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Walter S. Fairbanks


Walter S. Fairbanks born 13th April 1852 in Luton, Chatham, Kent. Son of Rev. J. H. Fairbanks. Attended Clifton College 1869-71, Clare College Cambridge. Rugby Blue 1873 and 1874. Assistant Master Clifton College 1875-96. Joined Clifton RFC in 1875. Played Cricket for Gloucestershire from 1875-1884. In the 1861 Census at The Parsonage, Chatham, Kent lived

Name Relation to head of Family Condition Age Rank, Profession or Occupation Where Born
Rev. J.H.Fairbanks Head M 54 Clergyman Incumbant of Luton Stafford, Staffordshire
Susan Jane Fairbanks Wife M 46 Clergyman's Wife Diss, Norfolk
Arthur Fairbanks Son S 11 Clergyman's Son Kenilworth, Warwickshire
Walter Fairbanks Son S 8 Clergyman's Son Darland, Gillingham
Edith Fairbanks Daughter S 6 Clergyman's Daughter Luton, Chatham
Ann M. Metcalf Governess S 45 Governess Cripplegate, London
Rachel Pike Servant S 21 Servant Figeldon, Wiltshire
Emma Clark Servant S 17 House Maid Farnham, Bucks

His father was Joseph Henry Fairbanks, vicar at Christ Church, Chatham, Kent. He also attended Clare College, Cambridge. His mother was Susan Jane Fairbanks (nee ?).

Above Christ Church, Chatham in 1842. The church, is on the opposite side of Upper Luton Road to the existing church and was between Church Terrace and Luton Road. A reference by Samuel Bagshaw refers to " a small neat district church ... erected ... in 1842. The church remained in use till the 1960's by which time it had become the church hall and the church school alongside it had long gone. Although it was later discovered that no records existed of the deconsecration and the building was probably still technically a church. Details of the burials in the churchyard are held at the church office. The 'late bell' removed from the 1884 church and transferred to the current building bore the date of 1842 and so must have been present in the original church.

Above the church built in 1884 and consecrated on Tuesday 14th July 1885. The architect of the church was E R Robson and Messrs Naylor and Son of Rochester carried out the contract to erect the building. The original building work did not include a tower because during initial construction settlement occurred and underpinning was required. The Tower and bells were added in 1929 but this eventually compounded the problems and along with dry summers of the 1970's structural failure resulted. This meant that the building had to be replaced but the outline of the church remains in the Church grounds. The church closed at Easter 1982 and the whole congregation moved along the road to the Methodist church on the corner of Connaught road and they worshiped together until the opening of the new building. Ironically during demolition the Tower was the last to fall and at one point stood on three corners and just would not budge.

Above the present day Christ Church, Chatham, Kent built in 1984. The architect was Patrick O'Keefe and G E Wallis and Sons carried out the construction. The Rt. Revd David Say presided at the Dedication service on 15th September 1984. This new spacious building without pillars interrupting the view is a very busy place with the hall on the Luton Road side is in use every day of the week. Opportunity was taken to transfer as much as possible from the former 1884 building including a large amount of the Stained glassed windows. An internal lift allows easy access from the hall level on Luton Road. Just inside the main door on the upper floor is the chapel where you will find a place of quiet reflection. The famous central panels of the East windows from the 1884 church are in here along with the Carpenters window transferred from above the entrance of the old church.

The church in 2006. It has a website at

In the 1871 census Fairbanks is listed as a pupil at Head Master House, Clifton College. Also at the same address was Clifton RFC player Reginald Wynn Rucker.

Above Walter Fairbanks in the 1875-76 Clifton XV. I suspect the cap is a Clifton College cap.

Above Walter Fairbanks in the 1876-77 Clifton XV

Above Walter Fairbanks from the 1877 Clifton College Masters photograph

Standing, left to right: W.O.Moberly, W.Fairbanks, G.F.Grace, F.G.Monkland, W.R.Gilbert, W.Midwinter. Seated, left to right: Captain H.B.Kingscote, F.Townsend, R.F.Miles, W.G.Grace, E.M.Grace.

Above the Gloucestershire side that beat England at the Oval by 5 wickets in 1877 with Clifton RFC players William Octavius Moberly and Walter Fairbanks.

