December 1, 2011

Ebenezer Fairchild of North Carolina

The Rev. Ebenezer Fairchild is said to have married Seleh (var.) Durham, a daughter of Mastin and Martha "Patsy" Coffey Durham.  Martha was the daughter of the Rev. James Coffey and his wife Elizabeth Cleveland.  James, of course, was a son of John and Jane Graves Coffey.*

Elizabeth Cleveland is said by Cleveland researchers to be an out-of-wedlock daughter of Edward Coffey and Grace Cleveland, Edward being a brother to John.  Edward is also reported to have married Grace at some later date.  If Grace's birth year of 1716 is close to being accurate, she would have been about 11 years old when Elizabeth was born in 1727.

The undocumented birth years of most of the early descendants of Edward and Ann Powell Coffey are somewhat speculative.  In many cases they are based on known birth dates of subsequent generations and an estimate of years between generations.  Personally, I am not comfortable with this method.

Searches for accurate data on Fairchild have proven futile, except for the following:**
"An old letter:
 Morris Town, August 23d, 1771.
The Church of Jesus Christ in this place holding Believers Baptism Laying on of Hands Eternal Election & Final Perseverance of the Saints in Grace &c
To the Church of Christ in Roan County in North Carolina of the same Faith, or to any one of the sister churches to whom These Presents may Come, Greeting:
Whereas our Brother Ebenezer Fairchild has Been Baptized in a Regular Way and Received by Us in Full Communion who for some time gave Good Satisfaction to this Church, But after faling [sic] into some Sensorious Errors was Laid under Suspension, And is now Removed from us without a Regular Dispensation has Sent us a Letter Dated September 28, 1770, wherein he seems to make very humble Confession of his Sins and Grievance to the Church and Desires Forgiveness for it which, as he Confesses, was Drinking too hard, Loose Living, and also not keeping his Place in the Church which he Acknowledes and Begs our Prayers to God for him that he may be Enabled to Live up to the Profession he has made, which may the Lord help him to do.
Wherefore as his Life and Conversation is now better Known to you that to us, Although by what we Hear from him we do hope he is a Humble Pentitent, Therefore, if you do Receive him, he is Dismissed from us, and the God of all Grace Bless you all.
James Goble
Daniel Walling
John Brookfield
Sam'l Parkhurst
Brother Ebenezer Fairchild we rejoice to hear from you such agreeable News may the Lord grant you Grace and live Agreeable to the profession you have made...Pray for us.
Signed by us at our Meeting Part for All"

*The book, A century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800-1900 by Augusta Phillips Johnson, page 9, reads:  "Reuben, Lewis Russell, and James Coffey were sons of the Rev. James Coffey and Elizabeth Cleveland, sister of Colonel Benjamin Cleveland, who was with Shelby at King's Mountain."  [emphasis mine]

**John Preston Arthur, Author, A History of Watauga County, North Carolina: With Sketches of Prominent Families, Rev. Silas Emmett Lucas Jr., added new material, 3rd ed. (Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc., 1986), Page 95.  It is also in this book that the author provides some insight to Ebenezer's arrival in North Carolina. He wrote that on July 10, 1893, Elizabeth Eagles of New York City, married Nathan Horton. "They went first to the Jersey Settlement, afterwards moving to Holman's Ford, from which place they came with William Miller and his wife, Mary, and their son, David, and Ebenezer Fairchild and family to what is now Cook's Gap, six miles east of the town of Boone." Chapter VIII of this book contains some additional information about Ebenezer, but in my opinion little of genealogical worth.  From this I would believe that Morris Town mentioned in the letter is Morristown in present day Morris Co., NJ.

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