The Fay Family: Genealogies: Nathan Ellis Fay

Nathan Ellis Fay
Biographies, Maps and Census Evidence
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Nathan Ellis Fay was born March 16, 1833 on a farm in Canada, sixty miles east of Montreal and within fifteen miles of the north line of the State of Vermont. He was reared on a farm in eastern Canada until 1853 when the family emigrated to Wisconsin where they farmed for seven years.

Emily Jane Calkins was a native of Canada where she was born January 4, 1838. In 1843 her mother died when Emily was four years old. A few years later she and her father came to the states and settled at Fox Lake, Wisconsin.

Nathan Ellis Fay and Emily Jane Calkins were married in 1856. Mr. and Mrs. Fay had seven children: Elnora born December 26, 1856; Emma Cornelia born August 14; Scott Eugene, died in infancy; Etta M. born February 5, 1866; Stephen born June 16, 1863, all born at Fox Lake, Wisconsin, James Herschel born 1869; and Lela Elberta born October 26, 1874 at Waseca, Minnesota.

When the Fays' came to Minnesota they traveled by covered wagon crossing the Mississippi River at LaCrosse, Wisconsin, where they had a dangerous experience crossing on the ice, which was not frozen very thick. They had to string the teams and loads out as far apart as possible and then the cracking of the ice threatened to give away at any instant. No severe mishap occurred but the nervous strain of the experience will never be forgotten. They went on to Fillmore County, Minnesota, where they rented and farmed for a few years before moving to a farm at Waseca, Minnesota. Here he joined an expedition against the Indians after the New Ulm Massacre.

Later he was a mule teamster in Missouri before coming to the North Loup Valley in Nebraska in 1879, where he settled about three miles west of Kent.

Their daughter Emma and her husband John Howard and family came to Nebraska at the same time Nathan and Emily did. They settled in a dugout across from the Fays' for the winter on what we know as the Newbecker place. In the spring they moved on up the valley to west of Taylor, but the Fays' took the homestead (on what is known today as Charlie Nekuda's place) where they had lived in a dugout that first winter before fixing more permanent housing. They stayed here on the farm for seven years and in 1886 they went by team to the Black Hills and stayed for six and one-half years before returning to their Loup County home. He stuck to his farm through drought and hardships, improving the place as he could until he had a very well improved farm.

The story is told of Nathan Fay and John Howard going to Grand Island by team and wagon for supplies. Since the two ladies with the samll children were a bit nervous about staying alone, they decided to all stay at Howards (which is where Clemmie Rhoades did live). As the men were coming home from this trip, down the valley in the Burwell area, they saw a heavy black smoke cloud in the west where "home" should be, they made their horses run and kept them running until they got to the Howards. It was a big prairie fire and it had come in around the buildings and the women with the frightened small children hanging to their long dresses were out trying to fight the fire and save the buildings and feed. By the men pitching in they did save much of the feed and the buildings but the team was ruined for life.

Emily, while they lived on the farm, used to gather all the neighborhood children and take them to Sunday School in Taylor, in the two wheel cart.

Nathan (known as Nate) Fay was one of the first county Commissioners of Loup County.

They moved to Taylor in 1903. Emily had a stroke after they moved from the farm and was paralyzed for the last seventeen years of her life, and confined to a wheel chair. They resided in Taylor until their deaths. Nathan's death on November 23, 1919 and Emily's death on March 25, 1926.
The following map, copyright 2002 by Cartography Associates and used by permission, shows Dodge County, WI, with Fox Lake in the far north west, as well as LaCross, where the family crossed into Minnesota, and Fillmore County, where they lived, before moving to Waseca. Fond du Lac county is just north of Dodge County.
In 1850, Nathan was still in Canada; Emily and her parents were already in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
In 1860, Nathan and Emily are married and living in Alto, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, not far from Fox Lake, where Stephen Calkins is living.
By 1880, Nathan and Emily are in Nebraska.
Census Place:	Unorganized Territory, Unorganized Territory, Nebraska
Source:	FHL Film 1254757  National Archives Film T9-0757  Page 577B     
	Relation	Sex	Marr	Race	Age	Birthplace
N.E. FAY	Self	M	M	W	46	CAN
	Occ:	Farmer	Fa: CAN	Mo: CAN
E.J. FAY	Wife	F	M	W	41	CAN
	Occ:	Keeping House	Fa: CAN	Mo: CAN
Stephen FAY	Son	M	S	W	17	WI
	Occ:	At Home	Fa: CAN	Mo: CAN
Etta M. FAY	Dau	F	S	W	14	WI
	Occ:	At Home	Fa: CAN	Mo: CAN
James H. FAY	Son	M	S	W	11	MN
			Fa: CAN	Mo: CAN
Lela A. FAY	Dau	F	S	W	5	MN
			Fa: CAN	Mo: CAN