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3 3433 06813757 3 

With the compliments of 

-JLindsay Fairfax 

Lenox, Massachusetts, 0\ S. A 



An Historic Sketch of 

The Two Fairfax Families 




in Virginia 

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Privately Printed 

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T. K. Cartmell's 
History of Frederick County, Virginia 


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Notabilities, of ..Oljd Frederick County 

The Fairfax Families 




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Notabilities of Old Frederick County 

The Fairfax Families 

Under the above caption, 
CartrnelPs History of Frederick County, Va., 
devotes a chapter to a comprehensive sketch 
of the two Fairfax families in Virginia, which 
so distinctly reveals, at a glance, the diverg- 
ing lines of their respective and consecutive 
generations, that, with Mr. CartmelPs kind 
permission, I have taken the privilege of 
reprinting it in an accessible form for the 
edification of my family connexion generally. 
Being, as this is, a sort of factual summary 
of what is contained in official records con- 
cerning these two families, it will serve as a 
valuable guide for their future direct and 
collateral descendants. 

THe Fairfax Families 

I apologize to Mr. Cartmell for such slight 
textual revision as I may have found it 
necessary to make in reproducing his article 
as a disseverate and unattached publication. 

Lindsay Fairfax 

Union Club, New York, 

i East 51st Street, 

May 1, 1913. 

A Word from the Compiler 

We are living in an age of kaleidoscopic 
changes. All the nations of the world have 
been stirred to competitive energy by the 
amazing developments of material progress 
in these United States of North America. 

Our country has become the arena of the 
greatest manifestation of industrial initiative 
that civilization has ever known. But the 
American people appear to be prospering too 
rapidly for their permanent good. Luxury 
and sybaritism are intoxicating our moneyed 
youth, and misplaced millions are destroying 
the social dignity of our wealth. 

This broad, free Republic of ours is a 
great racial melting-pot. We are producing 
a national amalgam which history affords no 
guide or formula for treating. 

Impatient in the scramble for worldly gain, 
this age is ignoring the truths of heredity 
which Mendel demonstrated to the world, 


THe Fairfax Families 

and, under the glamour of new-made wealth, 
marriages are made entirely regardless of 
ancestral considerations. 

What dangerous strains of vicious blood 
may be coursing through the veins of one's 
posterity is a thought that appals the re- 
flective and affectionate parent ! 

A particularly grave speculation for the 
thoughtful mind to-day is the consequence of 
woman's changing status to the motherhood 
of the future. 

That the part of the woman in the Divine 
project of human destination was predeter- 
mined to be greater than that of the man, is 
scarcely to be doubted. But there are 
certainly many manifestations to-day in the 
American woman's use of her recently 
enlarged power, which point to the ultimate 
extinction of the most civilizing institution 
of mankind — that time-honored school of 
morals and conservatory of character — the 
family life. 

Never before, in any country, was woman 
accorded so great a measure of privilege as 
is hers at the present time in our United 
States. And yet, co-incidentally, never 


Trie Fairfax Families 

before in any civilized nation have marriage 
dissolutions been so numerous as among this 
great enlightened Christian people of ours! 

A while ago, a wave of genealogical interest 
passed over this country, and, from our 
Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific, people were 
tracing up and publishing the records of their 

Perhaps this was prophetic ! 

One of the many lamentable consequences 
of our unfortunate Civil War has been the 
disintegration of the old Southern families. 
The shattering of their fortunes has scat- 
tered their scions toward every point of the 

It is the rare exception at the present day 
to find any notable family in our Southern 
States with its several members bringing up 
their children in the same locality where 
their ancestors generated in the days of the 

Southern blood has percolated into every 
State of the Union, and the Southerner of 
yesterday has become the Westerner or the 
Northerner of to-day. 


TKe Fairfax Families 

The compiler of this little volume cherishes 
a sentiment, deep within his heart, for the 
dear old State of his nativity — Virginia. 
He loved, he loves, and he always shall love 
Virginia's open-hearted people. But the 
one life in the world in whom his own life 
has centered, is not a Virginian, and she is 
why he is able to remain a Northerner for 
aye — and be happy. 

To be sure, however, that his descendants 
may never lose trace of their Maryland and 
Virginia progenitors, he has bound this 
paltry scrap of history into a booklet, and he 
asks his children to pass it on down to their 

Notabilities of Old Frederick County 

The Fairfax Families 

A cleaving interest will always adhere, 
perhaps, to perpetuators of the surname 
which Lord Fairfax eternified in the nomen- 
clature of Virginia. 

Here within our borders this interest 
naturally inheres in the well-known native 
cohesion of our Virginian people. To those 
who live at a distance, however, the Fairfax 
name looms vaguely as an historic sentiment. 
Indeed there prevails among readers of 
periodical literature an idealization of our 
Virginian Fairfaxes, who are fancifully re- 
garded as the heriters and living symbols 
of Lord Fairfax's fame in Virginia's history. 

Romantic writers are responsible for this 
illusion. And because the Fairfax family 


THe Fairfax Families 

name has become involved with misleading 
traditions of Lord Fairfax, it is thought that 
an interesting inclusion of these chronicles 
would be an outline of the ramifications of 
the two families of Fairfax who have lived 
for generations in Virginia. 

The progenitors of both these family lines 
in America were sprouts from the same 
ancestral tree in England which sent forth 
Lord Fairfax as the head of one of its junior 

And though they both — these Fairfax 
ancestors — antedated Lord Fairfax as Ameri- 
can colonists, neither of them immigrated 
originally to Virginia. 

