30 May 2012

Poor Fairchild

Most of the tombs at lovely Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn look like this. Kept up fairly well and looking pretty grand for their age. Who know how many family members visit on a regular basis, but someone's looking to their appearances.

This vault, high on a slope in the southwest corner of the cemetery, is not so lucky. I was attracted by its untended, unloved facade. Both doors have been boarded over, one with wood, the other with brick. The stoneface has fallen away in places, revealing the red brick beneath. There's been no tending of the grounds surrounding it. And one of the names of the formerly interred has been removed.

The one that remains is E.B. Fairchild. Who was this unlucky son of a bitch? I checked the Green-Wood burial database and uncovered one Eugene B. Fairchild as one of only two Fairchilds with the initials E.B. buried there. The name corresponded with the lot number number where I found this crypt, Lot 42.

Eugene was buried on July 11, 1881, according to Green-Wood. The New York Times reported that  a Eugene B. Fairchild died in 1877. (Perhaps it takes a few years to build a crypt. I don't know.) The Times described him as "a well known and much respected gentleman, who as President of the Waverly Boat Club and a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity." A lot of Masons attended his funeral.

Who knows if this is the same guy. The name was probably not that uncommon a one back in the 19th century. But what happened here? Given that the doors are shut up, I can't imagine Eugene's still in there? Did he find space at a better cemetery?


r185 said...

Two interesting articles:

NY Daily Tribune (6/21/1879:

Mrs. Harriet Banstein and*a deceased, friend
named Eugene B. Fairchild employed' Thomas Van'
Brunt, November 3, 1877, to purchase a vault, aud
four lots ii)j Greenwood Cemetery. Van Brunt having
made ajll arrangements necessary for tho trans-,
fer of the/deeds was given $3,000 to pay for t ho
lots. Two Of these lots.were to b e assigucd to Mrs.
Baustein and two to Fairchild. Some time after Mrs.
Banstein found that the lots had not boen paid for
and t h a t only Fairchild's two lots bad been trans-,
ferred. Tho complaint was denied by Van Brunt, yestorday in the Yorkvillo Polico Court, who said t h a t he could prove his innocence. Tho case was
set down for next week and the accused man allowed to go on his parole.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle 12/27/1879:

Suit for Admeasurement of Dower

An action has b e e n commenced in the Supreme Court, before Judge Gilbert, by Henrietta Fairchild
to recover her dower in the premises, No. 33 East Thirteenth street, in the City of New York. The premises in question were owned by one Eugene B. Fairchild
in bis lifetime and at his death, which occurred at the Hoffman House in the Fall of 1877, he devised the entire property owned by him to' an aunt, Harriet Parmentice, the defendant in the suit. The plaintiff, who
claims that she was married to Fairchild in 1873, by Rev. Dr. Howard Crosby, -had been living separate from him for a year or more preceding the death, and'was
left totally unprovided for. An action bad been commenced
by Fairchild through'Charles W. Brooke, his counsel, to annul this marriage, upon the ground that
Henrietta, at the time he married her, had another husband
living. She defended this suit upon the allegation
that prior to her marriage with Fairchild her former
marriage had been dissolved. The case waa referred to
a referee, and pending the trial Fairchild died. Mrs.
Fairchild thereupon brought this action to have her
dower in hia estate admeasured to her. The defendant,
Miss Parmentioe, interposes-the former marriage as a
defense, elalming that the marriage with Fairchild
was a nullity. The case came up yesterday in Special
Term for the purpose of having a day fixed f o r t he
Ed. J MaxtfeU ;"opeara for the plaintiff; John H.
Harnett and S. B. Hl£STJ>2tam for defendant.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Great find! Thought there might be a story behind this.

Sarah D Bunting said...

In case anyone's still reading this, the poor SOB's tomb door was ripped off at some point in the last month. Was just over there yesterday and reported this to cemetery security. Went over with the foreman and found that, whoever Fairchild was or whomever was deeded this burial plot, the vault is empty.