Jonathan Fairbanks

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This article is about the colonist. For the artist, see Jonathan Leo Fairbanks.
Fairbanks House, ca. 1637, is considered the oldest surviving timber frame house in North America

Jonathan Fairbanks (1594 – December 5, 1668)[1] was an English colonist born in Heptonstall, Halifax, Yorkshire, England who immigrated to New England in 1633. Around 1636 Fairbanks built the Fairbanks House in Dedham, Massachusetts which is today the oldest surviving wood framed house in North America.

Settlement in New England[edit]

Jonathan Fairbanks arrived in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, with his family in 1633. Fairbanks' wife's name was Grace Lee. The Fairbanks family remained in Boston about three years, before settling in Dedham, as one of the earliest settler families. Jonathan Fairbanks signed the Covenant when the town was founded and named.[2]

Conversion to Christianity[edit]

Old Village Cemetery, the final resting place of Fairbanks

Jonathan Fairbanks had "long stood off from the church upon some scruples about public profession of faith and the covenant, yet after divers loving conferences..., [In 1646] 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."[3] Fairbanks became a member of the First Church in Dedham, which espoused a Reformed theology (Calvinist) in the seventeenth century.[4]

Jonathan Fairbanks died in Dedham, December 5, 1668. Grace Fairbanks died 28th 10 mo. 1673, or 19: 3: 1676.[2] Fairbanks was buried in the Old Village Cemetery.[5]

As was common at the time Jonathan used several spellings of his surname: Fairbanke, Fairebanke, Fayerbanke, and on his will Fairbanck.[6] His sons and grandsons began spelling the name Fairbank or Fairbanks. The spelling Fairbanks carried on for 15 generations.


  1. ^ "RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: The Ancestry of Overmire Tifft Richardson Bradford Reed". Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  2. ^ a b (Genealogy of the Fairbanks Family)
  3. ^ Lockridge, Kenneth (1985). A New England Town. New York: WW Norton & Company. p. 31. ISBN 0-393-95459-5. 
  4. ^ Covenant of the First Church in Dedham: with some facts of history and ... By First Church (Dedham, Mass., H. H. McQuillen, 1878)
  5. ^ Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials
  6. ^ "Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank, his antecedents and descendents", a monograph by Helen de Freitas

External links[edit]