901.
Dr. Fairbank was State Registrar of the Minn. congregational Association, and incumbent of the similar position in the Illinois church at the time of his death, March 11, 1910.
He was twice married, First, to Emily P. Mack, May 12, 1859. She died June 12, 1860. He was again married August 21, 1862 to ruth A. Boyce, who passed on June 20, 1889. By his second wife, Dr. Fairbank had three children, Herbert, Augustus, now of Sacramento, Cal.; Marion Emily, resident here and Arthur Boyce of Sioux Falls, S.D. Two children Edward Boyce and John Wilder, died in early childhood.
Miss Marion E. Fairbank has been a teacher of the deaf in this and other states.
Arthur Boyce Fairbank was graduated from Illinois College in the class of 1896, where he, as his father, was a member of Sigma Pi society. A.B. has made good as a lawyer, and is one of the able men of South Dakota. Immediately after being graduated he went to California to be a business man, but found his proper vocation in the law, and his field "in the land of Dacotahs."
Herbert Augustus Fairbank has been a business man in Sacramento, Cal., for a number of years. In Illinois College he was a Phi Alpha.
John B. Fairbank, the preacher was a genial as well as a good man and worthily bore the name of the older John Barnard, his father.
Edward Beecher Fairbank was an attractive young man who died early, as noted above. An interesting incident is to be told of in connection with him. he was engaged, at the time of his death, to be married to Miss Mary Lucy Daniels. Some time later she became the wife of Edward's brother, James C. this union was not only made by the latter, but his children by his first wife desired their father to make Miss Daniels a mother to them. She still survives, honored and respected.
In the Fairbanks Genealogy nearly four pages are given to the records of the services of members of the connection in Colonial wars. Nearly six pages are given to the family's record in Revolutionary and "Miscellaneous Militia Service." For some reason their services in the Civil War are not tabulated, but some of them took part in it, some of high rank.
The most prominent and distinguished members of the family, as known of here, probably were N. K. Fairbanks, the great grain commission man and packer, of Chicago; Rev. Calvin Fairbank, of Angelica N.Y., who endured great suffering on account of his opposition to human slavery; the Hon. Chas. W. Fairbanks, of Indianapolis, Ind., U.S. Senator from Indiana, and vice-president of the United States, and the Rev. Samuel B. F. Fairbank, of this city, long time missionary in India.
The Hon. C. W. Fairbanks made a speech in the Wabash park here some years ago since; and he is a fine speaker.
In this connection it may be noted somewhat as singular, that the former vice president and his brother have a great ranch or farm in our adjoining county of Greene.
The family books give the pictures of many of the men folks or the tribes out there is "none more" handsome than that of Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank, late of Chicago.
A. B. and A. D. Fairbank, whom their mates in college picked out as "Black Arthur" and "Red Arthur" are only two among the twenty-five Arthurs in the connection.
Of Johns there were eighty-two, most of them with a second or third name, besides Fairbank, to pick them out by.
There were twenty from who had Maria or Marian as their first name, and there were others who had Maria as part of their names. Fifteen had Mabel as part of their names.
It has been noted of Illinois College that "there is always a new Fairbank or Epler turning up there."
It is no more than fair to state that genealogy of the Fairbank family in America was traced by Lorenzo Sales Fairbanks, of Boston, Mass., and it took him nearly four years to make the story out.