THE JOHN FAVILLE FAMILY
Part 2, Family Hisory
By Judge Fred Faville
Some years ago I secured the services of a genealogist and antiquary in London to ascertain what record, if any, could be found of my more remote ancestors. I was not actuated by any ambition to establish any connection with royalty or peerage, but simply to find, if possible, "Who we are and from whence we came".
I have every reason to believe that the report and pedigree furnished me is authentic. The data was gathered largely from old church records of births, baptisms, deaths and marriages, which the rules of the Church of England require to be preserved. Old tombstones contributed their share to the information secured, court records also furnished a scanty part; and thus, from many different sources, the lineage was traced.
It seems that my most ancient forebears went by the name of Fauvell. However much this may apparently savor of Teutonic origin, there is no evidence whatever that this is the case.
The pedigree recites: "The family of Fauvell or Favell were settled in very early times in Yorkshire and Northampton, in the latter county at Wescot and afterwards at Weston, called Weston Favell from this family."
There is a tradition that the family originally lived in Normandy and that some member came over to England with William the Conqueror and fought with that old warrior at the battle of Hastings in 1066, and then remained upon British soil and became the founder of the family in Great Britain. This is wholly a matter of speculation.
Referring to these early ancestors, the pedigree recites "They were lords of the manor of Weston from the time of Henry III to Edward III when the property passed to the Griffins by the marriage of Sir John Griffin of Weston with Elisabeth the heiress of her brothers, and daughter of John Favell of Weston, by his wife Fine, the daughter of Geoffrey de la Mare of Norborough. The Yorkshire family of this name was in Craven during the same reigns and held lands in Thorolby, Stretton, Broughton, Stetton, Frearnhill in Coningley, Skipton and Stainforth. One branch migrated in the time of Charles I to the parish of Kirbly, Oberblows, and ultimately settled at Normanton.
It seems that, like Hamlet, the early Favilles were "to the manor born".
The most remote ancestor of whom we have any authentic information was Edward, or Everard Favell, who died in 1307. He left a son, Thomas, who was born in 1267. The record recites that Sir Edward "held the king in capite, and of the honor of Skipton, a capital measuage and lands in Thorolby, Stretton, Broughton and Stetton." This legal phraseology merely means that as a reward for some distinguished service he received direct from the King a tract of the "crown lands" which a chief dwelling house and all appurtenances, which as orchards, cartilage, outbuilds, and everything with which the baron of that day was surrounded.
Just what service old Sir Edward had rendered to his sovereign to secure such generous recognition at the hands of Edward I is not recorded, but he must have been a man of no small importance to be thus signally honored.
I can remember, as a boy on an Iowa farm, that I read Jane Porter's thrilling book, "The Scottish Chiefs" and reveled in the exciting and blood-curdling tales of Sir William Wallace and his heroic followers, who fought King Edward and his hosts. It is likely that Wallace and Sir Edward Fauvell may have crossed swards on more than one battlefield, back in those heroic days of 1267.
Queen Elizabeth knighted another ancestor whose identity is not absolutely certain. Just what particular deed secured this distinguished favor from the Virgin Queen can not be ascertained, but certain it is that the honor was conferred upon him and his escutcheon duly recorded at London. The coat of arms of this family is described at "sable, a chevron with three escallops argent" with the motto "En Dieu ma foi".
Interpreted into plain English, the coat of arm is a chevron and the escallops in silver on a black background.
This is a correct copy:
It has been said: "The knights of the early days of heraldry ransacked the animal, the vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, as well as the range of things natural and artificial, for cognizance which would be distinctive and at the same time suggestive of the name and title of the bearer of them." They were accustomed to adopt the most common things in their escutcheons and give them a symbolic meaning.
The chevron was originally copied from the angle formed by the union of the two raters of a house, thus. It is apparent that this was symbolical of strength. The rafters support the weight of the roof. The chevron has become a distinctly military badge. It has been permanently adopted by the United States Army and is worn on the sleeve of a sergeant, the highest non-commissioned officer. The escallops are beautiful shells, ribbed and gracefully notched, and of pearly whiteness. The escallop is symbolic of purity. It was the distinguished badge of a pilgrim. The motto "En Dieu ma foi" is French. It means "My faith is in God."
