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Fay, Horace W.

Born: 1801-08-11 New York

Died: 1864-04-18 Vicksburg, Mississippi

Horace W. Fay was a farmer, minister, musician, teacher, state representative, Democrat, county surveyor, civil engineer, Republican, and U.S. Army musician and chaplain. He married Roxana Eaton while residing in New York and had five children with her before she died sometime in 1835. He relocated to DeKalb County, Illinois in either 1837 or 1838, and soon married Alida Adams. This marriage produced one child before Alida died in September 1847. In his early years in DeKalb County, he became a traveling minister and sometimes also taught music at area schools. In 1848, DeKalb County's voters elected him to the Illinois House of Representatives. He served in the Sixteenth Illinois General Assembly, from 1848 to 1850. In February 1849, he married Margaret Ann Stipp, with whom he had at least five children. In 1853, he was elected county surveyor, a position he held until 1858. He also worked on the Illinois and Michigan Canal as a civil engineer for a period of time. Although initially a Democrat, he served as a delegate to the first Republican convention of DeKalb County in Sycamore, Illinois in September 1854. He lived comfortably—the $1,000 in real estate that he owned in 1850 had increased to $4,000 by 1860 and was supplemented by another $1,000 in personal property. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army. He served as a musician in the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry from 1861 to 1863, then was discharged and appointed chaplain of the First Mississippi Heavy Artillery in December 1863. He participated in the Battle of Shiloh and was killed during the siege of Vicksburg. His grandson, Herbert W. Fay, became a well-known collector of portraits of Abraham Lincoln and other Lincolniana.

Illinois Journal (Springfield), 13 September 1848, 3:2; 7 February 1849, 2:7; Lewis M. Gross, Past and Present of DeKalb County (Chicago: Pioneer, 1907), 1:440-43; Owen N. Wilcox, History of the Family of Benjamin Snow (Cleveland, OH: Gates Legal, 1907), 287; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 1 February 1849, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), DeKalb County, IL, 360; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), DeKalb County, IL, 214; Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1919-1920 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1920), 536-37; Alida Fay, Horace W. Fay, Gravestone, Oak Mound Cemetery, DeKalb County, IL; The Biographical Record of De Kalb County Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1898), 92-94.