At the beginning of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, John Fairfax had established him- 
self in Charles County, in the Province of 
Maryland. Later on, in 1717, William Fair- 
fax appeared in America, and settled him- 
self amidst the Puritans in the Colony of 

This William Fairfax was a nearby cousin 
of Thomas Fairfax who, in 1710, had suc- 
ceeded his father as sixth bearer of the 
Scotch title : Baron of Cameron. 


THe Fairfax Families 

Descendants of William Fairfax 

When quite a young man, William Fairfax 
had ventured to sea and served in the 
British navy under a kinsman of his, a 
Captain Fairfax. 

After settling in America, William Fairfax 
was twice married: firstly, in 1717, to Sarah 
Walker, whose father, Major Thomas Walker, 
was stationed at that time in the island of 
New Providence. Fourteen years later, 
Sarah Fairfax died at Salem, Massachusetts. 

William Fairfax's second marriage was 
with Deborah Clark of Salem, Massachu- 

Several years prior to the time we are now 
considering, Lord Fairfax had heired, in 
right of his mother, the vast proprietary 
estate of Lord Colepeper in Virginia. 

Lord Fairfax had never crossed the At- 
lantic, however, when, in 1732, the death 
occurred of Robert Carter who had long 
served as steward of the Northern Neck 
proprietary under Lord Colepeper. The 
death of Carter placed the new proprietor 
in an awkward quandary. His Lordship's 


TKe Fairfax Famili 


sole knowledge of the vast domain he had 
inherited beyond the seas — and which at 
that time was practically a wilderness — was 
the vague inception which he had derived 
from his parchments. His grant embraced, 
specifically enough, the whole country inter- 
vening between the head-waters of the 
Rappahannock and the Potomac rivers, and 
the Chesapeake Bay. But where were those 
"head-waters" ? 

No surveyor had as yet even attempted to 
follow this inquiry, and, in the absence of 
any official definement of the proprietary 
limits, a large area was being granted away 
by the Crown in a region which Lord Fairfax 
insisted to be a part of his patented pos- 

Such was the new proprietor's plight when 
he wrote out from England to his Massa- 
chusetts kinsman, William Fairfax, and 
proposed to him to go to Virginia and under- 
take the management of his Northern Neck 
propriety. This offer was accepted, and 
William Fairfax moved forthwith to Virginia 
with his family, in 1733. 

He first settled there upon a leased planta- 


TKe Fairfax Families 

tion in the county of King George. It was 
something in the nature of a problem at that 
time to obtain a cleared plantation in the 
wilds of Northern Virginia, because the 
Colepeper proprietary grant had retarded 
the development of that entire district. 

Among the foremost of the pioneer planters 
then in the Northern Neck of Virginia were 
the Washingtons; and, of that family, there 
were several members residing in the 
counties along the Potomac. 

One of these planters was Edward Wash- 
ington, and from him, William Fairfax, in 
x 739) purchased a cultivated plantation 
which, at that time, was recorded as in 
the county of Prince William. Three years 
thereafter, however, this portion was taken 
away from Prince William County to form 
a new county, and this new county was 
called — in honor of the new lord proprietor 
— Fairfax. 

Nearby, and in sight of this Edward 

Washington plantation, was the "Hunting 

Creek" plantation of Augustine Washington 

— father of our immortal George. And that 

which was then known as "The Hunting 


THe Fairfax Families 

Creek Plantation" is to-day the world-famed 
— if not the world-revered — Mount Vernon. 

It was just at this time — 1739 — that Lord 
Fairfax crossed the Atlantic for the first 
time, to institute a survey, under Crown 
authority, for the establishment of the 
boundary limits of his proprietary. While 
on this visit it appears that plans were ar- 
ranged for the erection upon William Fair- 
fax's plantation of a substantial house to 
serve, not alone as a residence, but as well 
for a place of security for the custody of the 
records of the Northern Neck proprietary. 
This house was the "Land Office " and, as 
shown elsewhere, was called Belvoir. 

In 1 74 1, William Fairfax was elected a 
member of the House of Burgesses. He 
retained the management of the Northern 
Neck estate until his death, in 1757. 

From both his marriages, William Fairfax 

left children. By Sarah Walker there 

issued two sons: George William, who 

married Sarah Cary, daughter of Col. Wilson 

Cary; and Thomas, who died unmarried. 

There were also two daughters: Ann, who 


Trie Fairfax Families 

married Lawrence Washington; and Sarah, 
who married Major John Carlyle. 

George William Fairfax, the first son, 
became assistant to his father in the manage- 
ment of Lord Fairfax's proprietary. 

It will right some misunderstanding to 
mention here that it was George William 
Fairfax, who, while " Agent for Lord Fair- 
fax" (to use George Washington's own 
words), gave the first remunerated employ- 
ment to the youthful Washington. 

Lord Fairfax knew nothing whatever of 
George Washington until the boy's own 
survey report commanded his attention. 
The comprehensive field-notes of Washing- 
ton were so unmistakably trustworthy that 
this unknown boy was instructed to report 
himself to "His Lordship's Quarters over 
the mountains." 

Another correction of legend is, that 
George Fairfax and George Washington, 
while next-farm neighbors, were not "boy 
companions together," as has often been 
represented in print. George Fairfax, the 
full-grown man, employed George Wash- 
ington, the boy, and scarcely more than a 


THe Fairfax Families 

child was Washington — just 16 years of age. 

At the death of William Fairfax in 1757, 
his son, George William, succeeded him in 
the proprietary stewardship. 