Fairbanks First-Class Cricket Averages are

FIRST-CLASS (1875 - 1884) Walter Fairbanks












Batting & Fielding

































He played cricket 3 times for Cambridge University, although not a Blue and 24 times for Gloucestershire.

In the 1881 Census Fairbanks was living at 34 College Road, Clifton. Lodging with fellow Clifton College Master Thomas Brown. The Household was

Thomas E. BROWN Head M Male 50 Douglas, Isle of Man, England Assistant Master Clifton Coll M.A
Amelia BROWN Wife M Female 49 Ramsey, Isle of Man, England
Edith BROWN Daur U Female 20 Castletown, Isle of Man, England
Thomas B. BROWN Son U Male 18 Gloucester, Gloucester, England Scholar
Ethel BROWN Daur Female 15 Clifton, Gloucester, England Scholar
Dora BROWN Daur Female 9 Clifton, Gloucester, England Scholar
Hugh D. BROWN Son Male 8 Clifton, Gloucester, England Scholar
Walter FAIRBANKS Boarder U Male 28 Chatham, Kent, England Assistant Master M.A.
Elizabeth MANWARING Serv M Female 61 Clifton, Gloucester, England Matron Of Boarding House (D S)
Mariann EVANS Serv M Female 33 Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales Cook
Louisa WILSON Serv U Female 34 Road, Somerset, England Parlour Maid
Kate GARDNER Serv U Female 24 Cosham, Wiltshire, England Nurse (D)
Fanny LEACH Serv U Female 23 Thorchard B, Devon, England House Maid
Alice DAVIES Serv U Female 20 Cwmcarn, Monmouth, England House Maid
Martha RICHARDS Serv U Female 18 Bath, Somerset, England Kitchen Maid
Frederick COSSE Serv U Male 18 Frome, Somerset, England Page (D)

On November 26th 1887, his mother, Sarah Jane, died aged 73. The death was announced in The Times on 1st December 1887 but added no more information.

Above Walter Fairbanks from the 1890 Clifton College Masters photograph

Above Walter at Clifton College. Unknown date

On July 22nd 1891 his father, Joseph Henry Fairbanks, died. His death was announced in The Times on July 24th 1891 but added no more information.

In 1891 Fairbanks was a founding member of Bristol and Clifton Golf Club. He won the Moncrieffe Cup in 1891and 1893-1895, the Broke Cup in 1895. He was club captain from 1891-1896.

Fairbanks first went to the U.S.A., with his brother Arthur, on the 6th August 1892 on the Umbria. Sailing from Liverpool to New York. He made many trips between the U.S.A. and England over the years.

Above the Umbria

Fairbanks moved to Denver, Colorado, USA in 1898. He spent his winters in southern California honing his golf game. Even though he was past 40 in his first Denver Country Club club championship in 1899, he won the title a total of ten times. He also won the Colorado State Match Play title four times from 1902 to 1905. In addition to his Colorado winnings, Fairbanks was a three-time Southern California Golf Association Champion, a Florida State Champion, and he won the first Pacific Coast Championship. On a national level he reached the round of 16 at the 1899 United States Amateur. He qualified again for the match play field at the 1901 U.S. Amateur. His finest golf accomplishment occurred in 1913 when he won the United States Senior Golf Association Championship at the Apawamis Club in Rye, New York. Fairbanks, whose picture hangs in the hallway to the men's grille at Denver Country Club, was known as "40-holes Fairbanks," a nickname he acquired in his first round win at the U.S. Amateur in 1899 when he prevailed in extra holes in his match against J.F. Curtis "1-up" after "40 holes." Walter Fairbanks was a director of DCC from 1903 to 1906 and he oversaw the construction of the club's course at its current location during that time. He remained a member of a club until the year of his death in England in 1924.

In the 1900 US Census Fairbanks is listed as living at 1435 Vine Street, Denver, Colorado. Also living at that address are his English Butler, George Cartwright (who arrived in the US in 1882 as a 19 year old), and his Irish Housekeeper Wife, Ellen M. Cartwright (who had arrived in the US in 1865 as a 6 year old). Fairbanks occupation is listed as Capitalist.

Above 1435 Vine Street between 1891 and 1893.

