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THE FAY FAMILY PAGE

GENEALOGIES
   
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The following article by Fay Oliver Conley appears in THE COLONIAL GENEALOGIST, Volume IV, Number 1, Summer 1971, pp. 56-61. Notes and comments below. The text of this article was provided by Joanne Fay, to whom I owe thanks for continuing enthusiasm and support.
   
   
COLONIAL FAMILIES OF THE AMERICAS

LINEAGE NUMBER 24: FAY OF MASSACHUSETTS

PART I
   
Biographical Notes: Fay Oliver Conley

Education: Detroit Business College, Detroit; Detroit Institute of Technology, Detroit.

Member: Alden Kindred of America, Inc; Americans of Armorial Ancestry; Augustan Society; Baronial Order of Magna Carta; Descendants of the Knights of the Garter; General Society Mayflower Descendants; General Society Sons of the Revolution; Huguenot Society of Michigan; Military Order of the Crusades; Order of the Crown of Charlemagne in the United States of America; Order of Washington; Plantagenet Society; Society of the Sons of the American Revolution; Society Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Society of the Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims; Scotch-Irish Society of the United States; Spanish American War Veterans.
Additional biographical notes will be found under the generation of Fay Oliver Conley.)
Address: 4869 Ridgewood Road, Richland, Michigan 49083.
   
JOHN FAY, born Wayhill, England, 1648, died Marlborough, Massachusetts, 5 December 1690....
   
Here Fay begins his summary of the history of the Fays, detailing much of the same material as Orlin and other sources. He continues from John to Gershom, the youngest son of John (page 57); to Gershom II (page 58); and then to Gershom III, the part that concerns us here (page 58):
   
4. GERSHOM FAY (III), born in Westboro, Massachusetts 30 March 1729, died Winchendon; married 20 May 1751, DINAH NEWTON, born 21 January 1718, died January 1804. He resided in Westboro and Northboro, Massachusetts, and Winchester, Connecticut. They had eight children, six born in Westboro and two born in Northboro; the 6th being MOSES.
   
There is a paucity of information to be obtained regarding the life of GERSHOM FAY (III). He represented Westboro on the famous Committee of Correspondence at the outbreak of the War for Independence. He took the oath of fidelity in 1778 and served as a private in Captain BEEBE'S Company, Connecticut Troops. He was discharged due to being incapacitated by sickness and unable to serve longer in the armed service; his place was taken by his son MOSES.
   
References:

General Services Administration, National Archives and Record Service, Washington, D.C.; Bond, Annals and Family Records of Winchester, Connecticut (1873), pp. 126, 129, 134 and 162; O.P. Fay, Fay Genealogy (1898), p. 334; Vital Records, Westborough, Massachusetts, pub. by Franklin P. Rice (1903), pp. 39, 148, Westborough Library.
   
5. MOSES FAY, born 18 June 1761, Westboro, Massachusetts, died 11 March 1842, Hinsdale, New York; married MARY HAGER, 6 October 1785, in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, born 2 December 1761, Weston, Massachusetts, died after November 1843 in Farmersville, New York; they had seven children, the 3rd was LAMBERT.
   
MOSES FAY, at age 57, of Olean, New York, swears he enlisted in the Fall of 1779 at Newport, Rhode Island in Captain WALKER'S Company, Colonel WEBB'S regiment of Connecticut Troops, for three years; was in the Battle of Eastchester not far from Wiliams Bridge in the Jerseys and continued to serve until the Fall of 1782 and was honorably dischanged. Declaration by his widow 19 June 1843; she (MARY) of Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, New York, swears she is the widow of MOSES FAY, who died 11 March 1842 in Hinsdale, New York, that she married him in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts (Worcester County), 6 October 1785. Declaration by her, 6 November 1843, age 81 of Farmersville, New York. Witness: TILLY GILBERT and NANCY FAY.
   
For a more complete look at the full pension file # W21086, click here.
   
References:

1830 Census of Hinsdale, Cattaragus County, New York; Abstract of Pension of Moses Fay Revolutionary War-W21086; Everts, History of Cattaragus County, New York, pp. 424, 425, 426; O. P. Fay, Fay Genealogy (1898), p. 416; Vital Records, Westborough, Massachusetts, pub. by Franklin P. Rice (1903), p. 41, Westborough Library.
   
6. LAMBERT FAY, born 1793; married ABIGAIL STAFFORD; he married secondly Mrs. MILLER; 15 children; 12 by 1st marriage; 3 by 2nd marriage; the first born was GEORGE B. WASHINGTON FAY.

The 1830 Census of Hinsdale, Cattaragus County, New York, shows LAMBERT FAY with 2 males 5-10; 2 males 10-15; 1 male 15-20; 1 male 40-50.
   
