Ayres Genealogy
Tree Photos

Early Generations
::: Name Confusion
John Whitmore Book
There is extensive information available on the early Ayres settlers. But note that the error rate on ancestry.com is very high: there is widespread co-mingling of the unrelated John Ayres (1616-1675) from Haverhill, John Ayer from Ipswich, and our John Ayres. At this point the ancestors in England of our Captain John Ayres have not been identified. The minerdescent.com web site has a good compendium of the different names. The original bible for Ayres is the The book by William Henry Whitmore.

::: History (courtesy, Wikitree.com, edited)

John Ayres arrived in America in or before 1643 [editor: reported also as 1660 in an 1869 newspaper], at the tail end of the great migration of Puritans, and lived initially in Ipswich amd Rowley, Massachusetts. In 1644, he married Susannah Symonds, she had already immigrated to America with her parents and was in Ipswich by 1634. John Ayres was a husbandman and became a tenant farmer for Rev. John Norton. He also became active in the local militia, rising to the rank of Captain. When Susannah's father, Mark Symonds, died in 1659 at the age of about 75, John Ayres was appointed to administer his estate.

Ayres Tavern, Brookfield Mass.
Ayres Tavern, Brookfield Mass.
In 1660 a land grant was obtained for an area six miles square that would later become Quaboag Plantation and, eventually, Brookfield, Massachusetts. In 1667, John was named one of a prudential committee for the new Quaboag Plantation in the Regrant of 1667. The Ayres then moved with their eight children (ranging in age from 3 to 18) to the new settlement. John helped build the mill and eventually ran it for some time for John Pynchon. Over the next few years John bought and leased a substantial amount of property in the new settlement (accumulating as much as 2,000 acres).

John and Susannah soon began offering food and shelter to others and in the fall of 1671 John was granted a license to operate a tavern, including the sale of wine, etc. The tavern was also fortified to serve as a defensible stronghold for the community in the event of an attack. John was a successful farmer, miller, and tavern owner.

There had been ongoing widespread conlfict with the native American population as the colonists increasingly encroached on their lands. On June 20, 1675 a band of Pokanoket attacked several isolated homesteads in the small Plymouth colony settlement of Swansea. Laying siege to the town, they destroyed it five days later and killed several people. Officials from the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies responded by destroying the Wampanoag town at Mount Hope (modern Bristol, Rhode Island) on June 28, kicking off what became known as King Philip's War. The war quickly spread, and soon involved the Podunk tribe. During the summer of 1675, the Native Americans attacked at Middleborough and Dartmouth (July 8), and Mendon (July 14).

Noting some unrest among the Nipmuck Indians that resided near Quaboag (Brookfield), the Council commissioned Capt. Edward Hutchinson to go meet with their Sachem to understand their intentions in the escalating war. Capt. Wheeler, with about twenty of his troop, joined Capt. Hutchinson and marched on 28 July 1675 from Cambridge into the Nipmuck Country. They arrived at Quabaog (Brookfield) on 1 Aug 1675. Hearing reports of Indians in "great force" about ten miles away, they sent four men to "treat with them." The four encountered a group of Indians about eight miles away from Brookfield in a swamp. After some posturing back and forth, the Indians agreed that their Sachems would meet with Capt. Hutchinson and his party the next day at a plain three miles from Brookfield.

Ayres Monument
The next day, Capt. Hutchinson, accompanied by the troopers, scouts and "three of the chief men of Brookfield," including Susannah's husband Sargeant John Ayres (he had been a Captain in Ipswich), went to the appointed place. They were ambushed en route and eight men were killed instantly including Sergeants John Ayres and William Pritchard, and Corporal Richard Coye; five more were wounded. In the fight that followed, the remaining troops, while wounded, managed to escape and made their way back to Brookfield. They sounded the alarm and about 80 people from 14 families (including Susannah and her children) prepared to defend themselves at Ayres' Tavern. Meanwhile the Indian force reached Brookfield and began to pillage the outlying homes and buildings and lay siege to the tavern. On 3rd Aug, they gathered hay and began to burn the town. Travelers saw the fires from a distance and brought the alarm to Marlborough. Maj. Willard arrived with reinforcements during the night of 4 Aug causing the Indians to withdraw on 5 Aug. Additional troops from Boston arrived on 7 Aug. While there had been only a few additional deaths, the town was destroyed. Over the next month everyone gathered whatever they could salvage of their belongings and evacuated for safer places. Susannah took her children and returned to Ipswich, where they still had other family. The Court ordered the residents to evacuate the town and not return for twelve years.

Susannah never returned to Brookfield, dying in Ipswich in 1682. Only her son, Joseph, and grandson, Samuel, appear to have returned to Brookfield for the second settlement. In 1963, the town of Brookfield erected a monument to John Ayres.

