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John B. Fairbank (AC 1867) Family Papers, 1817-1922
1 archives box (0.5 linear ft.)

Soldier, lawyer. Misc documents relating to John Fairbank's life and career, and those of his parents, sisters, and other members of his family.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the John B. Fairbank (AC 1867) Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the John B. Fairbank (AC 1867) Family Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Biographical Note

John B. Fairbank (1840-1908) was born in Oakham, Massachusetts, where his parents, James C. Fairbank and Lurana (Robinson) Fairbank owned a farm. He enrolled in Amherst College in 1861 but left in 1862 to fight in the Civil War, serving in the 36th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and attaining the rank of Brevet Colonel before returning to college in 1865. Fairbank graduated from Amherst College in 1867 and went on the study law at Columbia. He was admitted to the bar in 1869 and practiced law in New York, Kansas, Massachusetts, and South Dakota. He settled in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1881. He was elected to the legislature in Massachusetts (1878-79) and South Dakota (1896). Fairbank died on April 29, 1908 in Portland, South Dakota.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The papers document John B. Fairbank's activities as a soldier during the Civil War and as a lawyer in Deadwood, South Dakota, and also the social and financial activities of several family members (his sisters, particularly Susan F. Fairbank and Maria T. F. Rugg, his parents, Lurana Robinson Fairbank and James C. Fairbank, and others), spanning a period of slightly more than a century. The box includes photocopies of oversize documents and cross-references to the originals, which are stored separately.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the John B. Fairbank (AC 1867) Family Papers for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the John B. Fairbank (AC 1867) Family Papers should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in John B. Fairbank Family Papers [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection

The collection was acquired by purchase in April 2003 from Charles Apfelbaum, Rare Manuscripts and Archives, Watchung, New Jersey.

Processing Information
Processed:2003 Apr
By:Christine Fernsebner Eslao, Intern, Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Finding Aid:2003 Apr
Prepared by:Christine Fernsebner Eslao, Intern, Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science
Edited by:Daria D'Arienzo, Head of Archives and Special Collections
Peter A. Nelson, Assistant Archivist

Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form:
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Contents List
1867), 1864-1909

Series 1, JOHN B. FAIRBANK (AC 1867) 1864-1909, includes materials documenting his service in the Civil War, his life in South Dakota, and his death in 1908. It is organized into four sub-series, with items are arranged chronologically within each subseries:

  • A. Civil War Correspondence, 1864-1865: Outgoing - contains official and personal letters written while serving in the Union army.
  • B. Civil War Correspondence, 1865: Incoming - contains correspondence from the War Department.
  • C. South Dakota Correspondence, 1882-1902: Outgoing - contains letters written after Fairbank settled in South Dakota.
  • D. Death, 1908-1909 - contains printed obituaries, an article by Fairbank about his hometown [reprinted after his death?], and a resolution by the Bar Association of Lawrence County on the occasion of his death.
Sub-series A: Civil War Correspondence
1864-1865: Outgoing

ALS, to his sister Maria [Fairbank, later Maria T.F. Rugg] and his mother [Lurana Robinson Fairbank], describing the movements of the Army of the Potomac.
186[?] Oct 24

Box 1: folder 1
ALS, to his sister Sarah, describing the improvement of his wound.
1864 Jan 23

Box 1: folder 2
ALS, to his sister, written "near Alexandria Va.," describing the march to the front.
1864 Mar 26

Box 1: folder 3
AL (unsigned, page missing), to his [unspecified] sister, describing recent battles.
1864 Sep 5

Box 1: folder 4
ALS, to his sister [Maria?], mentioning deserters and Lincoln's re-election.
1864 Oct 13

Box 1: folder 5
AL (unsigned copy), to the President of the United States, on behalf of an officer in his regiment, Capt. Henry S. Burrage, dismissed for having exchanged newspapers with Confederates.
1864 Nov 10

Box 1: folder 6
AL (unsigned, page missing), to his [unspecified] sister, discussing Capt. Burrage, and Fairbank's loneliness.
1864 Nov 22

