This main page concentrates on just a few Fairlambs of interest
SOME FAIRLAMB INDIVIDUALS 1700-1900
The First Settler -
Nicholas Fairlamb 1678-1722
Fairlamb came to America in the summer of 1700. He was around 21/22
years old, carrying a certificate from authorities in Stockton,
Until recently it was supposed that Nicholas was born
in Stockton, but there is no direct evidence to suggest it, and
indeed the the certificate itself only refers to his having lived
in Stockton since the time 'of his apprenticeship'. Boys were generally
apprenticed between the ages of 7 and 14.
Family Origins in Northern England
click to enlarge
Recent evidence found on the web, and corroborated
somewhat by Ethel through information from Walter Borg, suggests
Nicholas may have come from Hexham in Northumberland. A Nicholas
Fairlamb married Mariam Leonard there, on July 20th 1677. They had
a son, also Nicholas, who was baptised on November 19th 1679.
This child would have been 21 in 1700, which is when
Nicholas Fairlamb arrived in America. There may also be a clue to
his having been apprenticed in Stockton - his mother's family (the
Leonards) seem to have travelled around a fair deal in Tynedale,
Allendale, Weardale and Teesdale, including Stockton itself. Such
movement, even within an area of 50 miles, was unusual in those
days. Perhaps he was apprenticed to a close family relative.
The Fairlambs are known to have originated in Cumberland,
in north-western England and gradually moved eastwards in the 16th
and 17th centuries. See the location
map for more detail. More research needs to be done, but there
also seems to be a link between the Fairlambs of Hexham (and thus
the USA) and the Fairlambs
of Allendale. A Samuel Fairlamb, son of Nicholas Fairlamb of
Bishopside, Allendale, married a Hexham girl in 1658. Hexham is
the main market town in the area, 10 miles east of Allendale. Nicholas
(b.1679) is listed as the grandson of that Samuel on the Joiner
List on the internet.
of Bishopside in Eastalandaile (Allendale)
son Samuel married
Mary Bee 1658, in Hexham
had son Nicholas
who married Mariam Leonard 1677, in Hexham
had son Nicholas,
born 1679, who married Catherine Crosby, in Chester PA
had son Samuel
Closer examination of the Hexham Parish Registers
may confirm this.
A Bustling Port - Stockton-on-Tees
was a small market town from 1310. Being on the River Tees and with
access to the North Sea, it grew into a busy little port exporting
wool and importing wine. In 1642 came civil war and in 1644-46 Stockton
was occupied by the Scottish army.
By the late 17th century, at the time of Nicholas
Fairlamb's apprenticeship, Stockton began to flourish. The shipbuilding
industry prospered, together with the sailmaking and ropemaking
industries. The port itself also flourished. Stockton began to take
over Yarm's role as the main port on the River Tees and directed
wine and raisins, coal, glass and household goods along the east
coast of England. International routes, principally supporting Baltic
trade, also developed.
The dynamic bustling environment was ideal for expanding
a young man's horizons and view of the world. Through the comings
and goings at Stockton, Nicholas would have been exposed to the
opportunities available to him in London, Northern Germany, and
the exciting new world of America.
Sailing to America
Whatever his orgins, Nicholas Fairlamb first settled
in Philadelphia, where the Minutes of the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting,
dated 9mo. 29, 1700, record that:
"Nicholas Fairlamb's certificate from Stockton in the
Bishoprick of Durham was read and approved. Nicholas Fairlamb
Hath lived and belonged to our meeting the time of his apprenticeship
and since he hath been loose from his Mr. being seaven years hath
behaved himselfe orderly and honestly."
By June 1703 he had proposed marriage to Katherine
Crosby of Middletown, Pennsylvania. The minutes of the Philadelphia
Monthly Meeting, dated 6/27/1703 state: "Nicholas Fairlamb
intimating his Intention of marriage with a young woman in Chester
County , desired a Certificate from hence to the monthly
meeting where she belongs."
Once Nicholas had moved to Middletown, the marriage
between Nicholas and Katharine was proposed in the Chester Monthly
Meeting for the second time on 8mo. 25, 1703 and must have taken
place soon after. Katharine's father Richard had come from London
or Sussex as early as 1682. Part of his lands were located in Middletown,
but he resided near Chester in Ridley Township.
