Richard Fancher Society of America

Richard Fancher Society of America

Established 1948, Osage, AR

Welcome to the Richard Fancher Society website. 


The Richard Fancher Society, originally established in 1948 by John Kenner Fancher of Conner, Arkansas and Judge Frank Trigg Fancher of West Palm Beach, Florida, is a family organization dedicated to genealogical research and the preservation of accurate family history.

The Richard Fancher Society is named for our family line descending from Richard3, the grandson of William1 Fancher (Fanshaw) progenitor  of the  Fancher family in America, who emigrated from England, and can be traced to the American Colonies as early as 1643. His descendants, as well as those of his brothers and sisters, today are in every state of the Union. Earlier claims that this Fancher line was of French descent has been disproven by both genealogical research and recent DNA studies. (Please see our DNA link.)  

The genesis of the Richard Fancher Society began at a family reunion in Osage, Carroll County, Arkansas at the old homestead of Thomas Washington7 Fancher (James6, Richard5, David4, Richard3, William2, William1) who was born 24 January 1833 and died 1 September 1892.  Thomas Washington 7 Fancher was the grandson of Richard5 Fancher who was, in turn, the grandson of the original Richard3 Fancher mentioned above. Thomas’ grandfather Richard5 served in the Revolution in Captain Thomas Berry's Company, Colonel Abraham Bowman's Eighth Regiment of Virginia. Richard5 Fancher and his wife, Sarah Jarnigan Fancher, had six known children born in Townfork, Stokes County, North Carolina. They were: Isaac6, James6, Grey Bynum6, Alexander6, Thomas Hampton6 and Patsy6 (Miler).

As the family moved from North Carolina to Tennessee, then on to other territories, son James6 scouted land in Osage, Arkansas in 1837 and staked a claim on the headwaters of Osage Creek with his friends Thomas Fancher Sisco and Eskridge Kenner. Fancher Creek and Kenner Creek are still found on maps today. James Fancher returned with his family and mother (Sarah Jarnigan Fancher) in 1838 and quickly became one of the leading citizens of Carroll County, Arkansas. Both his home and his son’s, (Thomas7) were burned to the ground in 1865 during the Civil War. When the family returned after the war, Thomas Washington7 Fancher built a large two-story home with a wide sweeping staircase to the upper floors where all the family portraits were displayed on the wall. Out of doors, he built a veranda that ran the length of the front of the house. The home became a community stopping point for church services for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and also Methodist services; for Masonic meetings; and, for robust civic meetings for local politicians. There were large Sunday suppers to accommodate his ten children and their growing families.

While there were many known gravesites on the Thomas Washington Fancher property, as he lay dying on 27 August 1892 from a knife wound received when attempting to break up a fight between two Masonic brothers, Thomas told his wife he wanted to be buried up on the hillside across the road from his home so he could look down on all of them. He died of his wounds on 1 September and his wife, Elizabeth (Sneed) Fancher, kept her word. They are buried together on the upper slope of the hill in what was, for a time, called the “New Fancher Cemetery,” and is now known as the Fancher –IOOF Cemetery in Osage, Carroll County, Arkansas. 

Thomas Washington Fancher was much loved and when family members came from all parts of the country for his funeral that September, it was decided to hold family reunions each year on the anniversary of his death. That is how it came to be that one warm summer day in 1948, the family got to talking, and the Richard Fancher Society was born. The Richard Fancher Society meetings were held at the old Thomas Washington Fancher homestead, where his daughter Bessie Mae8 and son Joseph Johnson8 Fancher (and wife Ida) next resided. The reunions were held every year until 1960 when it became too much for the elderly people. The home mysteriously burned down in the late 1960’s. In 1951, the meeting was actually held in Sinking Cane in Overton County, Tennessee where the Carroll County Fanchers originated,  and where Richard5 Fancher was buried in 1829. At that time, the Society marked his gravesite with a modern stone.

Things that had been discussed at that first Richard Fancher Society meeting were the necessity to carry on the research of Mr. William Hoyt Fancher of Connecticut who had done a great deal to begin genealogical research of the Fancher family in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Many of the Carroll County Fanchers were excited to contribute to that work. The other important topic was to begin a fund raising effort for a memorial to the victims of the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. Two separate Fancher families were massacred at Mountain Meadows. The Woods brothers, who also died in the Massacre, were first cousins to Elizabeth (Sneed) Fancher, and there were many other friends and neighbors who had lost their lives, and it was determined at this family reunion that the victims of that horrible tragedy should not be forgotten.


President John Kenner9 Fancher of Connor, Arkansas, and Judge Frank Trigg8 Fancher from Florida, were the two family leaders in raising the funds for the monument at Harrison, Boone County, Arkansas, honoring the victims and commemorating the tragedy. The unveiling was 7 September 1955. Two great grand-daughters of Capt. Alexander7 Fancher laid wreaths at the base of the monument. The ceremonies were attended by Juanita Brooks, a member of the Board of the Utah Historical Society and herself a Mormon, was the author of one of the first books on the Mountain Meadows Massacre. On the front of the monument is a brief history of the tragedy; on the back the names of the known victims at that time. Ms. Brooks gave the key note address on the occasion. Also invited had been Mr. A.R. Mortensen of the Utah State Historical Society. He was unable to attend, but sent a letter to J.K. Fancher on 25 August 1955. (View copy of A.R. Mortensen letter).