A few years prior to this time, Thomas 
Bryan Martin, a nephew of Lord Fairfax, had 
come out from England to Virginia and es- 
tablished himself in his aged bachelor uncle's 
home. Three years had hardly elapsed 
after the death of William Fairfax, when 
information reached George William's ear 
that Martin was contriving to influence his 
uncle into making a change in the proprietary 
management. Shortly thereafter, the whole 
land-office outfit was transferred from the 
Belvoir house to a depository built expressly 
for the purpose on his Lordship's manor in 
Frederick County: Greenway Court. 

The bitter feeling created in George 
William Fairfax by Martin's influence over 
the lord proprietor, is shown through letters 
of the former, which have been published 
by Edward D.Neill. 

In 1773, George William Fairfax went 
with his wife to England, where both of them 
died without leaving issue. 


TKe Fairfax Families 

From William Fairfax's second marriage, 
i. e. with Deborah Clark, there issued: 
Bryan, William Henry, and Hannah. Will- 
iam Henry Fairfax died unmarried. Bryan 
Fairfax, the elder of the two, was married 
twice : firstly, to Elizabeth Gary, sister to the 
wife of his half-brother George ; and secondly, 
to Jennie Dennison. 

In 1754, Bryan Fairfax was appointed 
deputy clerk of the county of Fairfax. 

At the death of Lord Fairfax, in 1782, in 
the ninety-first year of his age, the Northern 
Neck proprietary domain was bequeathed to 
his nephew, the Reverend Denny Martin in 
England, who, according to the stipulation 
of his Lordship's will, assumed the surname 

The new proprietor, however, never set 
foot upon his American possessions. He 
placed his Virginian proprietary estate under 
the joint management of Gabriel Jones and 
his own brother, Thomas Bryan Martin, 
who, under a provision of his uncle's will, 
had inherited his Lordship's home manor, 
Greenway Court. 

The execution of Lord Fairfax's will 

THe Fairfax Famili 


revealed that his estate had long been heavily 
encumbered, and, in consideration of back 
claims upon the proprietary rendered by the 
heirs of his former manager, William Fairfax, 
for amounts due the latter up to the time of 
his death, in 1757 — and which were thus a 
quarter of a century overdue at his Lordship's 
decease — Denny Martin Fairfax revoked 
the appointment of Jones and Martin to the 
stewardship of the proprietary and appointed 
Bryan Fairfax, alone, in their stead. 

The document that effected this trans- 
position was dated at London, September 
21, 1784. By this instrument, Denny Martin 
Fairfax was to be absolved from all back 
claims whatsoever, by the heirs of William 
Fairfax, for the stipulated consideration of 
Bryan Fairfax's substitution for Bryan Martin 
and Gabriel Jones in the stewardship of the 
Northern Neck estate. 

It was in the following year, however, that 
the Legislature of Virginia practically oblite- 
rated the Northern Neck proprietary and 
ordered all records, books, documents, etc., 
pertaining to lands within that district, to 
be removed from proprietary custody and 


Trie Fairfax Families 

placed in the Land Registry Office of the 
Commonwealth in the city of Richmond. 

Bryan Fairfax who was the only son of 
William Fairfax to leave descendants, was 
notable throughout the course of his life 
for his profound piety. Although belonging 
to the military of the Colony, he declined to 
take up arms against the Crown in the 
American Revolution. His letters reveal that 
during his military service he was wont to 
spend whole hours at night on his sentry 
post in silent prayer. 

In 1789, when in the fifty-seventh year of 
his life, he became a minister of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal Church, "having accepted 
the Moderate Calvinistic interpretation of 
the Thirty-nine Articles. ,, 

From 1789 until 1792, he preached at old 
Falls Church in Fairfax County ; subsequently 
he became a "visitor of parishes'' in his 

At the death of Lord Fairfax, in 1782, the 
title, Baron of Cameron, had passed to his 


THe Fairfax Families 

only brother Robert Fairfax in England. 
Robert, seventh Lord Fairfax, had died, 
without heir, in 1793 ; and thus the Cameron 
title was left in abeyance. 

Five years subsequent to this — in 1798 — 
the Rev. Bryan Fairfax determined to go to 
England to test the validity of a claim for 
himself to the heirship of the Cameron 

He addressed a petition to his Majesty, 
King George III, and this found its way to a 
committee of the House of Lords under the 
chairmanship of Lord Walsingham. On May 
6th, 1800, this Committee submitted its 
report, which declared "in favor of the 

As this incident has supplied inspiration 
for many misleading publications, the inter- 
est of intelligent readers would benefit by 
its clarification as a fact. 

The Rev. Bryan Fairfax's petition prayed 
for his recognition as heir to the succession 
of the title. But, the granting of that petition 
did not, per se, constitute the petitioner 
(who was an American citizen) a Baron of 

Cameron, nor did he himself ever assume 


THe Fairfax Families 

or pretend that it did. The instrument 
merely secured to him, and to his heirs 
thenceforward, the right to assume the title 
subject to the legal exactions imposed in 
Great Britain. The Rev. Bryan Fairfax 
never exercised his right to qualify for the 
title by becoming a British subject. On the 
contrary, he is on record as having declared 
that he had "no ambition whatever to bear 
an empty title." His will, which is on file 
in the Clerk's Office of Fairfax County, 
attests to the fact that he was known as, and 
that he designated himself as simply : Bryan 

It is only due to the honored descendants 
of the Rev. Bryan Fairfax, to mention here 
that no bearer of his surname has ever 
been responsible for the authorship of any 
publications which tended to sentimentalize 
"The Lords Fairfax of Virginia." 

