About Jonathan Fairbanks
Spelling variation: Fairebanke, Fairbank, & Fairbanks.
He came from Sowerby in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England, to Boston, Mass., in the year 1633, and in 1636 settled in Dedham, MA, where he built the noted "Old Fairbanks House" which is still standing as an ancient landmark, the oldest dwelling house in New England that, for the same period of time, has been continuously owned and occupied by the builder and his lineal descendants. Only a few houses, or parts of houses of the same age remain, and most of these are in ruins. It is, moreover, a remarkable fact, perhaps unparalleled in this country, that during all this time, two and a half centuries, the estate has never had a mortgage incumbrance upon it.
Came to Norfolk, MA 1633. He signed a will in 1668 in Dedham, MA
Jonathan made John sole executor of the will. The father, it would seem, had a good opinion of the English law of primogeniture, and so John, his eldest son, came into possession of hte homestead. From that time down to July 1892 the old house was continuously occupied by him [John] and his descendents, Joseph, Joseph 2nd, Ebenezer, Ebenezer 2nd, Prudence, Sarah (Sally), Nancy and Rebevva, the last family tenants. In July 1892, the house was struck by lightening and considerably damaged. Miss Rebecca's pet dog, lying under the bed where she was sleeping, was killed, but she escaped with a severe shock. Shorly after this event, deeming the house no longer a desirable place of abode, she abandoned it, leaving a strange family in charge, and removed to Boston. Thus for the first time in over 250 years the old house was occupied by persons not "to the manor born." But after spedning several months in Boston, she returned to dwell in the time-honored mansion, of which she was then the sole owner, and was still living there in the Fall of 1896.
One of the founding fathers of Dedham, MA. Original builder of the Fairbanks's house which might be the oldest frame house in the country. This historical building is open to the public.
Jonathan Fairbanks (1594 – December 5, 1668) was born in Heptonstall, Halifax, Yorkshire, England. He first built the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts which is today the oldest house in North America. He had "long stood off from the church upon some scruples about public profession of faith and the covenant, yet after divers loving conferences..., he made such a declaration of his faith and conversion to God and profession of subjection to the ordinances of Christ in the church that he was readily and gladly received by the whole church."
As was common at the time Jonathan used several spellings of his surname: Fairbanke, Fairebanke, Fayerbanke, and on his will Fairbanck. His sons and grandsons began spelling the name Fairbank or Fairbanks.
This is the Jonathan Fairbanke (or Fayrebanks, Fairbank, Fairbanks, etc) who was said to have come to Boston, MA from Sowerby, Yorkshire, England with four sons in the "Speedwell" and settled in Dedham, MA.
Some well-known descendants include US President William Howard Taft, US Vice President Charles Warren Fairbanks, both US Presidents Bush, and Emily Dickerson.
JONATHAN6 FAIRBANKS (JOHN5, GEORGE4, GILBERT3, JOHN2, WILLIAM1)42 was born 1594-1595 in Sowerby, Halifax, Yorkshire, England, and died December 05, 1668 in Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts. He married GRACE LEE SMITH May 20, 1617 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England, daughter of SAMUEL SMITH and GRACE GAWKROGER.
Children of JONATHAN FAIRBANKS and GRACE SMITH are:
i. JAMES7 FAIRBANKS, d. Abt. 1668.
ii. SARAH FAIRBANKS, d. Bef. 166857.
11. iii. JOHN FAIRBANKS, b. Abt. 1618, of Sowerby, West Riding, Yorkshire, England; d. November 13, 1684, Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
12. iv. GEORGE FAIRBANKS, b. November 26, 1619, Sowerby, Halifax, Yorkshire, England; d. January 10, 1681/82, Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
13. v. MARY FAIRBANKS, b. April 18, 1622, Yorkshire, England; d. March 10, 1675/76, Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts
14. vi. JONAS FAIRBANKS, b. March 26, 1624, Sowerby, Halifax, Yorkshire, England; d. February 10, 1675/76, Lancaster, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.
15. vii. SUSAN FAIRBANKS, b. Abt. 1627, Thornton, G., Yorkshire, England; d. August 12, 1659, Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts - or 7/8/1659?
16. viii. JONATHAN FAIRBANKS, b. Abt. 1628, Sowerby, Halifax, Yorkshire, England; d. January 28, 1711/12, Dedham, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts.
17. ix. MARTHA PIDGE/FAIRBANKS, b. January 12, 1641/42 in Roxbury, Norfolk Co., Massachusetts, and died January 04, 1675/76. "Adopted child".
Birth order may not be accurate.
U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
about Jonathan Fairbanks
Name: Jonathan Fairbanks
Birth Place: En
Birth Year: 1594
Spouse Name: Grace Smith Lee
Birth Place: En
Spouse Birth Year: 1600
Number Pages: 3 -------------------- Emigrated 1633 to Boston, Mass. Built Fairbanks House in Dedham, Mass in 1636 -------------------- Immigration: 1633 Dedham, Norfolk County, MA.
