Jonathan  Fairbanks

Jonathan Fairbanks (bef. 1597 - 1668)

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Jonathan Fairbanks
Born before in Sowerby, Halifax, York, Englandmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married (to ) in Warley, Halifax, Yorkshire, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Dedham, Suffolk, Mass. Bay Colonymap
Fairbanks-133 created 20 Dec 2011 | Last modified
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Categories: Puritan Great Migration | Dedham, Massachusetts | Signer of the Dedham Covenant.

The Puritan Great Migration.
Jonathan Fairbanks migrated to New England during the Puritan Great Migration (1620-1640).
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Jonathan Fairbank(s) came from the parish of Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire where he married Grace Smith on 20 May 1617.[1] Four of their six children's baptisms are recorded in Halifax between 1618 and 1625, in Warley and Shelf, areas in Halifax.[2] He came to Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony with his family in 1633, and they remained there about three years, and then settled in Dedham. He was one of the earliest pioneers, signing the Covenant on 23 March 1636/7 when the town was established and named. He died in Dedham, Dec. 5, 1668,[3][4] and was buried in the Old Village Cemetery, although no stone is now extant. His wife Grace died 28th 10 mo. 1673, [or 19: 3: 1676, although this is probably the death of her granddaughter].

There is no record yet found of Jonathan's baptism, though three documents, taken together, provide evidence that he was the son of John Fairbank of Thornton in Craven, a parish about 18 miles from the town of Halifax.[5]

First is the 1625 will of John Fairbank of Thornton in Craven: Jonathan Fairbank, a son of the testator is treated differently in the will from his brothers George, Michael, and Jeremy, who all had received land from their father. Jonathan received no land but was given one-fourth of one-third of his father's estate. His three sisters received the other three-fourths of one-third.[6]

Second is the 1650 will of George Fairbank of Sowerby: George was a clothier of Sowerby, a township within Halifax, adjacent to Warley. son of the 1625 testator, John Fairbank. George apparently had no wife or children at the time of his death and left legacies to his brothers and sisters and their families, as well as to his first cousins, children of his uncle George Fairbank of Sowerby Bridge. One of these first cousins was Mr. Jonathan Fairbank (1612-1687), Vicar of Bingley, Yorkshire George's brothers and sisters and their families named in this will are the same people listed in the 1625 will of their father John, except for Jonathan the immigrant, who is not listed as a legatee. George's 1650 will reflects deaths in the family during the intervening 25 years. The legacies show his close relationship to his first cousins, as well. [7]

Third is the Endorsement on the 1650 Will: There is a note written on the outside of a folded and sealed copy of the 1650 will of George Fairbank, which was sent to Jonathan Fairbank in New England, probably by James Platts, executor of the will. It was significant that the will was sent to Jonathan, who was not a named legatee in the will, but was likely the younger half-brother of George. The copy of the 1650 will was addressed as follows:

George Fairbanke his
last Will &
For his lovinge Cusen Jonathan
Fayrebancke in new Ingland

These three documents taken together provide the basis for believing that John Fairbank of Thornton in Craven was the father of Jonathan Fairbank of Dedham. It was first proposed in Hiram Francis Fairbanks' article, "Ancestry of Jonathan Fairbanks," printed in the 1971 reprint of Fairbanks Family in America that John Fairbank of Thornton in Craven, the 1625 testator, was Jonathan's father. He said that in the seventeenth century, the term "cusen" could be used to refer to any close kinsman, not exclusively a first (or more distant) cousin as in modern usage.[8]

Clarence Almon Torrey proposed in a 1961 TAG article[9] that Jonathan's father was George Fairbank of Heptonstall, son of George Fairbank of Sowerby and his wife Sybil Wade. His argument was based on the use of the word "cusen" in the endorsement "For his Louinge Cusen" on the endorsed copy of the 1650 will sent to Jonathan Fairbank in New England, and interpreted it to mean first cousin.

