Archibald Fairbairn1

(1822 - after 1860)
FatherJames Fairbairn1 (cir. Dec 1794 - bet. 1851 - 1854)
MotherJoan Forsyth1 (say 1795 - cir. 1834)
Relationship1st cousin 4 times removed of Lorna Henderson

BMDB data

     Archibald Fairbairn was born in 1822 Jedburgh, ROX, SCT, (1841 says not SEL, 1860 says SEL, family say Jedburgh, not obvious on the IGI or the OPRs, but as the family appear to have moved to Selkirk after being in Jedburgh, I'll assume Jedburgh is the more accurate place.)1,2,3
     Archibald Fairbairn married Catharine Kemps in 1845 Bridgeport, Fairfield Co., CT, USA.4,5,6
     Archibald Fairbairn died aft. 1860 Cuba.2,4


     Archibald Fairbairn immigrated bet. 1841 - 1845 to CT, USA.7,5

Census/Where lived/Occupations

     Archibald Fairbairn appeared on the census of 1841 Sloethorn Bank, Selkirk Burgh, SEL, SCT, in the household of James Fairbairn and is assumed to be a son.1,8
     Archibald Fairchild appeared on the census of 2 Oct 1850 Dist 13, Chatham Co., GA, USA, with Catharine Fairchild, enumerated as FAIRCHILD: Archibald 28 engineer b SCT ; James L 4, Mary C 3 both b Conn Catharine 24 b Ireland (why positioned after the children? I'm still assuming she's the wife) All were enumerated in same schedule as James Camps, engineer b Ireland and Mary I 19 b Conn and dtr, who are probably some relation of Catharine's.5 Archibald Fairbairn was an engineer on the railroad aft. 1852 GA, USA.7
     Archibald Fairchild appeared on the census of 18 Jun 1860 in the Savannah Dist, Chatham Co., GA, USA, with Catharine Fairchild, enumerated as FAIRCHILD: Archibald 38 engineer b Selkirk, SCT; Catharine 35 b Londonderry, Ireland; James 14 3/12, Mary 12 6/12 both b Tramble Co, Conn; Also Martha Gaston, 47 (black) domestic, blind, b Chatham Co, Geo.4

All the other info

     Archibald Fairchild is remembered by Grandma Viele "came to America before 1852, settled in Georgia and was an engineer on the railroad. He left Georgia and went to Cuba to keep from being drafted into the Confederate Army. He was murdered in Cuba. Supposedly for his fine jewelry long catch chain of gold and valuable jewelry worn in those days."7 "James Lawless left Ireland in the early 1800's for a better place--America. We don't know where he came into the country but he married a woman from Louisiana named Anne, who in 1844 gave birth to Andrew William Lawless. The place was Chatham County, Georgia.
     Savannah was in Chatham County and there was a small island there called Liberty Island, now renamed. When we first look in on this scene we see 16-yr. old Andrew Lawless living there with his friend David Kemps, 21. They were mariners. These two young sailors lived with Mr. Sanders and his delightful daughter of 15, Eliza. Eventually David married Eliza. David's family were from Londonderry, Ireland.
     David had two sisters that we should know about. Margaret, also known as Mary Margaret Moore Kemps married Lewis Kemps and they lived next door to the Sanders.
They had 3 young children.
     The other sister was Catherine who was about 12 years older than David. Catherine married Archibald Fairchild of New England (originally from Scotland.) They had two children James and Mary Joan Fairchild. Eventually the Fairchilds moved to Savannah, Mary Joan met Andrew Lawless, who was known as "A.W." and they fell in love. Unfortunately the civil war had already started. A.W. joined the 1st Infantry Regiment, a part of the Coast Riflemen:. He was at the battle of Savannah on April 8,1862 (which they lost) and at Fort Pulaski, Georgia a few days later. Then there were about 8 months with no battles. Then in December he went up to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, probably by train. After this he came back 'home' and he and Mary Joan decided to marry on December 11, 1862. A.W. was 18 and Mary Joan just turned 15! (By the way, this made AW's friend David Kemps his Uncle David now. Also Margaret (Kemps) and her husband Lewis Smith became aunt and uncle and are buried in the Lawless plot at the cemetery in New Berlin.)
... So the Kemps, the Smiths and the Lawlesses decided to move to the Jacksonville area, in the country, where it was healthier.
...Meanwhile David and Eliza Kemps family had grown. In the 1880 census they had children aged 16, 13, 10, 5 and 2 years old. They lived in New Berlin near the Lawlesses and David was a fish dealer. He was 41; AW was about 36. AW's children in 1880 were 11, the twins 7, 6, 2 and 1.
...Interestingly the book "The City Makers" says that in 1888 New Berlin temporarily incorporated itself to keep the Jacksonville residents quarantined from them. There had been another epidemic of yellow fever. At this time the Kemps had small children; AW's oldest daughter, Mary Catherine, was married to Olaf Winnberg and had two small sons and lived nearby. Her twin brothers James and Andrew were 17, Agnes was 15, Edwin was 11 and the youngest ones were Sydney, 4 and Barbara 2. All were kept safe by this quarantine.
...What was A.W. like? His granddaughter, Mary Joan Winnberg (1899-1988), daughter of Mary Catherine related that when she was a small child her grandfather came to visit 'for a while' in Philadelphia. Mary was born in 1899 and AW died in 1906 so she had to be less than 7 when she met her grandfather. At any rate, she reported that he was a short man with red hair. Little Mary's father, Olaf, was over 6 feet tall, (so keep that in mind). Also that her grandfather was "kindly to children". He used to make breakfast for the family in the morning and was noted to have said: "Daughter, if these grits stick to your ribs like they do to this pot, this is good eatin!"
He went to Jacksonville in the 1880's. Interestingly Mary Joan Lawless, AW's wife, had a tintype taken in the 1880's. Research was done on her apparel and she apparently was enjoying the latest style, denoting some prosperity. Ladies hats without strings had just become popular. Dangling earrings were popular. Her hairstyle was pulled back as the custom was then. The 3/4 sleeves were popular at the same time and black gloves were popular during that time period. It was probably taken in 1881, based on when these items were all popular at the same time. So Mary Joan may have had her picture taken by Mr. May.
...In 1884 the oldest daughter, Mary Catherine, married Olaf Winnberg. He had come to America at 15 (alone!) and worked on ships for a few years. Then he became a fisherman, fishing in the Philadelphia area during the warm summers and in the Jacksonville area during their mild winters. He enjoyed playing the fiddle and was no doubt invited to parties and dances, being a handsome bachelor besides! He married Mary Catherine when he was 23 and she was 16. They had their first son the next year and another one in two more years. Mary Catherine was always close to her mother and lived near enough that she could take the baby carriage and visit her mother. However she did complain that she was afraid of the cows along the way. (A year before Mary Catherine had her first son, her mother Mary Joan, at the age of 39, gave birth to Barbara. So mother and daughter had young babies at the same time.)     In 1890 Mary Catherine had her third son, Olaf, who didn't live. Within the next year Mary and Olaf decided to move to New York City. At the end of 1891 Mary gave birth to Charlotte. Olaf now had a new career working in the restaurant business, which employment he would keep for the rest of his life.
...A.W. went back to New Berlin and back again over to Tampa to be with Agnes. It was in Tampa in 1906 that he accidently shot himself, fatally wounding himself. Agnes had chickens and in the morning chicken hawks would come to kill a chicken. Of course the chickens would raise a racket, which awakened A.W., who slept in an upstairs bedroom. It must have been a mild time of the year for he had the window open. He kept his shotgun? ready, so that all he had to do was run to the window and shoot the hawk. He had done it often so that the family were not surprised by the gunshot they heard. But one morning as he stumbled out of bed and reached for the gun he must have been too sleepy. The gun got caught in his nightclothes lapels and went off, shooting him in the head. He laid there, the family unaware that he was shot. When Agnes got up and A.W. was not downstairs making breakfast as usual, she asked a couple of the boys to check on him. Her sons at this time were 12, 10, 8, 5 and 3 years old. So probably she asked the older boys to go upstairs. They are the ones that found him dead on the floor, another terrible blow to the family. They buried him in New Berlin but no death certificate has been found.
...9 "Grandma Viele" adds that after John arrived in Boston he went down to Georgia where his older brother Archibald was and got on the railroad, Archibald being an engineer. "My father was a fireman. Father saw slavery with all its horrors and expressed his sentiments so strongly, he was forced to leave the country by night. He went north to Aunt Ellen's in Iowa (marr. Robert Safley) and at Aunt Janet's until the Civil War was well near over."10


