The Fay Family: Samuel Fay 1802

SAMUEL FAY (1802 - 1884)
and his descendants
In most of the birth records published in the Vital Records of various towns in Massachusetts, a child is listed under the surname of the father as the son [daughter, child] of a man and a woman.

In a few cases, a child is listed just under the name of the father, in which case the name of the mother is usually relatively easy to find in other ways. For example, in the Vital Records of Sturbridge as found on this site, the birth of Amanda is recorded to Cyrus Jr. in 1832 and the birth and death of an infant to James in 1825. Cyrus Jr.'s marriage to Azubah Rice is recorded in 1825; and there are several other children recorded to Cyrus Jr. AND Azubah. And James and Olive Rice were married in 1816, and there are other children recorded to James AND Olive. Thus one can safely conclude that Amanda was born to Cyrus Jr. and Azubah, and the infant to James and Olive.

In a very few cases, a child is born and the birth is registered just to the mother. In one or two of such cases, while recorded just to the mother, the birth is listed in the Vital Records under a different surname. One of the best examples of this can be seen in the Vital Records of Brimfield, MA. Under the name HITCHCOCK there is a cross reference (page 69)

HITCHCOCK, Demus (see Demus Wasmus)

Under WASMUS is found (p. 145):

WASMUS, Demus, s. Sarah Hitchcock, May 23, 1779. [Demas Hitchcock, s. Sarah, C.R.]

"Wasmus" is the family name of a German doctor who fought for the British in the American Revolution. He was taken prisoner and was ordered to live with a farmer's family in Brimfield, Massachusetts. He was encouraged to practice medicine while there. Wasmus kept a journal covering the years 1776-1783. I have not read the book, but it is interesting to speculate.

This brings us to our present mystery.
Samuel Fay was born December 17, 1802 in Dudley, Massachusetts. The Vital Records of Dudley list him under the FAY surname as the son of Polly Bowen.
1802FAYSamuel, s. and Polly Bowen, Dec. 17, 1802.
Polly Bowen is not shown in the marriage or birth records of Dudley, nor can I find her anywhere else. There is a Polly Bowen who seems to have been married not too long after 1802--but not to a Fay. LDS lists Mary Bowen's, but no Polly, and there is no way of differentiating among the Mary's. Dudley, where Samuel's birth was registered, is in Worcester county, and there were many Fay people there at that time. There is a Samuel Bowen in Hardwick in 1800, whose household contains a female of approximately the right age to have been Polly--but there is no confirmation. It is interesting to remember that children were often named for their father's father --- was Samuel named for his mother's father, since his own father didn't name him? This is all speculation.
Samuel travelled from Massachusetts to New York state. There he married and had two children by 1831. Then he moved to Michigan. According to the Michigan Historical Society Records, "Samuel Fay, [died] December 20, 1884, aged 82 years; a resident of the county 52 years." That dates his settlement in Michigan to late 1831 or 1832, which fits well. He is listed in the census of 1840 in Freedom, Washtenaw County. In 1850, he was in Lodi, and he remained there until close to 1880, when he moved to Scio, just north of Lodi. In the history of the town of Lodi by the 1881 History of Washtenaw County, Michigan, he is listed as one of the original purchasers of land.
While the 1850 census gives us the first look at the family, it creates one major question: who is Sarah? At "32" she would have been much too young to be the mother of Samuel Jr., who was 21. My first thought was that Samuel had two wives, but I think now the census taker made a mistake. Samuel's age is wrong, and so is Sarah's. The censuses of 1860 and 1870 give the correct age for both, and would seem to indicate that Sarah was born sometime between the 19th and 28th of August in 1810. She was indeed mother to Samuel Jr. and Susan. The 1860 census lists Samuel Jr.'s wife and son; in 1870, Samuel's three children are with his parents.
In 1880, Samuel Jr.'s children Susan, age 18, and Samuel, age 17, are still with their grandparents; Frank is on his own. It seems very likely that Samuel Jr. and Antoinette died between 1863, the birth of Samuel III, and 1870, when all the children are with their grandparents. LDS dates Antoinette's death to "about 1866" and Samuel's to "about 1870," but I think that too is merely based on the census records. The 1880 census is interesting for another reason: with Samuel and Sarah is their daughter Sarah Fay Dillon with her two children, Susan Eva, age 19, and Fay Richard, age 13. The census taker made them all FAY at first, then corrected Susan to Dillon, but left the children with the mark "-------". This makes it appear as if the children are all DILLON, but only the last two are actually DILLON, the other two are FAY.
I have entered on the overview what I have found for the family after 1880. Frank remained on his own and does not seem to have married. Nevada and Fay Dillon married late, and did not have children. I do not know what happened to the two Susans, Susan Fay born about 1861, and Susan Dillon, born about 1860. If they married, I can find no record of it. Samuel III married; his daughters Inez and Doris married, but I do not know if they had children. Florence married, and her line continues.
1  Samuel Fay  b: 12/17/1802  d: 12/20/1884
...+Sarah Miller  b: 1810  m: 9/12/1830  d: 6/12/1880
.......2  Samuel Fay  b: 1829
........  +Antoinette Margaret Gedis  b: 1831  m: 9/1/1850
..............3  Frank M. Fay  b: 10/1858  d: after 1920
..............3  Susan Fay  b: 1861
..............3  Samuel Fay  b: 1863
...............  +Mae Vreeland  b: 5/1866  m: 1883  d: 1957
.....................4  Inez Fay  b: 10/1885  d: 1856
....................... +Bennett Chase Root  b: 11/23/1885  d: 8/1963
.....................4  Florence Ethel Fay  b: 11/15/1887  d: 6/11/1950
....................... +Albert Wheeler Hager  b: 11/26/1882  d: 9/18/1956
...........................5  Helen Annette Hager b:5/15/1915 d:12/26/1999
............................. +William George Stolberg  m: 2/14/1944
...........................5  Mary J. Hager  b: 1919
.....................4  Doris E. Fay  b: 4/16/1899  d: 2/14/1988
....................... +Warren E. Eldred  b: 2/10/1903  d: 6/4/1990
.......2  Susan L. Fay  b: 1831  NY
........  +Richard Dillon  b: 1831  d: 3/28/1872
..............3  Nevada D. Dillon  b: 1859
...............  +Frank Mathew Guinon  b: 1854
..............3  Susan Eva Dillon  b: 1860
..............3  Richard Fay Dillon  b: 9/1866
...............  +Vada Huntly  b: 10/1873
expanded 8/2007