::: Misc

Joel Ayres (1774 - 1846)
There are, again, widespread errors on ancestry.com where nearly everyone reports the DOB as 1771. Cheryl Ayres of Find-a-Grave has photos of the gravestone which indicate that he died at age 72 on 19-Jun-1846, making the DOB more likely 1774.
::: Misc
Anson Ayres (1797 - 1879)
Most personal ancestry.com trees, probably all copied from one another, erroneously report his birthplace as Royalston, MA.
::: Misc
::: Hobart Notes from David Kidd
Reverend Edmund Hobart and wife Margaret Dewey settled in Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts in the mid 1620s from Hingham, Norfolk, England. The father of Edmund Hobart was Sir Henry Hobart and I have enclosed the link for the history over in England.

I also discovered that Edmund Hobart and Margaret Dewey are common relatitves to both GF Albert Eugene Kidd and GM Elizabeth Ayres. Edmund and Margaret are the 8th GGF/GGM on the Albert’s side and the 7th GGF/GGM on Elizabeth’s side.

Hobart Ayres (2-May-1848 to 29-Jul-1918)
::: Two Concurrent Families
Hobart Ayres
In 2016, Hobart's great grandson, David Kidd, received a mysterious message about a DNA match. It seems that there was another family claiming the same Hobart Ayres, who had never been divorced, as their ancestor. It is now clear that he abandoned his first family, including seven children. He went west to pursue his new ladder business and, simply, never returned. He married again and it is clear that neither family had any idea of his dual lives. In 1931, his sister (Addie) wrote this letter to Hobart’s daughter (Katherine), telling her about her father’s life. She was about 9 years old when he essentially abandoned their family and she probably spent the rest of her life wondering what happened.
::: Notes from Albert Eugene Kidd (son-in-law)
"Bessie... Her father was the inventor of the extension ladder. He was more the musician than business man and had assigned his invention to a company. His partner decided that he wanted the patent rights but did not want Mr. Ayres. He therefore bankrupted the company and purchased back the assets including the patent. As a result of this Mr. Ayres at the time of Bessie’s advent was financially in very low circumstances. He decided to remedy this by going to Colorado to prospect for gold. Mrs. Ayres cousin, Karl Schuyler, lived there and was attorney for the mining and railroad interests of the State of Colorado and had been raised at Cripple Creek during the time of the gold excitement. This perhaps accounted for Mr. Ayres decision to dig for gold. The family moved then to Denver in about 1894. About 1898, Mr. Ayres developed an embolism and lost one leg. This ended the quest for gold. Upon returning to Chicago the two apartments next door to the church were purchased and the upper apartment rented. Mr. Ayres then went into the coffee business. The site of this activity was the basement. He purchased different kinds of coffee already roasted and blended these to meet the tastes of the customers who lived nearby. After grinding the blended mix, Bessie would put the individual packages in her little wagon and make the deliveries around the neighborhood. After his leg had healed sufficiently, Mr. Ayres also did carpenter work and actually Built three houses in the neighborhood south of Jackson Park near 95th Street. "
::: New York: Age 1 - 36
::: Leaving New York and Family: The Ladder Years
::: Emma Thayer and Hobart's First Family
::: Life in Chicago

Elizabeth (Bessie) Ayres (18-Dec-1890 to 28-Feb-1968)
::: General ::: Publications & Presentations

