The Fay Family: Anna Maria Fay

Anna Maria Fay
John of Marlborough

John Fay (OPF #2)(1669-1747) and Elizabeth Wellington

John Fay (OPF #25)(1700-1732) and Hannah Child

Jonathan Fay (OPF #60)(1724-1800) and Joanna Phillips (d. 1788)

Jonathan Fay (OPF #130)(1754-1811) Lucy Prescott (1757-1792)

Samuel Prescott Phillips Fay (OPF #799)(1778-1856) and Harriet Howard (d. 1847)

Samuel Howard Fay (OPF #1912)(1804-1847) and Susan Shellman (1808-1887)

Anna Maria Fay, b. 3/12/1828
The family group of Anna Maria Fay includes
first generation
Samuel Prescott Phillips Fay
second generation
Samuel Howard, Harriet Howard, Maria Denny, Joseph Story, Richard Sullivan
third generation
Anna Maria, Clara Montfort, Frank Hill Smith, Harriet Eleanor, William Gaston
fourth generation
Fannie Hillsmith, Joanna Lillie Fay
Census Data: Who's Where When

Victorian Days in England and Massachusetts
Describing a New Year's Day dinner at Oakly Park, Shropshire, in 1852, Anna Maria Fay wrote, "The dessert service was of pretty china, but nothing remarkable. The ices and jellies and other most beautifully arranged and delicious dishes were placed on the table. The dessert was composed of every variety of fruit, oranges, pears, grapes, etc."
(Victorian Days in England)
Victorian Days in England has been reprinted
Victorian dining
Fine dining, elegant houses and Victorian manners were part of Anna Maria Fay's heritage. Born in 1828, she enjoyed the privileges of wealth and social position. From her grandfather, Judge Samuel Prescott Phillips Fay backwards and forwards, her family is well chronicled.
Anna Maria's father, Samuel Howard, was the oldest of 7 children; her aunt, Maria Denny, was the second youngest. Born in 1820, Maria was only eight years older than Anna Maria. She was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Like her niece, she did not marry but remained at home with her parents.
Maria showed the same desire to travel as her niece. An unpublished diary of 1835 relates her travels, with friends, by stage coach, canal boat and steamer through New York State to Niagara Falls and into Canada. She was thus an excellent companion for Anna Maria on the trip to England. For unknown reasons, Richard Sullivan, the brother of Samuel and Maria and uncle to Anna Maria, had decided to make an extended visit to Shropshire.

Once decided, it was natural for the two young women, ages 23 and 31, to join the group. They were warmly welcomed and entertained by the people there. Anna Maria wrote letters home to her family and described events, people, and places. She seems to have been very close to her siblings, Willie, Susy and Clara, and they are mentioned in the letters with special affection. In describing what she was experiencing for those at home, "Anna Maria brought," in the words of the editor of a new edition of these letters, "a lively fresh eye to the rather staid society around Ludlow at that time. All was new to her and she lost no time in recording it. She delighted in the stately dinner parties, observing all the details to relay to her family at home, but she was also just as perceptive when describing the stops on the organ in Ludlow Church." The new edition of these letters is awaited with much anticipation; the target date is summer 2002.
Anna Maria did not cease writing on returning to the States. We know that she wrote at least one article for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. "Some Account of the Life and Times of the Rev. Peter Bulkeley," written in 1877, is interesting for several reasons. She draws heavily on the work of Cotton Mather; and she goes a bit into the religious controversy of the times in discussing Bulkeley's move to the States and his life. She writes of Bulkeley's own book "On the Gospel Covenant" as if she herself were familiar with it. One would assume, of course, that she was widely read.
In describing the English setting from which the Bulkeleys came, one hears an echo of her own enjoyment of the English countryside, in phrases such as, "The county was rich and fertile, and famous for its crops of barley. Here too were freshly dismantled monastic houses, and castles scarcely divested of the splendors of a fading feudalism." Passing on to the description of the new country, and especially the area around Concord, where Bulkeley settled, one finds an explicit comparison. "There were the same upland plains, the same extensive meadows, and again a lovely valley and a sluggish winding river. But there was a contrast between the cultivated barley fields of Bedfordshire, its historic homes and their picturesque beauty and human interests, and the rude tillage of the Indians, their squalid huts and savage habits."
Beside Anna Maria's assessment of conditions in Concord, one should set the following which she includes with apparent unquestioning acceptance:
Mr. Johnson, in his "Wonder Working Providence," gives a history of the sad pilgrimage of the emigrants to the future Concord. He describes how they made their way through unknown woods, through watery swamps, through thickets their hands must tear open that their bodies may pass. Then how they come to scorching plains where their feet and legs are torn by ragged bushes, until the blood trickles down at every step. After such toilsome days, they rest on the rocks, "when the night takes them," having no repast but a pittance of bread. Finally they reach the desired haven, and here they burrow in the earth under the hillside and build some sort of temporary shelter for their wives and little ones.
Realistic fact? Not likely. Poetic fancy, rather. It might be true of the migration west to Ohio or Wisconsin, but to Concord? Concord is approximately 20 miles from Cambridge. Even a slow walker could do it in two days; someone in condition could do it in one. "A pittance of bread"? for a wealthy man? "Rest on the rocks"? scarcely. Very 'pretty,' but not true.
One last item of interest from this article. Anna Maria concludes her biography with a poem written by Bulkeley in Latin "as a specimen of his Latinity." The translation which follows, however, she does not present as her own. Rather, "The kind hand of a friend enables us to subjoin in English its simple and pious thought." The translation is not in verse itself, nor is it distinguished for any linguistic elegance. Does one conclude that Anna Maria did not read Latin?
Little is known of Anna Maria's life in later years. Her sister Clara died at a young age, probably very soon after the birth of her fourth child in 1881. Anna Maria joined the household of Frank Hill Smith in order to care for her nephew and nieces. There was talk about this, but both she and Frank seem to have ignored it successfully. She and Rosamond Hill Smith can be found sharing an apartment later, in 1900 where Anna Maria is head of house and a self-described capitalist, and in 1920, where Rosamond is head of house, and no occupation is given for either. It was about two years later that Anna Maria died at the age of 94.