Jonathan Fairbanks from Sowerby, Parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, England and his family migrated to America aboard the Griffon in 1632. They landed at Boston, at a site which is now called Griffons’ Wharf. By 1636, the Fairbanks Homestead was built in Dedham and is now the oldest wooden frame house which is still standing in America. It stayed in the family all this time and was actually inhabited in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Other descendants include 4 presidents, (Adams, Adams, Bush, Bush) and a vice president (Charles Fairbanks was VP to the rough rider Teddy Roosevelt). There are many stories which I will have to tell when I write the novel, after I complete publication of the Fairbanks genealogy my mother, Joan Fairbanks, began more than 30 years ago. She has turned over 30 years of research to me. Her research took her to grave sites and libraries all around Dedham, Dover-Sherborn, Millis, and Medway, and other members of the family added some research in Halifax, England. I am writing much of this from memory after studying her research, which includes copies of original documents and completely stuffs a large suitcase.
My particular ancestry is to Captain George Fairbanks of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery, second eldest son of Jonathan, and commander of the fort at Medway. He was 13 years old when they sailed to America.
The third eldest son of Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks was Jonas Fairbanks, who had problems with his feet. Somehow he was able to gain possession of a pair of “great boots”. This helped his feet very much. However, it got him in a bit of trouble with the governor of the colony. You see, only gentlemen who had attained a certain amount of wealth, 200 pounds, were allowed to wear great boots. In 1652 he was fined for wearing great boots before he was worth LB200, which was contrary to the sumptuary regulation of the government of Massachusetts ordered in 1651. There are differing stories as to whether or not Jonas had to relinquish the great boots or keep them. It was certain that Jonas would not be allowed to wear them, even though they greatly helped his aching feet.
The moral of this short but true story:
Wear Great Boots, because you can! They are worth the extra money, and your feet will appreciate them.