The symbolism of the coat of arms of the Faville family is plain and significant; the chevron denotes strength and courage; the escallop the humility and innocence of a pilgrim; the motto the declaration of an unquestioned faith in the Almighty.
My knightly ancestor was undoubtedly a pious old warrior. He probably lived the characteristic life of other Knights of that Golden Age of English History. He was a contemporary, and may have been a companion, of the gallant Sir Walter Raleigh. It is possible that he accompanied that adventurous voyager to Virginia, and so was the first of the tribe to set foot on American soil.
Unquestionably, he frequently visited London, and while seeing the sights of the great city attended the theater, where on Shakespeare, a strolling player of indifferent fame, was on the boards.
He may have know old Ben Johnson and discussed with that chronic grouch the merits of the impecunious Shakespeare as playwright and actor.
It was a chivalric age, a queer era, with a strange and incongruous mixture of piety and barbarism. I am glad that my ancestor had a part in it, with the strength of soul, purity of purpose and faith in God, which he proclaimed by the striking symbols upon his shield.
The earliest trace we have of any of the Faville tribe in America is the record of the marriage of Thomas Favill and his wife Mary. Her maiden name we do not know. Thomas Favill died and his widow married Jonathon Smith and had two children, John Favill Smith and Thomas Favill Smith.
John Favill, who married Nancy Lewis, was the son of Thomas Favill and his wife Mary. Nancy Lewis was a "Mohawk Dutch" woman. John Favill served in the Continental army and was mentioned as "being in command at Fishkill". He probably held a commission, as his neighbors called him "Captain".
This young couple lived for a time in New Jersey, and after the Revolution settled in the woods in Herkimer County, New York, near a stream called "Faville Falls". Twelve children were born to them, one of whom died in infancy. The seven sons all grew to be old men. I have a picture of them taken in a group, when the youngest was evidently past sixty.
I am deeply indebted to the late Frank Faville of Dolgeville, New York, for the following interesting account of this family:
"Unfortunately the early history of the Faville tribe is not as authentic or complete as we wish.
There were seventy-four of the first cousins. Eighty-four years ago the tribe had a family gathering at Grandfather John Faville's. There were sixteen babies at the gathering. Henry Faville was the youngest of the sixteen,: is now the last.
Quite a few of these first cousins undoubtedly remember Grandfather and mother and maybe knew more of the early struggle for existence than I. All I know is from short talks with my father and he never appeared to think it worthy of much talk, probably because at that time their daily life and experience had been about the same as that of other first settlers in the big woods. The wonder of it all is: How did they do it? Take any couple you can find today, set them down in the woods with nothing but an axe and what worldly goods they carried in pack baskets, seven children- the oldest Betsy, age twelve, the youngest James, age two. Ask them to exist. They would promptly say, "It can't be done".
Grandfather John at one time lived in New Jersey. After the Revolutionary War he married and lived at Haverstraw, NY, on the Hudson River. For services in the war he and Cornelius Lamberson were given each a tract of land in the town of Salisbury, described as being westerly from a clearing then known as Yankee Bush (now Burrells Corners.) Evidently Grandfather did not like that first location, so he built some sort of a bark shelter just below the falls and moved from Salisbury to Manhiem. His first house was log, built about 1792. About 1802 he dug a cellar and built a two-story house of sawn lumber, judging from the size of the foundation, which still remains. The fireplace occupied one half of the greater part of the first floor and the trap door to go to the cellar must have made rather close quarters for the sleeve bed and trundle bed and table and benches and blocks.
These stones that were part of the foundation of Grandfather's gristmill still remain. One of the round stones used for grinding is still in evidence. The house stood about one hundred feet down stream from the mill. It is a beautiful quiet spot today and must have been a wonderful spot when they first made their clearing sheltered by woods and hills. Their nearest neighbors lived three miles away. No road. About 1805 other settlers came, quite a colony, and a sort of road opened through that section.
