John Fairbairn1,2

(9 Apr 1794 - 5 Oct 1864)
FatherJames Fairbairn2,3 (say 1760 - aft. 1802)
MotherAgnes Brack (say 1760 - ); HC BOTHA's "John Fairbairn in South Africa" shows John's mother as Agnes BLACK. It is more likely to be BRACK, as shown in her marriage to James, and in John's brother William's baptism, the only one of the family baptisms to name the mother3,4,5,6
John FAIRBAIRN (1794-1864)


     The search for John's parents & siblings uncovered several contemporary James at Gordon (one of whom was a wright at East Gordon, the other a shoemaker, later farmer, married to Elizabeth Betsy ALLISON) but Westruther netted a sibling Alexander 1784, which, given Alexander at Carrolside in 1797, looks likely to be the missing link to James' father, making his eldest son fit the naming pattern.
Legerwood added William 1802 specifically naming Agnes Brack as his mother, which I believe is QED for the family of John, having linked sufficient places, dates and names together.7


     John Fairbairn was born on 9 Apr 1794 Carrolside Mill, Par. of Legerwood, BEW, SCT.2,3,1 He was baptized on 11 May 1794 in the Par. of Legerwood, BEW, SCT; entry reads: "James Fairbairn Tenant in Carrolsidemill had a son born on the 9th Aprl and Baptized on the 11th May named John."2 He married Elizabeth Philip, daughter of John Philip and Jane Ross, on 24 Mar 1831 SAF.8,9
     John Fairbairn died on 5 Oct 1864 at the Home of F S Watermeyer, Wynberg, Cape Town, SAF, at age 70; aged 70 (Watermeyer, an advocate, and his son-in-law)
Obit in The Times of Nov 29th: "Mr John Fairbairn, the father of the press of South Africa, and for several years a member of the House of Assembly, died at Wynberg on the 5th inst. Mr Fairbairn came to the colony as a coadjutor of Mr Thomas Pringle and was a leading man in colonial politics."1,10 He was interred with John Fairbairn and Elizabeth Philip Somerset Rd Cem., Cape Town, CPC, SAF; Subsequently moved to Maitland: "Not far away are the stones of John Fairbairn (1864), the sturdy fighter for the freedom of the Press, of his wife Elizabeth (1840) who was a daughter of Dr. John Philip, and other members of the Fairbairn and Philip families."
H/stone summary11: John Fairbairn. Born 09-04-1794. Died 15-10-1864.12,13,11
     John Fairbairn is commemorated with Elizabeth Philip at the Woltemade Cem., Maitland, Cape Town, SAF.13
John became the effective leader of the anit-convict movement ("when the Neptune arrived at Simon's Bay in 1849 with 282 convicts aboard, the citizens declined to supply anything to persons having dealings with her. So strictly was this pledge observed that no food whatever was obtainable, either for the convicts or for the troops. During the riots which ensued, Newspaper Editor John Fairbairn's house at Sea Point was wrecked by a crowd who had lost their employment through the boycott. In the end the colonists were victorious and on 21 Feb 1850 the Neptune set sail for Tasmania."1,14


     For the Wikipedia information on John Fairbairn click here.3


Elizabeth Philip (circa 1802 - May 1840)
  • Johnny Fairbairn15 (1834 - Jul 1845)
  • James Alexander Fairbairn16 (1836 - )
ChartsAlexander & Betsy (NEWTON) FAIRBAIRN
Wanted: Alexander & Betsy (NEWTON) FAIRBAIRN
Last Edited19 Dec 2012


  1. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1) Fairbairn College, Cape Town,, extracted Jan 2004.
  2. [S55] Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854),, Birth 9 Apr Bap.11 May 1794 John s/o James FAIRBAIRN (tenant at Carrolsidemill, Legerwood, BEW), 749/ 0010 0145, copy d/loaded Sep 2010.
  3. [S2449] Wikipedia online at, Birth 9 Apr 1794 John s/o James FAIRBAIRN & Agnes BLACK (sic - see brother William's bap. which says BRACK), Carolside Mill, Legerwood, Berwicshire (quoting HC BOTHA's "John Fairbairn in South Africa" 336pp, hardback, d.w., No 5, Cape Town , 1984), extracted Sep 2010.
  4. [S55] Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854),, Birth 18 Aug Bap. 12 Sep 1802 William s/o James FAIRBAIRN & Agnes BRACK, Carrolside Mill, Legerwood, BEW 749/00 0010 0161, copy d/loaded Sep 2010.
  5. [S55] Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854),, Marr. 20 Mar 1783 James FAIRBAIRN, Westruther & Agnes BRACK, Lauder, booked both parishes 1 Feb, Lauder 748/00 0010 0180, Westruther 756/00 0010 0349, copies d/loaded Sep 2010.
  6. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Oct 2010.
  7. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Sep - Oct 2010.
  8. [S2449] Wikipedia online at, Marr. 24 Mar 1831 John FAIRBAIRN & Elizabeth (Eliza) PHILIP(Cape Town assumed), extracted Sep 2010.
  9. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1) Marr. John FAIRBAIRN & Elizabeth d/o John PHILIP , from…, extracted Jan 2004.
  10. [S2449] Wikipedia online at, Dth 5 Oct 1864 John FAIRBAIRN, Wynberg home of son-in-law advocate F S Watermeyer (Cape Town),, extracted Sep 2010.
  11. [S2954] National Archives of South Africa (NASA) online at, Bur. John FAIRBAIRN, Somerset Rd Cem., Cape Town, Cape, from Somerset Road Cemetery, Cape Town, Cape. Compilers: M Cairns, DG Boonzaaier and C Graham Botha, 1907. Courtesy: Cape Archives Depot (Accession 397), Dutch Reformed Church Archives, Cape Town and Regional Services, Western Cape, HSRC., extracted Sep 2010.
  12. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1) Bur. John FAIRBAIRN, Somerset Rd Cem., Cape Town (quoting the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , OUP Sep 2004, online ed May 2006), extracted Sep 2010.
  13. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1) Somerset Rd Cem., Cape Town - graves moved to Maitland, from…, extracted Sep 2010.
  14. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1), extracted Jan 2004.
  15. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1)…, extracted Jan 2004.
  16. [S2449] Wikipedia online at, Birth 1836 James Alexander, s/o John FAIRBAIRN & Elizabeth (Eliza) PHILLIP, (Cape Town assumed), extracted Sep 2010.
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