The Rev. Bryan Fairfax died in 1802, 
leaving two sons and two daughters. 
Ferdinando, his second son, married 


THe Fairfax Families 

Elizabeth Cary; he lived as a planter 
in Jefferson County and left many de- 

Thomas Fairfax, the Rev. Bryan Fairfax's 
eldest son — and who was heir in line to the 
Cameron title — was married three times: 
firstly, to Mary Aylett; secondly, to Louisa 
Washington; thirdly, to Margaret, daughter 
of William Herbert. 

From this third marriage there issued all 
of his ten children, of whom six were sons: 
Albert, Henry, Orlando, Raymond, Ethelbert, 
and Reginald. 

Henry Fairfax, his second son, married 
Caroline Herbert, of Maryland, and con- 
ducted at his home, "Ash Grove," in 
Fairfax County, a widely known boarding- 
school for young ladies. He became 
captain of a volunteer company in the 
Mexican War and died in 1847, leaving 
several children. 

Orlando, the third son of Thomas Fairfax, 
married Mary Randolph Cary. He was a 
well-known family physician in Alexandria 
during his early life; subsequently he re- 
moved to Richmond, where he practised 


I rie f airlax r amines 

physic until his death. He left a large 

Raymond, Ethelbert, and Reginald — the 
fourth, fifth, and sixth sons of Thomas Fairfax 
— all died unmarried. 

Thomas Fairfax spent his life as a planter 
in Fairfax County and died at his home, 
Vaucluse, in 1846, at the ripe age of eighty- 
four years. 

The oldest of his sons, Albert Fairfax, had 
predeceased his father in the year 1835. 
He married Caroline Eliza, daughter of 
Richard Snowden of Maryland, and left by 
her two sons: Charles Snowden and John 

At the death of Thomas Fairfax, in 1846, 
Charles Snowden Fairfax, his grandson, be- 
came by birthright the heir to the title, Baron 
of Cameron. 

He was one of the pioneers to California 

and, four years after the admission of that 

State to the Union, he was elected to its 

House of Delegates. In 1857, he was made 

Clerk of the Supreme Court of California. 

He married Ada Benham of Cincinnati, 

Ohio, and died without issue in 1869. 


THe Fairfax Families 

The heirship to the title then reverted to 
his brother, John Contee Fairfax, who lived 
at his parental home, Northampton, in 
Prince George's County, Maryland. 

John Contee Fairfax studied medicine at 
the University of Pennsylvania and practised 
his profession in his home county, in Mary- 
land. He married Mary, daughter of Col. 
Edmund Kirby, of New York, an officer of 
the U. S. Army. Dr. John Contee Fairfax 
died at his home in Maryland in 1900, 
leaving three daughters : Caroline, Josephine, 
and Charlie ; and two sons, Albert Kirby and 
Charles Edmund. 

Albert Kirby Fairfax, the eldest son, has 
attained the distinction of being the first of 
the descendants of Rev. Bryan Fairfax (who 
died in 1802) to seek recognition in Great 
Britain of the legality of his title: Baron of 
Cameron in the peerage of Scotland. 

When preparations were making for the 
coronation of King Edward VII, application 
was made to the Earl Marshal for a baron's 
summons to Albert Fairfax to appear at 
that ceremony. He was accordingly "com- 
manded" to be present on that occasion. 


THe Fairfax Families 

And although prevented from personal at- 
tendance at that function, the fact that he 
had been personally addressed as Lord 
Fairfax by the Lord Chancellor, was declared 
to be sufficient recognition to invest him with 
the courtesy right to "walk' as the Baron 
of Cameron. It yet behooves him, in order 
to bear the title in actuality and to legalize 
his signature of it, to renounce his American 
citizenship and formally declare his al- 
legiance to the British Crown. 

As much that is apocryphal has been pub- 
lished of the prerogatives of this title, intelli- 
gent interest will approve the recitation 
here of facts which will explain and define 

In the British realm, whatever privileges 
are possessed by a peer, belong to the peer 
as a member of Parliament only, and thus, 
where membership in Parliament is heredi- 
tary, peerage privileges are also, but then 
only. All peers of England, absolutely, and 
the peers of Scotland, down to the title of 
baron, were constituted, at the Union of 
England and Scotland, as peers of Great 
Britain. The barons of Scotland, however, 


THe Fairfax Families 

remained as they were, peers of Scotland 
only, and the one possibility of their becoming 
members of the British House of Lords is 
through election. 

For each and every Parliament of the 
United Kingdom there are sixteen Scottish 
representative peers elected; and the right 
to vote at such parliamentary elections is 
the one and only hereditary privilege that 
inures to a barony of Scotland. This, 
therefore, is the only prerogative acquired 
with the Barony of Cameron. 

In the Scottish sense, that a barony implies 
a large freehold of property, the Barony of 
Cameron is not, de facto, a barony at all. 
It is "a patent of baronial diginity ,, which 
Charles I created in 1627, and "which he 
conferred in a manner not unusual to the 
Stuart Kings," for the consideration of a fee 
to the Royal Exchequer. (See Markham's 
Life of Lord Fairfax, p. 14.) 

Albert Kirby Fairfax is, as yet unmarried. 
So is his brother, Charles Edmund, and thus 
the primogenital line of descent from the 
parent colonist, William Fairfax, may be 
said to pause with an interrogation. 