Each of the Faville boys as soon as they were able to swing an axe were encouraged to make clearings for these settlers. These cuttings were known as Tom's clearing, John's clearing, Bill's, Jim's, Rob's, Asa's. Their first clearing was made one half mile south of the house. The wood was mostly sugar maple and the soil around the roots of the trees was very good. As soon as they had downed enough of these big trees so the sun could get in Grandmother was on hand to see that her carefully horned stock of seed was not wasted. Beans and potatoes were the most important item. In an occasional spot where they had fallen a bunch of timber so they could burn it over, they sowed turnips and later as the clearing was larger, patches of wheat and corn.
One fall while the boys were all at home, someone who had made a clearing four miles to the west of them had the smallpox. Uncle Tom was delegated to go and see the man and incidentally brought home the disease. At that time it was an act of prudence to have the disease when you were ready for it, rather than when it took you unawares. The family supplied it with corn meal and a jug of molasses and then the Hospital was ready. The boys all moved in. They were supposed to do considerable work, enlarge the clearing while thus interned, but father says they played checkers, wrestled, set snares, went away down stream fishing and chopped some. None of them were much sick and I think that two of the boys had scars. After that the family was supposed to be immune, and I remember Uncle Tom and one of the others going up to Salisbury one night seventy years ago to bury some unfortunate one.
None of the boys were hunters. Grandfather had no gun. But all of them, including the mother, were fishers. Trout were not a delicacy or luxury. Simply used to fill up space. Five or six miles northwest of us in the town of Salisbury is a Big Cedar Swamp or Spruce Creek. One winter when the snow was immensely deep there, three of the brothers on snow shoes, with an axe on the shoulder, went up to the big swamp, stayed in the wood two nights, and each dragged home a deer. No gun; just ran them down.
In 1833 the Faville boys took a job to cut, hew and draw out a big lot of cedar ties from the Big Swamp for the Mohawk Valley Railroad, then building.
Berries do not flourish in a dense forest; so the only chance for them was in a wind fall quite a long way from home. Grandmother occasionally took her troop there for a big fill up. Once they stayed in the bush over night and lugged home a year's supply. Dried them in the sun, of course.
On Uncle John's farm was a rock ledge. Along the foot of the ledge were butternut trees, beech trees, and nuts were plenty, and south of them six miles away was the Mohawk Valley. There hickory trees were found. I think that includes all the possibilities for a living except small game like an occasional rabbit, partridge, and squirrel. Or coon caught in snare or dead fall.
Father said his mother could do any work that any other woman could and then some--braid a fish line out of horse hair, set a snare or trap for anything that ran or flew, make baskets of all kind, spin, weave, help the boys in every way, showed them how to tan deerskins and smaller pelts. I am sure Grandmother Faville did her full share in bringing up the first twelve.
The boys were all strong and delighted in feats of strength. All were good wrestlers, especially Uncle Jim. They used to attend all town meetings, training and barn raisings for miles around, and loved the rough and tumble fun of these occasions. None of them were quarrelsome, but if anyone insisted on trouble--anyone or all of them would accommodate.
The land they settled on was owned in Albany. The boys worked and earned enough to pay for twenty-five acres and bought the balance on the farm on contract, five dollars per acre was counted reasonable. Their education was limited strictly to essentials. Uncle Cornelius had the advantage of one term at Casanovia School and was a bit more polished than the rest.
They were fairly good singers. As a boy I heard the seven brothers and Aunt Nat sing the old anthem "While Shepherds Watched the Flocks by Night" all seated on the ground. "The Angel of the Lord came down and glory shown around", and "All Hail the Power of Jesus Name", etc. I thought then that it was wonderful music and as I write these lines I believe I hear them right now singing. They are all there, not one voice missing. To any of the cousins who read this, just stop--listen, can't you hear them? If you don't, my faith is you will sometime."
My Grandfather Faville died before I was born. From such stories concerning him as have come to me, I am convinced that he was a unique character.
