October 22, 2015
Notes on Abraham Faw: Timeline and Family Tree
Frederick, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia
by Jack Lynch
It's been a nearly forty year effort to track down traces of the life of Abraham Faw. Bits and pieces came from many sources, and details emerged over the years from internet gatherings and books, but no real full delineation of his life existed anywhere. And recently, his grave was rediscovered. It will be marked by the Sons of the American Revolution next March.
His adult life and role in Frederick, Maryland and the American Revolution is fleshed out fairly well, but his early life is barely noted. How did this son of Germanic immigrant Jacob Pfauw become educated and Anglicized, to bridge the German and English cultural worlds? His youth were spent in Winchester, and Leesburg, Va. He bought the family farm and they moved on to North Carolina.
The period of western Maryland was divided between the Germans and English in his lifetime, but he rose and prospered, and was positioned to be elected among the citizens and befriend Thomas Johnson and his brothers.
He assisted Amelung is setting up his glass works, and brought the printer Matthias Martgis to town.
He helped pass the Constitutional vote in Maryland and signed its copy.
He oversaw the building of a powder house and the Hessian Barracks. Faw visited the Lancaster Barracks as a model for the Frederick Barracks.
He ran a mercantile and a hat shop and lived at number six Church Street in Frederick. He had lands in at least four states, a tavern in Cumberland and also a tavern, blacksmith and schoolhouse in Uniontown, Pa.
His land deals are numerous, and he brokers land for the Johnson brothers to set up an iron forge near Sugarloaf Mountain.
He had an ownership stake in salt mines in Kentucky.
He testifies in the Rumsey steamboat trial.
He is a life long Mason and chairs a new lodge at Fleecy Dale, near Urbana, Md. and the Amelung glass works.
Faw sells Amelung glass and buys supplies in Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Abraham Faw apparently owned house slaves, yet he supported the 1785 and 1789 legislative initiatives to end slavery in Maryland, a much under acknowledged effort that stretched across several states and was strongly advocated by Quakers. Many revolutionaries realized the hyprocisy of freedom and rights achieved by their struggle. In later years in Alexandria he and Jonathan witness many slave manumissions.
In later years, he has a law practice, lumber yard, and builds houses in Alexandria, as well as holding many local offices.
He participates in the forming of the Alexandria Canal at a meeting with George Washington. Washington's Mount Vernon ledger notes a payment, as "Faw brought beef from Goose Creek." Which would have been Jacob, Abraham's father. Goose Creek being the area around the newly incorporated Leesburg, Va where Jacob owned a half dozen town lots as well as two hundred acre farm.
The Faw's surely knew the young Washington in Winchester, living just an alleyway between them for a dozen years and during the time when the future President first ran for the legislature there in Virginia.
Son, William H.(Henry) S.(Steiner) Faw is a Veteran of the War of 1812.
He had three wives, the shortest marriage lasting twelve years.
Here's the timeline I've pieced together:
|14-May||1747||Abraham Pfau Born basel, Switzerland, father Jacob a saddler|
|1-Aug||1749||Pfau Family Immigrates|
|24-Aug||3 yr old Sister Buried England (smallpox)|
|Nine weeks at sea|
|Mother ill, family delayed for winter|
|1-Mar||1750||Family friends drives wagons to take them to Fredericktown (Winchester)|
|Father writes family in Switzerland|
|Quitrents on Friendship|
|April||1758||Jacob Pfauw's sister Dorde immigrates, marries Antoni Reager, both killed Ft Seybert Va Indian massacre|
|1757||Anna Maria (sister) born, she married Peter Engels, Jr|
|1768||Family farm "Friendship" purchased near Johnsville|
