Biography of Sir Thomas Fairfax

Sir Thomas (2) Fairfax, son of Sir Ferdinando Fairfax, was the third Lord Fairfax. He married Ann Vere, daughter of Lord Vere, and died in 1671 without male issue. He was succeeded by Henry Fairfax, of Oglethorpe, who married Frances Barwick, of Tolston, Yorkshire. He was the son of Henry Fairfax, the second son of Sir Thomas (1). and he left children : 1. Thomas, fifth Lord Fairfax, whose eldest son Thomas, sixth Lord Fairfax, died in Virginia without issue in 1781 ; whose second son Henry, fifth Lord Fairfax, died without issue in 1734; whose third son Robert, seventh Lord Fairfax, died without issue in 1793. 2. Henry, second son of fourth Lord Fairfax, married Anne Harrison; children: Henry, died without issue; Thomas, died in infancy; Richard, died in infancy; William, born 1691, emigrated to America and resided at Belvoir. Virginia. died in 1757, and his grandson Thomas, son of Bryan, became the ninth Lord Fairfax; Bryan, died in 1750. 3. Bryan, son of fourth Lord Fairfax, lived in England. The following account of Thomas, third Baron of Cameron, was written by his cousin. Bryan Fairfax:

“Thomas Lord Fairfax was the son of Ferdinando Lord Fairfax, and Mary Sheffield, daughter of the Earl of Musgrave. He was born at Denton in the west of Yorkshire, Anno 1611, January 17th. He went into the Low country Ward 1627, where General Vere, Baron of Tilbury, took special notice of him, whose daughter and co-heir he married Anno 1637, and had issue Mary, Duchess of Bucks, and Elizabeth. He commanded the Yorkshire troop of Red Caps in the first Scotch war. He was knighted in 1640 and was chosen general of the parliament’s army in the unhappy civil war, 1645, and resigned his commission in 1650. He was signally instrumental in the restoration of his Majesty King Charles the 2nd, declaring for General Monk then in Scotland (at his earnest request) against Lambert’s army which pressed hard upon him as he lay at Coldstream, whither my Lord Fairfax sent me his cousin Bryan, with a verbal answer to his letter brought by Sir Thomas Clargis, that he would appear at the head of what forces he could raise in Yorkshire the first of January 1659-60; which he did to so good effect that in three days time, the report of my Lord Fairfax’s opposing them, being spread about Lambert’s army, the Irish Brigade, consisting of 1200 horse deserted him and sent to offer their service to my Lord Fairfax, and several foot regiments at the same time declared for their old General Fairfax, and in five days time Lambert himself with ten men stole away from his own army.

“Then General Monk marched into England and offered the command of the army to my Lord Fairfax, but he refused; only advised him at his house at Appleton, where Monk gave him a visit, to consider that there would be no peace in England until the Nation was settled upon the old foundation of Monarchy and King Charles the Second restored. And in the meantime to call the old secluded members into this Parliament, which had now (1910) got into their places again. The General was more reserved than he needed to have been upon this free discourse of Lord Fairfax, being alone with him in his study, which gave my Lord occasion to suspect him ever after, until he declared himself the spring following that he was of the same mind, having received another letter at London from my Lord Fairfax, delivered by the same hand. Bryan Fairfax. and accompanied with the addresses of all the gentlemen of Yorkshire for a free Parliament and that they would pay no taxes till it met.

“King Charles himself did often acknowledge his services, not only by granting him a general pardon, but upon all occasions speaking kindly of him, and praising his great courage, his modesty and his honesty.

“In the year 1660, he was one of the Deputies of that Parliament or Convention sent to King Charles at the Hague (where Bryan Fairfax went with him) to invite his Majesty over into England. where he was kindly received, his Majesty sending my Lord Gerard to compliment him particularly and to conduct him to the court, where he kissed his Majesty’s hand. After his Majesty’s restoration and coronation, my Lord Fairfax retired from London to his house in New Appleton near York (house which he built a few years before) and where he peaceably spent the remainder of his life, between the pains of the gout and stone, with a courage and patience equal to that he had shown in the unhappy war. The wounds and fatigue of that war brought those diseases upon him whereof he writes a short account, which he calls a Memorial of his actions in the Northern War from the year 1642 to 1644, and something in his own vindication after he was General. The original is in the Denton Library. The last seven years of his life that disease which he was most subject to. the gout, occasioned or increased by the heats and colds and loss of blood, the many wounds he got in the war, this disease took from him the use of his legs, and confined him to a chair, wherein he sat like an old Roman, his manly countenance striking love and reverence into all that beheld him, and yet mixed with so much modesty and meekness, as no figure of a mortal man ever represented more.

“Most of his time did he spend in religious duties, and much of the rest in reading good hooks. which he was qualified to do in all modern languages, as appears by those he hath writ and translated. Several volumes of his own handwriting are now (1910) in the study at Denton, with my brother Henry, Lord Fairfax. He died of a short sickness, a fever, at Appleton. November the 11th, 1671. The last morning of his life he called for a Bible, saying his eyes grew dim and read the 42d Psalm, `As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks,’ etc. And so he quietly yielded up his soul to God in the 60th year of his age. His funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Richard Stratton, wherein he gives him his true character. He was buried at Billrough near York, where a decent monument is erected to his memory. His lady was there buried also.”



Ontario County NY,

Milliken, Charles F. The History of Ontario County, New York, and Its People Lewis Historical Publishing Co., New York. 1911.

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