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Allen Leonard Fairbanks
Born February 25, 1832


ALLEN L. FAIRBANKS, farmer, Cass Twp., Sec. 3; P.O. Monticello; was born in Lamoille Co., Vt., in 1832. He was married to Miss Harriet Glazier, born in the same county; they were married in Manchester, N.H., and came to Jones Co. in March, 1853. Mr. Fairbanks' father, Adam Fairbanks, died at the hone of his son in the fall of 1873; Mrs. Fairbanks' mother also died there in 1863. Mr. Fairbanks came to Iowa very poor; he borrowed $50 at the time he entered the first eighty acres of his present farm; he now has about five hundred acres of land, with fine improvements; is engaged quite extensively in stock-raising. His children are Harriet M., Clarence, Thomas, Arthur L., Charles A., Alba M., Mary E. and Bertha B. He has been Assessor of Cass Township about a dozen terms; has also held other township offices; he was Enrolling Officer of Cass Township during the war of the rebellion. He and wife are members of the M.E. Church.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Western Historical Company, Chicago, 1879, page 694.

No history of Jones county would be complete without extended mention of Allen Leonard Fairbanks, who although he has already passed the Psalmist's allotted span of three score years and ten is still an active and helpful factor in the world's work. He comes from a most illustrious family and one which has long been identified with American interests. All representatives of the name in America trace their ancestry back to Jonathan Fairbanks, the founder of the family in this country, who came to Boston, Massachusetts, from Yorkshire, England, in 1633. Since that time various members of the family have figured prominently before the public eye. Mr. Fairbanks, of this review, is a relative of former vice- president Fairbanks, of the United States, and also claims relationship with Erastus Fairbanks, the well known manufacturer and politician, who patented the famous Fairbanks scales and was also governor of the state of Vermont for two terms.
Born in Hyde Park, Vermont, on the 25th of February, 1832, Allen Leonard Fairbanks is a son of Adam and Cynthia (Wilber) Fairbanks, natives of Massachusetts and of England respectively. The mother came to America in childhood and was married in Vermont, where she passed away when the son was twelve years of age. The father, a farmer by occupation, was again married and spent the latter part of his life with our subject, his death occurring in 1882 when he had reached the venerable age of eighty-three years. He was the father of seven children, of whom Allen Leonard was the sixth in order of birth. The others were: Victor Monroe, of LeRoy, Minnesota, who has attained the age of ninety-two years; Caroline Lane and Volney W., who are both deceased; Carlow, who was killed during the Civil war, having enlisted as a soldier from Vermont; Lorinda Chesley, deceased; and Cynthia Janette.
No event of especial importance came to vary the routine of daily life for Allen Leonard Fairbanks during the period of his boyhood and youth, which were spent on his father's farm in Vermont. At the usual age he was sent as a pupil to the common schools, which he attended until sixteen years of age. He remained under the parental roof until twenty-one years old, and in the meantime was variously engaged about the home farm, assisting in the work of the fields and picking stone and brush from the rough land. When he attained his majority, however, he entered the business world on his own account, going to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he remained for about two years, being there employed in the cotton mills and also in the machine shops of the locomotive works.
On the 5th of August, 1853, he was united in marriage to Miss Harriett N. Glazier, a native of Johnson, Vermont, born on the 31st of December, 1833. During the infancy of their daughter Harriett, the parents removed to Hyde Park, Vermont, where she was a schoolmate of Mr. Fairbanks. She went to Manchester, New Hampshire, a year previous to the arrival of our subject in that city, and there was employed in the cotton mills. She wove the cloth which was awarded the premium at the World's Fair at Paris. She and Mr. Fairbanks were employed in the same mill, No. 3, Amoskeag Manufacturing Company, and after their marriage continued to work therein for a time.
On the 6th of March, 1854, they started for the west, coming direct to Jones county, Iowa, the journey as far as Warren, Illinois, being made by train and the remainder by stage. It took them one week to make the trip to Dubuque, Iowa. Their destination was Cass township, Jones county, and Mr. Fairbanks rented a farm in Castle Grove township for a year, operating the place on shares. In May of the same year he entered an eighty-acre tract, which now forms part of his present farm, and with the passing of the years he has added to his original holdings until eventually this farm consisted of five hundred and twenty acres. He now owns three hundred and sixty acres in Cass township located on sections 2 and 3. He has engaged very extensively in buying and selling property but has never traded nor speculated. At one time he owned thirteen hundred acres and now he and his sons own one thousand acres all in one body, located in Cass and Castle Grove townships.
He has now been engaged in farming for fifty-five years and during this time has been identified with various branches of agricultural pursuits. During the early days of his residence in Jones county he made a specialty of cultivating wheat, raising one hundred and twenty-five acres annually, which sold for two dollars per bushel. His product was a specially fine grade of winter wheat which he sold for seed, and was known and used extensively by farmers throughout the surrounding country. Later he was identified with the dairy business and for about fourteen years, in connection with his general farming was engaged in making cheese, keeping fifty cows for that purpose.