Jonathan built the house in Dedham, near Boston, in 1636, which is said to be the oldest inhabited
dwelling-house in the United States. It now belongs to the Fairbanks Family Association, of which Vice-President Fairbanks, Prof. Henry Fairbanks, Ph. D., son of the inventor of the scales, the Marchioness of Donegal and others are distinguished members.
Jonathan Fairebanke came from Sowerby in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England,
to Boston, Mass., where he built the noted "Old Fairbanks House" which is still
standing as an ancient landmark, the oldest dwelling house in New England that,
for the same period of time, has been continuously owned and occupied by the
builder and his linear descendants. Only a few houses, or parts of houses, of
the same [?] remain, and most of these are in ruins. It is, moreover, a
remarkable fact, perhaps unparalleled in this country, that during all this
time, two and a half centuries, the estate has never had a mortgage incumbrance
[sic] upon it.
This house is now historically famous, and is an object of great interest to
many visitors to the old town of Dedham. On the 20th of June, 1895, a new Court
House was dedicated in that town and Hon. Frederick D. Ely delivered an
historical address on the occasion. Speaking of old landmarks he referred to
the old house in the following words:
"In a neighboring street stands a dwelling house, erected early in the last half
of the seventeenth century. It is warped and worn by the sunshine and the
storms of its nearly 250 years. Winter and summer, frost and heat have done
much to undermine its symmetry, and its leaning walls and sloping floors are
only held in place by its frame on massive oak. Yet hundreds, I may safely say
thousands of men and women come from far and near to view and examine the old
Fairbanks house in every minutest particular, while they scarcely accord a
passing glance to the magnificent and costly modern mansion on the opposite side
of the street."
It has been claimed the house was built in 1636. This claim has been the
subject of considerable discussion among historians. and is disputed on
historical grounds. One, at least, expresses the belief that it was not built
till about the year 1654. The chief reason assigned for his belief is that the
old house is a framed building of massive oak timber, and that there is no
historical evidence that any framed dwelling houses were erected in the town as
early as 1636. Against this alleged fact is the tradition that the frame of the
main part of the house, together with the bricks and tiles and windows, was
imported from England, and remained in Boston for several months before it was
carried to Dedham.
The truth is that the house was not built as it stands at one time, or in one
year; and it is certain that Jonathan owned a house situated probably on the
same lot in 1648. In the valuation of houses, made in that year for the purpose
of assessing the "country rate," there were enumerated eighty-one houses,
ranging in value from œ45, the highest, to œ2, the lowest, omitting fractions.
The valuation of Jonathan Fairbanke's house was œ28, and only eight houses were
estimated higher. The highest valuation, œ45, was placed upon the house of Rev.
John Allin, pastor of the church.
Subsequently, perhaps as late as 1654, a large addition was made to the original
building, which was called the new house, which is said to have been built for
the occupation of his son John after his marriage. In the Inventory of
Jonathan's personal estate taken after his death in 1668, some things are
mentioned as contained in certain "rooms of the new house." From these facts and circumstances, particularly the fact that he owned a lot of land prior to May 1637, it is not unreasonable to conclude that he built a house in 1636, or soon after, which is a part of the present building, or in a short time was replaced by a framed structure to which the addition was made some years later.
The town of Dedham was established and named by the General Court the "10th of ye 7 Moneth, 1636," upon a petition signed by twenty-two persons, in connection with a grant of land in addition to a "grante formerly made of a Plantacion above the Falls," with "Immunitie from publike Charges" for three years.
Thereupon the "Dedham Covenant" was drawn up and signed by the petitioners and others.
The covenant was in the nature of a mutual compact concerning the future management of the affairs of the town. It was signed by one hundred and twenty-five persons, and among them were Jonathan Fayerbanke, John Fayerbanke, George Fayerbanke and Jonathan Fayerbank, Jun. Not all of this number, however,subscribed in 1636, but some of them from time to time as they were admitted townsmen.
His will of 1 June 1668, probated 26 Jan 1669, provides for or mentions wife Grace, eldest son John; sec. George; Mary, wife of Christopher Smith (misspelled in Gen Dict of 1st Sett.); third son Jonas; and Jonathan, the youngest; Sarah, eldest daughter of son John; son-in-law Ralph
Day, and each of the four children he had by my daughter Susan, his late wife and the largest portion to son John. He was probably from the West
Riding of Yorkshire, as the will of his uncle George calls him of Sowerby in that part of England. Source: Gen Dict of 1st Sett. of N E., page 135.