Above 1435 Vine Street, Denver, Colorado in 2005. Constructed between 1890 and 1893, the five Vine Street houses were part of Denver's early residential real estate development before the Silver Crash and depression of 1893. Denver architect William Lang, a man known for his eclectic designs, is credited with the houses at 1415, 1429 and 1435 Vine. 1435 Vine was built in 1891 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the US. Known as the Grove-Fairbanks House and was originally lived in and built for O.P.Grove. 1435 Vine Street is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the USA which says

Vine Street Houses
(added 1974 - Denver County - #74000572)
1415, 1429, 1435, 1441, 1453 Vine St., Denver
(150 acres, 5 buildings)

Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Lang,William
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Area of Significance: Architecture, Social History
Period of Significance: 1875-1899
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Single Dwelling
Current Function: Domestic
Current Sub-function: Single Dwelling

Above Architect William A. Lang (1846-1897). The Silver Crash of 1893 ended the building craze and ruined Lang’s successful architectural practice and ended his partnership with Marshall Pugh, who left Denver to work elsewhere.  By 1895 Lang was in severe financial difficulty and in poor health and may have been suffering from emotional problems and/or alcoholism.  He is listed in the city directory as a “waiter”.  In December of 1896, he left his wife and daughter in Denver and made an extended visit to his brother who lived in a Chicago suburb.  In August of 1897, Lang disappeared from his brother’s home.  He was arrested in Morris, Illinois, for drunk and disorderly conduct and ordered out of town.  On August 21st he was hit by a passing train while walking down the railroad tracks and was killed instantly.  His brother and his wife were informed of the death but neither had the money to pay for, or attend, his funeral.  He was buried in Marsailles, Illinois, in a lot donated by the Grand Army of the Republic with a simple stone marker

Above Interior view of Town and Gown Links clubhouse in Colorado Springs (El Paso County) Colorado; shows men at a dinner table set with crystal and silver. Frank Westward (?) wears a wedding ring and bow tie, Walter Fairbanks is fifth from the left, and Theo Holland is to the far right. Date 1900-1910

Golfers, who include (from left to right): F. L. W. (Frank Woodward), Russel, Walter Fairbanks, Harry Vardon, and caddies stand near the tee of a hole at the Overland Country Club golf course (Overland Park Golf Course) in Denver, Colorado. December 1900.

Panorama of Walter Fairbanks as he tees off at Town and Gown Links Golf Course in Colorado Springs (El Paso County) Colorado. A man holds a Polaroid bellows camera; men, boys, the clubhouse, and a horse and buggy are in the background. Date 1900-1910

Above Fairbanks drawing from the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.

Above Fairbanks, a golfer, watches the flight of his ball at the Overland Country Club golf course (Overland Park Golf Course) in Denver,Colorado. A caddy looks on. Date 1900.

Above Walter Fairbanks in 1909

Above a 57 year old Walter Fairbanks from The American Golfer March 1914 Vol.11 No.5

His brother Arthur, who also went to Clare College, Cambridge University, became a clergyman. Ordained a deacon (Rochester) 1873; priest, 1874; C. of Bramfield, Herts., 1873-7. Chaplain at Stockholm, 1877-8. Assistant Chaplain at Nice, 1878-81. Curate of St Peter's, Eaton Square, Westminster, London, 1881-1913. Lived latterly at 301, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London where he died on November 25th, 1916, aged 67. His obituary appeared in The Times on November 28th 1916 and said

FAIRBANKS.- On the 25th Nov. at 391 Vauxhall Bridge Road, the REV. ARTHUR FAIRBANKS. M.A., for 31 years Curate of St. Peters, Eaton Square aged 67, Service at St. Peters, Eaton Square tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12.30. Internment at Higher Green Cemetery.

Above St Peter's, Eaton Square, Westminster, London

His sister Edith married Lewis Arthur Smith, a Clergyman. They had a son Oswald and 4 Daughters, Muriel, Ethel, Winifred and Bertha.

Above Walter Fairbanks playing at Palm Beach, from Golf Illustrated April, 1914, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 6

Above Walter Fairbanks relaxing on Palm Beach, from The American Golfer April 1918, Vol. 19, No. 6, p. 610.