At first there were no railroads for the convenience of shippers, and he was compelled once a month to go to Dubuque with his product. The superior quality of his cheese commanded a ready sale upon the market and brought excellent prices, his returns being as high as nine dollars per day during the season. He was also engaged very extensively in the hog business, shipping three carloads at a time which sold for six dollars and forty cents per hundredweight. He received as much as four thousand dollars for one shipment which he raised. At one time he was a large cattle raiser, making a specialty of -polled Angus cattle, but later he sold the bulk of that business to his son. However he still owns one hundred and eight head of fine steers, and last year shipped three carloads of cattle, independent of his son.
In the conduct of these varied interests he has manifested excellent business ability, wise sagacity and keen discrimination and these factors have proved the salient elements in a success which has given him rank among the most substantial and well-to- do farmers of his section of the county.
Not only was Mr. Fairbanks a well known and leading figure in agricultural circles of Jones county, but he also found time to engage in other lines of activity. For two years he served as the president of the Castle Grove Cooperative Creamery Company and was the first chairman of the Castle Grove Horse Breeders Association, occupying that office for two years, when he withdrew. Mr. Fairbanks was a director of the Jones County Agricultural Society for twenty years and also served as vice-president and president of the society. He is now a director in the Lovell State Bank at Monticello, having served in that capacity since its inception.
He has also been an active and prominent figure in public affairs, having lent his aid to many measures and movements which have had for their object the permanent upbuilding and growth of the community. He assisted in building the Methodist church at Hickory Grove and has since held membership in. that organization. Until recently he was chairman of the board of trustees of Cass Center cemetery, having been thus connected with that body since its origin. He has ever been a stanch champion of the cause of education, having been interested in schools since the organization of Cass township. He served as a member of the board which had charge of the building of all schoolhouses in the township. They first erected four buildings and later erected others until they now have eight schoolhouses in the township. He has held the office of director, president, secretary and treasurer of the township school board and is now acting as treasurer.
In politics he is a republican and has given stalwart support to the principles of that party since age conferred upon him the right of franchise. He was county supervisor for seven years and was also chairman of the board for a long time, during which period he superintended the construction of a number of river bridges. He assessed Cass township fourteen different times and took the census of 1880. He enrolled the township three times during the Civil war and was commissioned by Governor Kirkwood second lieutenant and was, also deputized provost marshal for the second district. He served notices on drafted man and in this capacity performed the hardest duty which ever came to him. He has always been a leading and influential figure in local party ranks and has several times served his party as delegate to various district, county and state conventions. He has ever made an excellent official, discharging the duties of the various offices in a manner that not only brought honor upon himself but also reflected credit upon his constituents. In whatever relation of life he is found the rules which govern his conduct are ever in harmony with the principles of honorable and upright manhood, and the consensus of public opinion accords him a foremost place among the valued and representative citizens of Jones count
As the years have come and gone the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks has been blessed with eight children, as follows: Alice, who passed away September 14, 1867, when thirteen years of age; Harriett M., the wife of Clarence Thomas, of Mohall North Dakota; Arthur Lincoln, residing upon a neighboring farm in Castle Grove township; Eunice, who died when eight months old; Charles Allen and Alva Monroe, also residing near the homestead, the former in Cass township and the latter in Castle Grove township; Mary E., deceased wife of G. G. Gill, by whom she had one daughter, the mother passing away in May, 1906; and Bertha, who married August Blassing and died in January, 1901 also leaving one daughter.
Such in brief is the life record of Allen Leonard Fairbanks, who for more than a half century has been identified with the growth and development of Jones county. When he arrived in this district he was the second to take up his abode upon the open prairie, an act fraught with considerable danger and peril inasmuch as bands of red men still roamed the country and the earlier settlers who had braved the dangers of the frontier had erected their homes within the shelter of the forests. The country was but sparsely settled, there being but one house between his home and Monticello and only three between him and Anamosa. Deer were plentiful during the early days and Mr. Fairbanks has seen as many as thirteen head on his place at once. An Indian once killed five on his farm in one afternoon, all of which he carried at once into camp. Threshers had not yet been introduced into this county, the nearest machine being located in Delaware county, and this was operated throughout the entire year. Few other improvements had as yet been made, for although the land was rich in natural resources, its opportunities had not yet been utilized. During the years of his residence here, however, Mr. Fairbanks has witnessed a wonderful transformation and in the work of general progress and development has taken his full share. In his seventy-seventh year he is still active and interested in the world's work, and he now enjoys the unqualified honor, respect and good will of everyone with whom he has come in contact.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 144.

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