The World of Grandpa Don

The Fairbanks House 

In Genealogy, the word House and Family can be used interchangeably and so this page is about the Fairbanks Family which has become notable for the house which they built in 1636 and still remains in Dedham, Massachusetts and owned by descendants of the builders.

Much of the information contained herein was gleaned from the book "Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America" by Larenzo Styles Fairbanks.

This branch of our family begins in England with Jonathan Fairbanks and continues to a union with the Bullen Family and from there to a union with the Doolittle line of our ancestors before joining the Copeland line.

This is their story, as I know it.

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In England

Jonathan Fairbanks was born in 1595 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England. He is believed to be the son of John Fairbanke (1547-1625) and Isabella Stancliffe (1556-1597). On 20 May 1617 at West Riding, Yorkshire, England He was married to Grace Lee Smith, daughter of Samuel Smith (1565-?) and Grace Platts Gawkroger (1566-1595) The following children were born to the couple in Yorkshire:

  1. John, 1618

  2. George, 28 Nov 1619.

  3. Mary, 18 Apr 1622

  4. Jonathan (John), 1623

  5. Jonas, 06 Mar 1625

  6. Susan, 1628

Sometime after Susan's birth, the family sailed for the new Colony of Plymouth in America in the company of Jonathan's brother Richard and his family of three.

In America

The family group arrived at Boston in 1633, probably in the " Griffin,"
Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles (2015-02-22). Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897 (Kindle Location 429). . Kindle Edition.

Generation 1
Jonathan Fairbanks (1595-1668) & Grace Lee Smith (1600-1673)


The Family remained in Boston for about 3 years.

The family relocated to Dedham, MA. Where they were among the original founders of the town and there they built a home. Jonathan was a farmer and during his life prospered and expanded his land holdings.

 "The Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA is thought to be the oldest standing timber frame building in North America. Built circa 1637-1641 for Jonathan and Grace Fairebanke (cic) and their six children, (Note that we have a discrepancy in the number of children and no explanation is available at this time.) it was home to eight generations of the Fairbanks family. The Fairbanks House is now a historic house museum, open annually May 1 -- October 31. PHOTO: James Lynch Photography."

Fairbanks Historical House Located in Dedham, MA

More information is available at the Fairbanks House Historical Web Site. The original home consisted of four rooms and several additions have been built in succeeding generations.

Jonnathan died on 05 Dec 1668 followed by Grace on 28 Oct 1673. They were my 9th great grandparents. Ownership of the house, which by this time had and addition, went to the oldest son, John.

Notes on Richard Fairbanks

Richard Fairbanks (Fairebanke, Fairbanke) came to Boston in 1633, with his wife Elizabeth, probably in the " Griffin," the ship which brought Rev. John Cotton to the new world. At least, says Savage (formerly President of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and Editor of Winthrop's History of New England), his union with the church there was on the same day with that of Elder Leverett and wife. Governor Brenton and Edward Hutchinson, in the month after the great teacher's arrival. He was admitted to the first church in Boston, "in ye 8'th moneth, 1633," and "in ye 9'th moneth, Elizabeth Fairebancke." It is believed that he was a brother of Jonathan, and probably came to Boston with him. He was made freeman " by ye generall courte " May 14, 1634, and was a man of some distinction, keeper of the village Inn. He was prominently identified with the public affairs of the new settlement, and from 1635 to 1643 held many town offices. In 1637, in the "great allotments to the then inhabitants," he was allotted " three and twenty acres of land." He was a member of the Artillery Company (Ancient and Honorable). He was probably a man of independent spirit, with a spice of liberalism in his character, for like Jonas, of Lancaster, he tried conclusions with the Blue Laws, and in 1637 was disarmed, with many others, for holding and expressing "opinions" with regard to the creeds and dogmas of the church, which were declared by the clergy and the civil authorities to be "dangerous errors," threatening the safety and peace of the community, in other words, heresies.

Richard Fairbanks does not seem to have lost favor with the people on account of his "perversity," for we find him not long afterward promoted to a responsible office. He was the first postmaster of Boston, or for the whole colony. In 1639 the inhabitants petitioned the council that a postmaster be appointed. The petition was granted and he was appointed in that year.

Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles (2015-02-22). Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897 (Kindle Locations 487-490). . Kindle Edition.