Above Walter Fairbanks at the 7th hole, Palm Beach, from The American Golfer April 1918, Vol. 19, No. 6, p. 611.

Walter Fairbanks is listed in the 1920 US Census as living at Denver City (Bounded by: 16th, Tremont, 13th, Welton) , Colorado. They were

Name Relation to head of Family Sex Marital Status Age Rank, Profession or Occupation Fathers Birthplace Mothers Birthplace Race Where Born
Walter S. Fairbanks Head M Single 67 None England England White England
Herbert J. Scully Lodger M Divorced 42 Car Salesman Illinois New Jersey White Illinois
H.W.J.Eddbrooke Lodger M Single 56 Architect Illinois Maine White Illinois
Alvin J. Jessup Lodger M Divorced 61 Adjuster Ohio Ohio White Ohio
James H. Reilly Lodger M Single 30 Stockbroker Illinois Pennsylvania White Kansas
Earl F. Percy Lodger M Married 55 Linen Manufacturer New York New York White New York
Charles A. Finding Lodger M Married 69 Mining England England White England
Robert F Weitlerce Lodger M Widow 71 Hostel Keeper Pennsylvania England White Pennsylvania

Walter Fairbanks sailed back home to live with his sister in Guildford on the White Star Liner, The Adriatic from New York to Liverpool. He arrived on the 21st April 1924.

Above the White Star Liner, The Adriatic

Walter Fairbanks died on 25th August 1924 in Guildford, Surrey at the home of his sister, Edith Smith.

His obituary appeared in The Times on 27th August 1924 and said

FAIRBANKS - On the 25th Aug., fell asleep at Penybont, Guildford, Surrey, the home of his sister, Mrs Lewis Smith, WALTER FAIRBANKS, M.A. Cantab., second son of the Rev.J.H.Fairbanks, of Luton, Kent, and recently of Denver, Colorado, aged 72. (American papers, please copy.)

In The Times on July 10th 1933 Edith Smith had a letter to The Editor published, it said


May I add one more to the interesting reminiscences of visits to Westminster Abbey long ago? In 1862 and following years I had the privalege of staying with my godfather, Canon Conway, in Dean's Yard, and, in addition to visits to the wax effigies, I had the joy of moonlight visits to the interior of the Abbey and a sight of the quaint, mechanical contrivances then at work in the walls for checking the vigilance of the night watchmen, who had to drop a ticket into the passing miniature trunk at the right moment. (I wonder what has become of the contrivance.) I also remember the breathless visits of Dean Stanley, often at tea-time, to tell us of some new discovery he had made owing to his small stature being able to penetrate where none other could. There was a pathos in the unexpected passing of our old friend the saintly Canon Conway, in that the ink was scarcely dry of the memorial sermon he had written and was to preach the next day of Lady Augusta Stanley. - Mrs. LEWIS SMITH, Peny-bont, Guildford.

Edith's godfather was Reverend William Conway. His son was William Martin Conway, 1st Baron Conway of Allington (April 12 1856 – April 19 1937), English art critic, politician and mountaineer. He was founder and first Director-General of the Imperial War Museum.

Above Dean Stanley, friend of Edith Smith. He was educated at Rugby School under Thomas Arnold, and in 1834 went up to Balliol College, Oxford. He is generally considered to be the source for the character of George Arthur in Thomas Hughes's well-known book Tom Brown's Schooldays.

Edith Smith died on July 26th 1939. Her obituary appeared in The Times on July 28th 1939 and said

SMITH.-On July 26, 1939, at Stoke Grange, Guildford, EDITH SMITH, wife of the Rev. Lewis Arthur Smith, daughter of the late Rev. J. H. Fairbanks, formerley Rector of Luton, Kent, aged 84. Funeral service at St. Mary's Church, Guildford, tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30pm

Above St. Mary's Church, Guildford.

The Rev. Lewis Arthur Smith died on 23rd August 1945. His obituary appeared in The Times on 25th August 1945 and said

The Rev. Lewis Arthur Smith, of Stoke Grange, Guildford, died on August 23 at the age of 95. He was educated at Queen's College, Oxford, and was ordained in 1874.

The Rev. Lewis Arthur Smith was born in Greenwich......more to add