Search billions of records on

Researched, transcribed and contributed by Laura Greene
Rev. Eli Fay (1822-1899)
REV. ELI FAY, D. D., was a minister of the Gospel whose zeal, labors and high character made him widely known over America and England. Doctor Fay spent his later years in Southern California, and was a greatly beloved preacher and citizen of Los Angeles and Pasadena. lie founded and built the old Unitarian Church at Seventh and Broadway at Los Angeles. He was born in Orleans County, New York, November 8, 1822, and died, at the age of seventy-seven, in Pasadena August 10, 1899. His home had been in California since 1886. He was one of a large family of fourteen children. His parents were poor and hard working people, and Eli had to make his own living from the age of eleven. He educated himself, and after entering the ministry he lived for some years in New York City, being identified with what was then called the Christian denomination, a liberal church. During the following eighteen years he preached in various Unitarian churches in and around Boston. From there he went abroad to England and for seven years held a pulpit in Sheffield. In 1882, on account of the failing health of himself and wife, he returned to the United States and in 1886 settled in Southern California. At one time he owned the corner of Fifth and Broadway, where the Fifth Street Store now stands, and also owned the corner of Seventh and Broadway, where he built the Unitarian Church, which in later years was burned, and the site is now occupied by the Loew State Building. He also preached in the old Opera House at First and Main streets. His home was in Pasadena, and there was no more familiar, beloved figure in the community than Doctor Fay. He was a man of the people, and his life was consecrated to their welfare. Even in advanced years his interest in the affairs of Pasadena never waned. He retained his membership in the Unitarian Church at Los Angeles, and until the retirement of Doctor Thomson, a year or so before his death, he attended with much regularity and was a power in church councils.

Doctor Fay was three times married. He was survived by his last wife, whose maiden name was Harriet Kelsey. He had no children. He was great-uncle of G. Hamilton Fay, a prominent Los Angeles business man, president and general manager of the Fay Laundry. Doctor Fay was deeply interested in educational progress, and among other institutions which benefited from his efforts was Antioch College of Ohio.
"California & Californians", edited by Rockwell D. Hunt, A.M., Ph.D. Volume III, published by the Lewis Publishing Company, 1930.
Posted 11 Jul 2000