He was commonly and familiarly known as "Uncle Tom". Rugged, perhaps somewhat uncouth, not illiterate but yet unlearned. A man of intense convictions and fearless in asserting them, he was a leader in his community. He was a man "set in his ways"; of iron will and firm to a point exceedingly close to stubbornness. He was conscientious, and unbending in his religious convictions. I have heard my father say of him that he would sooner cut his throat than shave on Sunday.
I remember that upon one occasion when my father and I were indulging in one of those delightful confidences that tie father and son close together, he told me that when he told my grandfather that he was going to marry my mother, then the village school teacher, "if he could get her", Grandfather's comment was-"Why and, don't you know that she believes in election?" To which Father replied, "Well, Dad I don't care if she does, if only I am the successful candidate".
My grandfather was an intense abolitionist, long before the days of the civil war. He joined the American of "Know Nothing" party in 1852. The unique organization in American politics was characteristic of the period preceding the war.
Written by Judge Fred Faville, Iowa
John Favill served as a private, 1778, in Capt. John Lafler's Company of Bateaumen, Continental troops. He was born in England; died, 1817, in Herkimer Co., N. Y., & on his tombstone is the title "captain."
Miss Florence Mary Favill Born in Jefferson County, WI DAR # 59602
Miss Addie Favill Born in Waterloo, WI DAR # 60173
Mrs. Estella H. Drew Schultz Born in Madison, WI. DAR # 45594
Mrs. Berenice D. Hunter Hoffman Born in Jefferson County, WI. DAR # 58145
Miss Harriet E. Johnston Born in Wabaunsee County, KS. DAR # 24765
Mrs. Mary Johnston Beveridge Born in Outagamie County, WI DAR # 60177
Mrs. Mable Kithcart Purcel Born in Shelton, NB DAR # 150724
Mrs. Edith M. Thurston Glaze Born in Northwood, Iowa. DAR # 48233
Mrs. Esther D. Faville. Born in Knox, NY DAR # 22462
Mrs. Louisa Thayer Faville Born in Bristol County, MA DAR # 160417
REVOLUTIONARY WAR RECORD
John Faville Capt. Lafler's Co. of Bateaumen Continental Troops
Capt. John Laflers Co. of Bateauman Reg't Continental Troops (Revolutionary War) Company Muster Roll
I do swear that the within muster roll is a true
WAR OF 1812
The Official Copy of Cornelius Faville's discharge papers & pension certificate is located in the War of 1812 collection at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association, Canton, NY
WAR OF THE REBELLION
WWI Draft Registration
TO THE SURROGATE OF THE COUNTY OF HERKIMER: File Folder #02572 at the Surrogate Chambers in Herkimer Co., NY courthouse
The petition of Nathan Favill of the town of Manhiem in the county of Herkimer, respectfully represents, That your petitioner is a son of Thomas Favill late of the town of Manhiem, in the county of Herkimer, deceased and the will is now in the sons hand and your petitioner prays that such proceedings may be had thereon, that the same may be admitted to probate as a will of personal property, and may be proved and recorded as a will of real property. And your petitioner further represents that the said Thomas Favill died at his own residence in the town of Manhiem in the county of Herkimer on or about the 22 day of March 1860 leaving real and personal property in the county of Herkimer, and leaving a widow Betsey Favill who resides in Waverly, Iowa and the following children:
Oran Favill, Amos Favill and Martyn Faville and Mary Thurston who reside in Mitchell, Iowa
The Will of Thomas Favill was drawn up on 19 Mar 1860. Thomas Favill died on or about 22 Mar 1860. The Will was probated on 31 Dec 1861. Thomas Favill named his wife as executrix of the Will but also gave her all of his property both personal and real. He names no other person.
Witnesses: Daniel Faville of Manhiem, Herkimer Co. & Thomas Spencer
1850 Federal Census Manheim Herkimer County, NY.
1850 Federal Census Poultry, Rutland, VT 20 Sep 1850
1855 State Census Town of Manhiem, Herkimer County, NY
1860 Federal Census Mitchell, Mitchell County, IA
OAK GROVE CEMETERY Mitchell Twp., Mitchell County, Iowa (Located on the south edge of the town of Mitchell)
Return to Part 1 - Family Lineage
Copyright © 2001 Liz Getz
All Rights Reserved.