Box 1: folder 7
ALS, to his sister Maria, mentioning a court martial, and the draft.
1864 Dec 21

Box 1: folder 8
ALS, to his mother, discussing his request to be relieved from participation in the court martial, and "negroes" serving in the Union army.
1865 Jan 21

Box 1: folder 9
ALS, to his sister, written "near Petersburg Va.," mentioning the court martial and the nearby forts nicknamed "Fort Heaven" and "Fort Hell."
1865 Feb 9

Box 1: folder 10
ALS, to his sister [Maria?], continuing his discussion of the court martial and of Capt. Burrage.
1865 Feb 12

Box 1: folder 11
ALS, to his sister, listing recent deaths.
1865 Apr 6

Box 1: folder 12
Sub-series B: Civil War Correspondence,
1865: Incoming

Stanton, Edwin. Printed letter (stamped signature), from Secretary of War, promoting Fairbank to Major of Volunteers.
1865 Dec 2

Box 1: folder 13
Sub-series C: South Dakota Correspondence,

ALS, to his sister, discussing lease of farm.
1882 Nov 20

Box 1: folder 14
ALS, to his sister, discussing financial matters.
1883 Apr 23

Box 1: folder 15
ALS, to his sister, inquiring about relatives and describing Deadwood, South Dakota, as a place unsuitable for young people.
1887 Jun 6

Box 1: folder 16
ALS, to his sister, about local agricultural practices.
1898 Mar 12

Box 1: folder 17
ALS, to his sister, describing the climate and economy of South Dakota, and mentioning encounters with President Roosevelt.
1902 Jan 24

Box 1: folder 18
Sub-series D: Death

Reprints of obituary and other articles about death of John B. Fairbank from the April 29, 1908 edition of the Deadwood Daily Pioneer Times. Three copies, two of them with hand-corrected birthdate.
1908 Apr

Box 1: folder 19
Obituary. Newspaper clipping: "Answered The Call: Well Known Black Hills Man Found Dead in His Home at Portland Wednesday."
[1908 Apr]

Box 1: folder 20
Obituary. Newspaper clipping: "Major Fairbanks Answers The Call."
[1908 Apr 30]

Box 1: folder 21
Clipping [from Deadwood Daily Pioneer Times]: "Major Fairbanks Laid At Rest," describing funeral services.
[1908] May

Box 1: folder 22
"John Barnard Fairbank," clipping [from Deadwood Daily Pioneer Times] by James A. George
1908 May 1

Box 1: folder 23
Bar Association of Lawrence County. Original and copy of typed preamble and resolutions on the death of John B. Fairbank.
[1908 May?]

Box 1: folder 24
John B. Fairbank. Newspaper clipping, "Oakham," originally published in 1879, [reprinted after death of author.]

Box 1: folder 25
Robinson, Laura M. ANS, receipt from John B. Fairbank Estate.
1909 Feb 7

Box 1: folder 26

Series 2, FAMILY CORRESPONDENCE, 1817-1920, documents the personal interactions and social activities of Fairbank family members. It is organized into six sub-series, by family member. Items within sub-series are arranged chronologically.

  • A. Lurana Robinson Fairbank: Incoming Correspondence, 1817-1847
  • B. Susan F. Fairbank: Outgoing Correspondence, 1912-1913
  • C. Susan F. Fairbank: Incoming Correspondence, 1849-1914
  • D. Maria T. F. Rugg: Incoming Correspondence, 1920
  • E. Other Family Correspondence, 1869-1898 includes unidentified correspondence, transcribed poems, unsigned greeting cards, and other items that could not be identified as pertaining to a specific member of the Fairbank family.
Sub-series A: Lurana Robinson Fairbank: Incoming Correspondence

AN (unsigned). Three report cards describing school attendance, performance.
1817 Aug-Oct

Box 1: folder 27
Lab[___?], S.F. ALS, to her sister Lurana [Robinson Fairbank].
1847 Jan 5

Box 1: folder 28
Sub-series B: Susan F. Fairbank: Outgoing Correspondence

ALS, to Mr. Wright, concerning a sword, and thanking him for a book.
1912 Jan 26

Box 1: folder 29
ALS, to Mr. Wright. Mentions Fairbank's Civil War letters.
1912 Feb 2

Box 1: folder 30
ALS, to Mr. Wright. Mentions Mellen in South Africa and Fairbank's Kansas letters.
1913 Apr 4

Box 1: folder 31
Sub-series C: Susan F. Fairbank: Incoming Correspondence

Fragment of envelope addressed to Susan F. Fairbank, sent from Deadwood, South Dakota, [possibly by John B. Fairbank.]
18[??] Nov 2[4?]