There are flaws in Torrey's theory: there is no evidence that George of Heptonstall had a son Jonathan, or that a Jonathan Fairbank ever lived in Heptonstall or Erringden. George Fairbank, son of George and Sybil (Wade) Fairbank, who was baptized in 1562, was not George of Heptonstall, but George of Sowerby Bridge, the brother of John Fairbank of Thornton in Craven. Land records and wills of the Court of the Manor of Wakfield show a clear line of descent for the Fairbanks of Sowerby. In 1507 William Fairbank surrendered his estate called Brigbothame and Pigilcroft in Sowerby to the use of "John Faerbaink, son of said William..." In 1526 John Fairbanke surrendered Brigbotham, etc., to the use of "Gilbert Fairebanke, son of the aforesaid John Fairebank." In 1551 at Sowerby, "John Fairbanke and Gilber Fairbanke the son and heir of John" surrendered several pieces of land called Lathecroft, Overholme, Netherholme and Le Sprynge, then in the tenure of Humphrey Fairebanke, to the use of George Fairbank, son of Gilbert, and Sibyl Wade, daughter of Gilbert Wade. On the same day in 1551 in Sowerby, Gilbert Fairbanke surrendered all his land in Sowerby to the use of "George Fairebanke, son and heir of Gilbert, and the lawfully procreated heirs of the bodies of George and Sibyl Waide, dauther of Gilbert Waide."[10]

In 1583 George Fairbank, son of Gilbert, surrendered the bulk of his property in Sowerby to his son, George Jr., later known as George Fairbank of Sowerby Bridge. This latter George was the brother of John Fairbank of Thornton in Craven. George Jr's wife was named as Isabel Bannister, daughter of Henry Bannister.

George Fairbank of Sowerby Bridge made a will on 14 March 1619/20, proved 8 Feb 1620/1. His will does not mention any properties by name, but later records show that his widow Hester inherited Brigbotham. Fifteen years later, in 1635 John Fairbank, son of George of Sowerby Bridge deceased, and Hester his mother surrendered a tenement called Briggbothome in Sowerby now in Hester's occupation, to the use of Jonathan and George Fairbank. In 1687 Brigbothom was inherited by a son of Jonathan Fairbank the vicar, a son of George and Hester Fairbank. So the descent of land confirms that George Fairbank of Sowerby Bridge, the 1629/20 testator, was the son of George and Sybil (Wade) Fairbank.[11]

It is theorized that Jonathan was treated differently than his brothers in his father's will and called "cuzen" in his half-brother's will because he may have been removed from his family after the death of his mother in 1597, shortly after his birth. The closeness with his uncle George's family suggests that he may have been part of that household during some portion of his childhood, and the wills of his father and brother reflect a physical and/or emotional distance during the early years.[12]


