Stephen H. Fairfield is one of the oldest settlers in eastern Kansas, where he has lived to see the Great American Desert "blossom like the rose" and produce food for millions. He was born on Sept. 4, 1833, at Middleton, Essex county, Mass., a son of Moses and Mary (Russell) Fairfield, both of English extraction. His mother was also born in Middleton, but his father was a native of Salem, the son of a cobbler and fisherman. Moses was reared on the bay and became a fisherman, following that vocation until 1861, when with one son he enlisted in the Twenty-third Massachusetts infantry and served in the Army of the Potomac. He was discharged on July 8, 1862, on account of disability. but in 1863 enlisted in the veteran reserve corps at Portland, Me., and was not again discharged until the cessation of hostilities. One of his sons, Charles W., was a captain in a New York regiment and was taken prisoner at the first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. After the war was over, accompanied by his family, Mr. Fairfield came west and located on a quarter-section of land in Wabaunsee township, Wabaunsee county. He resided there for several years before he retired and moved into Alma to live, where he attained the hale old age of eighty-four. His wife survived him a few years. During the early '50s many emigrant aid societies were formed in New England to send anti-slavery settlers to Kansas, and in Sept., 1856, Stephen H. Fairfield joined a party of this kind that was headed by James Redpath. He came from Massachusetts to Mendon, Ill., by rail and thence by prairie schooner to Kansas, locating in Wabaunsee county. Mr. Fairfield was one of the seven men, who with letters in 1857 organized the Congregational church of Wabaunsee, sometimes called the "Beecher Bible and Rifle Church." In 1859 he married Martha H. Burt, of Tabor, Iowa, and they established a home in the new country which was being devastated in many cases by border warfare. Mr. Fairfield became prominent in the political life of the territory and was soon recognized as a leader of the anti-slavery forces; he was doorkeeper of the state senate in 1861 and a member of the high court of impeachment. When war was declared, he enlisted in Company K, Eleventh Kansas infantry, in September, 1861, and was assigned to duty as postmaster of his division and of the Army of the Border. In 1863 he was placed in entire charge of the military mail for Missouri, Kansas and Colorado with headquarters at Kansas City. Two years later, in March, 1865, he was detailed as clerk in the quartermaster's department, district of the plains, but in June rejoined his company at Horseshoe, Wyo. Ter. At the close of the war he was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth on Sept. 15, 1865. While in the army he took part in the battles of Maysville, Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Van Buren, Lexington, Big Blue and Westport. Immediately after his return home, Mr. Fairfield was elected county clerk of Wabaunsee county. Subsequently he served as county treasurer for four and a half years, and for eighteen years as register of deeds. He had always been interested in journalism and for two years was the editor and proprietor of the Alma Union, an influential party organ with a good circulation. Broad minded and liberal, he was appointed a trustee of Washburn College, Topeka, and filled that office for a quarter of a century. Some years ago Mr. Fairfield began to deal in land and is now one of the well known real estate men of Alma. In the early days he helped lay out the town of McFarland, Wabaunsee county, and has ever stood for progress and civic improvement. He is known throughout the state as a writer of ability, having devoted his time to historical research, the benefits of which he has generously given to the public. Mr. Fairfield has always been a Republican and stands high in the councils of the party. He is a member of the Masonic order, being a Knight Templar, and is commander of Ed Line Post No. 29, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas. Five children were born to Stephen H. Fairfield and his wife, MarthaMary E., deceased, wife of Dr. T. W. Watts, deceased, of Alma: Hattie A., wife of R. J. Kerans, of Alma; Agnes M., who lives in Alma; Helen A., deceased, wife of Rev. S. W. Naylor, of Appleton, Wis.; and Ada A., deceased. Mrs. Fairfield died in Alma, Kan., Aug. 18, 1897.Pages 127-128 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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