Glendale, California Biographies

Simon Fairburn

Simon Fairburn is a Virginian by birth, having been born May 16, 1850, in Augusta County, in the Shenandoah Valley. He is a son of William and Elizabeth (Funk) Fairburn. The Fairburns are of substantial Scotch ancestry. William Fairburn, the great grandfather of the subject of this sketch, served all through the Revolutionary War during which caused his death in 1782. William Fairburn, his grandfather, served in the War of 1812, and died in the service in 1814. The Funks are Holland Dutch. Bishop Henry Funk settled at Indian Creek, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in 1709. Henry Funk II, the second son of Bishop Funk, was purchasing agent for the army during the Revolutionary War. Joseph Funk, the grandfather of Mr. Fairburn, was a music teacher and publisher of songbooks. In 1847 he published the first Mennonite hymnals and the literature still remains in the Funk family.

Simon Fairburn was reared on his father’s plantation in the Shenendoah Valley and was one of a family of twelve children. He remained at home until he was seventeen, when he was apprenticed to a miller, and after serving his apprenticeship leased the mill and operated it for three years. He went to Parkersburg, West Virginia, and became an employee of the Standard Oil Company, remaining in their employ for twenty-two years, working his way up to the position of representative of all the company’s business in Mexico,. For three years before being sent to Mexico, he was superintendent of the plant at Parkersburg. In the fall of 1886 he was sent to Mexico, with instructions to locate, construct and operate a refinery at Mexico City. In 1889 he built a refinery at Vera Cruz, and upon completion of that work was made superintendent of all the company’s business in Mexico, a position of great responsibility. In 1896, he resigned his position and returned to the States because of a lack of educational institutions in which to have his children educated. After traveling about the States for a few months he came to the valley and purchased a sixty-acre tract. His present residence of Tenth Street at Alameda Avenue, which he built in 1901, occupies a part of his original purchase. He still owns forty acres, which is largely devoted to peach orchards. Mr. Fairburn has been successful as a fruit grower. He is identified with the banks of Burbank and has been a member of the school bard in his district for many years. Fraternally he is a Master Mason and politically a Democrat.

In Washington, D.C., on September 5, 1873, h e married Bettie M. Williams, a daughter of Dr. R. P. Williams of Bath county, Virginia, who was a surgeon in the Confederate army. The children are: Charles W., a rancher residing near Burbank; Eve E., wife of E. J. Young, of Hermosa Beach; Flora E., wife of Charles Rehart, of Fillmore, California; Olive W., wife of J. A. Swalk, of Burbank; Ruth H., wife of B. R. Fellows, an employee of the City of Glendale.

From History of Glendale and Vicinity by John Calvin Sherer. The Glendale Publishing Company, c. 1922 F. M. Broadbooks and J. C. Sherer. P. 315-316. A photo of Mr. Simon Fairburn is located on page 314.