THe Fairfax Families 

Descendants of yohn Fairfax, of the 
Colony of Maryland 

In order that there may be no entangle- 
ment of the lines of the two families of Fair- 
fax, who have long been identified with 
Virginia, we shall now hark back to John 
Fairfax, of the province of Maryland, who, 
although anterior to William Fairfax as 
an American colonist, had no descendants 
in Virginia until their third American 

This line of Fairfaxes did not cross the 
Potomac until subsequent to the Ameri- 
can Revolution; they therefore did not 
become Virginians until after the time of 
Lord Fairfax. 

The reader may recall that in the original 
grant of Maryland, Cecilus Calvert, the 
second Lord Baltimore, was given a palati- 
nate or quasi-royal authority over the 

The Calvert family were Roman Catholics. 
And, notwithstanding that Lord Baltimore 
established in his colony the first freedom 
of religious worship in America, there sub- 


TKe Fairfax Families 

sequently developed in Maryland such bitter 
hostility to zealots of the Roman faith that, 
from 1692 to 1 71 5, the Crown suspended the 
charter rights of the Baltimores and en- 
tirely abrogated their palatine authority. 

It was during this period of "suppression 
of the Papal rule" in Maryland that John 
Fairfax appeared in that Colony. 

He himself was a papist, and of that faith 
were many members of the primogenital 
vein of the English Fairfaxes who were the 
Viscounts of Emley — the Lords Fairfax of 
Gilling Castle, in Yorkshire. 

The first records pertaining to John Fairfax 
are prosecutions by him of trespassers upon 
his property in Charles County. He is 
found recorded repeatedly as sponsor and 
surety for his co-religionists. And the 
various pleas of "compassion for the Catho- 
lics who have truly scrupulous consciences, " 
are peep-holes through which the imaginative 
mind may picture the tribulations endured 
by the then faithful adherents of the Church 
of Rome. 

John Fairfax married Catherine, daughter 

of Henry Norris of Maryland, and to the 


XHe Fairfax Families 

former's only son, John Fairfax, Jr., there 
descended the Norris homestead. 

John Fairfax, II, of Charles County, Mary- 
land, married Mary, daughter of Edward 
Scott of Baltimore County. 

In 1720, nine years before the incorporation 
of Baltimore Toivne, Mary Scott Fairfax, 
disposed of her parental heritage: "Scott's 
Folly," on Elk Ridge, then in Baltimore 

John Fairfax, II, died at his Charles County 
home in 1735, leaving four daughters and 
one son, William. 

William Fairfax, of Charles County, Mary- 
land, married, firstly, Benedicta Blanchard, 
to whom there were three daughters, and 
two sons: Jonathan and Hezekiah. 

William Fairfax married, secondly, Eliza- 
beth, daughter of Peyton Buckner of Vir- 
ginia, by which union there issued two more 
sons : John and William, and three daughters. 

William Fairfax, the senior, was a planter 
with considerable possessions in Maryland, 
and although he and both his elder sons 
were qualified for the military service, all 

three of them, like their contemporary 


XKe Fairfax Families 

Fairfaxes on the Virginia side of the Potomac, 
stood loyal to the British Crown during our 

In 1789, William Fairfax disposed of his 
Maryland properties, and in 1791 he crossed 
the Potomac into Prince William County, 
Virginia, and thereafter made his home at 
Occoquan. He died at Occoquan in 1793. 

Jonathan Fairfax, the oldest of William's 
four sons, remained for life a Marylander. 
His home, "Goose Bay," was near old Port 
Tobacco in Charles County. He died there 
in 1787, having predeceased his father by 
six years. He married Sarah, daughter of 
Richard Wright, by whom there issued four 
daughters : Louesta, Sarah, Anne Booker and 
Elizabeth; and five sons: Richard Wright, 
Walter, John, Henry, and Peter. 

Hezekiah Fairfax, the second of William 
Fairfax's sons, married Margaret Calvert. 
He made his home in Prince William County, 
Virginia, and left four sons : John Hezekiah, 
Minor, Thomson and Sanford. There were 
numerous descendants from these four 
brothers whom we lack the space to follow. 

William Fairfax, II, of the previous genera- 


THe Fairfax Families 

tion, married Anne, daughter of Cyrus King 
of the county of Prince William. He heired 
his father's home at Occoquan and died 
there in 1845. John Scott Fairfax, this 
second William's oldest son, married Anne, 
daughter of Peyton Mills of Virginia. 

John Scott Fairfax moved westward and 
settled in Kentucky where his two sons: 
Cyrus King Fairfax and John Peyton Fair- 
fax, have left descendants. 

John Fairfax, the third son of the senior 
William Fairfax, was the first of this Fairfax 
line to cross the Potomac and become a 

Notwithstanding that these Fairfaxes had 
been Tories, and, moreover, that they were 
not as yet even Virginians, General George 
Washington, in the year 1783 — just after 
his resigning the command of the Revolu- 
tionary army — sent across to Maryland for 
young John Fairfax and offered him the 
position of assistant to Lund Washington — 
the General's nephew — in the management 
of General Washington's extensive properties. 
John Fairfax, who was then only nineteen 

years of age, betook himself forthwith to 


THe Fairfax Families 

Mount Vernon. Within two years, Lund 
Washington received an appointment in the 
public service and resigned his stewardship 
of the Washington estates. John Fairfax 
succeeded him. 

For seven years John Fairfax remained 
with General Washington, and letters now 
preserved by his descendants attest to the 
regard in which he was held by the Father 
of his Country. 