Current projects that relate to the Mountain Meadows Massacre include an extensive research project into the actual family trains that were involved at Mountain Meadows. This project confirms, historically, that there were many wagon trains leaving from various parts of NW Arkansas that were, in one way or another, involved with the Arkansas Emigrants, and the massacre’s history – and that some were spared. There was never “one big train”, recently dubbed the Fancher-Baker Train, leaving from Beller Springs near Harrison, Arkansas, as urban legend would have it.

Another aspect of our mission is our continued work towards correcting the historical references generated from Utah that would imply that the massacre was in any way provoked or caused by actions of any members of the wagon trains. This continued injustice, aimed at easing the blame against the leaders of the Mormon Church who carefully planned the massacre in August 1857 and sent the innocent emigrants, cattle drovers, prospectors and travelers into a death trap, has been a universal sticking point for all descendants of the massacre victims since Ms. Brooks’ book came out in the 1950’s. We hope by engaging in continued educational projects that causation will some day no longer be asserted as rationale for such a premeditated crime.

In 2005, the Richard Fancher Society donated a large map of the United States circa 1857 to the Carroll County Historical Society in Berryville, Arkansas as an educational aide and contribution to their collection on the Mountain Meadows tragedy.  


Lynn-Marie11 Fancher is the grand-niece of John Kenner9 Fancher and is our current President. In the 1950’s and 1960’s she had the opportunity to spend time with her “Uncle Kenner” and learn at the knee of her grandfather, James Poteet9 Fancher and his younger brother, John Kenner9, all about the family history. “Uncle Kenner” made her take notes and often corrected her spelling. She has kept many of those notes and has them to this day. Lynn-Marie made a promise to her grandfather and great uncle that she would not forget the lessons and histories they gave, and she has been continuing in the Fancher tradition ever since. She resurrected the Richard Fancher Society in the 1970’s with continued genealogy work, and as that has grown and expanded to include many relatives across the country, she formally registered the Richard Fancher Society in 2004, filed in Carroll County Arkansas, where it all began. Lynn-Marie would like to also acknowledge her other mentors over the years, Mrs. Yetive Denton Ramsey, Mr. Fred Wilson, Mr. Gene Roberts, and Mrs. Ruth Crow, all now deceased.  

Lynn-Marie has been the defacto President of the society since the passing of the baton in the late 1960’s. She is the gg grand-daughter of Thomas Washington7 Fancher. Vice President is Mr. Thomas Crittenden Morris III of Benton County, Arkansas. Tom is the gg grandson of Asenath7 (Fancher) Morris, elder sister to Thomas Washington. Honorary consulting historian is JK10 Fancher of Harrison, Arkansas, son of the original founder John Kenner Fancher. JK Fancher is the resident expert on the Mountain Meadows tragedy in Arkansas. Consulting genealogist is Fancher Family Historian Alison Wallner of Michigan. The Society’s consultant for the Fancher DNA Project is Phillip E.11 Snow, also a descendant of Thomas Washington Fancher.


In addition to the genealogical histories being worked on regarding the families involved in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, The Richard Fancher Society is working on a BIOGRAPHY PROJECT for descendants of James6 Fancher and Elizabeth (Carlock) Fancher of Osage, Arkansas. Descendants of his children, Asenath7 (Fancher) Morris; Arminta7 (Fancher) Coker; Martha Jane7 (Fancher) Boatright; Hampton Bynum7 Fancher; Sarah Amanda7 (Fancher) Owens Kendall; Thomas Washington7 Fancher; Margaret Catherine7 (Fancher) Kenner; Henrietta7 (Fancher) Dickson; and James Polk7 Fancher, are invited to contribute. (Note: sons Claiborne and George M. Dallas died in infancy). Because of many collateral marriages of significance, our biographies will also include certain members of related families.


The Richard Fancher Society also supports projects related to the upkeep and maintenance of the two Fancher cemeteries in Carroll County, ArkansasThe Fancher-Seitz Cemetery and the Fancher IOOF Cemetery. The Richard Fancher Society supports the mission of the Mountain Meadows Association and contributes to the genealogical data for that organization.



Sept 2005   Donation of 1857 map of the United States to Carroll County Historical Society for Mountain Meadows Massacre children's educational display.


To join the Richard Fancher Society of America go to the Membership Application.  We are a mutual benefit organization and do not solicit dues for membership.  We do ask that all family and genealogical information provided is not plagarized from other sources.  If you use another source, please provide citations and proper credit for use of the materials.  The purpose of the RFS is to share our information.  However, genealogy is difficult, time consuming work and we want to always acknowledge those who have taken the time to offer valuable primary research and personal contributions and photos.  Whenever possible, provide as much detail as you can, so further research can be done if necessary to document your line.  Family stories are welcome attachments. 


Because the Richard Fancher Society of America (also known as the Richard Fancher Society) is constructed and organized for the mutual benefit of family genealogies and history, we do not believe in accepting or paying money for research as an organization.  There are no dues.  We accept donations of family histories and proofs and will give proper credit and citations for those donations.  In the tradition of the original mission of the Richard Fancher Society, we believe it to be ethically and morally corrupt to structure our organization financially in such a way that might give even the appearance of bad faith transactions or inappropriate tax deductions/laundering.   All efforts and activities are for the sole purpose of promoting academic research and scholarship in family history.  Expenses incurred by family members to contribute to the society are done at the individual’s free will and discretion.



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