The Fairfax family occupies a unique place in the story of America, as the only members of the British House of Lords – the Peerage – to have been long time residents of the United States. For over 150 years, first as colonialists and then as loyal citizens of the Republic they played an active part in many of the great events that helped make America the country it is today. Then curiously, just as America was assuming its position as the powerhouse of the world, they left and returned to Britain once more.
Written with panache and affection by a descendant of the family, Hugh Fairfax, this new book tells the remarkable and largely forgotten story in its entirety for the first time. We follow their adventures from the pinnacle of Colonial society and close friendship with George Washington into the 19th Century. We meet Thomas, the 9th Lord Fairfax, a doughty Republican and pioneer of emancipation, his son Henry, a hero of the Mexican War of 1846 and the dashing Charles Snowden Fairfax, who joins the Gold Rush to California, where he is remembered for his bravery and as a friend to all.
The Civil War sees the family in the thick of the action and while most rally to the Confederacy, one alone, Donald McNeill Fairfax, remains loyal to the Union and plays a key role in the infamous Trent Affair, an event that almost brings Britain into the war.
Finally we come to the author’s grandfather, Albert 12th Lord, who dreams of restoring the family’s position in the world. Forsaking America for England he reclaims his place in the House of Lords and prospers in the City of London. As the wheel comes full circle, we find the family once more established as loyal subjects of the Crown.
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