The realty possessions of General Wash- 
ington at the time of his death aggregated 
something like 55,000 acres, a fact which 
conveys an intelligent understanding of 
young John Fairfax's responsibilities. 

Just as history shows us that young 
George Washington profited by acquiring 
garden spots which he discovered while 
surveying in the wild domain of Lord 
Fairfax, so profited young Fairfax by the 
knowledge he acquired while inspecting the 
Washington properties in the rich natural 
meadows of Monongalia County, known as 
The Glades. 

John Fairfax acquired an extensive tract 
in the Monongalia Glades and, in 1790, he 


Trie Fairfax Families 

resigned his position with Washington and 
went thither to make his home. 

In 1794, he was appointed by Governor 
Brooke a Justice of the Court. Later on, 
he became the Presiding Justice. Three 
times he was elected to the House of Dele- 
gates of Virginia and, prior to and during 
the War of 181 2, he was Colonel of the 104th 
Virginia Regiment. 

Colonel Fairfax died in 1843, having, 
throughout his entire manhood, occupied 
official positions of trust and responsibility. 

Persons still living, who heard Colonel 
Fairfax's own personal account of it, allege 
that General Washington had told him he 
was actuated in befriending young Fairfax 
by a recognition of the great debt which he 
(Washington) himself felt that he owed to 
a Fairfax. 

Let it be remembered that it was in 1782 
that old Lord Fairfax died, and that General 
Washington gave John Fairfax his appoint- 
ment less than a year thereafter. And be 
it remembered too, that Lord Fairfax, the 
staunch old Tory — who will always be mem- 
orable in our history for his patronage to the 


THe Fairfax Families 

young surveyor — is alleged to have declared 
upon his death-bed, that he would never 
look again into the face of the conqueror of 
Lord Cornwallis — and he never did ! 

Was — or was not — this death-bed plaint 
of his noble old patron a thorn in the heart 
of the grateful Washington which pained 
and rankled? And did he, when that mighty 
sword was hung upon the wall of Mount 
Vernon, did he feel that he was making some 
atonement through giving his favor to this 
young Fairfax, just as the kind old master 
of Greenway Court had, at one time, favored 

Colonel John Fairfax was married twice: 
firstly to Mary, daughter of Samuel Byrne 
of Virginia; and secondly to Anne Lloyd, 
daughter of Francis Boucher Franklin of 
Charles County, Maryland. 

Two sons: William and Buckner, were 
born of the first marriage; and two more 
sons : Francis Boucher Franklin and George 
Washington, were born of the second. 
Both Francis Boucher Franklin Fairfax and 
George Washington Fairfax were com- 
missioned Colonels in the military service 


TKe Fairfax Famili 


of Virginia, and all four of these sons at- 
tained official prominence through State ap- 

Buckner Fairfax, in particular, was a man 
of leading. In 1849, the Legislature of 
Virginia appointed him Brigadier-General of 
the Third Military District of Virginia. 
General Buckner Fairfax was elected to the 
Legislature of Virginia five times. Four 
terms he served in the House of Delegates 
and one term in the Senate. 

Returning now to the vein of seniority in 
the family, Jonathan Fairfax — the oldest son 
of William Fairfax, Sr., and who died in 
Maryland in 1787 — left five sons and four 
daughters. Of these five sons, who have 
already been named — and all of whom were 
living four years subsequent to their father's 
death — Henry alone survived the maturity 
of manhood. 

Henry Fairfax embarked in business in 
Baltimore with a foreign shipping house, and 
profiting by the experience thus acquired, 
he settled himself at the then very prosperous 
port of entry, Dumfries, Virginia, and be- 

3 33 

THe Fairfax Families 

came one of the leading shipping merchants 
of his time. 

His vessels contributed valuable aid to our 
Government during the War of 1812, and he 
himself held the rank of Captain in the 36th 
Virginia Regiment engaged in that war. 
Apart from his Dumfries business concerns, 
Henry Fairfax was interested in a banking 
house in Baltimore, and at his death, in 
1847, he left a large fortune. He was 
married three times : firstly, to Sarah Triplett 
Carter, daughter of William Carter, of Dum- 
fries; secondly, to Sophia Scott, daughter of 
Jesse Scott of Dumfries; and thirdly to 
Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Lindsay of 
The Mount, in Fairfax County. 

From the first marriage there issued five 
daughters, and one son, Henry. 

Henry Fairfax, Jr., married Jane Parks 
Price, granddaughter of Colonel Stephen 
Rex Price of the British army, who fought 
in defence of the British Crown, under 
Lord Cornwallis, in the Revolutionary War. 
The oldest son of this marriage is Dr. Edwin 
Fairfax, who makes his home in Missouri. 
His family is composed of daughters only. 


THe Fairfax Families 

From the senior Henry Fairfax's third 
marriage, i. e. with Elizabeth Lindsay, there 
issued two children: Martha Lindsay, who 
married Thomas Boiling Robertson of Peters- 
burg, Virginia ; and John Walter. 

John Walter Fairfax, in the ante-bellum 
period, was a leading figure in the social life 
of Northern Virginia. He owned, among 
other valuable properties, the splendid 
country-seat of President Monroe, at Aldie 
in Loudoun County, which was his family 
home. He married Mary, daughter of Colo- 
nel Hamilton Rogers, from which marriage 
there issued four sons and a daughter. 

The Hon. Henry Fairfax, the eldest son, 
and present owner of the old Monroe estate, 
married Eugenia Tennant of Richmond. 