Life in Chester
Nicholas and Katharine lived in Chester, where they raised 6 children.
For several years he was clerk of the Monthly Meeting and she was
one of the overseers.
Nicholas served also as a member of the Assembly from
Chester County from 1704 to 1706 and from 1711 to 1714. He became
Justice of the Peace in Chester County, May 30, 1715; Associate
Judge of the Court in 1715; and Sheriff of the county 1717 to 1719.
In early times the office of sheriff was not so profitable as later,
and as a sort of perquisite, the sheriff was allowed to keep tavern.
Hence, we find Nicholas Fairlamb, a newly elected sheriff, petitioning
to the court to be recommended for a license. In later times the
tavern was kept in the dwelling apartment of the prison. From time
to time the Fairlamb named crops up in documents of the time.
On March 1, 1711 Richard Crosby of Ridley, Yeoman,
and his wife Eleanor, and Nicholas Fairlamb of Chester, merchant
and his wife Katharine, conveyed to William Pennell 270 acres of
land in Middletown, which Richard had given, but not conveyed to
Nicholas and his wife. On March 25 of the following year Caleb Pusey
and Henry Worley conveyed to Nicholas Fairlamb, John Sharpless,
John Smith, Thomas Vernon, James Lownes and Joseph Vernon a lot
of 103 perches (a perch is 16 1/2 feet) by 1-4 feet in Chester for
the use of the Meeting.
The will of Nicholas Fairlamb was probated October
22, 1722 (Chester County Wills). His wife Katharine was administrator.
No record of where he is buried has yet been found.
Colonial Civic Service
- John Fairlamb 1713-1766
Fairlamb was the second son of Nicholas and Katherine. He lived
most of his life in Middletown,Chester County (later Delaware Co),
Pa. In 1752 he served as Commissioner of Chester County his duties
similar to justices, grand jury and assessors. Commissioners were
required to issue precepts to the constable, requiring them to make
returns to the assessors of the names and estates of the inhabitants
and the assessors were required to lay the rates herein.
From 1755-58 and again from 1762-63, he served as
Sheriff. In 1761 and 1764 he was the Justice of the Peace. He was
also one of about eight from Chester County serving as a member
of the assembly in 1764 and 1765. In Chester County Rates of 1765,
he was listed as owning 350 acres, six horses, ten cattle and fifteen
As assessor, John Fairlamb signed the following document:
"We the Subscribers and Each of us do Solemnly, Sincerely
and Truly, Declare and Affirm that we will, Well and Truly Cause
the County Debts to be speedily Adjusted and the Rates and Sums
of Money by Virtue of the Said Acts Imposed, to be duly and Equally
assessed and Laid According to the best of our Skill and Knowledge
and herein we will Spare no person for favour or affection Nor
Grieve any for hatred or Ill will, As Witness our Hands the Twenty-Seventh
day of November, Anno Dom. 1750."
After John Fairlamb's death in 1766, his widow married
Robert Pennell, son of William amd Mary Pennell, 11-9-1769. Susanna
died in 1793. John was buried in Friend's Cemetery, Edgmont Avenue,
Chester, Del. Co. Pa. The graves were later moved to Friends Cemetery,
24th & Providence in Chester in a mass grave, no markers remaining,
to make room for stores. It became a wasteland, not only to disturb
the graves, but because in moving them the list of graves was lost.
The War of Independence
- Nicholas II Fairlamb 1743-1816
son of John Fairlamb, Nicholas lived his whole life in Chester County.
In 1769 a group interested in establishing a library met and formed
themselves into a company. The library opened in 1770 with Nicholas
as one of the five directors. That same year according to the Chester
County Rates, Nicholas owned 200 acres, 3 horses, 4 cattle and 11
At a meeting held December 20,1774 at the Court House
in Chester County, Nicholas and his brother Samuel Fairlamb were
selected to be on a committee of sixty-nine members "to
carry into execution the association of the Continental Congress".