James Farnan (1830 - 1877)
Father of Hobart Ayres' Wife, Anna Farnan
::: The Civil War
James Farnan played a significant role with the Union Army, first as a Captain, then as a Major. There is much detail about his role in the book by Rhonda M. Kohl, The Prairie Boys Go To War, The Fifth Ilinois Cavalry, 1861-1865
"Dr. James Farnan (1830- 77), a Sparta Republican and acquaintance of David L. Phillips and Wiley, organized the Rangers in August. Phillips, a United States marshal appointed by Lincoln, gave Governor Yates a rousing recommendation for accepting Farnan's company into the Fifth: ‘He [Farnan) has a good Company, and will give a good account of himself. A handsome man of almost six feet, with brown hair and blue eyes, Farnan would be one of three physicians who held commissioned posts in the company. Having graduated from St. Louis Medical College in 1853, Farnan moved with his wife to Sparta, where he practiced medicine. Despite the support of the Republican administration, the men of the company had reservations in his competency to lead: ’I see nothing about the Captain to make me think him fit for the place he has been elected to fill in the company. He was elected with the full understanding that he was to go into the Medical Department .... He is pettish and hasty, and lacks the judgment necessary for one in command of men, lamented a noncommissioned officer of Company K. Two years later, the commissioned officers in the regiment reflected the same sentiments: ‘While nothing can be said against Major Farnan as an officer, yet he is a very vindictive, malicious, & mischievous man, a low trickster and wise worker. ’During his service, Farnan became a man driven by desire for fame, social acceptance, money, and rank. His history of promoting his claims, albeit through others’ voices, to a higher rank, often at the expense of fellow officers, turned the entire regiment against him; even his friends from Randolph County considered him unscrupulous."
[pg 18-19, The Prairie Boys Go To War]
June, 1862
"Mutiny visited Company K in late June when a few of the boys spent thenight out drinking and consorting with local women. When they returned to camp, Farnan ordered the two miscreants to extra labor, cutting down trees and chopping up stumps. The men refused, causing the captain to restrain the men by tying their hands to a tree. Sgt. James McQuiston, Cpl. James B. Gordon, Tobias Boudonot, and Thomas S. Morrison went to the captives' rescue, Inciting Farnan's Irish temper, the captain pulled his pistol on the four, who, in turn, pulled their guns on the captain. Company mates talked the men down, and all walked away without any injury. Mann believed Lt. Charles Childs was behind the mutineers, for he coveted the captaincy and wanted Farnan out of the company. Within a few days, Wilson had McQuiston and James Gordon reduced in ranks. Farnan, however, pursued the matter, and eventually brought the men to court-martial. No records exist as to the court's findings.
[pg 46-47, The Prairie Boys Go To War]
June, 1863
"The Fifth Illinois was now leaderless... John Mann supported Farnan for the colonelcy and developed a petition to Yates. ‘Major Farnan is the only man in the Regt that is qualified for the position of Col. Majors Apperson and Seley are both aspiring to the position, but neither of them are qualified.’ Mann and Farnan's association had begun during their civilian lives, and Mann respected the major; however, many of the line officers did not support him. Farnan constantly sought betterment for himself, often to the detriment of fellow officers. Farnan's ambition, and the extent he would go to achieve his goa ls, became controversial, and many would soon turn their backs on the once-popular captain. The writing campaign probably had a deleterious effect on Yates's decision. Receiving dozens of letters from soldiers accusing one another of unpatriotic beliefs caused Yates to question the loyalty of all who desired the position. In his quest to ‘Republicanize the army,’ Yates appointed known Lincoln supporter John McConnell, late major of the Third Illinois Cavalry, to the position of colonel, while Apperson became lieutenant colonel."
[pg 122-123, The Prairie Boys Go To War]
::: Farnan Antecendents
::: Timeline
::: Photos ::: First Wife, Harriet McDill ::: Second Wife, Henrietta Gass (~1846 - ) ::: Court Cases, Notes from David Kidd, June 2009
I found 3 court cases involving Dr. James Farnan... The first case accused him of rape, the second accused him of attempted murder of some man, the third accused him of bastardly. I can't tell from the cases if he was convicted or not. He apparently got this single woman pregnant which ties the rape and bastardly cases together. The attempted murder case is tied to these cases and from what I can tell someone came after James and James fired a gun at him to protect himself.

There are affidavits from his two son David Farnan and Frank Farnan but none from Anna Farnan or the oldest son Henry Farnan. Also curious is there is no mention of the mother Harriet McDill Farnan. Harriet died Feb 22, 1872 and the cases were being tried in 1871 and 1872. She is not buried anywhere in Sparta and I am now wondering if she may have left.

I also found out that David Farnan died in 28 Nov 1889 and is buried with the McDill side of the family in Monmouth, Warren, Illinois. Another court case filed by Henry Farnan in 1883 to get control of two properties in Sparta from James Farnan's second wife provided the clues.
::: 1884 Court Case of Second Wife, Henrietta
  1. James died in 1877 and left no will. His first wife (Harriet McDill), mother of his 6 children, died in 1872. His second wife was Henriette Gass.
  2. At the time of his death he was living on some parcels of land (his "homestead") in Sparta, Il. with three of his children (ages 15-19) and Henrietta
  3. After eight months, Henrietta and her two youngest step-sons went to live in St. Louis.
  4. She never returned and rented out the Sparta house. She kept one room for herself with some furniture and it appears that the four children were co-owners of the house. After one year she sold the furniture and "surrendered" the room to a tenant named William Borders.
  5. Borders purchased a one quarter share of the house from Henrietta's oldest son, Harry and later claimed to have acquired the shares of the other 3 children.
  6. Borders claimed that Henrietta's stake in the property was now officially abandoned and he was suing to obtain full possession of the property.
Judgment summary (courtesy Google Digital Books)

Anna Farnan (1858 - 1945) and Siblings

Misc. Farnan
::: Photos ::: Trees ::: Other web sites ::: Notes from David Kidd, March 2009
Went out to the cemetery in Sparta Randolph County, Illinois and solved some issues but gained new ones. Can not find any of Anna's father, mother, or siblings. I also traced them across to Clonmellon, Meath, Ireland.