References:

O. P. Fay, Fay Genealogy (1898), p. 416.
   
7. GEORGE B. WASHINGTON FAY, born circa 1812, Fabius, New York....
   
Here, Fay continues the line with a biography and references.
   
8. MARIA FANNY FAY, born 20 February 1837 in Cattaragus County, New York, died 5 October 1900 in Barry County, Michigan; married JOHN CONLEY 28 October 1860 in Ripley, Ohio; born 4 December 1836, Richalnd County, Ohio, died 5 April 1901 in Barry County, Michigan; they had six children, the 2nd being GEORGE LINWOOD CONLEY....
   
Here follows a short biography of MARIA.
   
JOHN CONLEY and his family, including his wife, MARIA FANNY, and three children moved from Medina, Ohio in the summer of 1865, to Barry county, Michigan and settled on a farm in Maple Grove Township. Due to poor roads, it was thought best to use oxen instead of horses to pull their two covered wagons; one loaded with household goods and the other with some farm animals, such as a few sheep, swine and poultry, leading a cow and a young bull.
   
After settling in Michigan, JOHN, at the age of 29, being skilled in carpentry, set about to build a home and a barn on the land he had acquired, at the same time clearing the land little by little in order to grow his forage for winter feed for stock and vegetables for the family food. Having been a worker in the forests in lumbering with his father, he decided to mill the timber on his land into lumber to be sold to new settlers for the buildins it would be necessary for them to erect. He built a saw mill on the Thornapple River and proceeded to clear his land, utilizing all timber that was suitable to mill into lumber and burnikng the balance. He had log and stump fires burning almost constantly. He operated his saw mill on a basis where others might haul their logs to the mill and John would mill the lumber for them for a percentage of the lumber, to be retained as pay for the work done.
   
John also supplemented his income by making shingles in which calling he had become an expert "shingle weaver", a term given to those who could shave shingles. Shingle buyers and lumbermen came from a distance to buy his brand of shingles. He often worked in the woods alone, sometimes for several weeks in the months of October and November, after the "mosquito season" closed. To keep off the rain and snow he made a rude shelter of poles, brush and shavings. During the winters months the "shingle stuff" was hauled to his home, where he labored a part of his time for several years. He also engaged in the business of improving fruit trees by grafting, which could only be done in the spring months of the year. A good day's work was to set 250 grafts, which included sawing the limbs, preparing the grafts and waxing them after being "set". One year he set 6000 grafts, carrying his "kit" on foot and often working 15 hours in a day between "sun and sun". He trained his son GEORGE and others to do this work and after so doing, he followed this business for several years until the old orchards were too much decayed to renew them by grafting.      (See note on this paragraph below.)
   
John had acquired this knowledge and training in wood working from his father NICHOLAS CONLEY in the days before his marriage, and being of a very aggressive nature and seemingly tireless in his efforts, he had decided to put this training to work in addition to his mill work. Knowing his wife MARIA'S cousin ORLIN P. FAY was an expert in making shovel handles, he prevailed upon O. P. Fay to move to Michigan and he and JOHN CONLEY became partners in this type of business. In 1869, O. P. Fay agreed to plans of John Conley and moved to Michigan. The new partnership obtained a contract from Oliver Ames & Sons of North Easton, Massachusetts, to produce 60,000 dozen handles each year for two successive years. Oliver Ames became involved with his brother Oakes Ames in the Pacific Railroad stock and was unable to give his usual order after the second year. The partnership of CONLEY & FAY suffered a loss, due to the anticipation of expecting an order for a like quantity of handles for the third year. They milled several thousand handles which constituted a carload and they were stored in the railroad freight house in Vermontville, Michigan. The freight house burned, thus causing a considerable loss to the partnership.       (See note on this paragraph below.)
   
At about this time the CK&S Railraod was organized, as recorded in the Kalamazoo Gazette dated 8 December 1871. The original plan and survey was to build a narrow gauge railroad and 39.33 miles were actually graded; later the plan was changed to buld a standard gauge railroad, made necessary to transfer railroad cars from other standard guage[sic] roads. The change of plans made it necessary to regrade the road bed to a wider bed suitable for standard gauge rails. The survey for the narrow gauge road bed followed the natural contour of the ground. Work was abandoned due to the Panic of 1873, which lated[sic] for six years.
   
   
[In 1883 plans for the railroad were revived; John was one of the subscribers and took part in the actual building which was completed about 1887.]
   