(They were authorized to) "continue until one month after the
adjournment of the next Continental Congress and to transmit such
business and to enter into such associates as to them might appear
On June 30th 1775, the assembly appointed a committee
of safety, including five members from Chester County. Benjamin
Franklin was made President. In October the committee was reorganized,
and Nicholas Fairlamb was added to their number. "There
were a considerable number of Quakers who openly advocated a resort
to arms." Even within the limits of this little county,
one hundred and ten men were disowned by the society for having
entered the service of their county."
Nicholas and Samuel were complained about for joining
combatants and resisting Civil Government. Both these actions were
inconsistent with the principles of the meeting, and were disowned
in 1775, as was their brother Frederick Fairlamb. On May 17, 1777
Nicholas Fairlamb was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel in the Sixth
Battalion of the Chester County Militia. He served on Anthony Wayne's
staff and assisted in the capture of Stoney Point; in his Quaker
garb he rode through British line to Harrisburg and received arms
and association, which he covered with hay and took back to his
company in Chester.
After the war, Nicholas served as Sheriff from 1789
to 1796, and in 1798 he was made Justice of the Peace for Middletown.
Civil Engineer - Jonas
Preston Fairlamb 1785-1860
only son of Nicholas II Fairlamb, Jonas Preston became one of the
most widely known civil engineers of his day and was regarded as
a man of unusual capacity in his profession.
"J. P. Fairlamb made the first surveys for the Philadelphia,
Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Company. He also superintended
the first establishment of the waterworks in Wilmington and though
many predicted his effort would result in failure, nothing daunted,
he, confident in his own conclusion, went energetically to work
and completed the enterprise with perfect success. He was a man
of most positive convictions and could not be moved from his purpose
by arguments whose force and correctness did not commend themselves
to his discernment. He died in 1860 in full communion of St. Andrew's
Episcopal Church, lamented by his friends and respected by the
- (J. Thomas Scharf) "The History of Delaware, 1609-1888,
Vol I (2), pp426-7
Criminal Lawyer - Jonas Preston
II Fairlamb 1812-1851
of JP Fairlamb, he was an attorney at the Law in Philadelphia's
North Ward, and was a very successful criminal lawyer. He also served
in the U.S. Army as Colonel of the First Regiment of Volunteer Infantry
of the First Brigade. In the first page of the New York Times, October
5th,1852, appears the following item under the headline:
"Shooting in Philadelphia.- Oct. 4,
1852, Colonel Fairlamb, a member of the bar was shot this morning
in front of the Criminal Court, by Ephrain Green, an old man whom
Fairlamb was counsel in a suit several months ago. Green fired three
balls from a revolver without effect, when he was arrested, and
after a hearing before the court, was committed for trial."
Jonas Prestion II later died of pleurisy at his home
on Summer Street.
Composer - James Remington
A composer and organist, he was born in Philadelphia, Pa., the son
of Col. Jonas Preston Fairlamb and his wife, Hannah Kennedy. He
was playing in church at the age of fourteen, and before he was
twenty had held the position of organist and choirmaster in several
In 1858 he went to Europe, where, at the Paris Conservatory,
he studied piano with Prudent and Marmontel, and voice with Masset.
From Paris he passed to Florence and thence to Zürich with
President Lincoln's appointment as United States consul to Switzerland.
While in Stuttgart, King Karl of Würtemberg awarded him the
"Gold Medal for Arts and Sciences" in recognition of his
Te Deum for double chorus and orchestra, dedicated to that monarch.
In 1865 Fairlamb returned to the United States, and
established himself in Washington, D. C., where he was active until
1872, as teacher and composer, and with an amateur opera company
he himself had organized, produced his grand opera Valérie.
A prolific composer, Fairlamb published in all some
two hundred compositions, including more than fifty choral works,
sacred and secular, and over a hundred songs. Rupert Hughes has
conveniently classified him among "The Colonists," i.e.,
the musical writers belonging to the specific city ganglia or colonies
which he regards as a vital phase of American musical development.
He was.. an excellent example of the talented, foreign-trained
American musician whose effort aided in establishing higher standards
of taste and appreciation in his native land. There can be no
question that his work as a composer was qualitative, and that
many of his songs, in particular, have spontaneity and charm.
He was one of the founders of the American Guild of Organists,
and was identified with the first American productions of Sir
Arthur Sullivan's Pinafore and The Sorcerer."
- Frederick Herman Martens, Dictionary of American Biography
Base Set. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928-1936