John T. Fairbairn, a prominent rancher of Walsh Station, Sacramento county, presents an example of the success that can be won by a man of ability and energy who engages in the stock and agricultural industry of the great state of California. He came to this state when still a boy in his teens, hoping to win his fortune and make himself an honorable place in the world, and a superficial view of his large and beautiful ranch of to-day would impress the observer that he has succeeded most admirably. He is not only prominent in the ranching industry, but takes part in public affairs, and is a public-spirited and very progressive citizen, popular among all his associates and friends.

Mr. Fairbairn was born in Lancaster, Erie county, New York, February 5, 1856, a son of John and Isabella (Brackey) Fairbairn. His father was born in Berwickshire, Scotland, and came to America in 1853. He was a tanner by trade, but in the latter years of his life went to Canada and engaged in farming, which he continued until his death in 1876. He was of an old and prominent Scotch family. During the Civil war he had served his adopted country as a Union soldier. His wife was also born in Berwickshire, Scotland, and as she died in 1858, John T. is her only son. By a second marriage her husband had two sons, Thomas and Peter, who are both engaged in the lumber business in Sacramento.

Mr. John T. Fairbairn received his education in the common schools of Canada, but at the age of sixteen set out to make his own way. He journeyed to California, and for a time was engaged in herding mules on the ranch of John D. Morrison in Sacramento county. After two months he went to Yolo county and worked on various ranches until 1879, in which year he was made foreman of the ranch of Dr. P. H. Merritt, and remained in that position until the fall of 1883. While a schoolboy in Canada he had gained the affection of his schoolmate, Agnes Houston, and parted from her with the intention of coming back to marry her when he should have gained an assured place in his business. Thus it was that he returned, victorious, to Seaforth, Ontario, and on January 3, 1883, was united in marriage with Miss Houston, who was born in Canada, of an old Scotch family, her father being James Houston, a Canadian farmer. He then brought his wife out to California and settled at Walsh Station, where he bought two hundred acres of land and began general farming operations, which he has continued so successfully to the present time. Since then he has added three hundred acres to his original estate, and all this magnificent land is now under cultivation, devoted to grain-raising and grazing and the growing of stock.

Mr. and Mrs. Fairbairn have three sons and three daughters: James H., John H. and Russell A., all in school; Frances Isabel, stenographer for the John Brenner Company; Agnes Grace, at home; and Mary Devina, in school. Mr. and Mrs. Fairbairn belong to the Presbyterian church. He has taken an active part in politics, and has represented the Republican party in both county and state conventions, and was a member of the county central committee. He was a school trustee of the Brighton district for twelve years, and for nine years was clerk of the board. He affiliates with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Scottish Clans, and is a member of the Ranchers' Protective Association.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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