Here we run into a problem. The Fairbanks Family of the West files, along with Howard Dow Holm in Family Archive CD# 100, United
Ancestries 1500-1990, show Jonathan as the son of John Fairbanks. UA only lists one child: George, and places the birth of Jonathan at Thornton, probably meaning Thornton on Craiven, instead of Sowerby. Lawson is adamant that there is no evidence of birth at Sowerby. Where is the evidence that the birth occurred at Thornton or Thornton on Craiven? Lawson and others show him as the son of George. What source is used in Gen Dict to state that his uncle George calls him of Sowerby? Another problem is the presence of Richard Fairbanks in 1633 at the time of the arrival of the ship "Griffin". The Gen Dict states that there was a reunion with his children. Were they already here in the colonies? When did they arrive? Who were they? Were they on the other ship? Clearly, Richard received the charge of receiving the mails, which charge went with the Fairbanks house built in 1636, indicating some kind of connection between Richard and Jonathan. Could he have been an older son, not living at the time of Jonathan's will? Could he have been a brother, as some descendants allege? What is their documentation? Stephen M. Lawson, whose documentation of his sources is better than most, says: "Some sources suggest that Jonathan came from Sowerby, West Riding, Yorkshire, England to Boston in 1633 in the "Griffin", but without documentary evidence. Claims that he was the brother of Rihard FAIRNBANKS, or that he arrived aboard the "Speedwell" are also apparently without documentation. That does not mean they are not true. He further notes that Jonathan only named his 5 surviving children in his will, a common practice of the time. His will was dated Jun 1, 1668, and proved Jan 26, 1669. His estate was inventoried at 300 pounds sterling. Lawson also states the Jonathan was "Married in England, probably as stated in the following record: Parish in Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, Jonathan FAYRBANKE and Grace SMITH, of Warley, a neighboring hamlet, May 20, 1617.
More investigation needs to be done. The compiler of the Gen Dict of 1st Settlers of New England observes that he believes Jonathan to be the progenitor of all Fairbanks living in New England, and he well knew of Richard, for he lists him twice, once in volume 2, and again in volume 3.
file: g0000001.htm lists ancestry same as FFOW. webGED: MacDougall Genealogy Data Page file: wpga11.html lists Jonathan sans parents, and only lists children George, Mary and Susan.
Fairbanks Family of the West Version: American Genealogist/Stephen M. Lawson Version
William Fairbanke William Fairbanke
John Fairbanke & Margaret John Fairbanke Margaret
Gilbert Fairbanke & Janet Gilbert Fairbanke Jennet
John Fairbanke & Isabella Stancliffe George Fairbank Sibyl Wade
Jonathan Fairbanks George Fairbank Mary Farrer
Clearly, it is the first generation, or the father of Jonathan that is in question, and whether it is one or two generations to Gilbert. From Gilbert to John is 1505 to 1552. From Gilbert to George is 1505 to 1528, to George 1562 thence to Jonathan 1594. The Fairbanks record recognized the children named in the will of Gilbert, who are only numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8 (Michael (who married Jane Mitchell), Hugh, Dorothy, and Agnes (who married George Harrison). The Lawson record further adds the names William (who probably married Isabella Horton), Johanna and John (who married Jane Bannester), and, from the will of Jennet, George, Edward, Agnes (mentioned by the Fairbanks sources) and Elizabeth. The crux of the problem is here: John was the son of Gilbert and Jennet. Both sources agree. Was this John, who married 1st Jane Bannester, 2nd Ellen Parker, and 3rd Isabella Stancliffe the father of Jonathan, or was George, the eldest son, father of George, and grandfather of Jonathan? George's second son John, b. abt 1554 is listed as marrying Ellen Parker and Isabel Stancliffe, with an additional wife #1, unknown. Was Sybil Wade the first wife of Gilbert, or the first wife of George? *Documentation is needed to clarify this situation. All of the ordinance work done beyond Jonathan is in question. All ordinance work shown on these sheets is from the Fairbanks records, following the Fairbanks lines.
Lawson lists 6 children, namely John, George, Mary, Jonas, Susan and Jonathan. He does not list Sarah, James and Martha, who died prior to their father, and hence were not mentioned in the will. Same for Demaree (file: fam00405.htm) Lawson also gives the following information: He moved to Dedham, Ma. by 1636 when he build his house there. The house at 511 East Street, Dedham, was build of timbers brought from England, and may well be the oldest frame house in America. It is probably unique also because it has been occupied by the same family for nearly 350 years,and has never been deeded or mortgaged! He signed the Covenant of Dedham, Ma. His will, dated Jun 1, 1668 and proved Jan. 26, 1669 names wife and his five surviving children. Estate inventoried at 300 pounds sterling. Married in England, probably as stated in the following record: Parish in Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, Jonathan FAYRBANKE and Grace SMITH, of Warley, a neighboring hamlet, May 20, 1617. REFN: 1V8C-51 shows burial as Dedham, Essex, England. He was buried at Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts. Imagine having arrived for the burial in England, the same day he died in Massachusetts, in 1668. Even today, I defy you to get a dead body exported in one day!
Jonathan Fairbanks's Timeline
Sowerby, West Riding, Yorkshire, England
Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts
May 20, 1617
Halifax, West Riding, Yorkshire, England
February 15, 1618
Sowerby, Parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, England
November 26, 1619
Sowerby aka Sowersby, West Riding, Yorkshire, England
April 18, 1622
Sowerby, West Yorkshire, UK
Sowerby, Yorkshire, England
March 6, 1625
Sowerby, Parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, England