Catharine Kemps (1824 - aft. 1860)
  • James Archibald Fairchild5 (cir. Mar 1846 - bet. 1867 - 1896)
  • Mary Joan Fairchild5 (Nov 1847 - May 1897)
Last Edited2 Jan 2009


  1. Sanna F Ross (Gaffney), "EM FAIRBAIRN: Borders ex Sanna G," e-mail to Lorna & GenForum FAIRBAIRN, Mar 2001 ex 1841 SEL.
  2. Melinda NORTON, "Corres. re FAIRBAIRN/SAFELY between Melinda N & LornaHen," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Family of James FAIRBAIRN/Joan FORSYTHE, rcvd (via Betsy) Jun 2008.
  3. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Jun 2008.
  4. USA census images, Various, 1860 Savannah District 1, Chatham, GA Roll: M653_115 Pg 36 Image 37 hsehold of Archibald & Catharine FAIRCHILD, extracted Jun 2008.
  5. USA census images, Various, 1850 District 13, Chatham, GA Roll: M432_64 Pg 294 Image 145, hsehold of Archibald & Catharine FAIRCHILD, extracted Jun 2008.
  6. Www Rootsweb online at, Andrew LAWLESS & Mary Joan FAIRCHILD, from db (jjflawless), of Jessica ?LAWLESS?, last updated May 2008, extracted Jun 2008.
  7. Betsy SCHMITT, "Corres. re FAIRBAIRN/SAFELY between Betsy S & LornaHen," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Reminiscences of Melinda's "Grandma Viele", rcvd May 2008.
  8. FreeCensus, UK online at, SCT1841/778 Selkirk ED 3 Selkirk Burgh F 3 Pg 18, Sloethorn Bank, hsehold of James FAIRBAIRN, rechecked May 2008.
  9. - Family Trees online at, The A. W. LAWLESS Story, by Charlotte QUIGLEY, desc. of Mary Catherine WINNBERG nee LAWLESS, from tree 12903626, extracted Jul 2014.
  10. Melinda NORTON, "Corres. re FAIRBAIRN/SAFELY between Melinda N & LornaHen," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, "Grandma Viele's reminiscences", rcvd Jun 2008.

E. & O. E. Some/most parish records are rather hard to read and names, places hard to interpret, particularly if you are unfamiliar with an area.