The Fay Family: Thomas Fay

Thomas Fay
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Orlin has two families that are almost identical. Family groups are often similar because of naming patterns, family relationships, and favorite names of the day. These two families, however, are more than just similar.
The first Thomas is the fifth child of Otis Fay (born 1782), whose line begins on page 68. Thomas' family is given on page 69. Thomas was born, married and died in Westborough, Massachusetts, and the vital records of that town contain all these events, as well as the births of all three children mentioned by Orlin.
The second Thomas is the son of another Thomas, the second child of Silas (born 1747), whose line begins on page 334. Orlin says that Silas was born in Westborough, but his parents actually moved to Lincoln before the birth of Silas, who is consequently listed in Lincoln. Orlin says that Silas married and had his children in Princeton. The vital records of Princeton do record the marriage of Silas to Anna Gleason. They also record the Rutland marriage of Thomas and Sally Hooker in 1802. Thomas' birth is actually recorded in Lincoln, while Sally's is recorded in Rutland. I have not been able to find any further record of Thomas and Sally, or of any of their four children, Ezra, Thomas, Lorinda, and Mary. Orlin says that Silas moved to Camden, Maine and died there; the implication is that Thomas also moved to Maine. However it is never said; in fact, no further information is given by Orlin about the family of Thomas and Sally Hooker.
Note the similarities in the two families now.
  • Thomas is married to Mary A.
  • Oldest child is Jane M. born in 1837 (one has Jan. 3, one has June 3)
  • Second child is Martha A. born 4/13/1840 (second has a question mark after the 1840)
  • Third child is George Otis born September 8 (one has 1843, one has 1840)
I think that the second transcription made a mistake in giving the birth year for George Otis, changing it accidentally from 1843 to 1840; and once that had happened, then a question mark was placed after Martha's date of birth, since it would not be possible to have them both born in the same year.
The next thing to do was to find evidence outside of Orlin. According to one version, Martha A. married Newton Churchill; according to the other, she married Gardner Wilson. In checking back to Orlin, I realized that Otis had another daughter, one named Martha Augusta, born in 1815, who married Gardner Wilson. To me, this was conclusive evidence that somehow these entries had become mixed up. I had not been able to find a record for Gardner and the YOUNGER Martha; but there is a Gardner with an older Martha and Albert in Keene, in 1850. By 1860, Gardner is gone, and Martha and Albert are living in Westborough. No evidence at all has been found for the second family, while the first, the line of Otis in Westborough, is well documented.
This is taken from the 1850 census for Westborough. Otis and his wife Mary still have two daughters at home, Sarah A. (30) and Lomira (27). We know that Thomas died in September 1845. His wife, Otis' daughter in law, is with Otis and Mary, as are all three children, Martha, Jane and George Otis.
In 1860, Mary, Martha and George are in Holliston. On November 10, 1862, Martha married Newton Churchill in Holliston (NEHGS, vol 154 p 135, indexed as Churchell).
It is always dangerous to argue from lack of evidence in this field, and in this case especially, since records for the second family could be in Maine, and online records are not available. I myself am convinced though, that there is a mistake in Orlin at this point, and I would propose that we disregard all information about the children of Thomas and Mary in the line of Silas.