Dated 01 JUN 1668

In the yeare of our Lord one thousand sixe hundred sixty and eight, the first day of the fourth month, com'only called June; I Jonathan ffarbanke of dedham in the Countie of Suffolke, Senior, Being sicke and weake, And expecting that the day of my desolution is drawing neere doe in the name alad feare of God ordaine and make this my Last will & Testamt for the disposelng and settling of the things of this life, with which the Lord hath at prsent Intrusted me in manner & forme as followeth; viz first I commit my soule to God that gave it, Trusting in the alone Righteousnes & mediation of Jesus Christ my Redemet & aduocate, & my body to the earth whence it was taken, to be after my decease Desently buried therein in christian buriall at the discretion of my Executor. In prims I give & bequeath vnto grace my Deere & well beloved wife, All and Every prt & pfcell of my whole moueable Estate whatsoeuer as well within dores as without, namely all my household stuffe, of all & Euery sort & kinde as allso all my cattell of all kinds all my corne cartes ploughs workeing tooles & vtensils of husbandrye all debts due to me & whatsoeuer Ells come within the denomination of moueable Estate & all this I giue and Bequeath to my said wife, to despose of when And to whom shee shall at any time see meete. And more I giue to grace my said wife an Annuitie of Eight pounds pr Annm to be paid to her or her assignee to her vse yearely & euery yeare, in two equall prts. * *Ite I glue & bequeath to George (ffarbanke my secon)d sonne & to his heyers for euer, sixteene pounds the one halle whereof shall be payed to him within the space of one ( .... ) yeare next ensueing after the decease of my said wife; And whereas I haue allready giuen and doe herby confirme to my said sonne George all that my prt in the generaIl deuident (dividend ?) already laid out thro Meadfield & some workinge tooles & such like small things, my will & my mind is, That the said percell of lande and tho6e tooles and other small thing soe giuen shall be all indifferently & Equally aprized and if they shall together amount to the value of eight pounds then it shall be accounted for his first payment. * * * And I glue & bequeath to my daughter Mary the wife of Christopher Smith the sume of sixteene pounds, which sixteene pounds I glue to my said daughter in prticuler, And distinct from her husbans Estate & to be allwayes at her dispose, this sixteen pounds to be payed in two equall (sum'es ?) of Eight pounds. * * * Item More I giue to my said daughter Mary Three pounds to purchase her a suite of aparrell to be paid within the space of three months next after my decease. Item. I giue and bequeath to Jonas ffarbanke my third sonne & his heyers for euer the like sume of sixtene pounds to be allso payed in two equal sumes. * * * Item I giue & bequeath to Jonathan ffarebanke my yongest sonne & to his heighers the like sume of sixteene pounds, to be paid allso in two Equal Sum'es. * * * Item I giue and bequeath to Sarah the Eldest daughter of my sonne John flarebanks one young beast betwixt one and two yeares of age, & more three pounds to be payed by my Executor when she shall attaine lawfull age, the young beast before mentioned I Reserue out of the cattell bequeathed to Grace my wife; Item I giue & bequeath to my sonne in lawe Ralph Daye ffourty shillings to be payed within six monthes after my wives decease; Item. I giue & bequeath to each of the foure Children of the said Ralph which he had by my daughter Susan his late wife the sum'e of flourtie shillings to be payd them seuerally as they shall attaine lawfull age pruided all my other Legacies to my three sonnes & my daughter be first payed in manner as is aboue Expressed; Item my mind ~ my will is that all these my legacies aboue bequeathed, the specie or kind of payment whereof is not named shall be all payed in current Contreypayment at price then Currant In ded (ham I glue ~ bequeath) To John ffarebanke my Eldest sonne all my houses &-' lands whatsouer, not being foremerly aboue (mentioned ? togeth)er with all my common Rightes & towne pruiliges whatsoeuer, to haue posses &' injoy the same ( .... ) & his heyers to enter vpon all my lands forthwith after my decease; and all my houses and yardes at the end of foure mo'nthes n(ext followin)g the same; Item I doe nominate apoiht and ordayne John Fairebancke my afforesaid Eldest Sonne, To be my sole Executor to whom I coremitt all nessary trust d~' power Requisite for the due and full prformeance & Execution of this my last will as it belongs or is necessary for an Executor to doe in all & euery prt as is aboue expressed; Item I allso name & intreate my very loueing friends Eleazer Lusher & Petter Woodward Sene to be ouerseers to the performance of this my present will & to be assisting to my aboue named Executor therin as themselues shall see cause, & I doe hereby reueoke & make null & voide all other or former wills whatsouer by me formerly made; & doe auouch & decleare this prsent wrighting, as is aboue herein entered, to be & contayne my true onely & last will & testemant. In wittnss whereof I the said Jonathan ffarebanke Sene haue herevnto subscribed my hand & affixed my seale the day & yeare first aboue written. This a true copy of the will of Jonathan Fayerbank senyore. as attest Daniell filsher. Wiliam Avery.


  1. John FAIRBANKS c: 15 FEB 1618 in Warley, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
  2. George FAIRBANKS c: 28 NOV 1619 in Shelf, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
  3. Mary FAIRBANKS c: 23 FEB 1621/1622 in Shelf, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
  4. Jonas FAIRBANKS c: 6 MAR 1624 in Warley, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
  5. Susan FAIRBANKS c: 23 DEC 1627 in Thornton in Craven, Yorkshire, England
  6. Jonathan FAIRBANKS b: ABT 1628