Richard remained prosperous and the owner of several properties in the Boston area. Information of his death is unknown. It is probable that he left no descendants in the male line. He had, so far as appears upon the records, two children only :

  1.  Constance, baptized Jan. 10, 1636; married March 30, 1653, Samuel Mattock.

  2. Zaccheus, baptized Dec. 8, 1639; died Nov. 10,1653.

    Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles (2015-02-22). Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897 (Kindle Locations 534-537). . Kindle Edition.

Generation 2
Jonas Fairbanks (1625-1676) & Lydia Prescott (1641-1723)

Jonas Fairbanks had been born at Sowerby, West Riding, Yorkshire, England on March 8, 1625. Lydia was born on August 15, 1641 at Watertown, Massachusetts, the daughter of  John Prescott and Mary Gawkroger. Records indicate John and Mary were married in England in 1629. John was reportedly born at Standish, Lancaster, England in 1604 and Mary was born In Halifax, Yorkshire, England on May 15, 1607.

"Jonas, the third son of Jonathan, removed to Lancaster in 1657, and became the progenitor of numerous families scattered through the New England and Western States. He signed the Covenant Mar. 7, 1659. In his family there was good ancestral stock on both sides of the house. He was a strong man, both in his mental and his physical personality. It may be presumed that he had received as fair an education and training as were afforded in the new settlement of Dedham where, as we know, the school and the church went hand in hand with the founding of homes, while his earlier education was no doubt begun in England. In short, he was qualified to be what he was called, " one of the fathers of the town." His wife was a daughter of John Prescott, who, as the historian declares, " was a rare type of man, the ideal pioneer." **Not one," he says, "of the famous frontiersmen, whose figures stand out so prominently in early American history, was better equipped with the many qualities that win hero worship in a new country than was (he) the father of the Nash-away Plantation." The story of his life is indeed interesting, but only this bare glimpse of his character can be given here. The children of Jonas appear to have been well educated for the times. Jabez, his only son who left any male descendants, shines in history. His military despatches preserved in the records show him to have been a man of marked intellectual ability, and he was certainly a hero of great physical stamina and bravery. His children and their descendants contributed largely to the population of Lancaster and the neighboring towns, especially Sterling and Harvard, originally parts of Lancaster. The name did honor to the towns in those days. The marriages were generally with the foremost families.

Jonas was killed, with his son Joshua, by the Indians in the desperate assault made upon the settlement by King Philip, with fifteen hundred warriors, on the morning of the tenth day of February 1675-6, in which from fifty to fifty five persons, out of about the same number of families, were massacred and twenty or more were carried into captivity. His son Jonathan and one of his children were victims of the massacre of Sept 22, 1697. Thus, except for the escape of Jabez in the first Indian raid, this branch of the family, in the male lines, would have been exterminated. Jabez lived to rear a large family, and by heroic bravery to avenge the atrocities by which not only his own family, but more than fifty others suffered in those dark days."

Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles (2015-02-22). Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897 (Kindle Locations 298-300). . Kindle Edition.

Jonas and Lydia were apparently married in Dedham, Ma about 1658 and after the birth of their first child relocated to Lancaster, Ma. They were the parents of:

  • Mary, 20 Apr 1659

  • Joshua, 06 Feb 1660

  • Grace, 15 Sep 1663

  • Jonathan, 07 Aug 1666

  • Hasadiah, 28 Feb 1667

  • Jabez, 08 Nov 1670

  • Jonas, 06 Mar 1672

There are other children listed in some family trees but some may be duplicates or cousins.

Jonas died 10 Feb 1676 at Lancaster, Ma and Lydia, having returned to Watertown died 31 Dec 1723. They were my 8th great grandparents.

Generation 3
Grace Fairbanks (1663-1697) & Ephraim Bullen (1653-1694)
Grace Fairbanks, born 15 Sep 1663 at Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, Married Ephraim Bullen. For a continuation of this line see Bullen Family.
In his book Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles (2015-02-22). Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America, 1633-1897 we find the descendants of Jonathan Fairbanks scattered through New England with many marriages to other  families connected to our ancestry. It this writers opinion it would be difficult for me to walk a New England street without continuously bumping into cousins.



Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
May 25, 2015


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