The president of the road, THOMAS S. COBB, and the Board of Directors, whcih included men from Kalamazoo and Hastings, called a meeting upon the completion of the road after it was opened for service, at which time a resolution was drafted and passed, to award all contractors a gold plated rail spike and a family life time pass for travel. The spike awarded to my grandfather is in the possession of the compiler of this biography. At one time I possessed the pass; it has become lost.
   
JOHN CONLEY instigated the use of a nick name for the railroad, calling it "The Cuss, Kick and Swear Road" instead of the Chicago, Kalamazoo and Saginaw Railfoad, the corporate name. The nick name is still used by the older generation.
   
The lift-time[sic] pass given to JOHN CONLEY has afforded this compiler many happy, care-free hours in his boyhood days, when JOHN would arrange for a certain number of his children and their families to take an excursion from Hastings to Cressy and there hire a livery rig of a team of horses hitched to a "Surrey with a Fringe on Top" and drive about 4 miles to the very spot where I am now living, on beautiful Gull Lake, 7 1/2 miles long by 3 miles at the widest point; there we would enjoy a picnic, boating and fishing and return home on the evening train.
   
References:

O. P. Fay, Fay Genealogy (1898), p. 416; Kalamazoo Gazette, December 1871, 6 June 1883, 10 October 1886, 24 December 1887; Hastings Banner, 24 December 1887; family papers of MARIA FANNY (FAY) CONLEY.
Note: The following paragraph, which appears above in the text of Conley's document, is identical with a VERY few changes to a paragraph that Orlin writes in the third person about himself. Did Conley sit and actually copy the material? Or was it such a common cliche that it came naturally to him? In what follows, the words marked in blue are Conley's version; the words in red are Orlin's version. In my opinion, it is much too close to be just common usage.
   
John His father also supplemented his income by making shingles in which calling he had become the son soon worked "to the front" and became an expert "shingle weaver", a term given to those who could shave shingles. Shingle buyers and lumbermen came from a distance to buy his brand of shingles. He often worked in the woods alone, sometimes for several weeks in the months of October and November, after the "mosquito season" closed. To keep off the rain and snow he made a rude shelter of poles, brush and shavings and here he worked, whiling away the time in singing or whistling to his heart's content. During the winters months the "shingle stuff" was hauled to his home, where he labored a part of his time for several about ten years. He also engaged in the business of improving fruit trees by grafting, which could only be done in the spring months of the year. A good day's work was to set 250 grafts, which included sawing the limbs, preparing the grafts and waxing them after being "set". One year he set 6000 grafts, carrying his "kit" on foot and often working 15 hours in a day between "sun and sun". He trained his son GEORGE and others to do this work and after so doing, he He followed this business for several years until the old orchards were too much decayed to renew them by grafting.
   
Note: Both Conley, speaking of his grandfather John, and Orlin, speaking of himself, mention the shovel handle business in Michigan. I have placed them together here to show the DIFFERENCE in the way they treat this. Would the fact that this was a PARTNERSHIP be known if we had only Orlin? Would we know that he had actually gone into business with the husband of his cousin? And if Conley is right, that John KNEW that Orlin was Maria's cousin and started the business for this reason, then how much more remarkable is it that in 1898 Orlin did not "know" where his cousin fit into the family tree! I personally suspect a bit of purposeful concealment, although there may be a factor in this that I do not know. For example, where and what are the papers of Fanny Maria that Fay mentions?
Fay
"Knowing his wife MARIA'S cousin ORLIN P. FAY was an expert in making shovel handles, he prevailed upon O. P. Fay to move to Michigan and he and JOHN CONLEY became partners in this type of business. In 1869, O. P. Fay agreed to plans of John Conley and moved to Michigan. The new partnership obtained a contract from Oliver Ames & Sons of North Easton, Massachusetts, to produce 60,000 dozen handles each year for two successive years. Oliver Ames became involved with his brother Oakes Ames in the Pacific Railroad stock and was unable to give his usual order after the second year. The partnership of CONLEY & FAY suffered a loss, due to the anticipation of expecting an order for a like quantity of handles for the third year. They milled several thousand handles which constituted a carload and they were stored in the railroad freight house in Vermontville, Michigan. The freight house burned, thus causing a considerable loss to the partnership."
Orlin
"In 1869 he moved to Vermontville, Eaton county, Mich., where he engaged in the manufacture of long shovel handles for Oliver Ames & Sons of North Easton, Mass., that firm giving him for two successive years an order for 60,000 dozen handles each year. Oliver Ames became involved with his brother Oakes Ames in the Pacific R. R. stock and was unable to give his usual order after the seond year, which, with the loss of a carload of handles by the burning of the R. R. depot in which they were stored, Mr. Fay was unable to lift the debt on his mill and machinery and was compelled to surrender it into other hands."