The Fay Family: Jonas Fay

Vermont Directory
Researched, transcribed and contributed by Cathy Kubly
From 20th Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, Vol. IV
Originally Posted 21 May 2000
Jonas FAY, patriot, was born at Hardwick, MA, 28 January 1737; son of Stephen and Ruth (CHILD) FAY; grandson of John and Elizabeth (WELLINGTON) FAY, and great-grandson of John and Mary (BRIGHAM) FAY, who came from Wales to Boston, arriving on the Speedwell, 27 June 1656. The FAYs were of French origin, having fled to Wales during the Huguenot persecution. Jonas served in 1756 in the French war as clerk in Capt. Samuel Robinson's company of Massachusetts troops at Fort Edward and Lake George. He afterward studied medicine and in 1766 was among the early settlers of Bennington, VT, where he practiced his profession. In 1772 he was appointed a delegate from Bannington and neighboring towns to appear before Gov. William Tryon of New York and urge him to discontinue his violent proceedings against the Vermont settlers. In March 1774, he was clerk of the convention of settlers which drew up resolutions to defend their cause and their leaders by force, Allen, Warner and others having been threatened by the New York assembly with outlawry and death. In 1775 he accompanied Ethan Allen's expedition to Ticonderoga as surgeon. In January, 1776, he was clerk to the convention at Dorset and drew up the petition to congress to be allowed to serve the patriot cause independent of New York. He was secretary of the convention of July, 1777, that framed the constitution of Vermont and during the summer of that year was a member of the council of safety. Between 1777 and 1782 he was four times an agent of the state to the continental congress. He was a member of the governor's council, 1778-85; judge of the supreme court in 1782, and judge of probate, 1782-87. He then returned to the practice of medicine at Bennington, removing to Charlotte in 1800, to Pawlet a few years later and finally returning to Bennington. He was twice married: first, 1 May 1760, to Sarah [FASSETT], daughter of Capt. John FASSETT, and secondly, 20 November 1777, to Mrs. Lydia SAFFORD. He was joint author with Ethan Allen of A Concise Refutation of the Claims of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York to the Territory of Vermont (1780). He died at Bennington, Vt, 6 March 1818.