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The Fairbanks of Norwood

James M. Fairbanks (1809-1882)

Roxanna Gay Fairbanks (1811-1899)

James M. Fairbanks was the son of Abijah and Lavania Fairbanks and was born in 1809. He married Roxanna Gay (1811-1899) of Connecticut on August 8, 1830 in Dedham.

The couple had five children: James G., Lucy Ann, Emily, Julia, Sarah.

Fairbanks was a farmer who built a farmhouse in the late 1840s on land that had been deeded to him by his grandfather, Benjamin Fairbanks, of Dedham. His farm and home were located along today’s Prospect Street. When the town of Norwood was founded, James Fairbanks became one of the first “field drivers,” an elected officer who was to prevent wandering cattle or other stray animals from doing damage by driving them to the town pound where they would be held until their owners retrieved them.

Fairbanks home ca. 2019

Fairbanks home ca. 1860

James and Roxanna’s only son, James Gardner Fairbanks, was a cabinet maker and died at the age of 28 on August 23, 1861, of complications from tuberculosis. He is buried with his parents at Old Parish Cemetery as is their daughter, Lucy, who died of chronic bronchitis at the age of 66 on November 8, 1897.

James M. Fairbanks died on January 12, 1882 of paralysis. His widow, Roxanna, died of heart disease on January 5, 1899 at the age of 88.


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