Saturday, September 23, 2017

Plumb Nichols Fairchild (1809-1892)

Portrait from "A History of the Old Town of Stratford", 1886.

   Possessing some impressive chin whiskers, Plumb Nichols Fairchild was long prominent in Fairfield County, Connecticut business circles, being both a co-owner of his family's paper mill and a bank director. A one-term member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, Fairchild also farmed and was a justice of the peace. The son of Lewis and Martha (Nichols) Fairchild, Plumb Nichols Fairchild's birth occurred in Trumbull, Connecticut on November 12, 1809. 
   Fairchild's youth saw him attend the common schools and work the family farm, continuing in the latter until age 18. Upon reaching that age he began work at his family's paper mill, which had been established in Trumbull a number of years prior by his father and uncles Eben and Reuben. In 1836 he and his brother Daniel were admitted to the firm and eleven years later purchased the business, which was then renamed the D. and P.N. Fairchild Co. The brothers' were later joined by Daniel's son Horace, and Plumb himself continued to be active in the mill's operation until its sale in 1886In May 1856 Fairchild married to Jennett H. Lewis (1825-1892) and the couple's near four-decade union is noted as childless. 
  In addition to co-owning his family's paper mill, Fairchild branched out into other areas of Fairfield County life, including farming, serving as a justice of the peace and was the director of the Bridgeport National Bank for twelve years. In 1846 he followed in his father and uncles' stead when he was elected to the Connecticut General Assembly as a representative from Trumbull. Serving in the 1847 session, Fairchild held a seat on the committee on Federal Relations and in 1854 saw his brother Daniel win election as Trumbull's representative to the legislature.
  Plumb Fairchild remained prominent in Fairfield County life well into his twilight years, being elected as a member of the county historical society in 1883. In early 1892 Fairchild fell ill and by March of that year newspaper reports noted that he was in a "state of unconsciousness." Sometime earlier Fairchild had willed a good majority of his estate (amounting to nearly $250,000) to his wife, who, in a strange twist, died four days before him on March 10, 1892. Fairchild (who had been unconscious at the time of his wife's passing) died on March 14, having never recovered consciousness. 
  The deaths of both Fairchild and his wife within days of one another left a quandary in regards to his estate, with both Fairchild's siblings and his wife's family making cases for receiving it. Newspapers of the time fail to record the outcome of whatever legal proceedings may have occurred, and both Plumb and Jennett Fairchild were interred at the Nichols Farm Burying Ground after their passing.  

From the New York Times, March 29, 1892.

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