Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

About Patriot Ebenezer Fain

Setting the record straight is very important to me. Therefore, I admit that I made a mistake in names in last week's column (April 12 edition) concerning one of the two Fain brothers who settled in the Choestoe District of Union County and were listed in the county's first census taken in 1834.

Please note that the name of the older brother should be David M. Fain. I erroneously concluded that the M. was for "Mercer," his mother's maiden name. In family record studies, one should never "jump" to conclusions. Each time I listed David Fain's name in last week's column, it should have been David M. (not Mercer). There is no record available thus far to show what the M. stood for in David's name. The third child of Ebenezer and Mary Mercer Fain was, indeed, named Mercer Fain. I apologize for the error. To clarify, and for those interested, I will list here the names of their children.

Children of Ebenezer and Mary Mercer Fain:

David M. Fain (1782-1852)
Margaret Kathryn Fain-Witzel-Thomas (1786-ca.1870)
Mercer Fain (1789-ca.1872)
Elizabeth Fain-Trammell (1791-1870)
Mary Ann Fain (1794-1881)
Sarah M. Fain-Howard (1796-1877)
John Samuel Fain (1797- 1873)
Rebecca Fain-Hughes (1801- ca.1875)
Polly Ann Fain-Harwell (1804-1877)
To correct dates when the Fains moved to Habersham County, Georgia, I owe another apology. Quoting my source, Dean Thomas, he states: "About 1819 the four families of Ebenezer Fain, his sons Mercer and John Fain and his daughter Elizabeth Fain Trammell were among the first pioneers to move from Buncombe County into the 3rd Land District of Habersham (now White) County. The Fains settled in the Duke's Creek Valley in the vicinity of the present towns of Robertstown and Nacoochee, about seven miles northeast of Cleveland, Georgia. Ebenezer Fain's home was in that part of Captain Fain's Georgia Militia District 427 (now Nacoochee District, which became Tesnatee Georgia Militia District 558 in 1830) [p. 10, FTC Genealogy]. Then, David M. Fain moved to Habersham in 1821 and Margaret Fain-Witzel-Thomas moved there in 1824.

Their proximity to the new Union County saw John Samuel Fain and David M. Fain settling there about 1832, and when they moved on in 1839 to Old Gilmer in what would become Fannin in 1854, they left behind the Fain name on a creek, a road and later a post office in Union (that part of last week's article was correct!)

Now, with corrections made, to use flashback, let us review some pertinent information about Patriot Ebenezer Fain (08.27.1762-12.29.1842). He was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania to Nicholas Fain and Elizabeth Taylor Fain. His parents immigrated from Ireland about 1749. Nicholas Fain was a peddler and about 1772, when Ebenezer was a boy of ten, the Fains moved on the Great Valley Road and settled on the South Fork of the Holston River at a place called Abingdon. That area is near the present location of Bristol (Tennessee/Virginia).

For descendants of Ebenezer Fain, it is interesting to trace his patriotic service.

At age fourteen in 1776, he enlisted in the Virginia Militia. His job was to help quell an uprising of the Cherokee against the settlers whom the British termed "unruly western frontier whites." This enlistment was for three months, June through August. Fain's service then involved two victorious battles against the Cherokee.

In 1778, Nicholas and Elizabeth Taylor Fain moved again, that time to Jonesborough, Washington County, North Carolina (now Tennessee). Ebenezer Fain served four more enlistments with the militia. In June, 1780, he was enlisted as a "light horseman" and showed extreme bravery in several confrontations from July 14 through August 8 of 1780.

His third enlistment began in September, 1780. Among other encounters, he was at the famed battle of King's Mountain where he received a wound in the leg.

In December, 1780, Ebenezer Fain enlisted for the fourth time, serving under the famed Colonel John Sevier. Their raids against the Cherokee (who were in alliance with the Tories and the British) burned towns, captured horses, destroyed crops and killed Indians. Ebenezer's fourth enlistment ended in March, 1781.

His fifth and final enlistment began on April 1, 1781. For six months he was a mounted ranger, helping to guard the frontier in Washington County against Tories and Indians. It was during this enlistment that Ebenezer Fain and John Nicholson became close friends (note that John Nicholson migrated to Union County, Georgia after the war and was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Blairsville). These two men served in the Georgia Legislature from the old Walton County, which Georgia claimed for awhile, along the contested North Carolina- Georgia line. But that is a story for another time.

The Fains loved the mountains and followed the ridges from Pennsylvania down through the Cumberlands to Virginia, to North Carolina (now Tennessee), to Habersham, some to Union County, Georgia, and then to Old Gilmer (now Fannin). With the peaceful fields of his son John Samuel Fain clustered along rushing Hot House Creek, and the ridges towering above the plantation, Patriot Ebenezer Fain died peacefully on December 29, 1842.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Apr 19, 2007 in The Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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