William Fairfield (1662 - 1742)

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Birthplace: Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Death: Died in Wenham, Essex, Massachusetts
Managed by: Edward King
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About William Fairfield

William Fairfield owned the property, Solomon Kimball House (Wenham, Massachusetts) from 1701 to 1725. He likely built himself a new house in 1724, having inherited land from his late father Walter the year before, and gave the former Thomas Killam homestead to his son Josiah as a wedding gift. (It's worth noting that the land William inherited from his father included a burial ground that the family had been using since at least 1691.

William married twice. His first marriage was to Esther Batchelder about the year 1687. She was born circa 1668 and died on January 21, 1722/3 in Wenham. More research is required to identify her parents and the dates and locations of her birth and marriage. William and Esther (Batchelder) Fairfield had thirteen children, all born in Wenham:

  • Sarah, born July 23, 1688; died February 6, 1705 in Wenham (buried in Fairfield Family Burial Ground)
  • Mary, born December 18, 1689
  • William, Jr., born October 18, 1691; died October 24, 1691 in Wenham (buried in Fairfield Family Burial Ground)
  • William, Jr. (2nd), born November 17, 1692
  • Esther, Jr., born August 12, 1695
  • Tabitha, born May 17, 1696; died October 7, 1717 in Wenham (buried in Fairfield Family Burial Ground)
  • Abigail, born May 9, 1698
  • Elizabeth, born January 9, 1699/1700
  • Josiah, born October 12, 1701
  • Prudence, born July 13, 1704
  • Skipper, born January 2, 1706
  • Benjamin, born October 29, 1708
  • Rev. John, born November 29, 1712

William’s second marriage was to Mrs. Rebecca (Tarbox) Gott on October 14, 1723 in Wenham. Rebecca was born on August 8, 1672 in Lynn, MA, the daughter of Samuel and Rebecca (Armitage) Tarbox. Her first marriage was to John Gott, whom she married on July 19, 1693 in Salem, MA. (John Gott was the son of Charles and Lydia (Clark) Gott, was born on November 8, 1668 in Wenham, and died on January 25, 1722-3 in Wenham.) She died on July 29, 1765 in Lynn, MA. No children are recorded in Wenham’s vital records for William and Rebecca (Gott) Fairfield.


