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Fairbanks Family of South Dedham

Benjamin Fairbanks was born on July 6, 1695. He was the son of Benjamin Fairbanks and Mary Richards Fairbanks. On February 8, 1721 he married Abigail Ellis. Abigail was born on March 11, 1701 and was the daughter of Joseph Ellis and Mary Graves Ellis.


Benjamin and Abigail had a family of ten children: Benjamin (who died in infancy), Mary, Abigail, Rebecca, Hannah, David, Samuel, Hannah, Olive, and a second Benjamin. Three of their children and their offspring remained in South Dedham:


Son, David Fairbanks (1731-1776)

David Fairbanks was born on December 4, 1731. David was a farmer and lived in the Clapboardtree area of what was then South Dedham. He married Anna Wight on January 9, 1751. Anna Wight was born on March 12, 1735 to Joseph and Miriam Wight. The couple had seven children: Mary, Lemuel, Rebecca, Anna, Sally, David Jr., and Lemuel. David responded to the militia alarms on April 19, 1775 and March 4, 1776 at Dorchester Heights. He died in 1776.


Daughter, Olive Fairbanks Ellis (1742-1806)

Olive Fairbanks was born on September 6, 1742. On February 2, 1764, she married William Ellis, the son of William and Abigail Millett Ellis (lot 152, 153). The couple had eleven children, including three named Richard: Richard, Olive, Richard, Royal, Rebecca, twins Molly and Naby, Richard, William Jr., Nancy, and Willard. Olive Fairbanks Ellis died on September 18, 1806, a few weeks prior to her husband, William Ellis, who passed away on October 29, 1806. Their gravestones have not been located.


Son, Benjamin Fairbanks (1745-1834)

Benjamin Fairbanks was born on March 20, 1745. On April 10, 1767, he married Mary Draper, who was born on January 16, 1744. She was the daughter of Daniel Draper and Rachel Pond Draper. Mary and Benjamin had eleven children: Olive, Benjamin Jr., Nabe, Lemuel, Samuel, Willard, Abigail, Abijah, Mary, Lucy, and Hannah. As was quite common in the 18th century, several of the Fairbanks children died at a young age. Mary Draper Fairbanks died on May 19, 1786; she is interred adjacent to her in-laws. Benjamin Fairbanks died on November 16, 1834; his gravestone has not been located.


The Clapboardtrees neighborhood of Norwood/Westwood as it appears in 2023

Benjamin Fairbanks, Jr. died on December 18, 1757. At the time of his death, it was noted that he was living in the “Clapboardtrees,” the area that later became Westwood and that he was “a constant hearer in this parish,” meaning he was a dedicated churchgoer. His widow, Abigail Ellis Fairbanks, passed away on August 8, 1775. An epidemic of small pox was rampant throughout the area at the time of her death. It is possible that was the cause of her demise.

Benjamin Fairbanks 1695-1757
Abigail Ellis Fairbanks 1701-1775

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