Hamilton Rogers Fairfax, the second son, 
married Eleanor Van Rensselaer of New 

John Walter Fairfax, II, is unmarried; 
Lindsay Fairfax, the fourth son, married 
Grace Bradford of Lenox, Massachusetts; 
and Mary Elizabeth Fairfax married Colonel 
Charles Greenleaf Ayres, U. S. A., of Port- 
land, Maine. 


TKe Fairfax Families 

In 1 86 1, John Walter Fairfax, the senior, 
espoused the cause of the Southern Confed- 
eracy, as did every Fairfax in Virginia— with 
but one single exception. 

He became the ranking officer on the staff 
of General Longstreet. 

Colonel Fairfax, by his knightly gallantry, 
his dashing defiance of danger, and his con- 
tempt for fear, came to be characterized by 
the troops in the field of battle as "Long- 
street's Fighting Aide." 

This single allusion to the record of 
Colonel Fairfax in the Civil War will serve 
as an index to the well-known quality of his 

At the end of his fourscore years, it was 
written of him— and justly — that few men 
of his time had sustained, so distinctly as 
had he, the traditional standard of the old- 
school Virginia gentleman. 


The Fairfax Peerage 

Since the writing of the preceding sketch 
of the Fairfax families, the claim to the title, 
Baron of Cameron, has been legally estab- 
lished in Great Britain by Albert Kirby 

The London Daily Telegraph of November 
18, 1908, contains in full detail the formal 
proceedings in determining the question of 
recognizing a bearer of this title. 

The Committee for Privileges, composed of 
members of the House of Lords, by whom 
all peerage claims are determined, met on 
November 17, 1908, to consider the petition 
of Albert Kirby Fairfax to be recognized as 
Baron of Cameron. 

Albert Fairfax, as petitioner, held a dif- 
ferent status from that of his forbear, the 
Reverend Bryan Fairfax, who, in 1798, prayed 
to be recognized as heir to the succession of 
the title. Albert Fairfax had taken the legal 


Trie Fairfax Families 

steps to constitute himself a British subject, 
and, as such, he prayed to be authorized to 
bear the Cameron title legally. The Com- 
mittee that considered his petition was 
composed of the Lord Chancellor, Lord 
Ashbourne, Lord Robertson, and Lord Col- 
lins. Lord Onslow presided as chairman 
of the Committee. 

The Attorney-General, who was present, 
was questioned at length in regard to the 
petitioner's proof of lineage, and, upon his 
final declaration that " all points which 
occurred to me for criticism have been 
cleared up," the petition was granted, in 
these words : 

The Lord Chancellor: " I move that your 
Lordships resolve that the petitioner has 
made out his claim to the title, dignity, and 
honour of Lord Fairfax of Cameron." 

Albert Kirby Fairfax was thus formally 
invested with this title. 

He is now a loyal subject of Great Britain, 
and he is legally recognized as Lord Fairfax. 


The Passing of Lord Fairfax's Propriety 

The same excellent book of reference on 
Northern Virginia's history, from which the 
preceding chapter has been taken, contains 
a copy of the will of Lord Fairfax. 

And realizing, as the compiler has been 
made to do on numerous occasions, that the 
distribution of his vast proprietary estate is 
a matter of wide-spread historic interest; 
and realizing as well that an astonishing 
amount of misinformation exists in regard to 
it — even among the people of Virginia — he 
has determined to have it reprinted here, for 
the information of those who are interested 
in the man who made the name Fairfax an 
historic symbol of Virginia. 



The Last Will and Testament of Lord 


(Will Book No. 4, page 583— Old Frederick 
County Records.) 

I, The Right Honourable Thomas, Lord 
Fairfax, Baron of Cameron, in that part 
of Great Britain called Scotland, and Pro- 
prietor of the Northern Neck of Virginia, do 
make and ordain this my last Will and 
Testament in manner following: That is to 
say: I do hereby subject all my real and 
personal estate to the payment of my debts 
and legacies; I give and devise all that my 
undivided sixth part or share of my lands 
and plantations in the Colony of Virginia, 
commonly known and called by the name of 
the Northern Neck of Virginia, with the 
several advowsons, right of presentation 
thereto-belonging or appurtaining, I have 

therein, with ye messuages and tenements, 


THe Fairfax Families 

buildings, hereditaments and all other the 
appurtenances thereto belonging, all or any 
part whereof, being formerly the estate of 
the Honourable Alexander *Culpeper, Es- 

* The observant reader's attention cannot fail to be 
arrested by Lord Fairfax's manner of spelling the surname 
of his maternal grandparents. 

The explanation of this involves a fact of history that 
is known perhaps to few Virginians, notwithstanding that 
they are accustomed to spelling it, every day, in an impor- 
tant county and town of their State, just as Lord Fairfax 
wrote it — Culpeper. 

The Lady Colepeper, who was Lord Fairfax's maternal 
grandmother, was a Dutch woman. She possessed a large 
fortune in her own right; and it was her fortune, indeed, 
which enabled Lord Colepeper to hold together his large 
properties, particularly the vast Northern Neck proprietary 
in the Colony of Virginia. It was also her fortune which 
rescued from bankruptcy the English property of her son- 
in-law, the fifth Lord Fairfax, father of the quaint old 
bachelor who spent the last forty-six years of his life 
among the picturesque pioneers of Northern Virginia. 