  • William’s 1738 deed to son Benjamin Fairfield makes it clear that William’s own homestead was a parcel other than the former Thomas Killam homestead; see Essex County (MA) Deeds, Book 84, pp. 121-122, deed dated February 13, 1737/8.
  • For death of Walter Fairfield, July 20, 1723, see Vital Records of Wenham, 1904, p. 196. See also Myron O. Allen, The History of Wenham, Boston, Bazin & Chandler, 1860, p. 136 for identification of Walter Fairfield as the father of William Fairfield.
  • William’s new house was on the north side of what is now Cherry Street, about 200 feet east of what is now Topsfield Road, and appears as the “A. Bagley” house in the 1872 Beers’ atlas of Wenham. William’s grandfather John Fairfield was granted 90 acres in the vicinity of the current-day intersection of Cherry Street and Topsfield Road in 1639, and “[t]he grant was used as farmland until it became the home of [William Fairfield].” See Wenham in Pictures and Prose, 1992, pp. 126-128.
  • In William’s 1725 deed to Josiah, it is clear that Josiah was already living in the former Thomas Killam house. Josiah had married Eunice Cogswell on December 21, 1724 in Ipswich; see Essex Institute, Vital Records of Ipswich, 1910, vol. 2, p. 156.
  • The oldest gravestone in the burial ground is that for William Fairfield, Jr., who died in infancy in 1691—ten years before William Fairfield, Sr. bought the nearby Thomas Killam homestead. Interestingly, although William, Sr.’s father Walter owned the land surrounding and including the family burial ground, when Walter’s wife Sarah died in 1710 Walter buried her in the town cemetery. (See Allen, The History of Wenham, 1860, p. 129; see also Pool, “Inscriptions From Gravestones in the Old Burying Ground in Wenham,” 1882, p. 8.) Why didn’t Walter utilize the family burial ground for his late wife? Indeed, where was Walter himself buried?
  • The Fairfield Family Burial Ground is Wenham’s only surviving family cemetery. It’s possible that other families similarly buried their loved ones on their own land, but if another family cemetery existed, the memory of it—as well as its grave markers—had disappeared by 1860. (The Fairfield Family Burial Ground is the only cemetery other than the town cemetery included in the history of the town published that year. See Allen, The History of Wenham, 1860, pp. 126-132.) If the Fairfields began using the burial ground prior to William, Jr.’s death, any older gravestones had disappeared by the time of the compilation of Vital Records of Wenham, published in 1904, as William, Jr.’s is the oldest gravestone record included for that cemetery.
  • Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 1985, p. 257 (married before 1690).
  • John A. Schultz, Legislators of the Massachusetts General Court 1691-1780, Boston, Northeastern University Press, 1997, p. 216 (married circa 1687).
  • Vital Records of Wenham, 1904, p. 196.
  • All children: www.fairfieldfamily.com; see also Wynn Cowan Fairfield, "Descendants of John Fairfield of Wenham," New York, 1953, pp. 11-13.
  • Children #1, 3 & 6: Gravestones of Sarah, William, Jr., and Tabitha Fairfield, Fairfield Family Burial Ground, William Fairfield Drive, Wenham, MA.
  • Vital Records of Wenham, 1904, pp. 33 (children #10-13), 35 (children #7-9; child #6’s birth), 196 (child #1’s death), 197 (child #3; child #6’s death).
  • Vital Records of Wenham, 1904, p. 117.
  • Rev. Increase N. Tarbox, D.D., “John Tarbox of Lynn, and His Descendants,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Boston, David Clapp & Son, vol. 42 (1888), p. 30.
  • Essex Institute, Vital Records of Lynn, Massachusetts, To the End of the Year 1849, Salem, MA, Newcomb & Gauss, 1905, vol. 1, p. 394 (birth); vol. 2 (1906), pp. 24, 368 (marriage of parents on November 14, 1665).
  • Essex Institute, Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, To the End of the Year 1849, Salem, MA, Newcomb & Gauss, 1925, vol. 3, p. 343.
  • See also Tarbox, “John Tarbox of Lynn,” 1888, p. 30; and Torrey, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, 1985, p. 314.
  • Horace Davis, Ancestry of John Davis and Eliza Bancroft, San Francisco, 1897, pp. 38-39, 41.
  • Vital Records of Wenham, 1904, pp. 41 (birth), 125 (marriage of parents on December 25, 1665). (See also Essex Institute, Vital Records of Lynn, vol. 2, 1906, p. 156 for marriage of parents on December 25, 1665).
  • William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, New York, Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1908, p. 869.
  • Pool, “Inscriptions From Gravestones in the Old Burying Ground in Wenham,” 1882, p. 18: “Here Lies the body | of Lievtent John Gott | Who died the 25th | of January 1722-3 | in the 54year of his Age.”
  • Vital Records of Wenham, 1904, p. 201.
  • John T. Moulton, Inscriptions From the Old Burying Ground, Lynn, Mass., Salem, MA, The Essex Institute, 1886, p. 47: "Here lyes ye body of Mrs Rebecca Fairfield, widow to Deacon William Fairfield, who died July ye 29, 1765, in ye 93 year of her age."
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solomon_Kimball_House_(Wenham,_Massachusetts)
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William Fairfield's Timeline

October 14, 1662
Reading, Middlesex, Massachusetts
Age 24
Massachusetts, United States
November 17, 1692
Age 30
Wareham, MA, USA
Age 35
January 9, 1700
Age 37
January 2, 1706
Age 43
October 14, 1723
Age 61
Wenham, Essex, Massachusetts
December 18, 1742
Age 80
Wenham, Essex, Massachusetts
Wenham, Essex, Massachusetts, United States