|16-Oct||1770||Marries Julianna Lowe|
|30-Jun||1773||Son, Jonathan born|
|24-Jan||1775||Appointed Committee Observation for Frederick|
|19-May||1776||Faw given charge for prisoners from Carolina in Poorhouse|
|26-Apr||1777||Writes Governor regarding appointment clothing collector for county|
|27-Jun||Appointed to build barracks, powder magazine already under construction|
|24-Nov||Writes Governor re: scarcity of hats|
|27-Nov||Appointed Clothing Collector|
|Sheriff of Frederick County|
|Discusses soldier bounty with Governor Johnson|
|21-Feb||1778||Writes Governor with enemy troops intelligence|
|2-Apr||Pays substitute soldier in his place|
|1778||Abraham buys Friendship|
|Writes Governor re: tent cloth|
|1779||Multiple letters on clothing, accounts, desperate for shirt cloth|
|Faw's shirt cloth becomes controversial, a Germanic type that is too coarse|
|1780||Multiple letters on clothing, accounts, prices, beef|
|13-May||Balto Ad Runaway Slave|
|1781||State Senator for Frederick County|
|Letter to Faw requesting a Calvary force be recruited in Frederick|
|1784||Maryland Act for Potomac navigation, Faw an agent for subscriptions|
|Faw assists Amelung in obtaining land for glass works|
|Faw an agent for lottery for George Town Academy|
|17-May||1785||Faw represents Thomas Johnson and others at George Washington's first meeting of Alexandria/Potomac Canal stockholders|
|7-Nov||until||Delegate for Frederick County|
|12-Mar||1786||Delegate for Frederick County|
|Faw supports reform of slavery laws in Maryland|
|Embroiled in steamboat controversy|
|12-Mar||Recommends Peter Engels Commissioner of Military Stores|
|6-Nov||until||Delegate for Frederick County|
|20-Jan||1787||Delegate for Frederick County|
|5-Nov||until||Delegate for Frederick County|
|17-Dec||1788||Delegate for Frederick County|
|28-Apr||1788||Delegate to Maryland Convention to ratify US Constitution|
|1-Mar||Faw reads Constitution in German in Hagerstown|
|1788||Others charge him as an Anti-Federalist|
|Defeated First Congress|
|Master Masons Lodge Fleecy Dale/Amelung/Urbana|
|Wife, Julianna dies after 18 years marriage|
|Land Grant 140 acres and 1000 acres Harrison Co WV|
|2-Nov||until||Delegate for Frederick County|
|25-Dec||1789||Delegate for Frederick County|
|Appointed to sell Amelung glass|
|Faw's Cumberland tavern used as first Courthouse|
|Faw supplies Amelung on credit, payment in glass|
|27-Mar||1790||Marries Mary Anne Steiner|
|1790 Census Fred Co 3 Males 16+, 1 Female 16+, 2 slaves|
|4-Sep||Purchases 2 lots Uniontown, Pa - blacksmith, stable, kept tavern, also a schoolhouse|
|1-Feb||1791||Son, William H. S. born|
|1792||Daughter, Julianna Marie born|
|6-Jun||Plan and Faw letter on Capitol mentioned T Jefferson letter|
|1793||Faw sued for Amelung credit debts, bankruptcy|
|1-Jan||Subscribed to Sun Fire Company Alexandria|
|Moves to Montgomery Co, mills at Seneca with 4 grindstones, tavern|
|1794||Moves to Alexandria, Va|
|27-Oct||Daughter, Sophia Eliza born|
|1795||Offers Middlebrook Mills for sale. Seneca Creek, Mont Co|
|19-Feb||1796||Appointed Justice of Peace by Thomas Jefferson|
|7-Mar||1800||Leases the Spring Garden a tavern|
|14-Apr||1801||Son, Jonathan becomes a lawyer, writes to Thomas Jefferson|
|2-Feb||Faw nominated Justice of Peace by J Adams, reappointed by Jefferson|
|1804||Taxes on 4 houses|
|Faw and son Jonathan sign various slave manumissions|
|19-Jan||1805||Wife, Mary Anne dies after 15 years of marriage|
|1806||Marries Sarah Moody|
|Appointed Justice Alex., DC|
|7-Feb||1807||Son, Jonathan dies|
|28-Apr||1809||Rents a store/warehouse King St|
|1812||Appointed Justice and Commissioner for Alex., DC|
|Signs certficate for movement of 15 slaves from County of Alex to Va|
|1818||Wife, Sarah dies after 12 years of marriage|
|Appointed Commissioner for Alex., DC|
|1821||Appointed Justice Alex., DC|
|21-Feb||1822||Son, William H. S. dies|
|26-Jun||1828||Abraham dies, buried graveyard of Presbyterian Church|
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