Jefferson County, NY Pioneers



1. SAMUEL FAIRBANKS JR. served in the Revolutionary War—his name appears on the Lexington Alarm rolls as a private and on the Coat rolls as a corporal. Later he obtained the rank of sergeant and at the battle of Bunker Hill was a captain. He was also a captain of a company called out for the suppression of Shay's rebellion. After the War he moved to Mendon, MA and died there in 1826. Captain Samuel Fairbanks was married 1st to RACHEL LOVELL. Samuel is listed in the DAR Patriot Index.

JASON FAIRBANKS, their son, was born at Mendon MA on 5 Sept. 1785 and at the age of 13 left his family home. He went to Boston where he worked for a years as the boy of all work in a hotel. Then he apprenticed to JAMES BRAGG, a saddler and harness maker of CT and with him in 1802 moved to Newport NY. At the close of his apprenticeship his employer sent him to the Genesee Country to make some collections. After his return he visited the north country and made partial arrangements to settle at Ogdensburg. The arrangement fell through and he formed a co-partnership with CALVIN MCKNIGHT and in 1808 opened a saddlery and harness business in the village of Watertown, NY. The co-partnership dissolved and another was formed with JOHN SMITH, a workman from CT and subsequently tanning and shoe making were added to the business. For the next 40 years Jason Fairbanks was an untiring businessman. He dealt in every species of merchandise where profit seemed likely—pork, beef, butter, corn, salt; his business dealings reached into Canada and western New York state. In 1837 he offered a reward for the capture of the culprits involved in the Patriot War. In 1815 he, with PERLEY KEYS became surety for SAMUEL WHITTLESY, a brigade paymaster of the milita. Whittlesy stole the payroll money and received several duckings until he confessed and the money recovered. Jason died on 10 Jan. 1875 in his 90th year. On 7 Dec. 1815 he married MARY MASSEY, eldest child of HART MASSEY, an early first settler of Watertown. She was born in Plymouth VT in 1796 and came to Watertown five years later.

Children of Jason Fairbanks and Mary Massey:

1. SAMUEL FAIRBANKS born Watertown 1818; graduated from Union College at Schenectady in 1838; he was on a visit to see his mother in Watertown and died there on 25 Sept. 1881. He married in Watertown in 1842 to JULIETTE SMITH, born 1818, the second daughter of WILLIAM SMITH; they had one son and two daughters-Mary M., Catherine and Hart. Samuel also lived in Florida for various periods of time.

2. GEORGE RAINSFORD FAIRBANKS was born in Watertown In 1820; graduated from Union College in 1839. Studied law and moved to Florida where he published two important works on the Antiquities of Florida. He married 1st SARAH C. WRIGHT, daughter of BENJAMIN AND SARAH WRIGHT of Adams, Jefferson Co NY, by whom he had six children. She died in St. Augustine FL in 1858. In 1860 he married SUSAN WRIGHT, widow of REV. BENJAMIN WRIGHT and daughter of JOHN BEARD, who was the United States Marshal of Florida.

3. ANDREW JACKSON FAIRBANKS was born in Watertown in 1826 and in 1844 graduated from the French College of Montreal. He engaged in business in Watertown until 1851 when he also moved to Jacksonville FL where he worked for a large lumber company on the St. John River. After a short return to Watertown he moved in 1862 to Florida. When Jacksonville was captured he returned to Jefferson County where he resided until his death on 19 June 1898. In 1853 he married MARY MATILDA WILEY, daughter of NATHANIEL WILEY and HARRIET HUNT. NATHANIEL WILEY was born in Nashua, NH on 19 July 1796 and moved to Boston where he learned the machinist trade. In 1815 he moved to Watertown NY. Mr. Wiley married HARRIET HUNT, who was born in Oneida Co NY in 1804.

Children of Andrew Jackson Fairbanks and Mary M. Wiley:

a. HARRIET BATES FAIRBANKS, resided at Watertown and was an active member of the LeRay de Chaumont Chapter of the DAR. (Note: her membership probably came from the Massey Line, although she would be eligible on the Fairbanks lineage also.)

b. ABBIE CROSBY FAIRBANKS married CHARLES H. REMINGTON, a leading paper manufacturer of northern NY. They had seven children.

c. GEORGE ANDREW FAIRBANKS was born 4 Jan. 1869 and married IDA MAY HEINTZELMAN in 1894. They had two sons—ANDREW JASON and KARL JOSEPH. George Fairbanks was a civil engineer and an assistant engineer for the NY state department.

JASON M. FAIRBANKS was born in Watertown in 1829. He was a graduate of Geneva/Hobart College in 1851 and although admitted to practice law, he devoted his life to civil engineering and surveying. He retraced the western boundary of Arkansas from Fort Smith to Red River, ran the 98th meridian from the latter river to the Canadian River and the parallel forming the north boundary of Oklahoma. He also ran the line between the Seminole and Creek Nations. He never married and died in Watertown in 1894.

Source: Oakes Vol. 1; cemetery records; census records; Massey Family; DAR Records.

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