Box 1: folder 32
Young, Maria. ALS, to Susan F. Fairbank. Christmas letter from Lurana Fairbank's roommate to Lurana Fairbank's sister.
[18]49 Dec 25

Box 1: folder 33
Gould, J.W. ALS, to [Susan F.] Fairbank and [Maria T.F.] Rugg, about their "calamity" due to two recent fires on their Oakham property.
1908 Jul 20

Box 1: folder 34
Bronsdon, Allen A. ALS, to [Susan F.] Fairbank, about loss by fire.
1908 Jul 21

Box 1: folder 35
Martin, Eben W., and Norman T. Mason. TL (stamped signature), concerning property ownership and mining operations.
1914 Jun 27

Box 1: folder 36
Sub-series D: Maria T.F. Rugg: Incoming Correspondence

Metal plate engraved with her name.

Box 1: folder 37
Coffin, Rev. George H. TLS, to [Maria] T.F. Rugg, concerning her donations to the Pilgrim Memorial Fund and fundraising activities in South Dakota. Unsigned poem handwritten on reverse.
1920 Mar 13

Box 1: folder 38
Sub-series E: Other Family Correspondence

Poems transcribed by family. Two handwritten poems: a "favorite poem, author unknown," and an untitled poem by Mrs. E.H.G. Cleaveland; and two typed poems: "To Build The Temple" by Thomas D. Goodell, and "The World Is Mine" by Dot Aren, all unsigned.

Box 1: folder 39
Printed card, unsigned. "To Mother On Mother's Day."

Box 1: folder 40
Burdsall, Luella. Printed Christmas card, signed.

Box 1: folder 41
Wheeler, Hetty Shepard, and Mary Phelps [ ? ]. Printed Christmas card, signed.

Box 1: folder 42
[Robinson?], Laura [M.?] ALS, to her sister.

Box 1: folder 43
K.M., Emily. ALS (copy, with handwritten additions), to various recipients, including Laura [M. Robinson?] and Fairbank.
[1???] Jun 28

Box 1: folder 44
Printed cards, unsigned. Three commencement invitations, two for Columbia College Law School, one for University of the City of New York.
[1869] May-Jun

Box 1: folder 45
Printed booklet. Unsigned poem "To Aunt Catharine on her Eightieth Birthday."

Box 1: folder 46
AN (unsigned). Valentine's Day poem.
1898 Feb. 14

Box 1: folder 47

Series 3, FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1832-1922, is organized into five sub-series, by family member. Each sub-series is arranged chronologically by earliest date appearing on each document.

  • A. James C. Fairbank, 1833-1876 contains records of property ownership and financial transactions of Fairbank's father.
  • B. James P. Fairbank, 1922, contains one sheet of transactions by a relative.
  • C. John B. and Hannah M. Fairbank, 1832, contains a deed for land sold by Fairbank's grandparents.
  • D. Susan F. Fairbank, 1913-1916, contains records of transactions, the appraisal of her estate, and receipts for shares of her estate.
  • E. Maria T.F. Rugg, 1914, contains one record of a debt owed to her.
Sub-series A: James C. Fairbank,

MS NS, record of debts and payments to Willis Smith, attested by R. Putnam.
1833 Dec 3

Box 1: folder 48
MS N (signature crossed out), record of debt and payments to Josiah [Gleason?], attested by James Allen.
1837 Apr 1

Box 1: folder 49
MS NS, record of debts and payments to Daniel F. Frost, attested by James Allen.
1837 Nov 6

