Traditionally John, Ruth's immigrant Fairfield ancestor, came from England to New England in 1635, but he doesn't appear in Massachusetts Bay records until 1638. His English origins have yet to be discovered, but one interesting tradition is that the Fairfields were French Huguenots, surname Beauchamp (Fairfield in French), who fled to England following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Fairfield is a rather uncommon surname, a fact easily overlooked because as one of the most common place names, it is so familiar to the ear. Although the first Fairfield residence in America was in Charlestown, now part of Boston, the early Fairfields are more closely identified with Wenham, a town in Essex County that was set off from Salem in 1643. It was discovered by survey, however, that some of Fairfield's Wenham land was actually in Ipswich.
The line of greatest interest to this project follows the given name John for the first five generations. John IV, who about 1718 moved with his mother and stepfather to Wells, York County, Maine, founded the Arundel (Kennebunkport) line of Fairfields. In Maine, most of the Fairfield men were mariners, and a number of them became sailing masters, as sea captains were then called. It was no doubt a dangerous pursuit. Of John V's seven sons, four were lost at sea, two chose other professions, and William, the second son, became a sailing master.
William's son Asa, also a sailing master, began exploring the possibility of moving inland, and in 1832 traveled to Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, where he bought land. Captain Asa returned to Kennebunkport in 1834 for his family. His older brother Oliver and his family moved to Fort Wayne at the same time, as did a younger, single brother Charles. It appears that Sarah, a younger sister, also moved with them, as she married in Fort Wayne a few years later. Asa became a prominent citizen of Fort Wayne. Fairfield Avenue is named for him, and shown in the fourth panel on the north wall of Superior Courtroom No. 2 in the Allen County Courthouse, is a magnificent relief, recently restored, of Captain Asa Fairfield's Indiana, the first boat to pass through Fort Wayne on opening day in 1835 of the Wabash and Erie Canal.
Asa's son James Monroe Fairfield was a farmer in Allen County. He married Jane Thurber, his second cousin, and to them were born either eleven or twelve children. Six daughters and one son, their youngest child James Edmund, survived childhood. Ed, as he was called, worked for the railroad in Fort Wayne. He married Minerva Cordrey who died in 1899 soon after the birth of Ruth, their only child. Ed married second Pearl Garver and had two more daughters born in Fort Wayne. In 1908 he bought land in Brazoria County, Texas, on the Brazos River, and in 1909 sent for his family. In Texas, he and Pearl had three more children.
Ruth married Bill Horn in 1916 and had four children, all born in Brazoria County. Her half-brothers and sisters all married, but only three had children. It appears that the Fairfield surname in Asa's line will soon be extinct, as Asa had four sons, who had one son, who had two sons, who had one son, who has three sons, who have only daughters. Some related families of particular interest are:
Much of the credit for Thurber information found on this site goes to Florence Thurber Gargaro. See Thurber and Dow Family Home Page.
The earliest Thurber believed to be an ancestor was Benjamin who was born in Rhode Island and there married Elizabeth Hallett. Their presumed son Isaac was born in Massachusetts or Vermont. He lived in New Hampshire and Vermont before settling in Quebec, Canada East, where for years he had a store and bought and sold potash. He and his second wife, Drusilla Hicks, had among their children, Benjamin Wilson Hall Thurber who married Mary Persis King whose father Josiah was a brother of Mary King who married William Fairfield.
Benjamin Thurber moved his family to Allen County, Indiana, in the early 1840s. His wife died before 1850, but it is not known whether her death occurred in Canada or Indiana. Their daughter, Jane Elizabeth, married James Monroe Fairfield, they having in common great-grandparents, David King and Elizabeth Gray. Jane was widowed in 1895 and died in 1915 at the home of her son Ed in Brazoria County, Texas, where she lived out her last years. Her body was returned to Fort Wayne for burial. Some related families of particular interest are:
Ruth Fairfield's grandfather, Francis Cordrey, left a handwritten account of the Cordrey family through his great-grandfather Thomas. Referred to in this project as Thomas Sr., he was more likely Thomas II, son of Thomas and Ester Davis Cordrey of Delaware. Our Cordreys moved from Delaware to Allegany County, Maryland, thence to Tuscarawas County, Ohio, in 1810. Francis, grandson of Nathan and Dorcas (Ayres) Cordrey, and son of Moses Ayres and Hannah (Black) Cordrey, was born and grew up in Tuscarawas County. As a member of Company E, 126th OVI, he participated in many of the major Civil War battles in Virginia, and was wounded in the Battle of Monocacy in 1864. Following the War he married Christeann Gramlich of Hardin County, Ohio. They lived there and in Tuscarawas County before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1871. Francis and Christeann had four children, three of whom survived. The oldest, John Ayres, never married. Hannah married and had two daughters, one of whom married but had no children. Catharine Minerva, called Minerva or Min, married James Edmund Fairfield in Fort Wayne. Minerva died of complications several weeks after the birth of Ruth, her only child. Some ancestral families are:
The Gramlichs lived for generations in or near
Jagsthausen, a small town in the northern part of the Black
Forest on the north side of the Jagst River in what is now the
German state of Baden-Württemberg. Other than names and a
few dates, little information has been found on the family prior
to Johann Friederich who, with his wife Friederike (Foit), baby
daughter Carolina, and other family members, emigrated to America
in 1838 on the ship Everhard out of Bremen. The family
settled in Cessna township, Hardin County, Ohio, and there are
descendants who live in that county today. John and Fredrika, as
they came to be known, had eleven more children including five
sons who died young. Their first child born in America was
Christiana Catharina, called
Christeann, who married Francis Cordrey in Hardin County in 1865.
Francis and Christeann had four children including Catharine
Minerva who married James Edmund Fairfield and had Ruth. Some
ancestral families are: