Deacon Thomas Fairbanks, Revolutionary War Patriot
On December 5, 2017, our Fairbanks family lineage was proven as direct descendants of Deacon Thomas Fairbank (1705-1791), a Patriot of the American Revolutionary War. Proving an ancestor and your lineage qualifies you for membership in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). This will be a two part blog. In this blog, I will tell you about our proven Patriot, Deacon Thomas Fairbank of Lancaster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Then in a future blog, I will discuss how our lineage was proven for each generation from the Patriot, Deacon Thomas Fairbank.
Becky Elam, Sharmin Fairbanks McKenny, Connie Lizac, DAR Induction Ceremony
You can already use Deacon Thomas Fairbank as your patriot if you can prove your direct lineage to him. You can use my proven lineage to Thomas Fairbanks as a reference for common generations. Both the NSDAR (National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution) and the NSSAR (National Society of Sons of the American Revolution) recognize my proven line.
What is the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)?
“The DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to preserving American history, securing America’s future through better education and promoting patriotism.” The DAR provides a wide range of services to our military, to the education of our children, and to our nation. They also provide their members with support for personal growth through genealogical studies, creative expression, and others. https://www.dar.org/
Who is our Patriot?
Our Patriot is Deacon Thomas Fairbank (1705-1791). At 69 years of age, he was selected as a representative to the Committees of Correspondence for Lancaster, Worcester County, Massachusetts. Along with Fairbank, Jonathan Wilder and Deacon Josiah Wilder were selected. Later, Fairbank was selected to represent Lancaster, Worcester County, Massachusetts as representative to the Third Provincial Congress. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, Image 212
What are the Committees of Correspondence?
The Committees of Correspondence were the American colonist’s means to maintain communication among the towns and colonies in the years before the
Paul Revere’s Ride, an example of communication among the Colonies and Towns
Revolutionary War. These committees shared information about the actions of the British government. They discussed common grievances. The committees also shared suggestions for a coordinated response to these grievances. This proved to enhance the solidarity among the colonies.
What was The Provincial Congress?
The following information was taken from The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775. It can be found at https://archive.org/stream/journalsofeachpr00massuoft/journalsofeachpr00massuoft_djvu.txt
The Provincial Congress was the first attempt of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to rule themselves. By then, England had recognized the need for stronger control over the colonies. The King dissolved the lower ruling house in the colony made up of colonial representatives. In October of 1774, that group of colonials reconvened itself, without England’s approval, as the First Provincial Congress. The Provincial Congress assumed all powers to rule the province, collect taxes, buy supplies and raise a militia. http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/provincial-congresses
Second Provincial Congress
The Second Provincial Congress was occupied with raising an army. On April 8 1775, it resolved, “That the present dangerous and alarming situation of our public affairs, renders it necessary for this colony to make preparations for their security and defense, by raising and establishing an army…” They sent delegates to Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, to inform them of Massachusetts’ action. They proposed that the other colonies do the same.
On April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought. The Rebels then followed the British back to Boston and started the siege of that city.
In May 1775, Lancaster, Worcester County, Massachusetts elected Dr. William Dunsmoor and Deacon David Wilder to the Third Provincial Congress in Watertown. Some time after that meeting was adjourned, the meeting was reconsidered and Deacon David Wilder was dismissed. Deacon Thomas Fairbank was elected to take Deacon David Wilder’s place as representative to the Third Provincial Congress. Massachusetts Town and Vital Records 1620-1788, Image 212
Third Provincial Congress
The Third Provincial Congress convened at Watertown, Massachusetts on May 30, 1776. It continued in session until July 19, 1776. Honorable Joseph Warren, Esq. was chosen President and Mr Samuel Freeman was chosen secretary. Other well known representative from Boston were Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Deacon Thomas Fairbank and Dr. William Dunsmoor are listed in the Journal of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts: Third Provincial Congress, under representatives of Worcester County, Massachusetts. Page 276
What were Deacon Thomas Fairbank’s Contributions in the Third Provincial Congress?
In the afternoon session of June 11, 1775, Mr. Thomas Fairbank , Mr. Webster and Colonel Sawyer were asked to act as a committee. They were to consider a petition presented before the Third Provincial Congress. Merchants whose supplies were held in Boston, occupied by the British, wanted to exchange them for like products available in Marlborough. page 318
On Saturday, June 17, 1775, the Rebels fought the British at Bunker Hill. Members of Congress pleaded with the President of The Third Provincial Congress, Honorable Joseph Warren, not to go into battle in his newly voted position of second major-general. The members of Congress knew his leadership was needed in Congress. Unfortunately, Warren went to Bunker Hill, not as a leader, but to serve the leaders in the field. He was killed in battle and buried there with many other Rebel soldiers.
Duties related to the Battle of Bunker Hill
Two days later, on Monday, June 19, 1975, Congress resumed. They received two letters from General Artemas Ward, General of the Massachusetts forces. In the first letter, Ward asked for clothes and blankets for the men who lost their provisions at Bunker Hill. He said that they were in a “very suffering condition.” In his opinion, the men would not be fit for duty if they didn’t receive blankets immediately. Ward also asked for a large number of spears and lances for defending the “breast work” (temporary fortification, made of readily available material). He continues by saying, “In the late action, spears might have saved the entrenchment.” page 355
In Ward’s second letter, the same day, he becomes emphatic, “I must earnestly entreat the Congress to furnish the train of artillary, with the company of artificers immediately, as the army suffers greatly in want of them”. That morning, the letters were given to a committee to act upon. Colonel Park, Deacon Thomas Fairbank and Doctor White were appointed to review these issues and report back on what should be done. page 355
By the afternoon of June 19th, President Joseph Warren had been confirmed as killed in battle. A new President, Honorable James Warren, was voted in as President. Joseph and James Warren were not relatives.
The next day, Thomas Fairbank’s committee reported to the Congress in regards to General Ward’s letters. They stated that the committee of supplies should furnish needed blankets and clothes after the soldiers certified their loss in battle. They also stated that up to 1500 spears should be procured and taken immediately to the army in Cambridge. Page 358
Duties for Preparation and Supplies for Battle
About a week later, Captain Brown, Colonel Davis and Mr. Fairbanks, were appointed to a committee to find a safe and convenient place to procure and store gunpowder for the use of the colony. This was an urgent need. The committee was asked to meet immediately. Page 421
General Acts of the Third Provisional Congress
During Deacon Thomas Fairbank’s seat on the Third Provincial Congress, other issues came before the members. The Congress urged the naming of Colonel Washington as the Commander General of the Continental Army. They also discussed the authorization of “armed vessels to cruise the American coasts, protect its trade, and annoy its enemies. The members were sworn to secrecy for many of their discussions, particularly this one.
The Congress also had challenges. It was about time for the farmers to plant Indian corn, the staple for food and survival in the colony. It was difficult to enlist men to an army who needed to provide for their families. Organization at all levels was not stable at this point.
At the time of the Revolutionary War, Thomas Fairbank(s) was past the age of a fighting man. However, he played a significant role in the organization and support of the fight for independence and a new government. He helped assure the means to support the men who fought for this nation. Other family members fought or provided supplies needed for the Revolution. see post at: Fairbanks Prescott Revolutionary War
If you would like to see if we have some corresponding family generations through my application to the Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR). Please join me for my next blog about proving my lineage to Thomas Fairbank. Or contact me from this website on comments. If you would like to be notified when blogs will be posted, please let me know in the comment section. Also visit and “like” my Facebook page at http://Facebook.com/Sharmin Fairbanks McKenny author/speaker