Box 1: folder 50
Record of property boundaries, attested by James Allen.
1839 Sep 14

Box 1: folder 51
MS N (signature torn off), record of debt and payments to Susan M. Robinson, attested by James Allen.
1841 Dec 9

Box 1: folder 52
MS Doc., deed of sale of farm property to Charles Miles, witnessed by James Allen.
1843 Mar 15

Box 1: folder 53
MS N (signature torn off), record of debt and payments to Sewall & Day, attested by James Allen.
1847 Apr 2

Box 1: folder 54
Fairbank, James C. and Lurana [Robinson] Fairbank. MS Doc., mortgage of farm in Oakham, Massachusetts, to Sewall & Day, witnessed by Hannah P. Allen and James Allen.
1847 Apr 2

Box 1: folder 55
Smith, Willis. MS Doc. (unsigned copy) related to Oakham farm.
1876 Sep

Box 1: folder 56
Sub-series B: James P. Fairbank,

MS.N., financial record, including income from estate of Susan F. Fairbank and amounts borrowed from Maria T.F. Rugg.
1922 Jan 16

Box 1: folder 57
Sub-series C: John B. and Hannah M. Fairbank,

MS Doc., deed transferring farm in Oakham, Massachusetts, to Ephraim Fairbank, witnessed by Avery Clark, Charles Adams [Jr.?], and James Allen. grandparents of John B. Fairbank (AC 1867). (John B. and Hannah M. Fairbank are the grandparents of John B. Fairbank.)

Box 1: folder 58
Sub-series D: Susan F. Fairbank,

Angur, Addison C. ANS, record of debt and payments.
1913 Dec 8

Box 1: folder 59
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Probate Court. MS Doc., appraisal of estate.
1915 Sept 3

Box 1: folder 60
TNS, receipts for shares of estate of Susan F. Fairbank, administered by Maria T.F. Rugg, signed by Laura M. Robinson, Margaret McLeod, Grace M. Rood, and Sarah C. Batchellor.
1916 Oct 4

Box 1: folder 61
Sub-series E: Maria T.F. Rugg,

Angur, Addison C. ANS, promissory note recording debt to Maria T.F. Rugg.
1914 Jan 1

Box 1: folder 62
Series 4: DEATHS

Series 4, DEATHS, includes obituaries and other material written upon the deaths of family members and friends, arranged alphabetically by individual.

Obituary. Newspaper clipping: "Ezra D. Batchellor: The End of a Long and Honorable Life on Tuesday," about husband of Sarah C. Batchellor, the sister of John B. Fairbank (AC 1867).

Box 1: folder 63
Obituary. Newspaper clipping: "A True Woman: Death of Mrs. Rev. John B. Fairbank," about the aunt of John B. Fairbank (AC 1867).
[18??] Jun 16

Box 1: folder 64
R. [Rugg?], G.M. Obituary newspaper clipping: "Susan F. Fairbank"

Box 1: folder 65
Rood, Grace M. [Eulogy?] about Susan F. Fairbank.

Box 1: folder 66
Warner, W.R. Newspaper clipping: "Obituary: Capt. William B. Kimball" of Oakham, Massachusetts.

Box 1: folder 67

Series 5, CLIPPINGS, includes newspaper articles and printed images saved by family members.

"Vestiges of an Older America. Centre and North Churches, New Haven, Conn." (photograph with caption).

Box 1: folder 68
Three printed illustrations depicting cabins and mountains.

Box 1: folder 69
Hunt, Mabel. "Hunt 'N' Tell," column about Hazel Barbour, actress.

Box 1: folder 70
Fragment of a column about Boston and New Haven, marked "please save."

Box 1: folder 71

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Amherst College--Students.
  • Fairbank family.
  • Fairbank, John B., 1840-1908.
  • Soldiers--United States--Correspondence.
  • South Dakota--History--Sources.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives.

  • Amherst College. Class of 1867. Fairbank.
  • Fairbank, James C.
  • Fairbank, Lurana Robinson.
  • Fairbank, Susan F.
  • Rugg, Maria T. F.

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