Fain and Birchfield Lineage

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In a publication called “Fain Genealogy” compiled by Frank B. Fain the family history begins in the religious persecutions in 17th century France. During that period the Roman Catholic church conducted repressions against the protestant church group known as the Huguenots (followers of John Calvin). In about 1685 a family by the name of Fainyance, reportedly Huguenots, fled the religious persecution in France for safety in Ireland. Eventually their name was shortened to Fain.

One member of the family, a Nicholas Fain, married an English woman by the name of Elizabeth Taylor. After their first two children were born they migrated to America and to Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he was issued a peddler’s license in 1766. They first moved to the Virginia colony and then on to what is now Washington County, Tennessee in the year 1770. Nicholas and family reportedly lived on Knob Creek where he died in 1785. Elizabeth (Taylor) Fain died in 1795 at Jonesborough, TN.

The family of Nicholas and Elizabeth Fain included; sons John (Capt.), Ebenezer, Samuel, David, William, Thomas, and Reuben and daughter Elizabeth. Historical records of the Daughters of the American Revolution indicate that Nicholas and sons Samuel, John, Thomas, William and Ebenezer fought in the Revolutionary War, in battles at King’s Mountain and Point Pleasant.

Our branch of the Fain family tree stems from Reuben Fain, son of pioneer Nicholas Fain and Elizabeth Taylor. Reuben Fain (about 1764-1825) married Fannie Medlock in 1785. Descendants of Ruben and Fannie Medlock Fain were; John M., born 1789, Elizabeth, born 1790, Nicholas, born 1791, Jason, born 1792 and Mary Ann, born 1794.

John M. Fain (son of Reuben) married Rhoda Bicknell (daughter of Micagah Bicknell and Phoebe Landrum). John M. Fain, from Jefferson County, TN, served in Ball’s Regiment during the War of 1812 and received a military pension beginning in 1813 (ref. TN Military Pension Roll). Children of John M. and Rhoda Fain included; James McCage (?), Micagah (?), William Y. (Bn 1823) and John N. (Bn 1825), in Jefferson Co., TN. Rhoda Bicknell died before 1850.

John N. Fain (son of John M.) married Susannah Birchfield (Burchfiel) in 1844 in Jefferson Co., TN. Susannah, born Dec. 4, 1829, in Jefferson Co., was the daughter of Joseph and Susannah (Holloway) Burchfield. Joseph Birchfield was born about  1783 and d July 1839. “The Burchfield Bulletin”, Number 1, dated 1994, notes: “After Joseph Burchfiel’s death in 1839, his children began to scatter. William, Susan Fain, Rachel Jane Henry and possibly Sarah Clark and Anna Hill, moved to western Arkansas, settling in the Natural Dam community and along Lee’s Creek in Crawford County where descendants still reside.”

Children of John N. and Susannah (Birchfield) Fain were; Rhoda, born 1845, TN, Margaret (Hesteranne)1, born 1847, TN, George M., born 1849, Sarah L., born 1855 AR, John William, born 1858 AR, Hannah L., born 1861 AR, Elijah, born 1864 AR and Joseph, born 1867 AR. It is surmised that John N. and Susannah moved to the Crawford County, AR area about 1850 - 1855. A homestead application filed by John N. Fain, age 64 (1889), was attested to by affidavits of Jeremiah Fain, a cousin, and Isaac N. Burchfield, age 18, who stated he was an uncle by marriage. John N. stated he had lived on the property for 17 years, having moved onto it in 1871. His occupation was recorded as farmer.

Ephraim G. Key was reportedly born in Putnam Co., MO in 1852 . He married: 1) Samantha J. Call, 20 January 1876, Barry Co., MO; and 2) Hannah L. Fain in Cassville, Mo (Barry Co.) On 16 April 1877. The children of Ephraim and Hannah Fain Key were; Mary LeeAnn Key, born Cassville, MO, Feb. 22, 1878, Sarah Lou, born 1880 AR, William N., born 1882, and Margaret Susan, born 1885. The siblings of LeeAnn Key were born in Crawford Co., AR in the late 1870's and later.

Ephraim and Hannah Fain Key obtained farming property near Cole City, AR in the 1870 - 80s. Ephraim Key died of a heart attack on 2/1/1889 and was buried in Hall Cemetery, Natural Dam, AR. His widow, Hannah, later married Wendel Ex on March 17, 1891 in Crawford Co., AR. Wendel and Hannah raised an extended family in the Lee’s Creek township. Children of that marriage were; James B. Ex, born 1891, Ester Josephine Ex, born 1895, Kindless Ex, Bertha Ex and Christine Ex.

Mary LeeAnn Key lived with the Ex family for several years. She married Luther Carl Brady (son of James B. Brady and Esther Ann Barnish) in Barry Co., MO in 1896. James B. Brady born 1844, d 1/9/1894, is buried in Hall Cemetery, Natural Dam, AR.


  1.  Margaret Hesteranne Fain was married to Alfred Oliver Henson in AR before 1873.


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