  1. Richards Family: p. 3
  2. Joseph: Page 165
  3. Fairbanks: p. 31
  4. Dedham, MA, VRs: p. 388, death record
  5. Joseph: Page 165
  6. Joseph: Page 166 citing Will of John Fairebancke of Thaigh Par. Thorton in Craven (Nov. 3, 1625), vol. 39, fol. 261, at the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research at the University of York
  7. Joseph: Pages 167-8, citing Will of George Fearbanke of Sowerby in Halifax (July 1650), in a will bundle, at the Borthwick Institute. See also "Will of George Fairbanks of Yorkshire, Eng.," Register 7 (1853):303-04
  8. Joseph: Pages 169-170
  9. Torey, Clarence Almon, "The English Ancestry of Jonathan Fairbanks of Dedham, Massachusetts," The American Genealogist 37(1961):65-72
  10. Joseph: Page 170-171
  11. Joseph: Page 172-3, citing Will of George Fairbanke of Sowerby Bridge (8 Feb 1620), vol. 36, fol. 325, at the Borthwick Institute, and
  12. Joseph: Page 173-6,
  • Joseph, Ruth Fairbanks and Landberg, James Swan. "Jonathan Fairbank of Dedham, Massachusetts, and his family in the West Riding of Yorkshire, The New England Historical & Genealogical Register, (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass.) July 2012, Vol. 166, Pages 165-187
  • Wikipedia
  • Dedham, MA, VRs 1635-1845, Record Info: ISBN #0-89725-307-8 Editor: Hanson, Robert B. Publication: Picton Press, Camden, ME, 1997
  • Richards Family [Also Metcalf, Aldis, Stratton, Wiswall, Barrett, Kidder, Peck, Crane, Monfort, and Carman families, all ancestral to Jeremiah Richards, b. 1844, and his wife Susan Adrianna Monfort (New York, NY?, 190?)
  • Fairbanks, Lorenzo Sayles. Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family in America 1633-1897 (pub. by the author [American Printing & Egraving Co.], Boston, MA, 1897)
  • Metcalfe, Howard Hurtig. Some Descendants of Rev. Leonard Metcalf of Tatterford Parish, Norfolk, England, Mostly those of his son Michael the emigrant to Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1637 (Heritage Books, Bowie, MD, 2002)
  • Stearns, Ezra S. Genealogical and Family History of the State of New Hampshire (Lewis Publishing Company, 1908) Vol. 2, Page 991
  • [1]
  • Don Gleason Hill, The Record of Births, Marriages and Deaths and Intentions of Marriage in the Town of Dedham Publication: Dedham: Dedham Transcript, 1886, Page: 13, But p. 15 has the death of Grace Fairebanck 19:3:76. [This is probably the daughter of Jonathan & Deborah born 1656.]
  • William B. Trask, Abstracts from the Earliest Wills on Record and on the Files in the County of Suffolk, Mass., "New England Historical and Genealogical Register" Vol. 19(1865):32-33, Named as wife Grace in her husband's will.
  • Thaddeus Fairbanks, Fairbanks Family Publication: St. Johnsbury, Vt.: the author, 1892, Page: 7
  • Rev. Hiram Francis Fairbanks, Fairbanks Marriages in the Parish of Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. from 1538 to 1624 "New England Historical and Genealogical Register" Vol. 60 (1906):153.

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Memories: 1

On 28 Jun 2013 Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

As I child, I lived in Dedham, and the annual school trip to the Fairbanks House was a favorite. The house is beautifully maintained, and authentically furnished. Out of this house, and family stories that we descended from them, grew my interest in genealogy.

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No known carriers of Jonathan's Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests.

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Images: 3
Jonathan Fairbanks Autograph
Jonathan Fairbanks Autograph

Fairbanks House, Dedham, Mass.
Fairbanks House, Dedham, Mass.

Jonathan Fairbanks Image 3
Jonathan Fairbanks Image 3


On 16 Jun 2017 at 01:14 GMT Bobbie (Madison) Hall wrote:

A recent article about his house: Oldest surviving woodframe house in North America

On 15 Apr 2017 at 01:39 GMT David Mahony Ph.D. wrote:

Not sure how accurate this website is but it's about Jonathan Fairbanks and his descendants:

Jonathan is 14 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 13 degrees from John Dodge, 17 degrees from Deb Durham and 18 degrees from Queen Elizabeth II Windsor on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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