Biography of Charles Fairfield

Charles Fairfield. One of the most valuable and best cultivated agricultural estates in northern Champaign County is that owned by Charles Fairfield, a modern farm lying in Brown Township, not far from Fisher. For a number of years devoted to general farming, it has recently taken on the added department of blooded stock raising, and under the progressive and able management of its owner is developing into a farm that is extending its reputation beyond the limits of its immediate community. Mr. Fairfield is known in Brown Township as one of the agriculturists who has not allowed his extensive personal interests to blind him to the needs of the locality in which he lives. He has helped his community to grow and has supported good movements. His title as a representative citizen has been secured not only by individual gaining of material things, but by cooperation with other public-spirited men in forwarding Champaign County’s general welfare.

Charles Fairfield was born in Livingston County, Illinois, January 20, 1866, and is the eldest of a family of four sons and two daughters born to John W. and Priscilla (Shirery) Fairfield. All are living and all are residents of Illinois with the exception of one daughter, who lives in Iowa. John W. Fairfield was born in Ohio in 1838, was married in his native State, and in 1865 came to Illinois, settling in Livingston County. He followed agricultural pursuits there until 1871, when he moved to Mahomet Township, Champaign County, where he rounded out his career, his death occurring in 1879. Originally an old line Whig, with the birth of the Republican Party he joined that organization and supported its interests thereafter loyally. Fraternally he was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and he and Mrs. Fairfield were faithful members of the Christian Church. When he first came to Champaign County the church services were held in the Allison schoolhouse, situated two miles west of Fisher. Mr. Fairfield was laid to rest in the Naylor Cemetery. Mrs. Fairfield was born in 1840, also in Ohio, and still survives.

Charles Fairfield was about six years of age when he was brought by his parents to Champaign County, and here his education was secured in the public schools. He was reared to agricultural pursuits, and when he was twenty-six years of age, having less than $500 capital at the time, felt enough confidence in his own abilities to embark upon an independent career. At that time, August 24, 1892, he was united in marriage with Miss Minnie Schenk. To them three children have been born. Roy J., educated in the public schools and at Brown’s Business College, is one of the progressive and energetic young farmers of Champaign County, residing in Brown Township. He married Miss Augusta Heyer, a graduate of the Fisher High School. Floyd A. was educated in the public schools, and is training himself to become a first-class farmer and stockman. Emmet C. is attending the public schools. The children belong to the Christian Church.

Mrs. Fairfield was born in Champaign County, Illinois, and was reared on the farm on which she now resides, her education being secured in the public schools and the high school. For two years prior to her marriage she taught in the county schools. Her birth date was March 23, 1873, and she is a daughter of Anthony and Mary (Frichauf) Schenk, being one of a family of five sons and nine daughters, of whom seven children are living, although besides herself there is only one living in Champaign County, this being her sister Ella, who is the wife of J. A. Fairfield, a contractor and builder of Fisher. Anthony Schenk was born near the Rhine River in Prussia, October 28, 1832, and as a youth displayed remarkable talents in mathematics, being a teacher when he was only twelve years of age. Subsequently he learned the trade of molder, but when he was sixteen years of age came with his parents to the United States, via Havre, France, the sailing vessel on which they made the trip taking eight weeks for the passage. For a short time the family resided near Albany, New York, then going to St. Louis, Missouri, where they lived for five years. Mr. Schenk and his brother John then purchased 400 acres of land in Champaign County, a part of which is now included in the home farm of Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield. Mr. Schenk, who died in.1900, became not only one of the substantial farmers of his community, but also stood high in the esteem of his fellow citizens, who chose him as township treasurer for fourteen years and as supervisor of Brown Township two terms. Although a Democrat, he cast his vote for Benjamin Harrison for president. Always a religious man and a faithful member of the Christian faith, he assisted in the erection of three churches in his locality, and now lies at rest in Mount Hope Cemetery, c where the first monument placed in that burial place marks the grave of one of his brothers. Mrs. Schenk was born near the city of Berlin, Germany, March 16, 1841, and was eight years of age when brought to the United States by her parents in a sailing vessel which took seven weeks to cross the Atlantic Ocean. She was educated in German and English, has always been a devout member of the Christian Church, and now makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield, being one of the best and most affectionately known ladies of the community.

When they started married life Mr. and Mrs. Fairfield were renters. They were energetic and industrious, worked hard to make themselves a home, and eventually came into possession of enough land to give them a start. From that time to the present they have added to their holdings and to their comforts, and now are in possession of 360 acres of finely cultivated and productive land, on which are located substantial buildings and all modern improvements. Their large and commodious residence and three fine barns have been erected and remodeled by them, and other indications of good management and prosperity abound. Mr. Fairfield has just started in to raise blooded Percheron horses and Shorthorn Durham cattle, and has already made a success of his venture. In addition to the 360 acres included in his own farm, he is also operating 160 acres, and is making each acre of land pay in full for the labor expended upon it.

A Republican in politics, Mr. Fairfield cast his first vote for Benjamin Harrison for president. He has been selected as a delegate to the county conventions, and the confidence in which he is held by his fellow townsmen is shown in the fact that he has been township treasurer of schools for seventeen years, school director for seven years and highway commissioner for twenty years. In addition to being deacon and trustee of the First Christian Church, he is chairman of the building committee in charge of the fine new church which will be completed during the autumn of 1917, at a cost of from $15,000 to $20,000. Throughout his career he has allowed his name to be connected only with honorable dealings, and as a result his record as business man, agriculturist and official is free from any manner of blemish.



Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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