The Fay Family: Heman Allen Fay (1779 - 1865)

Heman Allen Fay (1779 - 1865)
of Bennington, Vermont and New York
And his Descendants
Contributed by
Susan Fay McGinn
Mary McGinn Vickers
and compiled from various sources
Bennington and Vermont Directory
lines, lists and links
John Fay

John (OPF #2) (11/30/1669 - 1/5/1747) son of John and Mary Brigham

Stephen (OPF #35) (5/5/1715? - 5/17/1781) son of John and Elizabeth Wellington

Jonas (OPF #118) (1/28/1737 - 3/6/1818) son of Stephen and Ruth Child

Heman Allen (OPF p. 34) (1/12/1779 - 8/26/1865) son of Jonas and Lydia Warner Safford
Heman Allen Fay, born in 1779, entered West Point Military Academy in March 1807, at the age of 27. After graduation, he served in the Corps of Artillery, and then over the years in various capacities. His story is told by Orlin (see the short biography), and can be found in other places also (for example, the brief article in the 20th Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans); the entry in the Historical Register is shown below. But Heman's story is told most clearly and vividly for us in his own words in letters he wrote in connection with the Cullum inquiries.
President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy early in 1802. The first two cadets graduated in October of 1802. There was no predetermined program or length of study in the early years; and by 1812, only 89 cadets had been graduated. Heman Allen Fay was among them.
In the 1840s or 1850, a man by the name of George Washington Cullum conceived the idea of telling the stories of all of the graduates up to his time. He gave each graduate a number known as the Cullum number. [Read more about George W. Cullum]
"The Cullum number is a reference and identification number assigned to each graduate of the United States Military Academy. It was created by Brevet Major General George W. Cullum, USMA Class of 1833, who, in 1850, began the monumental work of chronicling the biographies of every graduate. He assigned Number 1 to the first West Point graduate, Joseph G. Swift, and then numbered all successive graduates in sequence. Before his death in 1892, General Cullum completed the first three volumes of a work that eventually comprised 10 volumes, entitled General Cullumís Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy, and covering USMA classes from 1802 through 1950. The current Register of Graduates is a direct descendant of General Cullumís seminal work.
"From 1802 through the Class of 1977, graduates were listed by General Order of Merit. Thus, the Register provided a quick reference for those looking for class rank. Beginning with the Class of 1978, graduates were listed alphabetically, and then by date of graduation."
--from Association of Graduates USMA
Heman's Cullum number seems to have been 36. Thanks to the interest of Susan Fay McGinn and her daughter Mary McGinn Vickers, copies of the letters found in Heman's Cullum file at West Point have been made available. There are 5 letters by Heman about his service, a short one from John Symington, a letter of inquiry dated 1904, a copy of a magazine article, and a death notice.
The entry in the Historical Register for Heman A. Fay, which is not the same as his Cullum entry but is supposed to be sourced in part on that, reads:
Fay, Heman Allen. Vt. Vt. Cadet Military Academy 20 Mar 1807 (6); 2 lieutenant artillerists 13 June 1808; 1 lieutenant 23 Dec 1811; transferred to corps artillery 12 May 1814; honorable discharged 15 June 1815; military storekeeper quartermaster d 3 Jan 1818; removed 1 July 1842; [died 20 Aug 1865.] From: Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, [p.412] F. page 415.
Letters written by Heman A. Fay
October 22, 1847
August 2, 1855
August 14, 1855
August 30, 1857
Fall 1859
Other Material from the Cullum File
Symington's letter Mary's letter of inquiry "Unbattles..."
Heman's line is given in abbreviated form in Orlin. Orlin writes that Heman had 11 children, but he lists only six. Heman himself, writing in 1847, says that he has five boys and one girl. Either all of the others died in childhood; or Orlin was mistaken.
It has been possible to make a few additions to the line, but even with these, it has not been possible to extend the line very far. The names of the children of Mary E. Fay and Bronson Harmon were found. Albert Gallatin was traced far enough that it seemed likely that he never married. I attempted to trace Heman Jr, but was unsuccessful.
Who was the "Mary Fay" who signed the letter of inquiry in 1904? I cannot read her last name as she wrote it, and I have not been able to find out who exactly she was. She can only be the daughter of George; that is the only "Mary" who is both a granddaughter of Heman, as she writes in the letter, and a "Fay" and married. John Warren's daughter Mary lived in Michigan and was not married. In 1880, George's daughter Mary is living with him, as well as Mary's child, George's granddaughter, Jessie. Mary is a widow. Her last name is unclear; the indexer reads it as "Peawl"--- a name which exists in no other place and which I do not believe. I think it is likely that it is "Pearl" -- that would make sense. If Mary married a Pearl, and was then widowed, she must have remarried; for in 1904, her last name is not Pearl.
Children of Heman Allen Fay and Altha Foote
6  Mary Eliza Fay  b: 6/11/1814
   +Bronson Harmon  b: 1808
......7  Albert Harmon  b: 1837
......7  Romeyn Harmon  b: 1840
......7  Frank Harmon  b: 1842
........ +Georgette  b: 1839
............8  Frank H. Harmon  b: 1868
............8  Jessie W. Harmon  b: 1870
6  DeWitt Clinton Fay  b: 11/27/1815  d: 1859
6  George B. Fay  b: 1819
   +Catharine R. Strong  b: 1820
......7  Julia Douglas Fay  b: 11/21/1844
......7  Mary E. Fay  b: 12/24/1846
......7  Kate A. Fay  b: 6/11/1849  d: 1857
......7  George F. Fay  b: 5/5/1854
6  John Warren Fay  b: 3/6/1823
   +Susan A. Root	m: 3/24/1850
......7  Mary Root Fay  b: 2/27/1853
......7  Jessie Root Fay  b: 1867 (adopted)
......7  Benjamin Fay  b: 5/1876
6  Heman Allen Fay Jr.  b: 8/26/1824
6  Albert Gallatin Fay  b: 12/22/1829