Lady Colepeper, it appears, never succeeded in master- 
ing the English language. She both spoke and wrote 
it very imperfectly. In the making of her will she spelled 
the family name and wrote her own signature of it without 
any regard to precedent — Culpeper, 

From that time forward, her loyal descendants, pre- 
ferring, perhaps, to have it appear that this was an inten- 
tional innovation of hers, rather than admit that it was 
the best she could do in orthographical achievement, 
adopted her spelling of the name in their legal indentures, 


THe Fairfax Families 

quire, deceased, together with all other lands 
and tenements I have, am possessed of or 
have a right to in the said Colony of Vir- 
ginia — to the Reverend Denny Martin, my 
nephew, now of the County of Kent in Great 

To him, his heirs and assigns forever, if 
he — the said Denny Martin — should be 
alive at the time of my death. 

But, in case he should not, then I give and 
devise the same, and every part and parcel 
thereof, to Thomas Bryan Martin, Esquire, 
his next brother, now living with me, to him, 
his heirs and assigns forever. 

And, in case of his death before me, I give 
and devise the same, and every part and 
parcel thereof, to my other nephew Philip 
Martin, Esquire, brother of the aforesaid 
Denny and Thomas, and to his heirs and 
assigns forever — provided always and, upon 
this condition, that the said Denny Martin, if 
alive at the time of my decease or in case of 
his death, the said Thomas Bryan Martin, 

and thus it received the recognition of legal usage and 
authority, which will probably stand uncorrected forever. 

Lindsay Fairfax. 

THe Fairfax Families 

if he should be alive at the time of my de- 
cease, or the said Philip Martin, if he should 
be alive at the time of my decease — shall 
pay or cause to be paid to my nieces : Fran- 
ces Martin, Syvella, and Ann Susanna 
Martin, and to each and every of them that 
shall be living at the time of my decease, an 
annuity of one hundred pounds sterling 
during their and each of their natural lives. 
And further that he, the said Denny 
Martin, or he to whom the said sixth part 
of the said Northern Neck shall pass by this 
my Will — shall procure an act of Parliament 
to pass to take upon him the name of Fairfax 
and Coat of Arms. 

And whereas, I, sometime since, gave to 
the aforesaid Thomas Bryan Martin, the 
Plantation or tract of land I purchased of 
John Borden, containing upwards of six 
hundred acres, which gift I hereby confirm 
and ratify to him, his heirs and assigns 
forever. I also give and bequeath to him, 
the said Thomas Bryan Martin, all the stock 
of cattle, sheep, hogs, implements of hus- 
bandry, household goods and furniture, now, 


TKe Fairfax Families 

or which shall be at the time of my decease 
on the farm or plantation, whereon I now 
live, called GREENWAY COURT. 

I give, devise, and bequeath to my afore- 
said three nephews, or such of them as 
shall be alive at the time of my decease, to 
wit: Denny Martin, Thomas Bryan Martin, 
and Philip Martin, all my negro slaves that I 
shall die possessed of; to be equally divided 
between them, share and share alike, and 
whereas I did (in the late Will now cancelled) 
give a considerable pecuniary legacy to my 
brother, the Honourable Robert Fairfax, 
Esquire, which sum of money, at his earnest 
desire and request, I have since paid him. 
Therefore, I now give him only the further 
sum of five hundred pounds sterling, as a 
memorial of my affection and to buy him 

I also give and bequeath to my sister, 
Frances Martin, five hundred pounds sterling 
to buy her mourning. 

All the rest and residue of my estate, both 
real and personal, not hereinbefore disposed 
of, I give, devise, and bequeath to my elder 


THe Fairfax Families 

nephew, the aforesaid Reverend Denny 
Martin, his heirs and assigns forever. 

AND LASTLY, I do nominate and appoint 
my said nephew, Thomas Bryan Martin, and 
Peter Hog and Gabriel Jones, both of the 
County of Augusta in the Colony of Vir- 
ginia, my executors, fully relying on their 
fidelity and integrity to see said trust, here- 
by reposed in them, faithfully and truly 

I hereby give and bequeath to each of the 
said Peter Hog and Gabriel Jones, the sum 
of five hundred pounds current money of 
Virginia, apiece, and do direct that my 
executors, aforesaid, give no other security 
to the Court, where this my Will shall be 
proved, but their own bonds, and that they 
shall not be liable for each other's transac- 
tions, but only for their own; nor be liable 
for any unseen casualties, or unavoidable 
accidents, but only for the willful negligence 
and malfeazance. 

I likewise direct that my estate may not 
be appraised but only inventoried. 

In witness that this is my last Will and 


THe Fairfax Families 

Testament, containing two sides and part 
of a third of a sheet of paper, I have here- 
unto set my hand and affixed my seal, the 
eighth day of November, one thousand seven 
hundred and seventy-seven (November 8th, 

1777). " 

(Fairfax) (Seal) 

Signed, sealed and published by the testator 
the Right Honourable Thomas, Lord Fairfax, 
as and for his last Will and Testament in the 
presence of us, who in his presence and in 
the presence of each other, have hereunto 
set our names as witnesses : 

John Hite 
Angus McDonald 
Richard Rigg 
John Sargant 
Thomas Smyther. 

Republished October the 5th, 1778, by the 
Right Honourable Thomas, Lord Fairfax, in 
the presence of Isaac Lane and Daniel 


THe Fairfax Families 

On November 27th, 1779, Lord Fairfax made 
a codicil to this will, making several specific 
legacies of money, slaves, etc., but as it is a 
long, wordy document, and as it contains 
no thin g whatever affecting his disposition 
of the Northern Neck estate, its publication 
here has been omitted.